‘The Voice’ Recap: Shakira Steals Two Contestants As Battle Rounds Begin

Thanks to three steals from the judges, only three contestants were sent home in the first battle round of the season Monday night.

After weeks of chair-swiveling, members of Team Usher, Shakira, Adam and Blake kicked off battle rounds on Monday night’s episode of “The Voice.”

In battle rounds, two contestants from each team compete in a sing-off, and their judge has to give one of them the boot. If axed from the competition, the other judges will have the option to save two disqualified contestants with a steal. Guest mentors include Pharrell Williams (Team Usher), Joel Madden (Team Shakira), Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum (Team Adam) and Sheryl Crow (Team Blake).

Team Adam’s Amber Carrington and Sasha Allen were first, choosing Pink’s emotionally torn “Try” as their battle track. When push came to shove, Levine went with 19-year-old Carrington’s tender styles over Allen’s power pipes. But Usher and Shakira quickly took to their red buttons to snag the 30-year-old classically trained pianist. Flattered by her save, Allen pondered on the decision before sticking with her gut and joining Team Shakira.

In a smooth transition into her evening duel, Shaki’s teammates Garrett Gardner and J’Sun were up next. Sitting aside Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden and his purple hair, the blonde bombshell offered advice as the duo rehearsed Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” While 26-year-old J’Sun added a rock edge to his soulful suited voice, Shakira wanted season two’s Gardner to add a little more dynamics to his offering. Surprisingly enough, Shakira chose Gardner to advance to the next round, sending Brooklyn native J’Sun back home.

Blake Shelton’s team was next in line, so a Carrie Underwood song selection didn’t seem too surprising — especially when his contestants Holly Tucker and Michelle Raitzin were set on living up to title of the tune (“Blown Away”). Asked why he decided to match these two contestants together, Blake explained that the power and range between the two of them would make great live music. It was a high-energy belt-off, but ultimately Tucker’s country-dripped identity that made her the leading lady for this battle. “It makes more sense bringing her forward with me to the live round,” Shelton said of Tucker.

Another female pairing was next courtesy of Team Usher’s Jess Kellner and Taylor Beckham. Despite the fact that both women repped the state of Texas, Usher and Pharrell Williams were set on challenging them with Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” Neither contestants entirely particularly sold the performance the way he wished, but he ended up choosing Kellner to advance, which left an emotional Beckham on the stage. But the 17-year-old quickly wiped her tears when Shelton surprised her with a steal.

Team Blake’s Christian Porter paired up with the Swon Brothers dueled with “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty. The Swon Brothers oozed more friendly spirit than competitiveness, and Shelton knew they were the type of artists he works best with.

Last but certainly not least were Michael Jackson duet partner Judith Hill and music school teacher Karina Iglesias of Team Adam, a pairing Levine described as “a great idea and a terrible idea because they’re so good.” The girls proved it’s actually a woman’s world with the James Brown classic “It’s a Man’s Word.” In the best battle of the night, Hill and Iglesias were met with the night’s only standing ovation. But with only one contestant to choose from, Levine announced Hill as his winner, citing her “charisma and confidence.” But Shakira smacked her red button to steal Igesias from Levine. “I used my last steal to get Karina and I’m so happy that she’s on my team,” the singer said.

Moving On
» Amber Carrington (Team Adam)
» Sasha Allen (Team Shakira – stolen from Team Adam)
» Garrett Gardner (Team Shakira)
» Holly Tucker (Team Blake)
» Jess Kellner (Team Usher)
» Taylor Beckham (Team Blake – stolen from Team Usher)
» The Swon Brothers (Team Blake)
» Judith Hill (Team Adam)
» Karina Iglesias (Team Shakira – stolen from Team Adam)

Going Home
» J’Sun (Team Shakira)
» Michelle Raitzin (Team Blake)
» Christian Porter (Team Blake)

What was your favorite battle round duet of the night? Tell us in the comments.