Instead of having eight singers on their teams as playoffs kick off, each coach has been tasked with downsizing to five — four battle winners, and one final steal. After revealing their opponents, the coaches gave the singers a list of three songs to choose from, and the pair got expert advise from Coldplay's Chris Martin before duking it out one last time on the battle stage.
Here's how the first night of the newest level of competition went down:
Sign, Sealed And Stolen
With only one steal available for each coach, Levine, Shakira, Usher, and Shelton swore they would hold out until they were blown away. Well, that didn't take too long for Shakira and Usher, both using their steal that first night.
The first steal happened when Team Blake's Jake Worthington and Tess Boyer hit the stage. It was a battle of "second chances" as Shelton's comeback cowboy and second steal pick duked it out. Shakira praised Boyer for being a "revelation to all of us" and Levine compared their performance to one he would see at the Grammys. After admitting that he now fears for his liver due to the tough decisions he'd have to make, Shelton declared Jake Worthington the winner. But it wasn't long until the other three coaches hit their steal button for Tess Boyer. She landed herself a spot on Team Shakira.
For the final performance of the night, Levine sent out his "monster of a voice" Delvin Choice and his smooth crooner Josh Kaufman. After on rehearsal, Levine knew he'd made a "stupid" decision, and guest mentor praised the pair for being "game ready." Their battle stage performance of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" was no different, both singers dropping their mic and beginning to walk off stage as they received a standing ovation from all four coaches. Usher declared it the performance of the night, while coach Levine admitted that no matter whom he chose, he would still lose a potential winner. In the end, Levine gave the battle to Delvin Choice, but Usher hit his steal button in no time to pick up Josh Kaufman, saying that he was "invested with who [Josh] is."
A Little Country, A Little Rock-n-Roll
Team Blake's Audra McLaughlin and Megan Rüger kicked off the night with Miley Cyrus' "The Climb," a song that coach Shelton deemed the "theme song for everybody on this show." Shelton compared McLaughlin's country background coupled with Rüger's rock edge to a duet with Pat Benatar and Trisha Yearwood. The singers took Martin's advice and brought out their "McJaggers," both giving powerful and heartfelt performances. After a long internal battle, Shelton declared Audra McLaughlin the winner.
"Are You Ready to Fight?"
Team Usher's soul singers Cierra Mickens and T.J. Wilkins left their coach grinning from ear-to-ear throughout their performance. The singers had no shortage of power and finesse to their voices, and both took Martin's advice to connect with one another on that stage. Shakira could do nothing but bow to the Wilkins and former team member Wilkins, and Shelton praised the artists for making him believe what they were singing. Usher declared T.J. Wilkins the winner.