In the first two Knockout rounds of “The Voice” last week, coach Gwen Stefani pitted two pairs of her artists against each other. She had to choose one singer in each duet to take on to the live shows. And she stole one artist for his team from rival coach Alicia Keys. Her other four artists — JChosen, Troy Ramey, Stephanie Rice and Brandon Royal — will perform on the April 10 episode.
Stefani has lost both of her previous seasons of “The Voice.” Which of her artists to survive the knockouts so far do you think could win her the competition this season? Below, a description of what each of these three 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 and chose to go with Shelton.
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, Adam 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.”
Knockout Round: vs. Aaliyah Rose (April 4)
Stefani pitted her two 14-year-old girl singers against each other. Brown opted for the 2007 Patti Griffin folk tune “Up to the Mountain,” which was inspired by the final speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. before he was assassinated in 1968. The original “American Idol” champ Kelly Clarkson had covered this to much acclaim on a 2007 charity episode of that talent competition. Brown did herself proud, structuring the tune so that it built to an emotional climax. As Rose got her start as a YouTube star with her covers of Meghan Trainor tunes it made sense for this teen singing sensation to pick Trainor’s 2015 top 10 hit “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” as her knockout song. After Stefani went with Brown, her fellow Shelton used his one steal on Rose.
Hunter Plake (Steal from Alicia Keys)
Blind Audition: “Carry One” (March 13)
The pop band fun released “Carry On” five years ago and 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.
Battle Round: “Dancing on My Own” vs. Jack Cassidy (March 27)
This pairing might have been the last of the night, but it was the first in which two of the three other coaches fought to get the loser for their team. Inexplicably, Keys chose to showcase her two remaining male artists with this 2010 hit tune by Swedish dance diva Robyn. After being denied three full performances in a row, we saw Cassidy and Plake give it their all. Keys opted to keep Cassidy, who sounded stronger in the choruses, while Stefani opted to use her second and final steal on Plake.
Knockout Round: vs. Johnny Gates (April 3)
Plake explained that his father had influenced him to sing the power ballad “I Want to Know What Love Is,” which had been a No. 1 for Foreigner back in 1984. Sitting at the keyboard, Plake 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 Keys praised him, she didn’t opt to use her steal when Stefani named Plake as the winner of this knockout.
Quizz Swanigan (Steal from Alicia Keys)
Blind Audition: “Who’s Lovin’ You” (March 2)
At just 13, Swanigan is the youngest artist this season, having taken advantage of the rule change this year to lower the age minimum. This Little Rock, AR native’s rendition of the 1960’s Motown tune “Who’s Lovin’ You” was reminiscent of the young Michael Jackson. While his deep, textured voice had both Keys and Stefani turning, it was Keys who won him over in the end.
Battle Round: “Titanium” vs. Felicia Temple (March 20)
Temple spoke of her personal connection to this 2011 Sia song, which she had used as inspiration when undergoing treatment for cancer. However, she could not overcome the desire by Keys to mentor Swanigan. However, Shelton liked what he heard from Temple – “You can just hear the warmth and that rounder tone that she has” – and stole her away for his team.
Knockout Round: vs. Chris Blue (April 3)
Blue went with “Superstition,” a 1973 No. 1 for singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder. It worked well for him, especially after Keys counseled him to concentrate on conveying the lyrics rather than showboating. Teen talent Swanigan opted for “Chains” by Nick Jonas, a one-time member of a boy band who released this track when he went solo in 2014. After Keys finally chose to go with Blue, Stefani stole Swanigan as she was impressed when he had combined song and dance so effortlessly.