The Voice recap: Blake Shelton has the last steal on the final night of the Battles
There's just one steal left as we set off on the final night of the season 21 Voice Battles and it belongs to one Mr. Blake Shelton. As John Legend points out, Blake lives for the "drama" of the steal and typically drags things out to put the artist "through as much emotional pain as possible," but, like in a fun way. He likens it to "a Bobby Knight approach" of breaking them down to build them back up again — IN A FUN WAY. Let's not forget that Blake is the reigning champ here, so maybe he's onto something. Before we get into how Blake ends up using his steal, we do quickly get a look at his team's final Battle: Berritt Haynes and Kaitlyn Velez duke it out over Coldplay's "Yellow" and coach Blake thinks that Berritt "step[ped] up to the plate" with an "incredible performance: Berritt Haynes takes the last spot on Team Blake. How do Team Ariana, Team Kelly, and Team Legend wind things up? Let's take a look.
Team Ariana: KCK3 vs. Ryleigh Plank
"Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" by Christina Aguilera
Ariana Grande and Team Advisor (and friend and mentor) Kristin Chenoweth are still singing each other's praises and hugging as we get into Team Ariana's final Battle. They love each other and I love Ariana's impression of Chenoweth getting a slurpee. So much love! Ariana selected this song to give the emotional powerhouse Ryleigh Plank (she did Demi Lovato's "Anyone" for her Blind) a more upbeat "pop bop" and because there are lots of three-part harmonies here for sister trio KCK3 to dig into. Even in rehearsals you can see that Ryleigh is outperforming the sisters. Ariana wants KCK3 to find moments for them to stand out as individuals otherwise it begins to feel too much like they're background singers for Ryleigh's high energy performance. Unfortunately, it still feels that way in the actual performance. The sisters' harmonies are tight and precise, but Ryleigh steals the show. John Legend calls her "a revelation" and is especially drawn to the physicality of her performance (later, Blake Shelton compares it to how Annie Lennox performs). Kelly loves the blend in the KCK3 harmonies, but calls Ryleigh confident, powerful, and "a light on that stage." Ariana is proud both acts found moments to shine, but still thinks Ryleigh Plank "could go all the way" in this competition.
Winner: Ryleigh Plank!
Team Kelly: The Cunningham Sisters vs. Parker McKay
"It's My Party" by Lesley Gore
This final Team Kelly rehearsal session kicks off by Kelly informing Team Advisor Jason Aldean that she picked this song and "you can hate it, but it's happening." Never fear! Kelly is having the tiny adorable sister duo and pop/country/jazzy singer Parker McKay sing this oldie in a more haunting, Lana Del Ray, Radiohead arrangement. It's good, guys. You know going into this that it'll be hard for Kelly to give up the Cunningham Sisters because they have mature voices for their ages (14 and 15!) and precise harmonies, but it's a shame because Parker McKay actually has a really cool tone and great control. This is basically how the other coaches feel after the performance. John Legend even thinks Parker was the "best vocalist" out of the three, but there's just something about the Cunningham Sisters that is "so dynamic and interesting." You can tell that Kelly Clarkson is just too excited to see what else the teens can do in later rounds to let them go just yet.
Winner: The Cunningham Sisters!
Team Legend: Paris Winningham vs. Jonathan Mouton
"Here and Now" by Luther Vandross
And last but not least: John Legend has two "soulful tenors" left on his team and he's been waiting to hear them both take on a Luther Vandross song. His dreams are coming true here because both guys sound great on this one. In rehearsals, John and his Team Advisor Camila Cabello want Jonathan and Paris to work on really selling the emotion of this song — it's all about connection. There's a great build up to a great back half of this performance and all of the coaches pretty much call it a draw. Ariana Grande calls them both "world class singers" and it really comes down to whose tone you prefer. Jonathan has "a silkier, smoother" tone with a cool vibrato, says John Legend, whereas Paris has some "grit and texture" mixed into everything he does. In the end, John calls it "a coin toss" but is really drawn to Paris's energy.
Winner: Paris Winningham!
Steals/Saves: Blake Shelton still has his steal and is a big fan of both these singers (if he had to choose between them he says he'd pick Carson Daly), so he was really just waiting for John Legend to make a choice. He pushes his steal button for Jonathan Mouton (after all that drama talk, he really doesn't draw this out!), who seems floored. Jonathan Mouton will take on the Knockouts as a member of Team Blake.
TEAM KELLY: Girl Named Tom, Kinsey Rose (save), Jeremy Rosado, Xavier Cornell, Holly Forbes, Hailey Mia (steal), Gymani, The Cunningham Sisters
TEAM LEGEND: Samuel Harness, Jershika Maple (steal), BrittanyBree, Samara Brown (save), Shadale, Joshua Vacanti, Sabrina Dias, Paris Winningham
TEAM ARIANA: Katie Rae, Bella DeNapoli (save), David Vogel, Katherine Ann Mohler, Jim and Sasha Allen, Raquel Trinidad, Manny Keith (steal), Ryleigh Plank
TEAM BLAKE: Peedy Chavis, Hailey Green, Lana Scott (save), LiBianca, Carson Peters, Wendy Moten, Berritt Haynes, Jonathan Mouton (steal)
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A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.