In the first two Battle rounds of “The Voice” last week, coach Gwen Stefani pitted three pairs of her artists against each other. She had to choose one singer in each duet to take on to the knockout rounds. And she picked up one more artists for her team when she stole away one of her rival coach (and real-life fellow) Blake Shelton‘s rejects.
Thus, Stefani already has half of the eight artists that will move on to the next stage of the competition with the final four to be determined by the outcome of this week’s two battle rounds on Monday and Tuesday.
Stefani has lost both of her previous seasons on “The Voice.” Which of her picks to date do you think sounds the most like a winner? Below, a description of what each of these artists did to get her attention. Be sure to cast your vote in our poll and then sound off in the comments section.
Brennley Brown (Steal from Blake Shelton)
Blind Audition – “Stupid Boy” (February 27)
Although only 14, this Apple Valley, CA native eventually impressed Alicia Keys and Shelton with her interpretation of Keith Urban‘s 2006 Grammy-winning “Stupid Boy.” She started off shaky but finished strong.
Battle Round: “Better Man” vs. Lauren Duski (March 20)
Duski did an outstanding job conveying the emotional intricacies of this 2016 Little Big Town tune about a break-up while 15-year-old Brown, whose never had a boyfriend, struggled to connect to the lyrics written by Taylor Swift. After Shelton sided with Duski, Levine and Stefani tried to rescue Brown. Stefani won her over in the end by telling her, “There something about your innocence that I would want to work with.”
Blind Audition – “Sexual Healing” (February 27)
After an injury ended his dream of playing in the NBA, this 29-year-old Atlantan turned to music. He had barely begun crooning the Marvin Gaye 1982 hit “Sexual Healing” when Levine turned his chair. Keys followed closely behind, soon followed by both Shelton and Stefani. JChosen, who gave a new spin on this old classic, surprised everyone when he went with Stefani.
Battle Round: “I Was Made to Love Her” vs. Kenny P (March 20)
Both artists struggled to connect with this 1967 Stevie Wonder track. Fifty years ago, this tune hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. On Monday, it didn’t sizzle when sang by either of these artists. But Stefani had to pick one of them to go on to to the knockout round and she went with JChosen. None of the other three coaches chose to use one of their two steals on Kenny P who leaves the competition.
Blind Audition- “Maggie May” (March 7)
This 31-year-old from Providence, RI rocked the house with his performance of the 1971 Rod Stewart hit “Maggie May.” While Levine took a pass as he already has several strong male rockers on his team, Gates had Keys, Shelton and Stefani fighting for his affections. Shelton tried to make his case that he would not try to countrify this lead vocalist of a garage band, but with Levine adding his support to Stefani she prevailed in the end.
Battle Round: “I Drove All Night” vs. Sammie Zonana (March 21)
Stefani pitted two of her strongest artists against each other on this 1989 hit for Cyndi Lauper. The song had been written for and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1987 but that version didn’t get released until 1992. Dion did a cover in 2002 and the two artists sang an acoustic version with their own arrangement to which the Canadian chanteuse had said “oui.” While Gates accompanied himself on guitar, Zonana strode around the stage. While both impressed, Stefani went with her kindred spirit Gates. Although Keys praised Zonana — “Sammie, I loved that you were the only one moving in the beginning” — neither she nor the other two coaches used one of their steals on her.
Blind Audition: “Rise Up” (March 6)
Stefani was the only coach impressed by this 14-year-old from Provo, UT who delivered a stirring version of “Rise Up,” a track from Andra Day‘s 2015 debut disc “Cheers to the Fall.”
Battle Round: “Treat You Better” vs. Savannah Leighton (March 21)
Again, viewers were denied more than a few seconds of these two artists singing this 2016 Shawn Mendes pop hit. “The Voice” producers should have listened to the lyrics and treated them better. Stefani went with Rose, the 14-year-old talent from Provo, UT, who had impressed in the blind audition with her rendition of Andra Day‘s 2015 soul song “Cheers to the Fall.” With no coach throwing her a lifeline, 16-year-old Leighton, who had wowed in the blind auditions with Katy Perry‘s 2013 hit “Unconditionally,” was gone for good.