The Voice recap: John Legend pairs up his two best to battle over an Elton John classic
We are really in it now, people. The Blinds give us a taste of what artists can do, but the Battles start to set people apart from the pack. You may recall that both John Legend and Kelly Clarkson used their one “save” for the Battles already, so those won’t be in play this evening, but everyone still has their steals. I love a good steal moment. It’s all very exciting!
Team Kelly: Alex Guthrie vs Injoy Fountain
Song: “Home” by Marc Broussard
Well, I’m shocked. It seemed like Injoy had this battle locked up from the time she and Alex— both soulful singers with power voices — walked into rehearsals. It’s true that Alex playing this song on stage for a while seems like an advantage, but as Team Kelly advisor Normani (who I’m loving in this role, by the way) points out, Injoy gets to bring a fresh perspective to the song. And that “fresh perspective” turns out to be owning the stage like a true queen. Both Blake and John easily give this one to Injoy, who basically barreled over Alex throughout the performance, but Kelly is looking for someone who can round out her team and Alex’s crazy range and bluesy vibe can do that. I figured when Kelly went with Alex she assumed someone would snap up Injoy. No one did! If only we could factor who wore the best hat to Battles. Alas, we cannot.
Winner: Alex Guthrie!
Steals & Saves: None!
Team Gwen: Elise Azkoul vs. Myracle Holloway
Song: “Breathin” by Ariana Grande
Elise reminds me of Melinda from last night: She’s another one who shows so much more potential than hinted at in her audition song (she sang Lady Gaga’s “A Million Reasons”). She needs to be on point since she’s going up against Myracle, who you may remember from such things as breaking your gosh dang heart with her voice repeatedly. She’s been through a lot of pain in her life, and all of that is infused into her voice. It’s hard to look away. Even Team Gwen advisor will.i.am (also, The Voice UK coach extraordinaire) has to stop the rehearsals to comment on the emotion Myracle exudes. But Elise puts up a good fight during the actual performance: She does one incredible run that Kelly refers to as “a Mariah lick” that has both Kelly and John turning their heads, but ultimately, Gwen has to go with her emotional heavy-hitter. John wants to see Myracle take more risks in the future, but for now, sticking to what she does best seems to be working.
Winner: Myracle Holloway!
Steals & Saves: The coaches are being very protective of their steals this evening.
Team Legend: Katie Kadan vs. Destiny Rayne
Song: “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John
Whenever I’m feeling sad, I know what video I’ll be adding to my YouTube queue from now on. Before things even get started, John tells his team advisor Usher that he knows this is going to be his favorite performance in the Battles. How can it not be when it features vocal beast Katie Kadan (our first audition and a four-chair turn, setting the bar so, so high for literally everyone else) and Destiny Rayne, who is no one to shake your head at what with her crushing Adele in the Blinds thanks to some major vocal control. As Kelly points out, both ladies seem to make room for each other, which leads to the best duet yet. Katie knows when to hold back and Destiny isn’t afraid to push herself to hold her own. There’s no way John’s going to give up Katie — she’ll be in the finals, right? — but he also gives Destiny an excellent showcase in front of the other judges. Both these ladies need to stay!
Winner: Katie Kadan!
Steals & Saves: Blake hits his button just as Destiny is walking out, thinking he’s the big hero who has saved this vocal talent…until Gwen follows right behind him. I know Gwen hit her button for Destiny in the Blinds, but is she just trolling Blake at this point? Regardless, Destiny Rayne winds up on Team Gwen.
It’s hard to believe that we only get three full battles in one episode, but such is The Voice. They didn’t get much air time, but we get glimpses at two other battles: John Legend pits Matt New and Max Boyd against one another, and although I had high hopes for Matt after the Blinds, Max Boyd wins this round. Blake pairs up two country queens, our kickboxer Cali and dairy farmer EllieMae, and it is Cali Wilson who ends up victorious. Perhaps it is her experience in the ring…or, you know, just her vocal abilities. Could be that.
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.