The Battle Round continued on The Voice tonight, with coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus working with celebrity mentors Joe Jonas, the Rascal Flatts, Kelly Rowland and Billy Ray Cyrus to prepare the next crop of artists for heated duets. Duet partners had to work together to craft a cohesive and entertaining performance but also fight to stand out so they could advance to the Knockout Round.
Three exciting steals kept a few fortunate artists in the competition despite losing their Battles. Team Adam was up first, with Brandon Brown and Jon Mero singing “I Wish It Would Rain” by The Temptations. Mero, who received a four-chair turn during the Blind Auditions, sounded the strongest in the initial rehearsal, but Brown improved a lot by the last rehearsal, leveling the playing field. Their final performance had great momentum, both artists showcasing the fullness of their voices. They both seemed very comfortable on stage, and Levine was left with a tough decision. He chose Mero, and Brown went home.
Next up was a Team Blake Battle featuring Red Marlow and Ryan Scripps. They sang “Fishin’ In The Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, a song choice that better suited Marlow’s more classic country sound. Scripps was out of his comfort zone, but it was clear in their final performance that he was a more versatile artist than Marlow and had a more interesting tone. Marlow almost seemed gimmicky. But he also came off as someone who will connect with Team Blake’s existing fan base, so it wasn’t surprising when Shelton picked him as the winner.
The all-female Team Miley was up next with another girl power performance from Addison Agen and Karli Webster. Cyrus had them sing “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, coming up with a slowed-down arrangement for them. It was different and memorable, both artists bringing their all to the Battle, which was one of the strongest of the night. Webster came out on top, but both Hudson and Levine swooped in to try and steal Agen. “You want to keep this girl power going,” Hudson said. But Levine won her over, and Agen joined Team Adam. In Battles that were not aired in full, Shelton picked Anna Catherine DeHart to advance over Kristi Hoopes, Hudson picked Jeremiah Miller to advance over Alexandra Joyce, and Levine picked Emily Luther to advance over Gary Carpenter.
Team Jennifer’s Shi’Ann Jones and Stephan Marcellus were up next with a duet of “Oh Darling” by The Beatles. Marcellus, who forgot some of his lyrics in his Blind Audition but still managed to impress Hudson with his recovery, had to prove that he was capable of remembering his words this time around. Both artists seemed a bit nervous in rehearsal, but Rowland and Hudson worked with them to boost their confidence, and the arrangement suited both of their singing styles. Both artists sounded strong and looked experienced in their final performance, and both have impressive range. Levine suggested it was a tie. Hudson picked Jones as the winner, and then Cyrus stole Marcellus, making him the first male artist to join Team Miley this season. Cyrus wanted to see more from Marcellus in this competition.
Team Adam was back up with Anthony Alexander and Michael Kight singing “I Feel It Coming” by The Weeknd and Daft Punk. Kight came to The Voice with more professional experience than Alexander, who is only 17-years-old, but Alexander comes from a family of musicians and entertainment industry workers and has been gigging since he was 11, so he’s no stranger to the stage. It was an unexpected pairing, but it worked. The two artists blended well together in their final performance, which was a pretty even match. Alexander’s vocal wasn’t perfect, but as a young artist, he showed a lot of potential.
It was a bit of a surprise when Levine chose Alexander. Kight, unfortunately, went home. For the final Battle of the evening, Team Miley’s Janice Freeman and Katrina Rose faced off with a duet of “W.O.M.A.N” by Etta James. Billy Ray Cyrus compared both rockers to Janis Joplin, but most of the actual coaching was left to Miley, who encouraged Freeman and Rose to blend better with more balanced dynamics. It was another strong Battle to end the night on, with both artists showcasing their strengths and leaving their coach with a tough decision to make. Freeman won the Battle, but Hudson jumped at the opportunity to steal Rose, so both remained in the competition. The Battle Round continues tomorrow night on NBC. What did you think of tonight’s steals?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.