Tuesday (October 23) was the final night of the Battle Round on The Voice, before moving on to the ever-so-similar Knockout Round next week. With coaches Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine out of steals, Cee Lo Green was poised to swoop in at any given moment for an uncontested steal of his choice. Never has there been a bigger night for a man in a red onesie, other than Christmas, really.
After head to head performances between Xtina, Blake, Cee Lo and Adam’s remaining contestants, here’s who advanced to the Knockout Round.
Team Cee Lo – Johnny Gray vs. Shawn Smith
It’s The Voice’s version of the Army/Navy football game with Team Cee Lo’s former soldiers: rocker Johnny Gray and country singer Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith. Both men fought overseas, which really puts tonight’s battle in perspective.
That’s right. It’s the most important moment of either of their lives.
Cee Lo assigns Tom Petty’s “Refugee,” feeling it’s topical for their military background. Shawn has the bigger voice, but Johnny sounds both emotional and effortless. Almost too effortless, if you ask Cee Lo, who wants him to add more “angst” to it. On performance night, Johnny has a nerve-driven goat-y vibrato, and Shawn’s rasp fits the song a bit better. The coaches are all about Johnny, though, whose stage presence far surpasses Shawn’s.
“I believed every single word of everything these guys just did. That was a wonderful performance,” Adam says, and favors Johnny.
“Neither one of you held one thing back. I thought Big Sexy over here was great,” Blake says, favoring the country crooner.
“My biggest regret is not pushing for you, Johnny,” Christina tells him.
Cee Lo waxes poetic about both gentlemen, but chooses Johnny. “I can see more of a path with him,” Cee Lo explains.
Team Adam – Barry Black vs. Preston Pohl
It’s the return of the mouth horn! Team Adam’s Barry “The Living Instrument” Black and Preston Pohl go head to head on the The Temptations‘ “I Wish It Would Rain.” Though both men are talented, Preston’s voice is a soulful force to be reckoned with, and Barry has taken his ability to make horn noises with his mouth way too seriously.
“The horn could be taken in a humorous way,” Adam warns Barry in rehearsals, but Barry shoots back that it’s, “my thing.”
“This is for sure one of those less is more things,” Adam tries again the next day. Hear that, Barry? Lay off the mouth horn! But Barry does not lay off the mouth horn. He breaks it out in the big performance, and the coaches visibly laugh, but seem to appreciate it.
“Everything about you’s cool. It just works,” Blake tells Barry.
“Preston, you have the kind of voice that you can’t buy with vocal lessons,” Christina says, giving the battle to him.
“The second you start singing, I get goosebumps,” Adam tells Preston, going on to say that his decision is relatively clear. Without even fake deliberating (rude!), Adam picks Preston.
Team Christina – Olivia Henken vs. Stephanie Anne Johnson
Christina puts country singer Olivia Henken against diverse cruise ship singer Stephanie Anne Johnson for the last battle of the season. The two take on The Band Perry’s “Done,” which Olivia — a Miranda Lambert lookalike — has clearly sung at karaoke many times before. Though Stephanie is not familiar with the country song, she is confident that she can master it quickly.
Olivia’s straightforward performance is impressive, but so is Stephanie’s raspy rock take on the song. Stephanie struggles with a few notes and has a few breath issues, but the fun battle still feels evenly matched.
“You really made it yours. You gave it soul. You really gave it up and invested it all and left it all on the stage,” Cee Lo tells them.
“You both have great voices,” says Adam. “I think that’s because I heard this little nugget of grit, I’m going to go with Stephanie.”
“I think because I know that record so well, I know when Stephanie fell way out of the pocket there at one point,” says Blake. “Olivia took all of that upper stuff and hit some really big notes,” he adds.
“Big spectacular ending. Loved it!” Christina raves. The coach sees more potential in Olivia, but being that Cee Lo has one steal left, it’s a win for everyone. Christina chooses Olivia, and Cee Lo steals Stephanie for the Knockouts.
In untelevised news, Blake advances Holly Henry over Cilla Chan, and Brandon Chase over Emily Randolph. Cee Lo advances Tamara Chauniece over Keaira LaShae. See you folks in the Knockouts!
Speaking of the Knockouts: they’re up next! On top of the contestants that have been eliminated, Adam’s beard is departing as well (nothing good lasts forever, right?). And let’s not forget a last minute format change to add to the excitement: the Steal has infiltrated its way into the Knockout Round! Each coach has one more steal to use next round, which can only add to the pre-live round mounting drama. Get rested, get excited and get ready for the Knockouts!
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