The battle rounds of “The Voice” Season 12 began Monday night with six head-to-head performances that resulted in three steals. All four coaches had friends on hand to advise during the rehearsal process—Blake Shelton was joined by Luke Bryan, Gwen Stefani sat with Celine Dion, Alicia Keys brought in DJ Khaled, and Adam Levine had John Legend with him. In one of the biggest highlights from this episode, Team Blake produced a showstopping battle that resulted in a rare three-coach steal at the end of the night.
Here are my power rankings from best to worst for the six battles on Monday, March 20, with Team Blake giving the best showdown of the night and Team Alicia getting the most coveted steal.
1. Ashley Levin vs. Casi Joy (Team Blake) – “How Blue”
Blake paired Ashley and Casi together because he feels their classic country style is so similar that he can only leave one spot on his team for that kind of artist. The women gave identical performances, equal in their on stage charisma, vocal mastery of the song and the pure joy they exuded through the music. Both women were so good that it’s fitting their battle resulted in a rare three-coach steal. Because Blake chose Casi for his own team, Ashley had the pick of the litter. In a surprise move, she went as far from her own genre as possible and chose to work with Alicia going forward.
2. JChosen vs. Kenny P. (Team Gwen) – “I Was Made to Love Her”
Prior to the battle, Gwen was worried that JChosen was holding something back at the same time that Kenny was giving everything he had to give to the competition. Both men showed a lot of passion in the head-to-head and worked off of one another very well. In their comments, Blake liked Kenny’s edginess and Adam lamented not getting JChosen on his own team. Though she had reservations about him during rehearsals, Gwen was impressed enough with JChosen to keep him on her team, eliminating Kenny in the process.
3. Felicia Temple vs. Quizz Swanigan (Team Alicia) – “Titanium”
Felicia entered this battle feeling like Quizz was a hard artist to beat because of his personality and how impressive he is at such a young age. But if Quizz’s youth is an asset, it’s also a hurdle that he feels he needs to overcome because of the changes his voice is going through. Felicia gave a very controlled, yet reserved performance that proves she has what it takes to compete, but Quizz is by far the more exciting and surprising artist not only because of his age, but because he breathes more life into songs. Alicia chose Quizz because of his innocence and I think because she realizes there’s more growth to achieve in working with him. Blake saw the value in Felicia’s talent and decided to keep her in the competition by stealing her for his team.
4. Gaby Borromeo vs. Mark Isaiah (Team Adam) – “Pillowtalk”
Both Gaby and Mark struggle with their confidence, but Adam paired them together because their passion comes through so clearly which is something the younger contestants typically lack. Like Blake, I think Mark felt the song more deeply and that really came through in the way he moved about the stage. Gaby on the other hand seemed to be battling herself, never really finding her groove. All the coaches declared Mark the winner of that battle and Adam agreed, choosing him for his team.
5. Brennley Brown vs. Lauren Duski (Team Blake) – “Better Man”
Because she was able to root her performance in experiences from her own life, Lauren’s part in the battle had a maturity and confidence that Brennley simply couldn’t match. Though Brennley’s struggle to find a personal connection to the lyrics was masked by her high energy on stage, Blake sided with Lauren, choosing her for his team. But both Gwen and Adam felt the authenticity in Brennley’s youth and what that brings to the competition so they hit their buttons for the steal. In the end it was Gwen’s appeal to Brennley as a woman that won her over.
6. Anatalia Villaranda vs. Missy Robertson (Team Alicia) – “Tightrope”
Alicia paired Anatalia and Missy together because of their powerful voices, but in giving them a quick, high energy Janelle Monae song she did their voices a disservice. Though both women handled the difficult song well, neither really had a moment to show just how powerful their voices are. In the end I think Missy did a lot with the song and remained consistent throughout, but in general it was probably more in Anatalia’s wheelhouse and that may have given her the edge with Alicia who chose her for her team.
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