For the last leg of the battles, we see the remaining pairs go head-to-head for a spot in the knockouts, and since Blake Shelton is the last coach with a steal in his pocket, the stakes are pretty high for these contestants right now. As with the prior rounds, though, they all handle the challenge without acrimony and even elevate one another with complementary approaches to their songs.
Let’s take a look at who makes it through to the knockouts — where none other than Mariah Carey (!!) will serve as a key adviser this season — and whose journey on The Voice has been cut short.
Team Kelly: Sarah Grace vs. Erika Zade
“No Roots” by Alice Merton
The first battle of the night is between Sarah Grace and Erika Zade who are both very young and boast pop-soul voices that compliment one another nicely enough throughout this number. During rehearsals, Sarah is encouraged to increase both her note reaches and her on-stage attitude, and by the time she arrives for the battle, she’s done her homework alright.
The coaches agree that she’s not only done the “heavy-lifting” with this song, which means reaching to the tippy top of her register to deliver some clean high-note runs again and again but that she’s obviously more emotionally invested. Meanwhile, Erika’s allowed to coast along in her mid-range, which means she’s not missing any notes, but she’s also not commanding anyone’s attention quite as well as Sarah. Erika’s voice is a little more gravelly and full-bodied, but Sarah is defining this duet, and thus, she easily earns her way through.
Winner: Sarah Grace
Team Blake: Kameron Marlowe vs. Kayley Hill
“Only Wanna Be with You” by Hootie and the Blowfish
Blake Shelton wants to see which of these two country crooners can handle something a little outside of their lane by choosing this ’90s pop-rock ballad, and lo, only Kameron Marlowe is up to the challenge of sticking to the original feel of it. Kayley Hill turns it into another country song — a pretty one, but a country song all the same.
There is something to be said for Kayley’s cool drawl and instinct for fluid runs (not to mention the fact that she’s playing the guitar all the while here), especially since there are a couple of other guys who’ve already made it through who sound a lot like Kameron — Tyke James, Keith Paluso, and Cody Ray Raymond come to mind. But Kameron’s growly sound and commitment to the lyrics is enough to earn him another day on Team Blake. From now on, the coach promises, he will get to play around in his comfort zone, which will hopefully distinguish him from his peers.
Winner: Kameron Marlowe
Team Adam: DeAndre Nico vs. Funsho
“Can You Stand the Rain” by New Edition
The third and final performance of the night comes by way of DeAndre Nico and Funsho who are together reviving that smooth jazz-R&B groove that’s enjoying a bit of revival in the modern music realm. DeAndre has a rich, melty tone, and he’s clearly invested in the mood of the song, while Funsho’s a little shakier but still has a distinct brassy sound and fills in the high notes where DeAndre sticks to his chest range.
Even though Adam decides to roll forward into the knockouts with DeAndre, citing his “intangible” qualities that make him more of an instant star here on The Voice, Blake is all too happy to collect another contestant who can potentially stand out on his squad. This might not be the battle to end all battles this year, but it’s transportive enough to take JHud swaying right back to her childhood, so that counts for something.
Winner: DeAndre Nico
Steal: Funsho to Team Blake.
The montages: The three we don’t get to see tonight include at least one surprise (read: disappointing) inclusion: Team Jennifer’s Kennedy Holmes. She was a major fan-favorite during the blinds, but we don’t get to see or hear much at all of her battle against Lela — which she’s won, obviously, but still. For those of us who wanted to hear her again, this is a bummer.
Meanwhile, Claire DeJean keeps her spot on Team Kelly above Josh Davis after their rendition of “All This Love.” Coach Kelly credits Claire’s “angelic softness” for why she’s chosen to stick around. And Team Blake’s Kirk Jay will also advance to the knockouts after defeating Caeland Garner with his portion of “Let it Rain.”
Adam Levine – Tyke James, Radha, DeAndre Nico, Steve Memmolo, Reagan Strange, Jake Wells, Funsho, Keith Paluso, Delaney Silvernell.
Blake Shelton – Kameron Marlowe, Michael Lee, Dave Fenley, Chris Kroeze, Kirk Jay, Colton Smith, Katrina Cain, Funsho.
Kelly Clarkson – Sarah Grace, Claire DeJean, Chevel Shepherd, Abby Cates, Kymberli Joye, Cody Ray Raymond, Natasia Greycloud, Zaxai.
Jennifer Hudson – Tyshawn Colquitt, Patrique Fortson, Kennedy Holmes, Franc West, MaKenzie Thomas, Mike Parker, Sandyredd, Anthony Arya.