The last of the seven knockout matches on the April 10 episode of “The Voice” pitted two of Gwen Stefani‘s artists — Stephanie Rice and Troy Ramey — against each other. We asked if you thought Stefani made the right choice by going with Ramey and you disagreed by a sizeable margin of 74% to 26%. 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.
As this was the last knockout of the series, we knew that Alicia Keys would steal one of these artists. Rice delivered a low-key version of “Safe and Sound,” a collaboration between Taylor Swift and country duo The Civil Wars that been featured in the 2012 movie “The Hunger Games.” Surprisingly, Ramey took on Sia‘s 2014 Top 10 hit “Chandelier” and made this vocal showcase his own. After he won Stefani over with his rendition, Rice ended up on Team Alicia Keys.
It takes an impressive singer to cover Kelly Clarkson convincingly and Rice did so with a rock-tinged pop vocal version of “Piece by Piece” on her February 27 blind audition. What she lacks in range was more than made up by her emotion. Her performance convinced Blake Shelton and Stefani to turn their chairs, resulting in the first head to head battle between the lovebirds. In the end, Rice chose Stefani as her coach. Rice did battle against Caroline Sky on March 27 with a duet of “The First Cut Is the Deepest.” Cat Stevens wrote this song in 1967 and, after P. P. Arnold had a hit with it, he included it on his own album that year. Keith Hampshire (1973), Rod Stewart (1977) and Sheryl Crow (2003) all enjoyed success with their versions of this melancholy tune. Rice was a revelation as she brought her own compelling backstory to the stage. While Stefani chose her, Shelton was impressed with Sky who, despite only being 16, also connected to the track and made her his second and final steal.
For his March 6 blind audition, Ramey sang “Wild World,” a plaintive tune written and recorded by Cat Stevens back in 1970. It first appeared on the fourth album, “Tea for the Tillerman,” by this English singer-songwriter. He penned this song as words of wisdom to a lover who is leaving him. Ramey sang it in tribute to his late father and had all four coaches vying for him; he chose his favorite, Stefani. His March 27 battle was against Jozy Bernadette with the song “Angel Eyes.” The Jeff Healey Band had a big hit in 1989 with this track off their first album, “See the Light.” We didn’t get to see much of this match-up on the show. Watching it online, Ramey has the edge over Bernadette in the duet as he conveys the emotion underlying the lyrics.
Do you think Stefani made the right choice by going with Ramey? Watch the two performances and then vote in our poll below. And be sure to sound off in our comments section too.
Stephanie Rice (‘Safe & Sound’)
Troy Ramey (‘Chandelier’)