8:03pm PT by Ashley Lee
'The Voice' Recap: Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Tackle Their First Battles
The battles began on The Voice on Monday, with guest mentors Stevie Nicks in tow to help Adam Levine, Little Big Town joining with Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys stepping in alongside Pharrell Williams, and husband Gavin Rossdale accompanying Gwen Stefani.
The episode of sudden-death duets showcased Williams and Stefani's coaching abilities for the first time, and held their own in the rehearsal room and alongside the ring. "Maybe I made a mistake being on this show," said Stefani mid-decision. Levine told the new coaches, "Welcome to me and Blake's world — we've been doing this for three years," with Shelton echoing, "That's why I drink so much."
See who came out victorious in the first night of the battles:
Team Pharrell's Elyjuh Rene vs. Maiya Sykes
Song: "If I Ain't Got You"
The two soul singers squared off on their guest mentor's ballad, with the original singer herself accompanying them on the piano during rehearsals. In the ring, each of them added their own spin to Keys' riffs and created their own show-stopping moments, and amicably harmonized to everyone's delight. As Levine and Shelton opted for Rene solely based on potential, Williams agreed and moved him forward.
Team Adam's Chris Jamison vs. Jonathan Wyndham
Song: "Young Girls"
Both four-chair turns with vulnerable voices, the guys both struggled with projection — Jamison not enough, and Wyndham too much. The pop-country performance of the Bruno Mars track ended up feeling strained for both. Shelton praised Wyndham's precision and Williams preferred Jamison's runs, and Levine went with Jamison for this "superstar" quality.
Team Gwen's Sugar Joans vs. Jean Kelly
The two powerhouses put their attitude on Destiny's Child's girl-power anthem, after tweaking their issues with rhythm and stage presence in rehearsals. Though an impressive Kelly did flub her lyrics at one point, Joans kept the growl coming with ease. The other three coaches called it dead even, Stefani went with Joans. Williams and Levine went in to steal Kelly away, but she ended up picking the new coach.
Team Blake's Craig Wayne Boyd vs. James David Carter
Song: "Wave on Wave"
The two country contestants let loose on an impromptu country music jam in rehearsals, and they brought that symbiotic relationship to the stage for the Pat Green track, each with their own acoustic guitar in tow. Though the other coaches called it a draw, Shelton went with Carter. As Boyd walked away from the stage, Stefani suddenly pressed her button. "I know it seems like a weird pairing, me and you," she told him, praising his voice. "I just want to dress you up!"
Team Gwen's Amanda Peers vs. Taylor John
The two singers struggled to showcase their individuality on the Dolly Parton classic, and had no idea how to connect with each other in the duet. In the ring, Peers performed in a more engaging way and earned Shelton's favor, but John's potential shined through to Levine's eye. After much delay, Stefani went with John.
Team Pharrell's Griffin vs. Luke Wade
Song: "Maybe I'm Amazed"
When touting Paul McCartney's ballad, Wade realized a weakness in his falsetto, while Griffin was at a disadvantage for being unfamiliar with the track. Since they were too tied to the original rendition, Keys had them jam on "the Aretha Franklin version" of the song, which helped them both evoke their unique sounds. After a jaw-dropping performance, Williams went with the gravelly Wade, and Shelton and Stefani swooped in to steal the classic crooner. In the end, Griffin joined Team Blake, the only coach who thought he should've won the match in the first place.
The Voice continues Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.