The battles wage on with a few key steals

By Amanda Bell
March 26, 2018 at 10:43 PM EDT
Trae Patton/NBC
S14 E9
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The battles wage on as The Voice‘s coaches try to narrow their teams down to those competitors who can and will make it through the knockouts and possibly beyond — and yet there are a surprising number of steals being thrown around. Perhaps the coaches just realize that sometimes taking someone’s castoff (helloooo Chloe Kohanski) can pay off in a big way.

Let’s take a look at who stays and who gets sent home.

Team Blake: Kaleb Lee vs. Pryor Baird
“Don’t Do Me Like That” by Tom Petty

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Kaleb Lee and Pryor Baird have a lot more similarities than they do differences, that much is clear. They both boast raspy voices with good-old-boy demeanors, and it’s easy to picture either one of them making a radio-playable hit that everyone can hum along to. The only real difference between them in the rehearsals stage is that Kaleb tends to lie a little lower on the note scales, while Pryor has a (slightly) brassier sound. To differentiate themselves in the battle, someone’s going to have to step up in a very big way.

Annnd that’d be Pryor. He gamely goes for the power riffs that Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins warned against using too liberally, adding some much-needed spirit to the moment. It’s effective enough that when Kaleb follows suit a few lines later, it sounds almost second rate and certainly not as organic. Otherwise, each fella here sounds like the lead singer of your everyday ’80s power ballad cover band, which is kind of the point tonight. Where will it take them in the long run? We will see.

Winner: Pryor Baird
Steal: Kaleb Lee to Team Kelly

Team Adam: Mia Boostrom vs. Genesis Diaz
“Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson

Oh look! Our first WTF decision of the season!

On the one hand, you can’t spell Mia Boostrom without “BOOM.” But on the other hand…meh. Adam Levine clearly wants to prove he was right when he predicted her to be “the best one-chair turn ever” or whatever, and she’s got a lot of heart and note control. But her diaphragm-only voice is almost too constrained and steady, to the point of being boring. Meanwhile, Genesis Diaz is left free to run circles around the girl during the battle.

Sure, Genesis audibly exceeds her limit on a big note towards the end, but there’s something so much more interesting about her crystal clear head tones and how well she navigates the notes of this song. As Adam describes it, her voice is “piercing.” I think we’ve heard all there is to hear from Mia, and while Mia is a solid singer no doubt, Genesis has a better chance of culling a fanbase, so this decision to send her home (and then not steal her) is a bummer.

Winner: Mia Boostrom
Steal: N/A

Team Kelly: Justin Kilgore vs. Molly Stevens
“Burning House” by Cam

Hmm, another tough one here. You can’t exactly blame Kelly Clarkson for opting to keep Justin Kilgore around instead of Molly Stevens. After all, he was a four-chair turn and displayed a whole lot of versatility in the blind auditions. But Molly, man, she was very on point during this performance.

Whether it’s the growl style that calls back to Stephanie Rice, the fact that she’s able to infuse the song with some surprising moments of dynamism, or just the fact that she’s just more prepared, she pretty much towers over Justin in the battle round. Thinking long term, of course, Justin might be the safer bet, but judging strictly by this contest? It’s hard to see how Molly doesn’t win it.

Winner: Justin Kilgore
Steal: N/A
(Recap continues on page 2)

Team Adam: Miya Base vs. Drew Cole
“Knocking on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan (Guns N Roses version)

Based on how much potential Adam Levine said he sees in Drew Cole, this battle is Drew’s to lose long before it’s even arranged. Adam says he’s paired Drew with Miya Base due to their similar rocker appeal, but in reality, he’s probably just putting Drew up against someone he knows he can beat (consider: Miya pretty much defeated herself in the blinds after Adam turned for her, and she was just a one-chair turn).

So imagine his surprise when Miya shows up to the performance, even when the odds are stacked against her (from the sparring partner to the song choice). Whereas Drew gets a little lost in trying to be the resident cool guy throughout the number, she’s running around throwing in moments of sass and staying committed to the moment. No more midway flubs for Miya tonight. It’s not surprising that Adam chooses to continue with his guy, but let’s just hope it’s not another Owen Danoff/Anthony Alexander situation where he tries to force a favorite to be ready when he’s not. Meanwhile, Alicia Keys is already flowing with ~ideas~ for how to help Miya continue to pop, going forward.

Winner: Drew Cole
Steal: Miya Base to Team Alicia

Team Blake: Jordan Kirkdorffer vs. Wilkes
“Nobody to Blame but Me” by Chris Stapleton

Wilkes’ blind audition was one of the better showcases of the whole shebang, and it was heaps more exciting than what Jordan Kirkdorffer did. That said, Jordan’s just fine in the modern country music lane, too, so choosing a song that threads the needle between Wilkes’ subtle rock stuff and Jordan’s everyday country crooner bit seems kind. Granted, it’s a rough-and-tumble kinda country song, but it’s still at least in the genre.

Even so, Wilkes owns it. Jordan puts on a very visible effort to capture the gravity and grit of this song, but it’s one of those numbers where you either have it or you don’t. Wilkes has it; every octave is a cinch for him — even when he’s at the top of his lungs, he can still glide down a few notes to make it pretty. It’d be interesting to see Wilkes step out of his comfort zone soon, though, just to keep things fresh.

Winner: Wilkes
Steal: N/A

Team Alicia: Britton Buchanan vs. Jaclyn Lovey
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

The kids are all right. There’s a lot to like about both of these teen singers. With Britton Buchanan, there’s a determination that, matched with his technical skill, is just hard to deny; with Jaclyn Lovey, her sound is just so delicate and delightful that it’s hard to imagine her getting sent home.

To make matters even more difficult for Alicia Keys, neither of them falters in the battle performance. If anything, they each step up even more. Britton holds a few key notes to reclaim the spotlight just as Jaclyn brings out her own little sprinkles of magic, and it’s a volley of goodness that no one can deny. Alicia decides to keep Britton because of the character he displays on the stage, but Blake is all too happy to scoop Jaclyn up for his own. After all, look what happened last time he nabbed a unique vocalist from another squad?

Winner: Britton Buchanan
Steal: Jaclyn Lovey to Team Blake

TEAM STANDINGS:

Team Adam: Rayshun LaMarr, Drew Cole, Mia Boostrom, Reid Umstattd, Angel Bonilla, Stephanie Skipper, Gary Edwards, Jackie Verna, Jackie Foster, Jordyn Simone

Team Alicia: Britton Buchanan, Kelsea Johnson, Christiana Danielle, Johnny Bliss, Terrence Cunningham, Livia Faith, Sharane Calister, Miya Base

Team Kelly: Brynn Cartelli, D.R. King, Jorge Eduardo, Alexa Cappelli, Hannah Goebel, Jamella, Justin Kilgore, Tish Haynes Keys, Kaleb Lee

Team Blake: Kyla Jade, Pryor Baird, Brett Hunter, Austin Giorgio, Spensha Baker, Wilkes, Jaron Strom, Dallas Caroline, Dylan Hartigan, Jaclyn Lovey

Episode Recaps

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.
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