While Monday’s episode of “The Voice,” which kicked off the first of the four Battle rounds, included three steals, Tuesday’s installment saw only one of the six losers of a battle being poached by another coach. These battles are between two of the 12 artists on each team who sing the same song for their survival. The four coaches — Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani — then have to decide which contender in each battle to take to the Knockout rounds.
At the end of the four shows, their teams will be winnowed from a dozen artists to six. However, each coach can throw two losers of other battles lifelines and take them on-board their team. These “steals” will bring their rosters up to eight each. This will mean four Knockout match-ups per coach. The winners of those, plus one steal per coach, will yield 20 artists in all (five per coach) for the live shows.
At rehearsals, the coaches had friends on hand to offer advise: Keys was with DJ Khaled, Levine had John Legend by his side, Shelton brought in his buddy Luke Bryan, and Stefani was counseled by Celine Dion.
Below, take a read of our recap of each of the six battles and then weigh in with your choice as to the best of these six match-ups by voting in our poll and sounding off in the comments section.
Team Gwen: Johnny Gates vs. Sammie Zonana – “I Drove All Night”
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.
Team Alicia: Chris Blue v RJ Collins – “Adorn”
Singer/songwriter Miguel had a big hit in 2012 with this chart-topping soul song. Blue dominated the duet while Collins struggled to connect with the lyrics. Stefani left no doubt which artist she preferred, gushing to Blue, “I don’t even know if I was listening to your voice, because I was so mesmerized by your body.” Not surprisingly, Keys picked him. And with no other coach wanting to steal Collins, he left the competition.
Team Adam: Josh West v Nala Price – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
We didn’t see the full battle between these two. Rather, there was just a short snippet of them singing this 1985 No. 1 for the English new wave band Tears for Fears. West had found success in his blind audition with “Ordinary World.” That song was a hit for Duran Duran, another English band that made it big in the 1980s. He was deemed the winner of this match-up by Levine. Poor Price did not rate a steal from any of the other coaches.
Team Gwen: Aaliyah Rose vs. Savannah Leighton – “Treat You Better”
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.
Team Blake: Andrea Thomas vs. Micah Tryba – “What Hurts the Most”
What hurts the most about this match-up was not seeing much of it. In the teaser clip, Thomas and Tryba looked equally good as they crooned this 2005 hit for the Rascal Flatts. Thomas, who had Shelton turning in the blind auditions with her take on “Baby Now That I’ve Found You,” a 1967 pop hit for The Foundations, won him over this time. And Tryba, who had charmed back then with her performance of Chaka Khan‘s 1987 anthem “I’m Every Woman,” was left in the cold by the other coaches.
Team Blake: Aliyah Moulden vs. Dawson Coyle – “Walking on Sunshine”
This pairing might have been the last of the night, but it was the first in which any of the three other coaches fought to get the loser for their team. Inexplicably, Shelton chose to showcase his two teen talents with a song that was a hit way back in 1985 for the new wave band Katrina and the Waves. After being denied three full performances in a row, we saw Moulden and Coyle having fun with this dance tune. Shelton opted to keep Moulden, who sounded stronger in the choruses, while Keys opted to use her second and final steal on Coyle.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.