The Voice recap: Blake Shelton thanks 'the Voice gods' for one of his artists
Ariana Grande declares herself "emotionally distraught" before a new group of Battles gets underway and honestly, I am too, especially by the time we get to that final Battle of the night, of which I am still processing. But before we get into the bigger back-and-forths of the evening, let's get through the three Battles The Voice speeds through.
First, for Team Kelly, Holly Forbes and Wyatt Michael go head-to-head on "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb and Holly Forbes comes out victorious. Coach Kelly says there's "something so magical about her tone" that she wants to hold on to for later rounds. Over on Team Ariana, father-son duo Jim and Sasha Allen battle it out to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" with Sophia Bromberg and not surprisingly take the win. "I can't take my eyes off of them when they're on stage," Ariana Grande says about the latest act to lock in a spot for the Knockouts. Also, there's Team Legend's battle between Janora Brown and Shadale on Ariana Grande's "One More Time." Shadale wins thanks to her "star power" and because the way she sings"feels like love and connection and celebration" to coach John Legend.
Now, let's dig a little deeper into the rest of the evening's Battles.
Team Legend: Joshua Vacanti vs. Keilah Grace
"good 4 u" by Olivia Rodrigo
John Legend wants to bring the drama to the Battles and thus he has selected this angsty, rocker of an Olivia Rodrigo song and bestowed it upon a teen with some pipes and Joshua Vacanti who, as you may remember, performed "Into the Unknown" for his Blind and lives for the theatrics. Team advisor Camila Cabello compares him to Freddy Mercury, especially with his "theatrical vibrato" and still, the advice here is for Joshua to play up the energy even more, so I feel like this is over before it begins. The performance is so fast-paced and high octane, but Joshua Vacanti really works it. Kelly says his range is "incredible," Blake Shelton says that "from a performance standpoint" he doesn't think he's "ever seen anything like that." John says he's "impressed" that 15-year-old Keilah did everything she needed in this round but that Joshua put a "little sauce" on his notes and it stood out.
Winner: Joshua Vacanti!
Team Blake: Carson Peters vs. Clint Sherman
"Don't Let Our Love Start Slippin' Away" by Vince Gill
Carson Peters, the country kid who plays the fiddle, and Clint Sherman, who performed "Brown Eyed-Girl" in his audition, both walk into this Battle with very different tones and vibes, and those differences are only enhanced on this Vince Gill song. Carson Peters has a real edge to his country voice, while Clint is a bit softer and smoother. Depends which vibe you're into, I guess! Ariana Grande calls this "one of [her] favorite performances so far" and also christens John Legend's country alter ego "Johnny 'Yeehaw' Legend" and honestly, I'm into that. Johnny Legend thinks Carson — a four-chair turn in the Blind, remember — is "electric" to watch but also praises the confidence Clint brings to the stage. Blake loves Clint's "soulful sound" but just thinks Carson has "a few different gears" in him that make him an exciting performer in a competition like this.
Winner: Carson Peters!
Team Ariana: Raquel Trinidad vs. Hailey Mia
"Car Wash" by Rose Royce
Okay, this is a fun song choice. They're going for the essence of the original Rose Royce version with some of the flair of the Christina Aguilera one. That's fun! Raquel Trinidad has a great energy for this song — she seems to enjoy every moment she's performing — and Hailey Mia is only 13 years old, so she has that youthful thing going for her. Although, Hailey brings much more gravitas to her vocals than you might expect. Team advisor Kristin Chenoweth compares her to a young Amy Winehouse or Adele — that's pretty huge. It's a good pairing. Kristin throws a shoe again. On stage, Raquel really shines. John Legend notes not just her spirit, but how professional and "polished" she is as a performer. But Hailey has some fans too: Kelly Clarkson calls her "a gifted singer" especially in the way she, yes, navigates runs, and uses her power. It's a tough call but coach Ariana Grande ultimately thinks that stylistically, she's a better coach for Raquel. It doesn't hurt that Raquel has been "one of [her] favorite voices" in this entire competition.
Winner: Raquel Trinidad!
Steals/Saves: But don't count out Hailey Mia! Kelly Clarkson hits her steal button immediately. Similar to Ariana, she thinks she is a great fit for the young Hailey Mia and her big vocals, so off she goes to Team Kelly.
Team Kelly: Gymani vs. Aaron Hines
"working" by Tate McRae and Khalid
It's the battle of the four-chair turns and it's surprising that Kelly didn't save her, uh, save for this one right here. In rehearsals, Team advisor Jason Aldean suggests Aaron work on taking advantage of every moment to shine available here — Gymani is a force. She gets some notes though, too: Kelly works on the arrangement a little bit and gets Gymani to get up into a higher register in parts of the song. It all comes together for a great Battle. Blake loves that Aaron "didn't take the easier way out" and really pushed himself to showcase his voice but admits that Gymani is pretty undeniable as a performer. Ariana loves Aaron's tone and the way it's both "whispery and warm," but again, notes how "special" Gymani is. Kelly thought they both were "infectious" and "captivating" but for different reasons, noting Gymani's power and performance and the "intimacy" and "sincerity" Aaron brings. But Kelly can tell Gymani is a "chameleon vocalist" which is a big advantage in a competition like this.
Team Legend: Jack Rogan vs. Sabrina Dias
"Cardigan" by Taylor Swift
You'd think picking a song with a real singer-songwriter vibe to it would favor Jack Rogan, but remember that before The Voice he's had next to no experience performing and he is admittedly nervous about all of this. Meanwhile, Sabrina Dias, who auditioned by singing in Portuguese, is all confidence and charisma. In rehearsals, Jack gets a pretty amazing "first vocal lesson" ever in his life by John Legend and Camila Cabello who try to get him to see that he can definitely perform well in a higher register if he only believed! He definitely brings the emotion when it comes time for the performance and carries himself well on stage. Kelly calls the vulnerability he brought in his high register "heartwrenching." Still, most of the coaches can't help but be won over by Sabrina, who both Kelly and John compare to Pink because of the emotion, power, and grit in her voice. She's ready for some pop/rock songs for sure. John calls her "magnetic" and "electric."
Winner: Sabrina Dias!
Team Blake: Manny Keith vs. Wendy Moten
"If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" by Sting
This song choice is both so surprising and so completely perfect for this pairing. Blake Shelton coming through here! And while no one would want to go up against someone who literally just performed with the team advisor two weeks prior, it's not like Manny Keith is out of his depth here. He sounds smooth on this song and is great at emoting. And yet still, Wendy Moten is just so, so, so good. Kelly is right when she points out that the way Wendy starts off the song so cool and calm is a real giveaway that we are in for it by the end. That's because Wendy is such a pro and so confident in her skill that she can take the time to tell a story. Those final few notes that get higher and higher are just insane. Ariana calls it a "one in a zillion voice" and Kelly says that if Wendy doesn't "make the finale something is wrong in the world." Blake, of course, impressed by Manny holding his own, is simply grateful to "the Voice gods" that Wendy chose him. "Wendy is one of the most incredible vocalists I've ever heard in my life," he adds.
Winner: Wendy Moten!
Steals/Saves: Here's the thing, in his Blinds, Manny Keith went on and on about how he was a huge Ariana Grande fan and she vowed to steal him later. She makes good on that promise here. Manny Keith joins Team Ariana.
TEAM KELLY: Girl Named Tom, Kinsey Rose (save), Jeremy Rosado, Xavier Cornell, Holly Forbes, Hailey Mia (steal), Gymani
Still to Battle: The Cunningham Sisters, Parker McKay
TEAM LEGEND: Samuel Harness, Jershika Maple (steal), BrittanyBree, Samara Brown (save), Shadale, Joshua Vacanti, Sabrina Dias
Still to Battle: Jonathan Mouton, Paris Winningham
TEAM ARIANA: Katie Rae, Bella DeNapoli (save), David Vogel, Katherine Ann Mohler, Jim and Sasha Allen, Raquel Trinidad, Manny Keith (steal)
Still to Battle: Ryleigh Plank, KCK3
TEAM BLAKE: Peedy Chavis, Hailey Green, Lana Scott (save), LiBianca, Carson Peters, Wendy Moten
Still to Battle: Kaitlyn Velez, Berritt Haynes
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A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.