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The second week of “The Voice” season 23 Battle round started off with a bang with Team Kelly’s ALI vs. D. Smooth Battle and ended with a bang with Team Niall’s Ryley Tate Wilson vs. Michael B. At the start of Monday night’s episode Kelly and Niall still had their Playoff Passes There was plenty of banter between the coaches. Most of it came from Kelly and Blake. After calling Blake Shelton the “ultimate” Voice coach, Kelly joked that Blake’s leaving “The Voice” is “a gain for humanity” because we’ll see less of him. Then, Kelly’s fake mean girl humor continued with former One Direction boy band member created on another singing competition show, Niall Horn when she suggested that they both won their shows. Niall responded that he didn’t win and came in in third place. Kelly said he should lead with ‘I can help you get to third place.’
Kelly got territorial with her Team members after the ALI vs. D. Smooth Battle when she chose a winner. Fellow coach Chance the Rapper thought it was the perfect time to Steal! Oh, no…think again!
ALI vs. D. SMOOTH (Team Kelly)
Kelly let them know that there is a “playoff pass” that lets artists skip the Knockouts. D. Smooth said Kelly turning for him as quickly as she did was “reassurance” and he chose her “because she was fighting for me like a mama.” ALI said she was anxious during her Blind Audition, but felt that she was meant to be there. ALI was born deaf. Kelly called ALI’s performance “run city.” Her dad is a musician, and she’s seen both the good and the bad. He told her to do it because she loves it. ALI loves to listen to music that makes you feel things. She called her dad her biggest music inspiration ever.
Kelly gave them “Unaware” by Alan Stone, she said because out of her team, they are the most soulful. Kelly said you can’t tell that there’s anything wrong with ALY’s hearing, “she’s so on point. I guess because she hears it in a different way.” ALI said she was blown away by D. Smooth. Kelly said D. Smooth is an incredible singer and you can’t teach passion like that and runs like that.
During rehearsal, ALI said when Kelly sang the song to them, she said “Kelly is amazing.” Kelly said it will come down to whoever performs it better and feels more comfortable on stage.
After their Battle, Blake commented first that it was “great music” and he’ll miss the most sitting there seeing some of the best concerts.He noted that ALI had a lot of confidence and he’s a fan of D. Smooth. Blake chose D. Smooth. Niall called it an “unbelievable duet.” There was no Battling, just two singers giving each other room to do their own thing. He said that’s what makes a great duet. He leaned towards ALI. Chance said no matter which way Kelly goes, she has a strong chance of winning with either artist. But, he chose ALI.
Kelly called them “world class” singers who can do things that people on the Grammy’s aren’t capable of doing. She told D. Smooth she hasn’t heard anyone like him since the 90s. Kelly told ALI that even if she didn’t know her back story, her runs and how she hears pitch…”it’s a God given talent that not many have.”
BATTLE WINNER: ALI. ALI is moving on to the Knockouts.
STEAL: Chance stole D. Smooth.
PLAYOFF PASS: Kelly then pushed her Playoff Pass! That overruled Chance’s STEAL! She said she doesn’t care if D. Smooth wants to work with Chance, and he has the gift to make it all the way to the finale!
Blake Shelton has coached over 250 artists on “The Voice” in the 23 seasons that he’s been there. He said he’s going out with a bang and “just soak it in.”
GRACE WEST vs. CARLOS RISING (Team Blake)
Grace said it’s still not fully real for her yet. Grace was the very last artist to fill Blake’s Team. Grace, who’s 19-years-old, currently lives in Nashville. Blake said he moved to Nashville at age 17. Carlos had never sang Country before. Carlos said three years ago, he couldn’t imagine going onto “The Voice” stage and when he got the chair turns, that was validation for him that he deserves to be there. He said he always pictured himself on Blake’s Team and knew he was the right choice. Blake said both of these artists can deliver a message. Grace is authentic, “super Country.” And Carlos has a Vince Gill type range that’s “super impressive.”
Carlos lost his job in 2020 and he and his wife had to move back to his parents home. His family encouraged him to pursue music. Carlos and Grace sang a Randy Travis song “I Told You So.” Blake said Grace is doing what she was born to do and that’s Country. Blake said he loves seeing artists like Grace and Carlos work together. Grace said she loves this song and is a Country artist. She said missing home is the emotion that she’s putting into the song. She noted that Carlos is more experienced than her, and to make it to the Knockout round, she’ll have to work harder.
Niall called their performance “magic” and Grace’s voice is “phenomenal” and he thinks she’ll go all the way. Chance reacted that he liked Carlos’ tone and thought he and Grace were equally matched. Kelly thought it was well-done and Carlos can sing many different genres. “That’s an incredible gift.” Grace has an unteachable thing – her tone, her soul. Kelly leaned towards Grace.
Blake said it was cool to hear the coaches talk about different genres he can do. With Grace, she’s doing what she was born to do. “It’s Country whether you like it or not.” He thought it was evenly matched.
BATTLE WINNER: Grace West. Blake said Grace has an edge on a lot of the artists in this competition because she’s so authentic. He thinks she can be a huge artist in Country. Kelly said she’d be shocked if Grace isn’t in the finale. Blake said “her tone, everything was just perfect.”
TIANA GOSS vs. KATE COSENTINO (Team Niall)
Tiana didn’t get a chair turn the first time she was on “The Voice.” This time, Niall was the only coach to turn. She said it feels so validating. Kelly, Chance and Niall turned for Kate. She said she was excited when Niall turned because he’s a great songwriter. Niall paired them together because they both know who they want to be as an artist. Kate has recently gotten engaged since her Blind Audition. Niall said he got the idea for the Cyndi Lauper song “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” from both of their Blind Audition songs. He said the version he chose allows them to show off their voices before they dance and make “those harmony moments stand out.”
Niall said Kate has the ability to make any song her own and knows who she is. He said Tiana has one of the most beautiful tones in this competition. Tiana dedicated the song to her sisters. Niall recommended Kate not to “over sing” it. Niall told them about the Playoff Pass which he hoped would take some of the edge off of their nerves.
After their Battle performance, Chance thought it was “awesome” and “smashed the choreography.” He said he felt the lyrics for the first time. He called it a star quality and you definitely want to be able to control the stage. Chance said he thought they were both phenomenal and gave the edge to Kate.
Kelly liked that they slowed the song down in the beginning because they could hear them individually. She said Kate sings well and is entertaining to watch. She loved Tiana’s solo and doesn’t think anyone out did anyone Blake thought that Tiana won the Battle because she stayed in pitch and in pocket.
Niall said it broke out into an amazing performance and he was proud of both of them. He based it off what she can give to the competition and “the fire and the sass” he chose Kate. Niall said Kate has an amazing eclectic taste in music.
BATTLE WINNER: Kate. Niall said it was “a tough one.” He said she’ll make a song her own and she’s “a readymade star.”
STEAL: Chance the Rapper pushed his button to Steal Tiana. He said he saw potential, she has soul to her voice and a stage presence.
HOLLY BRAND vs. KATIE BETH FORAKIS (Team Kelly)
Kelly said she was curious what Holly and Katie Beth would sound like together. Kelly said it was her favorite rehearsal that she’s ever experienced on “The Voice” She gave them a song that leaned both to Country and Pop.
Niall and Kelly both turned for Katie Beth. She said she’s proud to be different, and Kelly recognized that. Holly was shocked that she had a three-chair-turn,and called Kelly the most “vocally capable woman” of our time and she’s happy to be on Team Kelly.
They both thought the song was “a perfect mesh.” The song, “Lady Like” is all about female empowerment. Holy said she’s very outspoken. Her and her mom own a boutique where they work with helping other women dress confidently. Kelly said Holly has a “big full voice.”
Kelly said Katie Beth has a cool rasp and she goes to places that are Jazz-like and “she’s incredible” Kelly was blown away by Katie Beth because her voice is “so unique.” Katie said she and her husband teach music lessons to people in their community. Her town is very small where people ride horses, and she wants to represent her town well. Kelly said Holly is a powerhouse, and made her part softer. Kelly said Holly is such a big singer and not intimidated.
Blake reacted to their Battle performance that he’s always excited when he sees a Country singer come out here. But, It’s weird when they’re NOT on his team. Holly has a classic Country singer voice and sounded big, and Katie, her tone is “crazy good.” She was hitting cool harmonies and high notes, he’s never heard anything like that. Niall said that song was more in Holly’s “comfort zone.” He thought it was amazing how Katie made the song her own. Chance said he liked what Holly did with the song and he went with her.
Kelly said Holly has a big voice, and Katie’s runs are “so cool and so different. It rings through.” Kelly said Holly is straight up Country but not limited to that. She can go high and do these whistle notes. They both offer something different for her Team. Kelly chose Holly
BATTLE WINNER: Holly Brand. Kelly said they’re two different paths that she would have taken. Kelly said Holly has amazing runs. She likes how Holly can tackle any genre and that’s exciting to Kelly. Niall called Holly “a big threat” on Team Kelly.
CHLOE ABBOTT vs. NARI YELLA (Team Chance)
Chloe was a one chair turn. Chance compared her to Nora Jones and Anita Baker, and Nari Yella was a four-chair turn. He said they are both amazing R&B artists in their own right. He wanted to see their takes on “I Want You Around” by Snoh Aalegra.
It’s the first time that the song is being brought onto “The Voice” and Chance said he’s excited to be introducing a new song on the show. Nari Yella said being there is a blessing and she learned the importance of going after what you’re passionate about from her mother. One of her jobs is a substitute teacher.
The girls had made a change to the arrangement and Chance told them “take charge! This is y’all’s show!” He said Nari Yella has a huge voice, that’s RB gospel leaning. Chole’s biggest strength is control, jazz inspired laid back feel. He said he was already torn in the rehearsal. He said “TV needs more black sisterhood.” He advised them to do more responding wise to each other and told them to notice of past performances by Mariah Carey and Whitney; and Monica and Brandi “The Boy is Mine.”
He advised Nari Yella to “not over shrink” herself ever and for Chole to “feel it” and show herself through it. Chole was still in training while on the show. She said she’s experiencing the lyrics of the song. Chance said they’re two amazing performers coming together at a higher level and he’s looking for who can take the song and make it their own and make it about themselves.
During the stage rehearsal, he was concerned because of all the pressure they were putting on themselves with the choreography. So, he changed it up.
After their Battle, Kelly called it one of her favorite Battles and Chole’s range is phenomenal. “It’s a different way of storytelling. Nari Yella tone “is so smooth.” She leaned towards Nari Yella. Blake said it’s so out of his lane but he does know this song. He said Nari Yella had the song by the throat and leaned towards her. Niall said it was phenomenal and Chloe is like watching a full time Pop Star and would love to sing harmonies with her. Nari Yella, the tones, there’s no stopping for gasps of air and then she can take the roof off the place.
Chance said he thinks of Chole as a recording artist and she has a strong Jazz influence. Nari Yella has a crazy tone and crazy control. they will have a lot of success. Chance based his decision on this Battle.
BATTLE WINNER: Nari Yella. Chance said it was one of the toughest decisions he’s made in the Battle round.
RYLEY TATE WILSON vs. MICHAEL B. (Team Niall)
Ryley said him and Michael clicked really well. Michael said he was “nerding out” that he was there with Niall. Niall said they had similar nuances with their voices. He gave them “Heartbreak Anniversary.”
The song is emotional, it’s R&B and has a little bit of soul.He feels that the guys have that in abundance. Ryley is still trying to get his driver’s license. He’s home schooled and likes the freedom in having more time to work on his music. Niall said Ryley Tate’s audition was incredible. He called him “gifted beyond his years.”
He said Ryley can ramp the song and Michael can sit in the R&B pocket a little bit. The best R&B singers are the ones that sit behind the beat. He wanted Michael B. to do that. Before Covid, Michael was in a Jersey Boys tribute concert where he was living out of a suitcase for three years.
During Covid, all of the live performance shows shut down. He got a job as a production assistant in the TV and commercial world. Then, he said the light of his career was dimming and he decided to go on “The Voice’ He hadn’t performed on a stage in years when he auditioned. Michael B said he was “going to hang his hat on performing” if he didn’t get a chair turn. Michael said Niall was his number one choice.
At 15, the harmonies were making Ryley’s voice crack a lot. Niall’s background of him working as a teenager helped him a lot. Niall said this Battle will come down to who listens to the notes the most and who makes him feel something.
After their Battle, Chance called it “insane” and one of the best Battles they’ve seen so far. He loved the arrangement and they have so much control. The fact that Ryley is only 15, that’s crazy! Chance told Michael that he “killed that” and chose Michael. Kelly reacted that Ryley has a raspy, airy falsetto that’s insane. “That’s crazy you’re only 15. You can’t even drive a car!” She told Michael “I don’t know why you weren’t a four-chair-turn.” Blake said he didn’t think he was there that day. Kelly said Michael’s runs were incredible and they should both be in the finale.
Blake said they knew Ryley would be incredible. For him, he thought Michael won that Battle because he was more comfortable being on stage. Niall said their performance was off the charts and they made the song their own.
BATTLE WINNER: Michael B. Niall said Michael brought that song to another level, and would have gotten a four-chair based off of that.
PLAYOFF PASS: Niall slammed down on his Playoff Pass button. Now Ryley will advance to the Playoffs, skipping the Knockouts!
TUESDAY NIGHT BATTLES:
Blake was the only coach left who still had a Steal left. Kelly said Blake always waits until the end to use his Steal. Blake tried to say that he forgot, “I’m so focused on my Team that I’m not thinking about adding to it.”
JEROME GODWIN III vs. TALIA SMITH (Team Niall)
Talia was excited and predicted that this Battle would be “epic.” Niall said they are his two “big voices” which is why he paired the two. Talia said Niall is definitely an “invested coach” because he reaches out
Jerome, who’s family is in dentistry, got promoted to Dental Assistant status. Jerome said his dad is very academic. His mom told him to do what his heart feels. He wants to make his parents proud and “not go off on the wrong road.” Kelly and Niall both turned for him in his Blind Auditions. He said Niall said a lot of great things that he connected with.
Niall gave them Sam Smith song “Like I Can.” Niall said it’ s a big song and challenging which allows them to take it off to a new level. Niall suggested reducing the arrangement to give Talia more time. He said his aim was to take the doubt out of Talia’s head. Her backstory was she was in a tough time after going through a miscarriage while her husband was deployed. When she got the chair turn from Niall, “it felt like validation.”
Jerome couldn’t go to the high notes that Sam Smith can. So, Niall said to make some different arrangements and reflections to make it their own. They lowered the key so Jeraome could soar on those high notes. Talia said she was excited to report that she is now expecting a new child.
Kelly thought “it was so well done” and Jerome had so much control over his runs. He wasn’t attacking them, he was letting them flow. Talia has the range and capability with performance. Chance said Jerome “smashed it. ‘ He could see him doing anything from gospel to musical theater. He told Talia there were a few pitch issues. The song was too uptempo for her. Blake said she felt more comfortable with bigger moments and there were a lot of “loose ends”. So, he went with Jerome.
Niall reacted that it was phenomenal and there were some pitch issues across the board. Talia did her own thing which is so admiral. He said Jerome put on an amazing performance. He said it came down to who had the most composure.
BATTLE WINNER: Jerome Godwin III. Niall said Jerome has been consistent from start to finish, and he has a lot of confidence.
JB SOMERS vs RACHEL CHRISTINE (Team Kelly)
Rachel sang Alanis Morissette “Uninvited” for her Blind Audition. Rachel said he loves Kelly Clarkson and had to go with her. JB also sang a big song for his Blind Audition. She told him that his “tone was incredible”
Kelly gave them the song “Light On” by Maggie Rogers. She heard singer-songwriters in the Binds, so she knew that would like Maggie Rogers. Kelly said Rachel’s tone “is so open and round.” Jamie has a beautiful tone that’s “pure and also a little broken.” JB said he wants to impact people’s lives by being his most true self. Rachel said she feels anxious a lot. But, now that she’s made it through, she feels that she’s supposed to be there.
During rehearsals, Kelly said Rachel sounded like a completely different vocalist and JB surprised her by showing “crazy range.” She thinks that they compliment each other well and it’s going to be her hardest decision.
Niall reacted that he could hear and feel the nerves, but her climax was “phenomenal” and it’s a tough decision for Kelly. He leaned towards JB. Chance reminded them that he turned around for both of them. He said Rachel was the clear winner because she has such a strong voice. Chance said she could win the whole competition. Blake said the beginning of the song wasn’t “on the rails” at first. Then it got there. He thought Rachel had the better performance.
Kelly said in rehearsals, she thought they should form a group. However, nerves set-in during the Battle and their rehearsals were better. She said one of them stood out more in the Battles. That was Rachel
BATTLE WINNER: Rachel Christine. Kelly said she’s a consistent singer and she has an incredible tone.
Blake was still holding onto his final Steal button. He said he’s going to “make it count.”
NEIL SALSICH (Team Blake)
Neil’s Battle partner had to bow out of the competition for personal reasons. Neil sang “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” for his Battle song. Neil automatically moved onto the Knockouts. In his Blind Audition, Neil was a four-chair-turn. Blake teasingly told Neil, “if you lose this Battle it will be the worst fail in history” and compared it to Adam Levine. Lol. Blake said Neil owned the moment and blew the coaches away.
RAY URIEL vs. NOIVAS (Team Chance)
Chance said he paired them because they’re both soulful singers. He compared Ray to Steve Lacy – people who are taking R&B in a different direction. Ray was a one-chair-turn. Noivas “has a Southern influence in his style” He was a four-chair-turn” Blake was Blocked. Chance turned all the names on the stage floor to his name.
Noivas, 30-years-old, just had another daughter. He’s a #girldad of an 18 month and a 3 month old. He said the main thing that matters is taking care of them and wants to show them that they can do something as incredible as this. Ray said he grew up where there was no financial security. His mom was inspirational. She showed him how to balance everything and to “go out and get it.” He had a job offer in Arizona,which was not what he saw for his future. Now he’s on “The Voice.”
Chance gave them “Jealous Guy” by John Lennon, the Donny Hathaway version. It was the first song that Chance sampled, called “Juiced.’ He thought it would be a good idea to see how they interpret the lyrics. They watched his “Magnificent Color Book” tour, to pull stylistically some of the things he does as a performer.
Chance advised them to “play to the crowd as well” and be proud to be performing. Noivas said to hear Chance’s critique was incredible. Ray said he couldn’t wait to apply some of the advice that Chance gave him. Chance said Noivas is dedicated to bringing the song and performance to life. He said that’s what every person wants to see.
After their Battle Kelly said “well-done” and thought the Battle was “pretty even.” She said Novias energy is infectious and he sings with his whole body. .She called Ray’s runs very cool and smooth, sneaky. “A really cool gift.” She thought Ray shined more in this song. Blake said Noivas energy was saying “pick me.” He’d go with Noivas. Niall said it was completely different from the original. He said Ray’s tone is insane. Nail said the size of Noivas voice is like a wall. He couldn’t decide.
Chance said it was a very difficult decision for him. He Blocked Blake over Novias. He has a passion and control over the stage. With Ray, he really held his own. There were moments where Noivas came down-stage and really performed. Ray went head-to-head with him.
BATTLE WINNER: Ray Chance said Ray has a contained sound and control over his vocals. He can pick the right record for him. He’d like to pick and choose what will show his strength.
STEAL: Blake pushed his Steal for Novias. Blake said he didn’t Steal him, he just brought him back home. “You’re home Novias Welcome home,” Blake yelled. Blake said he was able, “for once’ to get somebody back on his team who he thought should have been on his Team from the beginning. And it helped that Novias had a cowboy hat on!
In two weeks the Knockout round will premiere. The Mega Mentor is Country super-star, Reba McEntire. Reba first appeared on “The Voice” as Blake’s advisor in season one. Blake said “Reba is the Queen of Country music.”