7:26pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': The Very First Live Cross Battles Begin
NBC's The Voice on Monday night debuted its new-to-the-U.S. round of the competition known as the Live Cross Battles. Coaches Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton had to pick artists from their own teams to face off with artists from other teams. The first half of the top 32 performed, and the competition also opened up to America’s vote for the first time of the season. Results from Monday night’s voting will be announced Tuesday night. Coaches will each have a steal and a save.
Shelton first chose his artist Kim Cherry to compete, along with choosing Clarkson as the coach to battle his artist. Clarkson chose Betsy Ade to go up against Cherry. Cherry sang “Poison,” showcasing strong rhythm and dynamics. The song choice allowed her to show off her rapping talents as well. The performance was entertaining and showed a lot of sides of her artistry. Ade followed by singing “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette, which also played to her strengths. She maybe could have done more to shake up the song, but she sang it well. Levine thought she nailed it.
Levine picked next, selecting Mari as his artist and Shelton as his warring coach. Shelton picked Selkii for the battle. Mari got things started with a performance of “My My My” by Troye Sivan, showcasing a smooth pop sound. She made the song her own and belted out some powerful notes. Selkii followed with “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia, putting her own twists on it and excelling at ad libs. Legend thought Mari had the edge due to her style and confidence.
Legend picked Lisa Ramey to compete for Team John and picked Clarkson to go up against his team. Clarkson went with Karen Galera for Team Kelly. Ramey sang “Hurt So Bad” and delivered a strong lyrical interpretation, playing into the emotions of the song while also highlighting her tone. Galera followed with “Unfaithful” by Rihanna, which also allowed her to sing with big notes and a lot of power in the vocals. She sang part of the song in Spanish. Levine thought Ramey gave her personal best performance, and Shelton backed him up.
Clarkson finally got her chance to pick first, choosing Matthew Johnson as her artist and Levine as the coach to face Team Kelly. Levine picked Domenic Haynes to represent Team Adam. Johnson got things started with his performance of “Who’s Lovin’ You” by The Jackson 5, showcasing his smooth style and tone. Haynes sang “Damn Your Eyes” by Etta James, bringing his distinct rasp to the song. The coaches seemed pretty stuck on this one, highlighting immense strengths from both artists.
Clarkson took lead on the next battle as well, selecting Presley Tennant for Team Kelly and Legend to go head-to-head. Legend picked Kayslin Victoria for the battle. Tennant was up first, singing “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna, showcasing range and style. It was a dramatic performance, but she didn’t overdo it. Victoria next gave an understated performance of “Stay.” Levine was more surprised by Tennant.
Levine was up again, picking Celia Babini as his artist and Shelton to face Team Adam. Shelton picked Oliv Blu as his artist. Babini sang “A Thousand Years” and got emotional with it, hitting the high notes. Blu sang “Gravity” and had impressive range and technical skills to her singing. Blu seemed to have the edge, and Legend supported that, suggesting that she had a stronger grasp on her song.
Shelton next chose Dexter Roberts to face a member of Team Adam. Levine selected his country singer Andrew Jannakos to represent his team. Roberts kicked it off with a performance of “Believe,” which was perfectly within his wheelhouse. Jannakos got a little more country-rock with his singing, taking on “Yours.” Both made solid song choices. Clarkson favored the old-school country sound of Roberts, but Legend thought Jannakos stood out.
For the final battle of the night, Legend picked Maelyn Jarmon to sing for his team and Levine to make his selection, who ended up being Rod Stokes. Jarmon put her own twists on the popular song “Mad World” in one of the night’s best performances. Stokes followed with “How Am I Supposed yo Live Without You,” and he sang it well, his tone clear and captivating. Levine was very pleased with Stokes’ performance, and Legend praised the style choices Jarmon made with the song.
The results from Monday night’s performances will come in live on Tuesday night. Who has your vote?