7:43pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Taylor Swift Joins for First Knockouts
The Battle round wrapped up Monday night on NBC's The Voice season 17, and the Knockouts began. Closing out the Battles, Normani, Will.i.am, Usher and Darius Rucker mentored teams from Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Blake Shelton respectively. This season’s key advisor Taylor Swift joined for the Knockouts.
In one of the last Battles of the season, Team Gwen’s Caroline Reilly and Jake HaldenVang sang “Just Like a Pill” by Pink. The song choice catered more to Reilly, but they both brought it in their final performance. Shelton gave the edge to Reilly, and Legend preferred HaldenVang. Stefani went with HaldenVang, and Reilly went home.
Team John’s Preston C. Howell and Mendeleyev next sang “Fire and Rain,” and Legend and Usher worked with them to really find the emotions within the lyrics. They both delivered strong performances on a technical and stage-presence level. Legend went with Howell as the winner, and Mendeleyev was eliminated.
In the final Battle from Team Blake, which was not aired in full, Ricky Braddy and Jordan Chase sang “Rumor” by Lee Brice, and Braddy won. Between Team Gwen’s Brennan Henson and Calvin Lockett, Lockett moved forward after their performance of “Yellow” by Coldplay.
The Battles closed out with Team Kelly. Lauren Hall and Team Kelly’s duo known as Hello Sunday sang “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. The harmonies were gorgeous, but they also all delivered on the emotional front, making for one of the most memorable Battles of the season. Clarkson chose the duo as the winner, but Shelton had a steal left, so he swooped in to scoop up Hall for his team.
With the Battles over, it was time for the Knockouts, and Swift officially stepped in as a mentor. The first Knockout came from Team Blake. Cali Wilson and Marina Chello, who was one of Shelton’s saves during the Battles, went up against each other. Wilson sang “Wicked Game,” and Chello sang “I (Who Have Nothing).” They both secured a standing ovation from all four coaches. Legend praised the subtlety of Wilson’s performance, but also the tight control that Chello had. Shelton chose Wilson as the winner.
Team Kelly’s Melinda Rodriguez and Jake Hoot were up next, with Hoot singing “Cover Me Up” and Rodriguez singing “Always Be My Baby.” Swift and Clarkson worked with both artists to arrange the songs to play to their strengths. The coaches were impressed by both of them, but Clarkson ultimately went with Hoot.
Katie Kadan and Max Boyle from Team Legend closed out the night, with Boyle singing “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish and Kadan singing “Piece of My Heart.” They both gave the best performances of the night, and when Legend picked Kadan as the winner, both Clarkson and Stefani took the chance to try to steal Boyle. He chose Team Kelly.
The Knockouts continue Tuesday night.