The Battle Round continued on NBC’s The Voice on Monday night, with celebrity mentors Julia Michaels, Trace Adkins, Shawn Mendes and Hailee Steinfeld guiding artists alongside Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson, respectively. The artists who advance from the battles will next compete in the Knockout Round.
The first battle of the night came from Team Blake. Shelton paired Kaleb Lee and Pryor Baird and had them sing “Don’t Do Me Like That” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Baird was a four-chair turn during the Blind Auditions, so Lee was feeling the heat. The song choice pushed both artists out of their comfort zones, but they both sounded strong in rehearsals.
In their battle, Lee and Baird both played guitar, which limited them a bit in terms of their ability to really work the stage. Still, they were very entertaining and evenly matched. Heys said she would choose Lee as the winner. Levine praised Lee’s subtlety, but said he would pick Baird. In an unusual turn of events, Shelton agreed with Levine and chose Baird as the winner. And then Clarkson swooped in to steal Lee, keeping both artists in the competition.
Team Adam was up next with a battle between Mia Boostrom and Genesis Diaz. Levine had them sing Clarkson’s own “Because of You,” which was a strong song choice for both powerhouse artists. Levine and Michaels pushed both of them to really make the song their own instead of singing too close to the original.
Boostrom and Diaz both gave a stellar performance, nailing the big emotional beats of the song without oversinging it. Both looked confident onstage and showcased impressive technical skills. It was another pretty even battle, so Levine was left to make a tough decision. Keys compared Diaz to a lioness. Levine thought Boostrom had the tighter technical performance, so he chose her as the winner. Diaz went home.
Team Kelly’s country-leaning artists Justin Kilgore and Molly Stevens followed. Clarkson had them sing “Burning House” by Cam. Clarkson pushed them to really tell a story with their performance and to be present and connected throughout.
Kilgore and Stevens played off each other brilliantly in their battle, connecting on an emotional level while also blending their vocals well. Keys was struck by the warmth they emanated onstage. Shelton brought up the fact that he turned for both artists during the Blind Auditions, but when Clarkson made her decision, he didn’t opt to steal. Clarkson crowned Kilgore the winner, and Stevens went home.
Team Adam was back up with a battle from Miya Bass and Drew Cole. He had them sing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” pushing both artists to lean into the rock sides of their voices. In rehearsal, Michaels remarked that both would have to make it their own again.
Though they come from different genre backgrounds, the two artists sounded really great together. The song choice favored Cole, but both rose to the occasion and delivered a dynamic and charismatic battle, leaving Levine with another difficult decision to make. Levine said he felt most connected to Cole and chose him as the winner, but Keys was right there to steal Bass from Team Alicia, which will hopefully be a better fit.
Team Blake was up again with a battle from Jordan Kirkdorffer and Wilkes, who were singing “Nobody to Blame” by Chris Stapleton. Shelton admitted the song choice was suited for Wilkes but also remarked that he wanted to push Kirkdorffer, who was up to the challenge, working hard in rehearsals to not be outshined by Wilkes.
In the battle, Wilkes did seem the most confident, but both artists gave it their all. It wasn’t the most memorable performance of the night, but it was a straightforward and crowd-pleasing country performance. Keys favored Wilkes, and Shelton ended up agreeing, sending Wilkes through to the Knockouts.
The final battle of the night came from Team Alicia. Teen artists Britton Buchanan and Jaclyn Lovey sang “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, and as usual, Keys came up with a brilliant arrangement. Keys wanted to see vulnerability in their voices, and she pushed them to take risks with their singing in rehearsals.
For their battle, Buchanan and Lovey both brought the heat, blending well while still fighting to stand out. Their performance was original and memorable, making for an exciting battle that meant anything could happen. A steal seemed inevitable. Keys chose Buchanan as the winner, and sure enough, Shelton stole Lovey in the third steal of the night.
The Battle Round concludes Tuesday night. What did you think of Monday night’s performances?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.