6:12pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Blake Shelton Schemes to Defeat Adam Levine
The Battle Round concluded on The Voice tonight as the coaches made their final cuts and steals before heading into the Knockouts next week. Once again, the artists all showed significant improvement since the Blind Auditions, which led to another slate of highly competitive battles.
Before the battles resumed, Blake Shelton met with Pharrell for some sneaky backroom politics, telling Pharrell he doesn't feel like he'll be able to win again and that the two should band together to make sure his rival coach Adam Levine doesn't win. Shelton is clearly out for blood this season, but nice guy Pharrell doesn't seem like the right choice for a scheming ally.
Read more Broadcast TV's Returning Shows 2015-16
The first battle pairing was Jeremy Gaynor and Rob Taylor from Christina Aguilera's team. She gave them Levine's own "Animals." Her main piece of advice to the guys was to get the original recording out of their head and make the song their own. They did just that in their final rehearsal, with Taylor adding some ad libs and Gaynor bringing his soulful sound to the performance. In the battle, both men looked like seasoned artists. Taylor especially showed a lot of versatility, and Aguilera picked him as the winner.
Sawyer Fredericks and Noelle Bybee from Team Pharrell faced off next with the song "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." It was a brutal pairing, as the two might be the most talented vocalists on Pharrell's team. A ballad for a battle initially seemed like an odd choice, but Fredericks and Bybee nailed the emotional performance with gorgeous vocals. Their chemistry was also great, so it's a bummer that only one could win. Pharrell picked Fredericks.
From Team Blake, Corey Kent White battled Jacob Rummell with "I Want Crazy" by Hunter Hayes. They brought a lot of energy in their battle and both looked like they were actually having fun while still giving a technically impressive performance. Rummell showed off his range, hitting the high notes. Both guys have very different styles, but they played to their strengths. Country isn't really Rummell's genre, but he handled it well, giving Shelton a tough choice. Pharrell pushed for Shelton to pick White, which he indeed did. But it turns out Pharrell might be better at sneaky coaching strategies than he seems, as he immediately went in for a steal once Rummell was freed up. It was a smart move, as Rummell has a voice suited for Team Pharrell.
That last steal marked the end of the Battle Round. Next week, the Knockouts begin. Who do you think will shine as the stakes continue to get even higher?