As battle rounds begin on Monday for Season 16 of “The Voice,” advisors joining the show are Charlie Puth (Team Adam), Khalid (Team John), Kelsea Ballerini (Team Kelly) and Brooks and Dunn (Team Blake). This two-hour episode is the only one airing on NBC this week, but the network will return to a two-night, Monday/Tuesday rotation next week.
The two-time reigning champ among coaches is Kelly Clarkson. She faces off with six-time winner Blake Shelton, three-time champ Adam Levine and first-time coach John Legend. This newcomer is so threatening to the returning coaches that he has already been blocked three times and has proven to be able to get almost any contestant he wants due to his record-setting career as a singer, songwriter and producer.
All throughout this season, we continue our tradition of updating live blogs while each episode is airing for the east and central time zones. Follow along below and keep refreshing during the two hours. Make your own comments about which artists you like and don’t like for this winter/spring cycle. Read our full minute-by-minute analysis for the blind auditions on Monday, February 25, Tuesday, February 26, Monday, March 4, Tuesday, March 5, Monday, March 11 and Monday, March 18.
And now follow along and refresh our live updating blog below for the Season 16 battle round Night 1 on Monday, March 25:
8:00 p.m. – The Battle Rounds begin tonight! Host Carson Daly will announce each face-off and then the contestants will battle it out before their coach ultimately picks a winner. All hope is not lost for the losers though, because each coach has two steals they can use to keep artists in the competition. Let’s get started!
8:10 p.m. – The first battle of the night pairs up two powerhouse four-chair turns from Team Legend: Matthew Johnson vs. Shawn Sounds. These are two big boys with even bigger voices. Both have a soulful flare and I would wager each of them has a good chance of being stolen should the battle not go their way. While it may seem foolish of John to pair these two together, I understand the reasoning. Both occupy the same lane in terms of genre and style, so John likely wants to decipher who is best and open up his team for more diversity. They’ll be singing “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross, which is a perfect song choice for this duo. During rehearsals, Khalid said “I feel like I just got hit by a bus.” John instructed both to loosen up a bit and be more selective with their runs. Let’s battle!
8:20 p.m. – Right off the bat I’m loving the confidence and stage presence of these two. Matthew begins the song with his smooth, velvet voice. Shawn seamlessly works himself into the second voice and these two can harmonize like nobody’s business. While Shawn has a few more tricks up his sleeve vocally, the sheer joy Matthew sings with is infectious and it’s hard to take your eyes off him. This battle is a killer! Both are fantastic, but my choice would be Matthew. Adam is perplexed why these two were pitted against each other. Blake says he wishes they could remain a duo for the rest of the season. Kelly thinks they’re both phenomenal, calling Matthew “a light to watch” and chose him as her winner. But the only decision that matters is John and he chose…Shawn! Adam quickly hit his button to steal Matthew, saying “losing him at this point would be a huge mistake.” Kelly pushed her button as well, saying “his voice is needed in music right now.” So who will Matthew choose as his new coach? Matthew chose to join…Team Kelly!
8:30 p.m. – The second battle of the night comes from Team Kelly: The Bundys vs. Mikaela Astel. The Bundys are the first trio to ever participate on “The Voice” so it will be interesting to see how they face off against a solo artist. They’re all sort of folksy and earthy singers and Kelly chose for them to sing “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy. Kelly is impressed by the purity of Mikaela, who is just 14 years old and loves the beautiful harmonies of the Bundys. It’s time to battle!
8:40 p.m. – Mikaela starts the performance and her voice is clear as a bell and has an angelic quality. The Bundys respond with their perfectly-pitched harmonies and while they’re all connected, Mikaela really feels like she’s off in a corner by herself. That said, I feel like Mikaela is absolutely owning this. She could win the whole competition! That was beautiful. John thinks they all sounded great and calls Mikaela’s voice “strong and vulnerable at the same time” but leans toward The Bundys. Blake thinks Mikaela sounded nervous, but doesn’t want to discourage her because this is what she’s meant to do. But the choice is Kelly’s and she chooses…The Bundys! I think that was a huge mistake. Mikaela would have been a force in this competition. Instead, she’s heading home early.
8:50 p.m. – The third battle of the night comes from Team Blake: Gyth Rigdon vs. Rod Stokes. Blake paired them together because they’re both powerhouse country singers. They’ll be performing “Drunk Me” by Mitchell Tenpenny. While Gyth thinks this song is right in his wheelhouse, Rod has never been drunk before! In fact, Rod has never performed outside of church until his Blind Audition. During rehearsals, Blake encourages them not to sing over each other. Brooks and Dunn let them know if it doesn’t work out, there’s money in working as a duo! Let’s battle!
9:00 p.m. – Gyth takes the first verse during the performance and he’s got a lot of natural charisma. When Rod joins in, it feels less natural even though he’s got a strong voice. I feel like I’m watching a potential star in Gyth and an amateur in Rod. His inexperience as a performer is obvious. While Gyth is singing in the moment, I feel like Rod is trying to show off as many notes as he can. To me this was the most lopsided battle of the night. I’d take Gyth in a landslide. Kelly disagrees with me and thinks Rod slayed it vocally. John loves Gyth’s stage presence and thinks he looks like a star. Adam agrees with Kelly, saying Rod took this battle. It all comes down to Blake though and he decides to move forward with…Gyth! Wise choice Blake. But we’ve got a steal! Team Adam recruits a country singer and Rod will move forward with him.
9:10 p.m. – Team Adam is next up on the stage and this battle draws Domenic Haynes vs. Trey Rose. They’ll be performing “I Need a Dollar” by Aloe Blacc. Charlie admires Trey’s ability to make the song his own without turning it into the vocal Olympics. He warned Domenic about straining too much, because he doesn’t want him to go off pitch and make this decision easy for Adam. This is going to be a battle!
9:20 p.m. – Domenic kicks things off and I am instantly drawn to his unique tone and the rasp in his voice. Trey’s voice is smoother, but he just doesn’t have the charisma. Domenic has a desperation in his voice that just feels more genuine and Trey is a little too polished on this song for my taste. Domenic should win this, no contest! He has the superior voice and stage presence. The coaches were split in their opinions with Blake giving the edge to Domenic, while Kelly slightly preferred Trey. John kept his opinion to himself, but Adam has to make a decision. The winner of this battle is…Domenic! Trey looks gutted, but none of the other coaches were interested so he’s heading home.
9:30 p.m. – Team Legend is up again with Savannah Brister vs. Maelyn Jarmon. Maelyn was a four-chair turn during the Blind Auditions and although Savannah just managed two, she’s got a powerful voice and infectious personality. They’ll be performing “When We Were Young” by Adele. John wants to showcase the power and angst in their voices. John instructs Maelyn to feel the emotion of the song and Savannah to avoid some of the lower notes that aren’t as easy for her to hit. Who will emerge victorious? Let’s battle!
9:40 p.m. – Savannah begins the performance with a rich tone before Maelyn joins with slightly more texture and originality. They both sound great, but I love the small choices Maelyn makes, bending notes just slightly to give you something unexpected. Savannah sounds great on the chorus and the harmonies are gorgeous. Bravo Team Legend! I’d take them both, but give the edge to Maelyn here. All of the coaches give the pair of them a standing ovation. Adam would go with Maelyn, but says everyone just fell in love with Savannah as well. Kelly gives the edge to Savannah for the sheer rawness of her voice. But John has to make the final decision and the winner of this battle is…Maelyn! Despite the positive feedback from the judges, Savannah was eliminated, but her journey is not over! She was chosen as the first artist from the Battle Rounds to join the Comeback Stage with Bebe Rexha. Will she re-emerge on the live shows?
9:50 p.m. – We’re wrapping up the night with another battle from Team Kelly: Beth Griffith-Manley vs. Jej Vinson. Both are serious soul singers so Kelly chose the heartfelt “Jealous” by Labrinth for them to perform. Kelsea is blown away by Jej’s runs and she can feel the heartbreak in Beth’s voice as if she wrote the song herself. These to can blow! This is going to be a battle!
9:59 p.m. – Jej begins the performance and he’s got such a recognizable, rich tone. Beth comes in next with a fierce, restrained passion and I love her ability to hit those low notes. YAAASSS!!! I love these two. This is a pure masterclass on restrained, soulful vocals. As they reach the chorus, their harmonies and power blend perfectly. Both of these two MUST move on! Standing ovation! John says he wanted both of them on his team and complimented both of their tones. Adam says their unison was perhaps the best he’s ever heard, but he gives the edge to Jej. Blake thinks it’s a tough call, but admits it’s hard not to notice Jej going note for note with a female. Kelly has to make a decision and the winner of this battle is…Jej! But we’ve got a steal! Beth will move forward as part of Team Legend! That’s a wrap for tonight.
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