6:06pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Battle Round Comes to a Close
The final night of season 12’s Battle Round went down Tuesday night on NBC's The Voice, with coaches Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton making their last calls before heading into next week’s Knockout Round.
Lauryn Judd and Lilli Passero from Team Alicia were up first, working with Keys and DJ Khaled on “Every Little Bit Hurts,” on which Keys played piano during their first rehearsal. Keys said that even though it’s not a very well-known song, she thought Passero and Judd’s tones would sound great on it. She was right, and the song choice really suited both women, who worked together well on the harmonies. It’s a rhythmically complex song, but Keys worked with them on breath control. As usually, the coach put her own spin on the arrangement, with some input from DJ Khaled as well.
Both women did very well in their final performance, even though it wasn’t the most memorable battle. They both have incredible voices, but they have some room to grow when it comes to performing. Stefani described Passero as mesmerizing but added that Judd has a unique sound. Shelton also noted Judd’s special tone, but he thought Passero’s voice sounded the strongest on the song. Keys chose Passero to advance to the Knockouts. “Lilli could win,” Levine told Keys after she made her decision.
Jesse Larson and Taylor Alexander from Team Adam were up next. Levine had them sing “Shameless” by Garth Brooks. John Legend praised Larson’s vibrato, and Levine told him to make sure he doesn’t overpower Alexander. They were a strange match, but they sounded good together. In their final rehearsal, Levine decided to have them play their guitars while singing.
The country performance was as solid as anything from Team Blake. Levine has always wanted to beat Shelton with a country artist: Could Alexander be the key? He had a lot of fun in the battle, delivering a solid country vocal. But Larson delivered, too. And Larson has more potential to crossover in different genres, which is usually what Levine’s looking for. Levine was proud of both artists, who bring totally different things to his team. In the end, he chose Larson as the winner, losing the country singer.
Brandon Royal and Davina Leone from Team Gwen delivered the final battle of the season. Stefani had them sing “In the Night” by The Weeknd, because she wanted to have Royal sing something more modern and to give Leone something in her pop wheelhouse. Royal struggled with some of the high notes at first, but he pushed himself. Celine Dion cautioned Leone against singing too sweet all the time, encouraging them both to bring power to their duet. Stefani pushed Leone to be a little more confident. “Let the lyric lead your body,” Stefani said as Dion demonstrated how to stage the duet.
Royal had strong natural instincts, but Leone got on his level by the time of the final performance, making huge strides based on the feedback from Dion and Stefani. Royal certainly strained on the higher parts, but he came in on pitch. It was one of the best battles of the season, with both artists giving a captivating performance. “You’re unbelievable, you’re on to really big things,” Levine told Royal, but he added that Leone really came into her own. Shelton said he wanted to hug Royal. Keys described him as “elegantly dirty.” Stefani said the best part of the show is watching people grow. She picked Royal as the winner, but Levine was right there to steal Leone. Shelton got his hug from Royal, leading to a burst of giggles.
The episode ended with a quick preview of the Knockout Round, which kicks off next week. Who has the best team heading into the Knockouts?