The Voice recap: The remaining contestants close out the cross battles
The Voice‘s cross battles are almost over already. After last week’s elimination round featured a whopping five saves and steals put into play, the remaining 16 contestants (well, 18 if you factor in the two extra Bundys) won’t have a lot of fall back on this time if the votes don’t go their way.
Here’s a look at how well each of these pairings did against each other.
L.B Crew (Team Adam) vs. Jej Vincent (Team Kelly)
Adam Levine decides not to challenge Blake Shelton (again) tonight and goes toe-to-toe with Kelly Clarkson, who, despite not being his favorite frenemy like Blake, coached the last two winners of the show. He picks L.B. Crew to go up first tonight, and since Kelly thinks he’s putting forth his “powerhouse” here, she brings Jej Vincent forward to show his stuff in the cross battle.
L.B. starts things off with a saucy rendition of “Wade in the Water” that shows off the many facets of his range — that lower-than-low intro, his raspy textures, and an all-around smoothness on stage. Jej followed that up with a more saccharine, albeit soulful take on “Versace on the Floor.” Adam is impressed by the “church” in L.B.’s voice, and both the uninvolved judges, John and Blake, are similarly taken with L.B.’s command and coolness.
Who’ll win? L.B. Crew.
Kalvin Jarvis (Team Adam) vs. Julian King (Team John)
After Adam picks John Legend‘s team to cross battle against Kalvin Jarvis, John decides to put up the man who inspired him to use his block, Julian King. Kalvin starts things off with a drawn-down version of “New Rules” by Dua Lipa, and although there are some choppy spots, his ability to escalate through some higher scales and groove through the more rhythmic portions is still clear. Meanwhile, Julian King offers his own twist on Adele’s “Hello” by singing it in English, Spanish, and whatever alien language that ultra high note comes from.
Neither are particularly memorable performances, but they are still serviceable showings of their individual styles and range. Adam’s still convinced that Kalvin’s a frontrunner, but John is impressed with Julian’s instincts in making such a familiar song his own. The other coaches are also split, as Kelly prefers Julian’s delivery, while Blake favors Kalvin’s performance.
Who’ll win? Kalvin has probably eked out the W here.
Carter Lloyd Horne (Team Blake) vs. Jacob Maxwell (Team John)
It’s the Battle of the Heartthrobs as Carter Lloyd Horne and Jacob Maxwell are paired for the next cross battle session, as they are friends in real life and obviously have a shared preference for floppy blonde hairstyles. Carter kicks things off by showing off his steely ’80s rocker sound with “Way Down We Go.” It’s a little one note, but we still hear plenty of that one note. Jacob, on the other hand, makes the surprising choice to sing Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” and show off his softer, rounder tones.
John Legend, for one, is grooving right alongside his contestant’s performance, but while Blake is taken by both of their “vintage” sounds, he is most impressed by how well Carter has been able to hone his “unique” tone. Kelly, who has no stake in this particular match-up, digs both of them for their vinyl-ready aesthetics and refuses to choose a winner, which is probably kind since Carter and Jacob don’t relish being pitted against one another.
Who’ll win? Jacob Maxwell showed a lot more vocal coloring, so he should win this.
The Bundys (Team Kelly) vs. Andrew Sevener (Team Blake)
It might seem like a pretty unfair match to have a trio of harmonizing siblings against one single singer, but Blake Shelton thinks Andrew Sevener is capable of holding his own against The Bundys. The group offers a retooled version of “The Letter” that shows off the distinct features of their own voices along with their ability to connect in the chorus. They’ve still got that family band appeal, but there’s a lot less magic when they’re pulled apart to sing separately like this. Meanwhile, Andrew’s spirited presentation of Travis Tritt’s “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” is much less complicated but shows that he’s got some old school grit that’d let him fit nicely in the genre — he especially sells it with that last-gasp growl.
Blake believes Tritt himself is probably ecstatic about Andrew’s performance of his song, and Adam agrees that the country singer had the vocal might of three people tonight.
Who’ll win? We have no history to draw from when it comes to trios, but duos have never lasted long on this show, and this scattered showcase probably won’t help them much. Andrew’s solid set is the winner.
Shawn Sounds (Team John) vs. Karly Moreno (Team Blake)
The teams are starting to whittle down, so when John gets a chance to pick which team to put Shawn “Houston” Sounds up against, he decides to pick on Blake’s squad to go for a third straight time, which brings Karly Moreno into the cross battle. Shawn begins with Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down,” and while there are some points of power in his vocals, he also stretches to the top of his register to reach some of the higher notes of his runs. Meanwhile, Karly Moreno’s saccharine tones are a surprisingly good match for Marian Hill’s “Down,” as she coasts through the funky pop lyrics with good measure but throws in a few power notes to mix it up.
John is impressed with Shawn’s ability to reach those low notes after he’d made an impression using his falsetto before, and Blake praises her ability to transcend genres. Adam overcomes his inability to give Blake props by agreeing with him that Karly brought it, but Kelly is drawn to the “spirit” Shawn has shown on-stage.
Who’ll win? Karly Moreno had a more unique vocal, but it could go either way.
Kendra Checketts (Team Adam) vs. Jimmy Mowery (Team John)
Kendra Checketts is the Team Adam competitor by default, but John gets to choose his next artist and picks Jimmy Mowery to come back and “haunt” Adam, after he was let go by Adam and stolen by John in the battles. With “Cold Water,” Kendra leans into the anthem with a lot of self-possession and a nice, warm sound. Jimmy follows that up with a very by-the-book rendition of “Mercy” … at first. About halfway through, he starts losing his command of the song and starts belting far out of tune and can’t seem to recover.
Adam praises Kendra’s power and the effortlessness with which she brings it, and John backs that up, reminding her that he wanted her on the team. However, John’s also impressed by Jimmy’s performance, calling it “piercing and beautiful.” The other coaches are with Adam on this one, though, and lap praise on Kendra for her tone and cohesive showcase.
Who’ll win? Kendra, easily.
Rebecca Howell (Team Kelly) vs. Beth Griffith-Marley (Team John)
John predicts that this battle will be a tough one with two strong female vocalists. Rebecca Howell starts out with the second Shania Twain song of the night, with “Any Man of Mine,” and while that’s not an easy song to tackle, she’s got just the right type of twangy power to stick with the bustling number and even throws in a few surprising note choices to spice things up even further. But Beh Griffith-Marley proves she isn’t one to overlook, either, with her bewitching rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” that shows off her vocal flair, power, and range. In other words, John was right that this would be a tough, tough call.
Kelly of course praises her contestants’ status as a “force” with many strengths, and John heaps accolades on Beth’s ability to imbue so much emotion and “raw energy” into the performance. Blake chimes in to say that he was pleasantly surprised by Rebecca’s ability to handle such an iconic country song, but he’s also positively dumbfounded that Beth landed on Team John by way of a steal. Adam adds that he found both singers to be just great, even going so far as to call Rebecca the “best country singer in this competition.”
Who’ll win? Probably Rebecca, but Beth deserves (and will likely get) a steal or save.
Gyth Rigdon (Team Blake) vs. Abby Kasch (Team Kelly)
For Blake, Gyth Rigdon is a “contender for the finale,” but Kelly feels like Abby Kasch might be able to stick in it tonight as well because “this is her song” she’s chosen to battle with. Gyth starts by bringing his soft, scratchy style to “Goodbye Time,” and it’s a cozy and competent rendition. But Abby notches up the energy a bit with her version of Carrie Underwood’s “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” — complete with some look-alike costuming, no less.
Blake loves Gyth’s strength as an “old school country” singer, but Kelly loves that Abby leaned into her “rock-country” vibes. Adam weighs in to echo Kelly’s praise of Abby’s energy but to also admit that he totally buys into Blake’s theory that Gyth is finale material.
Who’ll win? Gyth has done enough to clench this one.
Adam Levine: Domenic Haynes, L.B. Crew, Mari Jones, Kalvin Jarvis, Kendra Checketts, Betsy Ade.
Kelly Clarkson: The Bundys, Jej Vincent, Rebecca Howell, Abby Kasch, Presley Tennant, Matthew Johnson, Rod Stokes.
John Legend: Maelyn Jarmon, Lisa Ramey, Julian King, Shawn Sounds, Beth Griffith-Marley, Jimmy Mowery, Celia Babini.
Blake Shelton: Gyth Rigdon, Kim Cherry, Carter Lloyd Horne, Dexter Roberts, Selkii, Andrew Sevener, Karly Moreno, Oliv Blu.
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.