NBC's hit reality search "The Voice" started its Battle Rounds yesterday, March 23, and it delivers on the drama with twists and upsets.
Last night's episode saw the judges in a tight spot due to the new rules. In the current 18th season, a coach can only save a contestant if no one else uses steal. Furthermore, all the "saves" will have to compete for survival in a four-way-knockout at the end of a round.
The season's coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and Nick Jonas were joined by advisers Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, and siblings Kevin and Joe Jonas.
The first bout was from Team Blake and Bebe Rexha. Joei Fulco and Todd Michael Hall faced each other with Tina Turner's 1991 single "The Best." Team Blake's opening salvo was a harmonic fuse between the two, with neither overpowering the other. However, Shelton ultimately chose Fulco over the Michigan rocker.
As Hall started walking down the stage, unexpected saves came dropping. Kelly Clarkson missed her chance at stealing from her nemesis; Blake Shelton also hits the save button just a little faster than Clarkson did. The American Idol started celebrating prematurely before realizing the new rules taking effect.
Then, it was Team Kelly's turn with Dua Lipa, having Anaya Cheyenne and Chelle sing Martin Garrix and Dua Lipa's "Scared to be Lonely." The two capitalized on belting parts of the song and their respective adlibs, but Cheyenne earned their coach's nod, and Chelle had to go.
Nick Jonas, first time handling the Battle Rounds as a full-time coach, together with his brothers as advisors, had one of the biggest upsets in the evening. Four-chair chanteuse Joanna Serenko fell short against one-chair wedding singer Roderick Chambers over Billie Eillish's "All My Loving."
Kelly Clarkson extends her comment to Jonas, "I feel sorry for you right now, because what you just created was a masterpiece, and now you've got to cut half of it."
The shocker came as Nick followed his "gut feeling," further noting the "opportunity here to turn this guy into a real star" before choosing Roderick, who was visibly surprised.
Serenko, however, was not about to leave the competition as John Legend swiftly pressed steal to have her on his team. "I feel good!" the young EGOT laureate shouts as he continues to build his strong lineup that he dubbed an "embarrassment of riches."
Next was his team, Team Legend, together with advisor Ella Mai. They pitted Mike Jerel and Zach Day in their version of Miguel's "Adorn." Both contestants pushed to showcase their range. The complex vocal acrobatics saw Jerel emerge as the winner.
Again back to Team Blake, this time with the big brother - little brother duo of Jamal Corrie, 27, and Levi Watkins, 14. Blake chose One Republic's "Counting Stars", citing that it was well-suited for their sounds. While Jamal was more experienced, the two gave a good performance together, and he seemed to be looking for his footing, giving way to his little brother to shine and advance to the next round.
The last Battle for the evening came courtesy of Team Nick, with Michael Williams and Allegra Miles singing Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know". The evening's finale was vocally commanding, considering that the famed Jonas Brothers are with the two to elevate their harmonies and dynamics further. In the end, Nick chose Miles for the Battle Round yet saved Williams for another shot.