'The Voice' recap: Three's a crowd

The Voice. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

The Voice. (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Jason MacNeil

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

An extra singer during some battles on The Voice Monday night made things tougher for the quartet of judges.

Adam Levine's team opened with Austin Ellis against Josh Kaufman. Both delivered dynamic work during Pharrell Williams' Happy although neither sported a Mounties-like hat like Williams. Ellis was more powerful but Usher, Shakira and Blake Shelton sided towards Kaufman. Levine thought Kaufman one-upped Ellis this time as well.

The spotlight on Shakira's team had Music Box (thankfully an alias) versus Deja Hall. The song, The Bangles' Eternal Flame, sounded more like enduring pain during rehearsals with both contestants butchering their way through the hit. Onstage, Hall, 16, exuded more presence than Box who tried to turn it into a diva-esque ballad.

Levine loved Hall's power at such a tender age while Shelton thought Music Box was better. Shakira lauded both before picking Hall. Usher quickly stole Music Box, leaving the singer and her son (Boom Box?) extremely grateful.

One of the strangest battles was from Shelton's stable, namely Audra McLaughlin against the duo of Alaska and Madi. After working out the kinks for Linda Ronstadt's version of The Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved, the duo and McLaughlin had their ups and downs when it mattered most. Shakira and Usher were undecided as neither truly stood out. Shelton, looking torn, decided McLaughlin won the battle over some over-the-top harmonies by the duo.

Levine also had a threesome of sorts with Dawn and Hawkes against Josh Murley. Murley looked like a third wheel initially on Stealers Wheel's Stuck In The Middle With You. Onstage the trio gelled instantly with Dawn and Hawkes oozing synergy. Murley held his own though, leaving Levine in a bind. Levine – who loved the duo's audition – stuck with Dawn and Hawkes. As for Murley, he was about to exit before Shakira stole him at the very last moment.

The sweetest pairing was the diminutive Madilyn Paige against the lanky Tanner James. The two youngsters – both from Utah and from the same school – never met before joining Team Usher. However they found chemistry in rehearsals, nailing Taylor Swift's Everything Has Changed.

Paige and James delivered the sugary ballad fantastically and resulting in a case “cute overload” as Levine dubbed it. Shakira said both were “amazing” and thought it was “sweet.” Usher felt the execution was great from both yet decided Paige had a slight edge over James in the “Romeo and Juliet” battle.

Finally Bria Kelly and Tess Boyer let loose on Janis Joplin's Piece Of My Heart. The practice session had Usher urging Boyer to get lost in the tune and lose the former NFL cheerleader mindset. Onstage both gave as well as they took with Kelly, 18, definitely oozing more confidence.

Afterwards Usher said he truly needed to feel Kelly's performance which he did in choosing her. Boyer's sad tears turned into happy tears once Shelton stole her.

 

 


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