‘The Voice’ recap: contestants mix & match styles to close out the Live Cross Battles

Beth Griffith-Manley performs on “The Voice”; Trae Patton/NBCThe Voice continued its new format of competition, the Live Cross Battles, for a second week on Monday night. Coach Blake Shelton has one steal left, and Kelly Clarkson and John Legend both have one save each, to be used during Tuesday’s live voting results.

Adam Levine kicked things off by choosing his team member LB Crew, who performed the spiritual “Wade in the Water.” He challenged Team Kelly’s Jej Vinson, a Filipino-American who covered “Versace on the Floor,” a song by his music role model, Bruno Mars.

Afterward, Kelly called it the best cross battle so far and Adam praised LB, telling him he “picked the best possible time to have your best possible performance.” Blake and John gave the edge to LB, though, with John finding it appropriate that LB “brought him to church” the day after Easter.

Up next, it was another even match between Team Adam’s Kalvin Jarvis and Team Legend’s Julian King. Kalvin sang “New Rules,” by Dua Lipa, while Julian performed a bilingual version of Adele‘s “Hello.” Kalvin’s performance went over well with Adam, who declared him a new frontrunner, while John observed that both male singers “chose to sing ladies from across the pond.” Kelly couldn’t decide between the two, but made the salient point that this season of The Voice has a particularly strong crop of singers, so winning on the show comes down to song selection and interpretation.

Then came the battle between best friends. Blake picked boyish-looking country singer Carter Lloyd Horne to perform, then challenged John, who matched Carter’s handsome looks with his own heartthrob performer, Jacob Maxwell. Carter sang the intense “Way Down We Go,” by KALEO, while Jacob went with “You’re Still the One,” by Shania Twain. Little did the coaches know, the two contestants are close friends. 

The singers were paired for battle because of their similar look and style, and admitted afterwards that it was a little disappointing because of the close friendship they forged offscreen. “Little heartbreaking,” said Carter about having to battle his best friend.

Kelly picked sibling trio The Bundys to perform next and issued her challenge to “Elmer Fudd,” aka Coach Blake. Asked by Kelly if he’s scared of The Bundys, Blake laughed it off, saying that “it takes three people to go against” Andrew Sevener.

Kelly complimented The Bundys on their cover of The Box Tops‘ “The Letter,” pointing out how hard it is to do sibling harmony, let alone in a live setting. She also dropped a hint that the song The Bundys rehearsed to sing next in competition is “killer,” portending whom she might use her last save on. Blake described Andrew’s performance of Travis Tritt‘s “Modern Day Bonnie & Clyde” as a person “strolling around the stage looking for loose change” and declared that he burned the house down with his voice, a strange analogy that Adam Levine was quick to point out.

Next came the most unique pairing in the Cross Battles. Team Legend’s Shawn Sounds, a Houston educator with a powerhouse voice, performed “Lay Me Down,” by Sam Smith. John challenged Blake, who chose a singer from the opposite end of the spectrum — the sunny-voiced Orange County native Karly Moreno. Blake said Karly has a “wtf factor” and called her performance of Marian Hill‘s “Down” a breath of fresh air. Meanwhile, John heaped praise on Shawn’s vocal range, saying that while he loved Shawn’s tenor, he had no idea he would sing “down there” in a deep baritone.

Team Adam’s last artist of the night was Kendra Checketts, whom he stole from Blake’s team. He challenged John again, who chose a singer John originally stole from Team Adam: Jimmy Mowery. John was a big fan of the piercing high notes Jimmy hit during his cover of “Mercy,” by Shawn Mendes. But the coaches were captivated by the pain and power in Kendra’s performance of “Cold Water,” by Justin Bieber, and Blake was sure to remind everyone he was the only coach to turn for her during her blind audition.

With only two artists left on Team Kelly, young country singer Rebecca Howell performed another Shania Twain song, “Any Man of Mine.” Her challenger from Team Legend was former Anita Baker background singer Beth Griffith-Manley, who dropped to her knees during her rendition of “I Put a Spell on You,” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

Afterward, John talked about Beth’s ability to move beyond her “polish” after a discussion they had during rehearsal to draw on the song’s raw energy of pain. Adam called Rebecca transformation into the show’s best country singer “the shock of the season.”

The final Cross Battle saw Team Blake’s Gyth Rigdon take on Abby Kasch from Team Kelly. Abby sang a lively version of “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun,” by Carrie Underwood. But it was Gyth who seemed to really impress, using his strong country voice to soothing effect on the mellow “Goodbye Time,” by Conway Twitty, a song Blake also covered as a young man. “This guy’s going to be in the finale,” Blake promised — the rare point with which Adam agreed.

The Voice returns Tuesday night at a new time, 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Tune in to see voting results for the Monday night Cross Battles.

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