The third of the six knockout matches on the April 3 episode of “The Voice” pitted two of Gwen Stefani‘s artists — Johnny Gates and Hunter Plake — against each other. We asked if you thought Stefani made the right choice by going with Plake and you agreed with her by a margin of 88% to 12%. If you haven’t voted in our poll yet, watch their performances below and then cast your ballot. And be sure to sound off in our comments section too.
Plake explained that his father had influenced him to chose the power ballad “I Want to Know What Love Is,” which had been a No. 1 for Foreigner back in 1984, to perform in the knockout round. Sitting at the keyboard, he personalized this song and delivered a winning performance. Surprisingly, Gates chose Lady Gaga‘s 2016 track “Million Reasons,” that had done just so-so on the charts. And he didn’t accompany himself on the guitar, which left him looking forlorn. While Alicia Keys praised him, she didn’t opt to use her steal when Stefani named Plake as the winner of this knockout.
For his March 7 blind audition, Gates rocked the house with his performance of the 1971 Rod Stewart hit “Maggie May.” While Adam Levine took a pass as he already has several strong male rockers on his team, Gates had Keys, Blake 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. On the March 21 battle round, Stefani pitted Gates against Sammie Zonana on “I Drove All Night.” The song had been written for and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1987 but that version didn’t get released until 1992, three years after it was a hit for Cyndi Lauper. Stefani’s advisor Celine 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.
Plake enjoyed success in his March 13 blind audition with “Carry On,” a 2012 hit for the pop band fun. This 20-year-old from Baton Rouge, LA managed to make his one voice sound just as strong on this powerful tune about perseverance. Keys and Stefani both wanted to mentor him but he went with Keys as he likes that she writes the songs she sings. In the March 27 battle, she pitted him against Jack Cassidy on “Dancing on My Own,” a 2010 hit for Swedish dance diva Robyn. Keys opted to keep Cassidy, who sounded stronger in the choruses, while Stefani opted to use her second and final steal on Plake.
Do you think Stefani made the right choice by going with Plake? Watch the two performances and then vote in our poll below. And be sure to sound off in our comments section too.
Johnny Gates (“Million Reasons”)
Hunter Plake (“I Want to Know What Love Is”)