Kelly Clarkson (‘The Voice’) ‘strategically’ keeps Jake Hoot over Steve Knill after ‘Always on My Mind’ battle [WATCH]

Kelly Clarkson‘s team is shaping up nicely so far on Season 17 of “The Voice,” thanks in part to the strategic way in which she’s putting it together. During Monday’s episode she pitted Jake Hoot against Steve Knill in a battle to “Always on My Mind,” a song that meant a lot to her personally. While both men killed the song, Kelly decided to advance Jake since he rounded out her team nicely. Do you think Kelly made the right choice, or should she have kept Steve instead? Watch “The Voice” battle video above.

“I grew up hearing this song at 6 a.m. every morning in our household,” Kelly explained about why she picked the Willie Nelson classic. She continued on, “You both executed it perfectly. It comes down to just strategically, who’s gonna round out the team? Like, what do I have and what do I need? This sucks! Y’all are both really good. The winner of this battle is Jake.”

Later on backstage, Kelly explained her decision a bit further. “I went with Jake because I felt like there’s certain times that are undeniable,” she proclaimed. “When Jake walks out on stage, it’s undeniable. I am a sucker for straight-up old school country, and that’s what Jake is.”

Kelly won “The Voice” during her first two seasons as a coach with Chevel Shepherd (Season 15) and Brynn Cartelli (Season 14). Might Jake end up being Kelly’s third champion overall after rival coach John Legend stole the crown in Season 16 with Maelyn Jarmon?

In his “The Voice” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the battle: “For Kelly’s first pairing she matched Steve Knill and Jake Hoot because she thought their blues and country voices would mesh well on Willie Nelson‘s ‘Always on My Mind.’ Their battle was a back and forth of deep registers with each sticking in their best higher notes when they could. Performance-wise they were both as mellow and uninteresting as the song choice, frankly. Kelly based her decision on who would round out her team and who she needed to keep: Jake!”

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