'The Voice' wraps Season 17 Blind Auditions, Battle Round begins with Kelly Clarkson and John Legend using their only saves
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/15/2019
The Voice wrapped up its Season 17 Blind Auditions with four more artists advancing -- including Zoe Upkins and Matthew McQueen -- and then kicked off the Battle Round during Monday night's two-hour broadcast on NBC.
Zoe, a 16-year-old from Nashville, TN, kicked off the episode by singing "Angel of Mine" for her Blind Audition, and Blake, John and Kelly turned their chairs around for her within seconds.
The three coaches who pressed their buttons even gave her a standing ovation.
Gwen said she didn't turn because she has members on her team in a similar genre, but after learning Zoe is only 16, she admitted she "blew it."
"I want a young, little princess girl who sings awesome, like, Monica songs, and then I didn't press my button! I feel so silly right now, but you're so talented," Gwen said.
Kelly could tell Zoe is young through listening to her voice.
"I think you could make the finale. I have one spot. I was really waiting for you," Kelly noted.
John said she showed so much polish for her age and was "really fantastic." John only had one spot left on his team as well, but he said it would be so much fun to work with her.
Blake insisted it would be smart for Zoe to choose a coach who has been with the show since Day 1.
Blake promised Zoe that he's the right coach for her even though it may not appear that way on paper. John then quoted the song "The Boy Is Mine" that Monica had performed back in the day, saying Zoe should be his.
With that being said, Zoe chose to join "Team Legend," and John was so impressed by her soul and poise. He insisted she has "star potential."
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Matthew, a 21-year-old from Georgetown, TX, performed "Someone You Loved" for his Blind Audition. Kelly and Blake both pressed their buttons for the singer.
John said he looked like a mix of Tom Cruise and Christian Bale, and Kelly thought his performance -- and his rasp -- was "cool and sexy."
Kelly wanted her last spot to go to Matthew, and she said she knows what it takes to strategize in a reality singing competition.
After John said Matthew took the audience on a journey and a really cool ride, Blake said, "I only have one spot left on my team too, and I was waiting for a duo."
He added, "I have coached the winner of this show six times and only a handful of those have been country artists. It doesn't matter what lane your coach is in, it's what lane your coach can put you in," Blake argued. "Come to Team Blake, let's do this!"
Matthew selected Blake as his coach.
Gracee, a 16-year-old from Owasso, OK, performed "Rainbow" and sparked interest from both Kelly and Gwen.
The coaches couldn't believe Gracee is only 16, and Kelly loved how excited the artist seemed to be about her audition. Kelly said her style is "distinct," and then Gracee pointed out she had once gone to her concert.
Gwen said Gracee has a character voice and she appreciated her unique sound and style.
Although Gwen wanted to work with Gracee "desperately," the artist chose to join Kelly's team.
Caroline Reilly, a 16-year-old from Cumming, GA, also rocked out to "Somebody To Love" and snagged the last spot on Gwen's team. Gwen said her voice sounded so much more mature than her age.
The following artist unfortunately did not make a team during Monday night's broadcast: Ty Mauro, a 26-year-old from Los Angeles, CA, took the stage with "Let's Stay Together."
About halfway through the two-hour episode, The Voice switched over and introduced the Battle Round, which features two artists on the same team performing a duet.
The two artists in each faceoff attempt to blend their sound while also outshining their opponent, and only one person moves forward in the competition unless the losing artist is stolen by another coach or saved by his or her original coach.
The first Battle pairing belonged to Zoe and Khalea Lynee, a 36-year-old from St. Petersburg, FL.
The two girls duked it out for one spot going forward on "Team Legend," for which Usher served as the team advisor.
Zoe and Khalea sang a duet of "The Boy Is Mine" together. Gwen said Zoe's stage presence was "shocking" and she totally commanded the stage. Gwen, however, pointed out Khalea's vocals were buttery and super smooth.
Gwen thought Zoe won the Battle, and then Kelly admitted she'd steal whichever artist ended up losing.
Blake said he thought Khalea won because she's "so ready for this moment" and exuded professionalism on the stage.
With all that being said, John was upset with himself for pairing these two young women together. John said Khalea was polished, while Zoe was "significantly better" than she was in the Blinds.
It was a tough decision, but in the end, John named Khalea the winner of the Battle due to her versatility as an artist. John believes Khalea is "one of the most gifted singers in the competition this season."
However, John wanted to "Save" his artist, and both Kelly and Gwen opted to steal Zoe.
John wanted to use his one and only "Save" on Zoe because he admittedly "messed up" on pairing her with Khalea. John said Zoe took advice well and got into character with the song.
"Please, do not leave me... We've got to keep this journey going!" John begged.
Kelly said she had been a fan of Zoe's since the Blinds and they would do well together with song selection. Kelly also said she had won The Voice twice before with young girls.
And Gwen said Zoe has the gift of stage presence and she could help her with that even more.
"I think the fact they're so in love with you is also a testament to good coaching," John argued after Gwen told the artist not to rejoin a coach's team who had messed up.
Zoe decided to stick with John going forward, and he was thrilled.
The next Battle was for Blake's team, who was being advised by Darius Rucker.
Blake paired Kat Hammock, an 18-year-old from Encinitas, CA, with Josie Jones, a 16-year-old from Hamilton, AL, for a Battle performance of "Take Me Home, Country Roads."
John said Josie brought power to the table while Kat has an intriguing, distinct voice.
Gwen admitted she would choose Kat going forward because of her sound, but Kelly was impressed by Josie's range and ability to harmonize. Kelly added that she thought Kat's voice was angelic and absolutely beautiful.
Blake noted Kat's voice is "a phenomenon" and there's no one like her, so he named her the winner of the Battle.
A "Team Kelly" Battle was then featured, and her team was mentored by Fifth Harmony member Normani.
Kelly matched Melinda Rodriguez, a 23-year-old from Miami, FL, with Shane Q, a 28-year-old from Sacramento, CA, for the duet.
The two artists took the stage with "Too Good At Goodbyes" and Kelly yelled, "You're welcome, America! That was so good!"
Blake pointed out both vocalists are incredibly talented and he didn't think either person pulled out ahead of the other. However, he'd go with Shane as the champion if it was his decision.
John appreciated both singers' vocal tones and advised Kelly to pick Shane -- although he thought Shane took the lead by just "a hair."
Gwen agreed Shane's voice was shocking and she wanted to see more of it, but the decision was ultimately up to Kelly.
Kelly said Melinda "flawlessly executed" her side of the song but Shane has his strengths as well. Kelly struggled with the decision but opted to send Shane through to the next round.
But when Melinda thought she was saying goodbye, Kelly chose to use her "Save" on her. However, John attempted to steal the artist for his own team.
"It was clear that both of you deserve to be on this show. It's also clear that while you have a very good coach right now, you have an opportunity to upgrade!" John joked.
"I would love to work with you. I feel like you delivered beautiful, beautiful vocals... I would love to steal you from Kelly Clarkson and welcome you to the winning team!"
Melinda chose to stay with Kelly because of her passion, and Kelly couldn't wait to see where they'd go together next.