In the final two Battle rounds of “The Voice” this week, coach Gwen Stefani pitted three pairs of her artists against each other. She had to choose one singer in each duet to take on to the knockout rounds. And she picked up one more artist for her team when she stole away a reject from Alicia Keys. Stefani already had four of the eight artists that will move on to the next stage of the competition from last week’s two battle rounds. (Vote for the best of those from week one here.)
Stefani lost both of her previous seasons on “The Voice.” Which of her picks this week do you think could win her the competition over rival coaches Keys, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton? Below, a description of what each of these artists did to get her attention. Be sure to cast your vote in our poll and then sound off in the comments section.
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.
Blind Audition: “Wild World” (March 6)
This 32-year-old New Yorker 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.
Battle Round: “Angel Eyes”vs. Jozy Bernadette (March 27)
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.
Blind Audition: “Piece by Piece” (February 27)
It takes an impressive singer to cover Kelly Clarkson convincingly and this 27-year-old from Texarkana, TX did so with a rock-tinged pop vocal. What she lacks in range was more than made up by her emotion. Her performance convinced 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.
Battle Round: “The First Cut Is the Deepest” vs. Caroline Sky (March 27)
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. “Your voice is delicate and beautiful, and it kind of shreds at the same time,” he observed before using his second and final steal.
Blind Audition: “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” (March 2)
After a five-year hiatus, this 31-year-old from the Virgin Islands returned to performing and impressed with his take on Stevie Wonder‘s 1980 soul hit “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” While Shelton also wanted to work with him, he went with Stefani after she told she him she thought he could rock in that genre too.
Battle Round: “In the Night” vs. Davina Leone (March 28)
For the last battle song of the series, Stefani chose this 2015 hit for The Weeknd, which has a range that strained both artists in contention. In the end, Royal was able to impress his mentor more, with Stefani observing, “To sing a chorus that’s that high effortlessly, but with enough effort that it’s, like, crying and emotional, I’m really proud of you.” But Leone had a lifeline as Levine still had one steal that he had to use.