‘The Voice’ Recap: Battle Rounds Begin, And It Gets Violent

Coaches throw two of their singers into the ring, and practice the art of the steal.

And the battle begins! “The Voice” kicked off its second level of competition Monday night (March 17) with coaches Adam Levine, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton throwing two singers from their teams into the vocal gauntlet.

With the Band Perry (Team Blake), Miranda Lambert (Team Shakira), Aloe Blacc (Team Adam), and Jill Scott (Team Usher) as their guest mentors, the four coaches armed their contestants with singing chops and advice best fit for their first battle round, and were left with a tough decision when their artists rose to the occasion. Only one could win, but if the other coaches liked what they heard, they had the opportunity to steal the losing singer.

Here’s how night one of the battle rounds went down:

Stealing Second Chances
The first battle took place between Team Usher’s Biff Gore and T.J. Wilkins. The father of six and recent college grad (respectively) took on The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” and it was clear from the start of rehearsals that it was going to be a old school vs. new school battle. The two soul singers were evenly matched throughout the song, Gore’s rough and gritty texture pairing beautifully with Wilkins’ smooth voice. Usher declared a “relentless” Wilkins the winner, but it wasn’t long until Shelton hit his steal button for Gore, calling him a “once in a lifetime artist” he’d love to have on Team Blake.

When Team Adam’s rocker-turned-nanny Kat Perkins and grit singer Patrick Thomson threw down on the battle stage, it left all four coaches impressed, and Levine with one of his toughest decisions to make. Thomson’s “meaty” voice coupled with Perkins’ powerhouse vocals made for an interesting duet. Levine chose to stick with Kat Perkins and her ability to “command a room beautifully,” but it wasn’t the end for Patrick Thomson. Shakira stole the “timeless” singer, admitting she’s a “sucker for voices like [his].”

The third and final steal of the night came from the last battle to hit the stage: Team Usher’s Stevie Jo and Jake Barker. Their coach pushed both singers out of their comfort zone with their duet of “Higher Love,” and it blew all the coaches away. Even before Usher made his decision, Levine assured the young men that he didn’t care who won because the other person would be on his team regardless. With that said, Usher declared Stevie Jo the winner of the battle round, and after Shakira, Shelton, and Levine had a little battle of their own over the loser, Jake Barker landed himself a second chance on Team Adam.

Country Claws Come Out
Two of the youngest country singers duked it out for Team Blake’s first battle. Comeback kid Jake Worthington and high school student Lexi Luca both powered through their nerves while singing Thomas Rhett’s “It Goes Like This,” but Worthington showed the coaches a little more spark. Levine and the other coaches made note of his potential to soar and make it big in the music industry. Shelton declared the 17-year-old cowboy the winner, feeling confident that he can go far with proper coaching.

Duel of the Divas
Taking inspiration from Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera‘s mesmerizing season five finale performance, Shelton chose to pit singer Paula Deanda and Sisaundra Lewis against each other for an incredible duet of “Do What U Want.” Former pop singer Deanda held her own against the powerhouse vocals of Lewis, but Lewis really took Shelton and the Band Perry’s advice to “pick a moment,” blowing the entire room away with her high notes, and leaving her the winner of the battle round.