On Monday’s third round of “The Voice” battles, it was ladies’ night with all women as the best from this year’s two teams coached by Gwen Stefani and Alicia Keys. But Adam Levine and Blake Shelton weren’t left out in the cold because each picked up the “losing” artists of each battle for their own teams with steals. Returning as advisors were Luke Bryan (Team Blake), Celine Dion (Team Gwen), DJ Khaled (Team Alicia) and John Legend (Team Adam).
In total, nine battles were settled on Monday night for Season 12. Below are my power rankings of the six that got prime-time treatment followed by the rundown of the other three shown in abbreviated form. And here are links to the first round and second round of battles from last week.
1. Caroline Sky vs. Stephanie Rice (Team Gwen) – “The First Cut Is the Deepest”
Both Caroline and Stephanie bring a lot of emotion to their vocals which makes the singer-songwriter ballad Gwen gave them for their battle a great choice. That being said, the women bring completely different textures to the song, allowing them each to not get lost in the other’s performance. If the battle were divided in two, I’d say Caroline won the first half and Stephanie came through at the end to win the second half. I’m surprised that Gwen chose to keep Stephanie because it seemed like Caroline was the exact kind of artist she was looking to work with this season. Luckily, Blake picked Caroline up in a steal and will get the opportunity to help her grow.
2. Autumn Turner vs. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia) – “Killing Me Softly with His Song”
In their blind auditions both Autumn and Vanessa gave bold, high-energy performances so it’s interesting to see Alicia throw a slower jam at them for their battle. For this performance, the muted arrangement of the band allowed both of their voices to be in the forefront. On this particular track, the song definitely suited Vanessa’s tone more, and for that reason I give her the edge, though the coaches seemed to think Autumn’s ‘surprise’ factor gives her a leg up. That may have been the tipping point for Alicia who chose Vanessa, expecting the steal to be used on Autumn. Both Adam and Gwen lobbied to steal Autumn, with Adam’s enthusiasm for her leading her to join his team.
3. Johnny Hayes vs. Julien Martinez (Team Adam) – “Hard to Handle”
Based on their blind audition performances, I expected this match-up to be lop-sided in Johnny’s favor. Though both guys were big and showy their first time around, Johnny displays more control over his voice while Julien seems out of his element. In the battle, Julien did impress me vocally, but he still does too much in his performance, dancing around the stage in a distracting way. Johnny, on the other hand, moves with confidence and a swagger that says the stage belongs to him. And for what’s worth, the battle also belonged to Johnny — he continues on with Team Adam.
4. Hunter Plake vs. Jack Cassidy (Team Alicia) – “Dancing on My Own”
During rehearsals, Hunter and Jack seemed to be holding back, but not to the worry of either Alicia or DJ Khaled who felt confident that they’d leave it all out on the stage for the battle. With the Robyn song, the guys brought a more intimate approach to what those familiar with the track know to be a towering dance track. In that regard it was a bit of a let-down for me. In that regard I don’t think the song choice wasn’t particularly smart for either voice, but Jack definitely did more with the opportunity and had better moments. Faced with the tough decision, Alicia kept Jack based on his potential. Adam and Gwen went head-to-head for the second time, but Gwen grabs the artist this time and welcomes Hunter to her team.
5. Josh Hoyer vs. TSoul (Team Blake) – “In the Midnight Hour”
For this battle Blake pits soul against soul and gives them the perfect track to showcase that. The guys played off each other so well that it’s kind of hard to say who should win — the energy, chemistry and passion was top notch from both. Blake’s impression of the match-up is all that matters though and TSoul’s runs throughout the song won him over. Without a steal in his favor, Josh is sent home.
6. Kawan DeBose vs. Malik Davage (Team Adam) – “Love Me Now”
It’s no easy task taking on an artist’s own song right in front of him, and Kawan and Malik seemed thrown off by that daunting task. Legend’s songs are intimate and lyric-focused so it was frustrating for the advisor when it was clear that neither artist was fully prepared to take on the song with honesty and passion. Because the rehearsals were rough and the performance wasn’t much better, Adam chose to move forward with Malik because he believes he can work best with him in the next rounds.
Outside of the main battles of the night, we saw three of the other match-ups play out in short snippets. For Team Blake, Enid Ortiz beat Valerie Ponzio in their cover of “Love Triangle.” Remaining on Team Adam is Hanna Eyre, who bested Sheena Brook on “Try. And on Team Gwen, Troy Ramey stays while Jozy Bernadette goes home after their performance of “Angel Eyes.