‘The Voice’ battle: Caroline Sky vs. Stephanie Rice with ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’ for Team Gwen Stefani [WATCH]

Why did coach Gwen Stefani want to have two of her best artists battle it out on Monday’s episode of “The Voice”? She matched Caroline Sky vs. Stephanie Rice knowing she would have to lose one of them but certainly hoping one would be stolen. After they performed the Cat Stevens classic tune “The First Cut is the Deepest,” that’s exactly what happened when rival coach Blake Shelton jumped in. Gwen announced she would keep Stephanie while Blake stole away Caroline (watch their battle performance above).

Photo Gallery: ‘The Voice’ past winners for seasons 1-11

Our writer John Benutty ranked this battle as the best showdown on Monday. He says, “Both Caroline and Stephanie bring a lot of emotion to their vocals which makes the singer-songwriter ballad Gwen gave them for their battle a great choice. That being said, the women bring completely different textures to the song, allowing them each to not get lost in the other’s performance. If the battle were divided in two, I’d say Caroline won the first half and Stephanie came through at the end to win the second half. I’m surprised that Gwen chose to keep Stephanie because it seemed like Caroline was the exact kind of artist she was looking to work with this season. Luckily, Blake picked Caroline up in a steal and will get the opportunity to help her grow.”

Want to take a closer look at all 48 contestants making it to the battle rounds? Tour our photo galleries for Team Adam, Team Alicia, Team Blake, and Team Gwen by clicking each name.

Sign up to get Gold Derby’s free newsletter with
experts’ latest predictions and breaking news

The NBC bio for Caroline: “Caroline’s first concert was Alicia Keys and she’s been hooked on music ever since. At age nine, she landed a spot in the San Francisco Girls Chorus but left in 2013 to pursue a solo career. She gigs around the Bay Area as much as possible and gets help from her dad to book gigs. Over the past few summers, Caroline has volunteered with Camp Jabberwocky, which works with children and adults with special needs.”

The NBC bio for Stephanie: “Stephanie began performing in church with her mother in the seventh grade. She never saw herself as a singer, always excelling in school and athletics. When Stephanie was 17, her parents found love letters she’d written to girls, and she suppressed her feelings due to her father’s threats. After Stephanie met her first girlfriend at 18, her parents cut off their relationship. With little money, she moved to Houston with a cheap car and a guitar. She worked at Baylor College of Medicine and became a published author in the International AIDS Society. She gigs with local band Colonial Blue and has been engaged to her fiancée, Janeth, for a year, but put off the wedding to pursue music.”

More News from GoldDerby