‘The Voice’ holiday special recap: Which former coaches returned to perform Christmas classics? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

The Voice” took a break from the competition on Thursday for an hour-long holiday special in which coaches past and present performed Christmas classics. The festive celebration featured a duet between real-life lovebirds Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, while current coaches Kelly Clarkson and John Legend also got into the holiday spirit. And yes, former coach Adam Levine of Maroon 5 fame also made his first appearance on “The Voice” since his controversial exit last year.

Below, read our minute-by-minute “The Voice” recap of Season 19’s holiday special to find out what happened Thursday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite artists on NBC’s long-running reality TV show, which coach you’re rooting for this season and who you think will ultimately join “The Voice” winners list.

Keep refreshing/reloading this “The Voice” live blog for the most recent updates.

8:00 p.m. — “Previously on ‘The Voice’!” In the 13th episode, the Top 17 artists were narrowed down to only the Top 9 after America and the coaches chose their favorites. The nine finalists are: Desz and Cami Clune of Team Kelly, Carter Rubin and Ben Allen of Team Gwen, Ian Flanigan and Jim Ranger of Team Blake, and Bailey Rae, John Holiday and Tamara Jade of Team Legend. But enough about the competition aspect of the show — tonight is all about celebrating the holidays!

8:04 p.m. — Host Carson Daly walks us through some of the great Christmas performances of “Voice” history, celebrating coaches (both past and present) as well as some of the superstar singers who have joined in to spread holiday joy. The show begins with Blake, Gwen, Adam and Pharrell Williams singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Season 7. It’s fun to look back and see this old cast of coaches together. Blake opens up the song with a strong vocal, followed up by Adam’s softer tone which draws swoons from the audience. Gwen doesn’t usually sing ballads, but I like her voice on this song. I also forgot how much I miss Pharrell. He just radiates happiness, even though Christmas music isn’t exactly his forte. Blake comments on that performance saying he was just getting to Pharrell and Gwen at that time. He had no idea what their relationship would evolve into at the time. Gwen recalls it was her first season as a coach and she loved that each coach brought their own style. It was a special time for her.

8:08 p.m. — The celebration continues with Season 17 powerhouse Katie Kadan and her coach, John Legend, singing “Merry Christmas Baby.” John recalls how much he enjoyed the performance, calling Katie one of his favorite contestants. He felt like they were singing in an old Chicago blues club. This is a great number and the two have great chemistry. Nobody can forget Katie and her unique style. Kelly comments that she loves watching John sing because he’s always in character and Katie hit some “big ol’ notes.”

8:19 p.m. — Checking in with the coaches now with some “naughty or nice” questions. Kelly says she thinks John would probably be the best gift-giver of the bunch. John reciprocates, saying Kelly gives great gifts. For he and his wife’s anniversary she sent them a massive pizza and a bottle of wine. Gwen and Blake agree that Kelly gives the best gifts. Wasn’t that fun? The next performance is from four-time Grammy winner, Michael Buble’, who is singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” from way back in Season 3. He’s a staple in a lot of households for Christmas! Next, Kelly and Jennifer Hudson teamed up for “O Holy Night” in Season 15. It wasn’t the duet they had hoped for because Kelly was sick, but she refused to turn down the opportunity to sing with J-Hud. I have to agree that this duet wasn’t what I had hoped for either. The harmonies sounded unrehearsed and I was just waiting for Jennifer to nail a massive note that never came. It’s still great to see them together though.

8:30 p.m. — The next performance features Gwen collaborating Latin superstar Mon Laferte on Season 15. It’s a festive performance of “Felize Navidad.” I can barely hear Laferte when they’re both singing and this duet is a little awkward, but still fun. Gwen called it a fun experience. In Season 11, Dolly Parton and Jennifer Nettles paired up for an inspiring performance of “Circle of Love.” How can you not love Dolly? It’s fun watching this performance because you can see the Season 11 contestants behind them. Some familiar faces I hadn’t seen in a while!

8:40 p.m. — In Season 3, Blake was making a Christmas album and he was in need of a choir. He says he couldn’t have put together a better choir than Team Blake, so they backed him up on a performance of “White Christmas.” It’s fun to see these flashbacks. The hair choices of some of his contestants was incredible, lol. John says one of the coolest moments in “Voice” Christmas history was Sia. She was dressed as a gift, inside a gift, performing “Snowman” on Season 13. Hilarious. It’s actually a really cool set design.

8:52 p.m. — Before she was a coach, Kelly graced the stage in Season 5 to spread some holiday cheer with her holiday single, “Underneath the Tree.” I don’t think I can get sick of the song. It’s the best original Christmas song since Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Of course she sounded fantastic singing it as well. The next performance is from Season 9 winner Jordan Smith, singing “Mary Did You Know?” He’s definitely one of the most memorable winners ever, if not THE most. He nailed this rendition, putting his massive range on full display.

8:59 p.m. — Back in Season 13 Blake and Gwen sang their fun Christmas hit, “You Make it Feel Like Christmas.” This is really a great song that I think will endure on the holiday charts for years to come. The performance is fun with a team of dancers parading around them. And that’s a good way to end the first holiday celebration from “The Voice.” Happy Holidays!

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