It’s the final round of The Voice Battles, which means all those saves and steals a few of our coaches are holding close have got to go at some point. It’s a free-for-all! Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Blake Shelton, and Nick Jonas are all working to firm up the perfect team to take into the Knockout Rounds, and there are definitely some surprises along the way. Let’s see how it goes.
Team Nick: Arei Moon vs. Samuel Wilco
“Missing You” by John Waite
Nick Jonas beat out Kelly Clarkson for both of these artists (he actually blocked her from getting Arei, who sang “Miss Independent”), and to prove Arei and Samuel landed on the right team, he gives them the '80s jam “Missing You” — a song Papa Jonas made the boys study growing up. In rehearsal, their harmonies aren’t great, and Nick wants them to work on their falsetto, so they have a lot of homework. They must’ve done it because it’s a great battle — all of the judges agree it’s extremely evenly matched. Both of them have a lot of power behind their vocals and dang if their falsettos don’t sound much improved. It’s a tough call.
Winner: Arei Moon!
Steals and Saves: n/a
Team Kelly: Samantha Howell vs. Megan Danielle
“Top of the World” by Patty Griffin
Neither Samantha nor Megan are technically “country” singers, but they are definitely country-adjacent, so Kelly zeroes in on that and their singer-songwriter vibes, and gives them an emotional Patty Griffin song. No big deal, but this is basically the first vocal lesson Megan Danielle has ever gotten, and her instructors are Kelly Clarkson and Dua Lipa. They have lots of notes for her, especially about opening up on the big notes and body language, and it is clear that Samantha, the more polished of the two, is the front-runner here. But that doesn’t much matter when Megan comes out on stage and nails the song — Kelly says it’s the best Megan has ever sounded. Blake is especially blown away by both her gritty tone and power. He rues the day he did not turn for Megan Danielle.
Winner: Megan Danielle!
Steals and Saves: It’s not like Samantha didn’t sing her tail off, either: Kelly loves how “pure” Samantha’s tone is and that she can really sing any genre. She uses her "save" to keep Samantha on Team Kelly!
Team Blake: Jon Mullins vs. Todd Tilghman
"Ghost In This House” by Shenandoah
Blake gives Jon and Todd, neither of whom are country singers, a “sacred” country classic to try out. Sure, Bebe Rexha and Blake have some notes for the guys — mainly they need to mesh better and stop stepping on each other’s notes, Jon needs to work on breath control, and Todd needs to sell the sentiment of the song better — but you can already tell their voices are going to soar on this baby. And they do. Jon is all power and emotion and Todd’s grit just brings it to another level. Todd was a four-chair turn, so the coaches are mostly surprised by how much Jon really brought it in this Battle. Nick says he really “came out of nowhere” and just owned it. Kelly sums it up best: Both guys have specific sweet spots and lots of depth to their voices, so it comes down to gut feeling.
Winner: Blake can’t give up someone so consistently good, so he goes with Todd Tilghman!
Steals and Saves: Nick is itching to push his button from the moment Blake makes his choice — Jon Mullins joins Team Nick!
Team Legend: Brittney Allen vs. Zan Fiskum
“Closer to Fine” by Indigo Girls
When you’ve got two women with cool tones and the ability to harmonize, why would you not give them an Indigo Girls song, thinks John Legend. Although both Brittney and Zan blend really well from the get-go, they have very different voices — Brittney has a ton of power, while Zan is more subtle and has a folksy vibe. Even before they hit the stage, advisor Ella Mai is basically like, good luck John Legend, this will be impossible. It’s not as momentous as the build-up would have you believe, but Zan and Brittney really do sound great together. Both Kelly and Nick lament that they don’t have a steal left, because they would love to use it on this Battle after seeing, as Kelly says, how effortlessly these two ladies “weaved in and out” of each other throughout the performance. Their coach is equally baffled as to who really won this — he loves that Brittney and her soulful voice made it her own, but he can’t deny that Zan has a “magical” tone. It’s a tone that reminds him of Maelynn Jarmon...and we know how well those two did together.
Winner: Zan Fiskum!
Steals and Saves: n/a
Team Kelly: Sara Collins vs. Mandi Thomas
“My Baby Loves Me” by Martina McBride
Coach Kelly knows that Mandi Thomas, our resident opera singer, loves country music, and Sara Collins is pretty much a country pro, opening for acts like Kane Brown, so she hits them with a Martina song. It’s a country showdown. Kelly and her advisor Dua Lipa have lots of notes after they hear the first run-through, but by the end of it, Mandi and Sara and their power and control have their instructors up and applauding. Kelly thinks they’re so evenly matched, it may just come down to confidence. It doesn’t exactly work out that way in the real performance: Although Sara has a distinctively country voice, Blake notes some pitch problems. Both Nick and John, however, are excited by how clear and crisp her voice is — a perfect song for recording. Still, Mandi’s power, and ability to legit sing a song in any genre, is undeniable. Kelly wants to go with who is most “consistent and steady” and there is one artist in this matchup who definitely feels more polished.
Winner: Mandi Thomas!
Steals and Saves: n/a
Unfortunately, the two matchups that get the shaft this season belong to Team Kelly’s Tayler Green and Jules, who Battle to Adele’s “Water Under the Bridge” and Tayler Green comes out ahead, and Team Nick’s Jacob Miller and Kevin Farris. The guys sing “Lights Up” by Harry Styles and Nick hands the win to Jacob Miller. See you in the Knockouts, I guess?
Team Legend: Thunderstorm Artis vs. Cedrice
“Stay” by Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
Obviously, you want to stand up and scream WHY, why on earth would John Legend pair up not just two of the best artists on his team, but in the entire competition (Thunderstorm and Cedrice easily had two of the most memorable Blind Auditions in a long, long time)? But then you remember that Blake Shelton’s been saving his steal, so both of these artists will be just fine. Still, what a choice John will have to make. And what a song to give them! Both John and his advisor Ella Mai love Cedrice’s power and the richness to her voice and neither of them can get enough of Thunderstorm’s tone. The guy opens his mouth and everyone just melts. The major notes they dole out are about vulnerability and chemistry. Um, so, they definitely work on that. Guys, I had chills from beginning to end. I STILL HAVE CHILLS. All of the coaches wish they had a steal left because Thunderstorm's voice is unreal — Blake calls him “an angel who smokes” because his voice is ethereal and easy at times and then rugged and raspy — and Cedrice can sing but also is intensely “captivating” as Kelly puts it. She couldn’t take her eyes off of her. There’s no wrong choice here for John.
Winner: Thunderstorm Artis is undeniable, John can’t just give him away.
Steals and Saves: Blake did the exact right thing saving his steal until the very end, and Cedrice finds a home on Team Blake.
Friends, I don’t know how to properly tell you but this season’s mega mentor of the Knockouts is James Freaking Taylor. How often will the coaches completely fangirl over him? Find out next week!
Team Blake: Joei Fulco, Todd Michael Hall (save), Levi Watkins, Toneisha Harris, Cam Spinks, Todd Tilghman, Cedrice (stolen from Team Legend)
Team Legend: Joanna Serenko (stolen from Team Nick), Mike Jerel, Mandi Castillo, Darious Lyles, Nelson Cade III (save), Zan Fiskum, Thunderstorm Artis
Team Nick: Roderick Chambers, Allegra Miles, Michael Williams (save), Tate Brusa, Arei Moon, Jon Mullins (stolen from Team Blake), Jacob Miller
Team Kelly: Anaya Cheyenne, Micah Iverson, Cammwess (stolen from Team Legend), Megan Danielle, Samantha Howell (save), Mandi Thomas, Tayler Green
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