‘The Voice’ recap: The battles begin and two steals are already doled out

Tonight, The Voice‘s quartet of coaches complete their teams with the last leg of blind auditions before quickly beginning to disassemble them, shuffling the most steal-worthy contestants around by way of the battles. Alongside team advisers CeeLo Green (for Adam Levine), Thomas Rhett (for Kelly Clarkson), Halsey (for Jennifer Hudson), and Keith Urban (for Blake Shelton), the coaches prepare their duos for a night of duking it out, and already the competition is pretty fierce. Let’s take a look at the last-minute team additions and who battles it out to remain on their squads.


Emily Hough (16 – Petersburg, IL)
“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell

Adam Levine’s last addition is Emily Hough, a springy folk singer whose country influence is evident in every elongated vowel she utters. Hough’s is a pretty twee version of this song, sure, but she’s got enough gravitas thanks to her pristine head voice and consistent choral flow throughout to impress both of the guys. Levine, in particular, is eager to recruit her above fellow chair-turner Blake Shelton — he even runs up to give her a hug before Blake can start trying to charm her. Adam believes he can help her take that “pure” vocal sound far in this competition, and he’s already hearing her sing a Linda Ronstadt power ballad next in his mind. And even though she’s got the weight of her whole town’s fandemonium nudging her in the direction of Team Blake, Adam’s enthusiasm and insistence that she’s right to round out his team wins the day.

Team: Adam Levine.

Josh Davis (20 – Cleveland, TN)
“Too Good at Goodbyes” by Sam Smith

This former Christian boy bander is trying to break away from his church roots and move in the direction of more “secular” pop singing. Luckily for him, he’s able to show something solid beneath a few shaky moments and severe note misses — his runs are pretty, and he’s got a good ear for escalations — and since Kelly Clarkson is desperate to add a dude to her team, he’s her man.

Team: Kelly Clarkson.

Lisa Ramey (33 – Brooklyn, NY)
“Beautiful Trauma” by Pink

Blake Shelton is probably right to say that if Lisa Ramey had auditioned earlier in the process, she probably would have gotten through. The cabaret show singer has a strong voice, and even if she is pitchy in some spots, her big, brassy tone is still a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to earn her one of the precious few team spots left, but the coaches do encourage her to come back when she’s honed in on some of the note control.

Team: N/A.

Katrina Cain (29 – Denton, TX)
“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac

This newlywed has a diverse history in the industry already; she writes music for an electropop band that’s been featured at SXSW and she also does jingles for a local country radio station. So, when she takes the stage to present her own version of “Rhiannon” she smartly draws it back and allows some of those scattered influences to shine through. Adam Levine tells her that, were it not for him and Kelly Clarkson’s teams already being full, she would’ve been a four-chair turn. Alas, she’ll have to settle for just getting two enthusiastic coaches vying for her attention. Her voice is clean and strong and has a bell-like quality, but there’s also a little twang in there, and although Jennifer Hudson is interested, she opts to see where Team Blake can take her.

Team: Blake Shelton.

Matt Johnson (26 – Staunton, VA)
“Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross

Talk about a closer. Matt Johnson’s personal story is enough to reduce anyone to mush; not only is he helping his mom with her cancer battle, but he’s also been trying to get to this stage for all 15 seasons. Yep, FIFTEEN TRY-OUTS LATER he is here. As fate would have it, he’s also the last person chosen in this season’s blind auditions, when Jennifer Hudson hears enough in his soulful voice to offer him her last spot. Matt might have a few things to work on — he needs a less rushed and rigorous song choice, for one thing — but JHud likes the fact that he’s willing to go for it with the stuff of legends like this, so with that, the teams are all full!

Team: Jennifer Hudson.

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.

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