6:10pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton Go Head-to-Head for a Steal
On the second night of the Battle Round, The Voice season 17’s coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton continued to work with mentors Normani, Usher, Will.i.am and Darius Rucker, respectively, to prepare their artists to go head-to-head in duets.
This season, the NBC show introduced a new rule for the Battles that allows each coach to be able to save one of their own artists in addition to being able to steal another. Usually steals don’t come in until the Knockouts, so this adds a new layer to the earlier stages of the competition.
The right move is for coaches to pair their top two artists so that they have a shot at keeping both. Here’s a breakdown of what happened in Tuesday night’s three Battles.
First up were Injoy Fountain and Alex Guthrie from Team Kelly, singing "Home" by Marc Broussard. In rehearsals with Normani and Clarkson, both proved to have strong artistic sensibilities as well as a lot of performing experience. In their final performance, they both had huge vocals with a lot of grit. The pair were able to find moments to stand out and still blended together well, but Fountain seemed like the more versatile artist. Clarkson believed that Guthrie added something different to her team, so she kept him on, and Fountain was eliminated.
Team Gwen had its first Battle of the season, and Stefani paired vocal teacher Elise Azkoul and Myracle Holloway, who has talked about her history of abuse on the show. They sang "Breathin" by Ariana Grande, which allowed both of them to display their control and range, but Holloway definitely gave the more complex performance in terms of pairing powerful vocals with visceral emotions.
"I want a record from you," Clarkson said of Holloway, but she also praised Azkoul’s head voice. Holloway was moved to tears by the coaches’ feedback. Unsurprisingly, Stefani went with Holloway, and Azkoul went home.
In Battles that did not air, Legend picked Max Boyle over Matt New, and Shelton picked Cali Wilson over Ellimae.
In the final Battle of the night, Team Legend’s Katie Kadan and Destiny Rayne sang "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. Legend put a lot of pressure on them giving them such a beloved song, but they both have bold voices that are well suited for it. The song choice seemed to favor Kadan, who puts a lot of power behind her vocals.
It was the top Battle of the night, with both artists playing to their strengths and delivering epic moments. They got the first four-coach standing ovation of the Battles. Still, Kadan stood out with her tone and performance skills. Legend doesn’t really have another artist on his team like her, and her voice is so memorable, even this early on in the competition, that it seemed unlikely that Legend would part with her. Sure enough, he chose Kadan as the winner.
That wasn’t the end, though. Shelton went in for the steal with Rayne, and just when he thought he was going to get her automatically, Stefani also pressed her steal button. Stefani won this round, and Rayne joined Team Gwen for the Knockouts.
The Battles continue next week.