'The Voice' Recap: Battle Rounds Part 1 – Gwen Steals A Country Artist From Team Blake
The Voice battle rounds began, putting coaches Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine in the hot seat, and prompting some surprising steals.
Team Pharrell: Elyjuh René vs. Maiya Sykes
Team Pharrell kicked the night off with the very first battle, pitting Elyjuh René up against Maiya Sykes, a four-chair turn around. Elyjuh screamed with joy, and even began to tear up a little, when he saw Alicia Keys in the room. Not only that, but the duo was tasked with singing Keys’ own “If I Ain’t Got You” – with Alicia Keys sitting behind the piano. Sykes seemed like the favorite to win in rehearsals, but she was gracious, giving Elyjuh some help hitting the high notes.
Both gave strong performances, but in the end Pharrell stuck with Elyjuh, impressed with how he handled the high notes, saying he wanted to see how much he’d grow. Unfortunately, Maiya was left out, as no coach chose to steal. Winner: Elyjuh
Team Adam: Chris Jamison vs. Jonathan Wyndham
From Team Adam, Chris Jamison and Jonathan Wyndham tackled Bruno Mars’ “Young Girls.” Jonathan and Chris were both four chair turns, but they both struggled in rehearsals with Adam and Stevie Nicks. All the coaches commented on how loud and powerful their voices were, and Blake said it was a toss up, while Pharrell gave the battle to Chris, as did Gwen. Adam commended Jonathan, but gave it to Chris. Winner: Chris
Team Gwen: Sugar Joans vs. Jean Kelley
Gwen chose Sugar Joans and Jean Kelley for her first battle, giving them what was one of the toughest songs of the night: Destiny’s Child “Survivor.” The fast tempo, tough vocals and attitude required to perform the song well made both singers nervous. In rehearsals, Jean was a bit off tempo, and both girls needed some lessons in stage presence from Gwen and her advisor, husband Gavin Rossdale.
It was a tough battle, and both women sang their hearts out. It was a tough decision for Gwen, who declared Sugar Joans the winner. Jean had just begun thanking Gwen for her help when Adam interrupted her with a press of his button. Adam wasn’t the only one who wanted to steal Jean, and Pharrell followed with his own pitch. Winner: Sugar. Jean: Team Pharrell
Team Blake: Craig Wayne Boyd vs. James David
Blake Shelton was the final coach in the hot seat, and, in an effort to narrow down his country artists, he paired Craig Wayne Boyd against James David with Pat Green’s “Wave on Wave.” Shelton brought on country trio Little Big Town to help him in rehearsals, creating a true country pannel.
Both country boys sang with their guitars, and Blake said he “wished somebody would’ve sucked” to make his decision easier. Blake declared James the winner, and Craig was on his way home when Gwen pressed her button and used her first steal to get a country artist on his team. She complimented him on being “natural,” and an odd couple was born. Winner: James. Craig: Team Gwen
Team Gwen: Taylor John Williams vs. Amanda Lee Peers
Up next from Team Gwen were Taylor John Williams and Amanda Lee Peers singing “Jolene.” In rehearsals, Gwen and Gavin wanted to make their performance less of a battle and more of a duet.
Taylor won the battle, and Amanda was sent home. Winner: Taylor
Team Pharrell: Griffin vs. Luke Wade
Last up: Griffin and Luke Wade from Team Pharrell battled with Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Alicia Keys and Pharrell encouraged both artists to let loose, and Keys changed it up, asking for a bluesy version of the song.
Griffin and Luke gave a tough battle, and Pharrell gave the win to Luke, leaving Griffin up for a steal. Griffin was walking off the stage when Blake used his first steal, saving Griffin from being sent home. Griffin got back on the stage and Carson Daly was ready to give Griffin over to Team Blake when Gwen pressed her button. Blake won Griffin over with a passionate speech, and a well placed dig at Gwen’s pop style. Winner: Luke. Griffin: Team Blake
The Voice battles continue Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC.