“The Voice” Season 8 got started on the competition portion of the show Monday when it began the Battle Rounds. So far, the rivalry between the coaches has been all smack talk, but now the four artists are getting the chance to steal singers from opposing teams.
The two-hour time block began with the final round of blind auditions. Several singers came out to try to get at least one of the judges to turn their chair around and add them to their team. After a rocky start to the season, Adam Levine became the first coach to fill his roster. He was followed soon after by Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and, finally, Blake Shelton.
Unfortunately for some of the aspiring contestants, the teams filling up meant that a handful were competing in the hopes of turning specific chairs that already had their buttons deactivated. This made for a lot of chances for the coaches to taunt each other.
One contestant, who eventually went to Team Pharrell, had Levine lamenting that he couldn’t accept any more people. When the contestant revealed that he met Levine several years ago and was too chicken to give him a demo CD, the coach practically melted with regret.
“He’s exactly like me,” the Maroon 5 singer said.
“Except talented,” Blake responded sharply.
As the blind auditions drew to a close, the show didn’t want to let any of the coaches get too comfortable with full teams and devoted the last hour to the first three battle rounds. The judges paired two members of their own team to sing a duet and then had to choose which one would stay. It’s not always the end for those who aren’t picked as the other coaches have a limited number of steals, which some used to adopt the fallen onto their team.
The first to choose between his own contestants was Team Pharrell. Battling it out were Ashley Morgan and Mia Z. After some help from team mentor Lionel Richie, there were no wrong answers once their stellar performance began, but only one could prevail. Despite the advice of Aguilera, Pharrell chose Mia Z to stay, leaving Morgan up for grabs. Before “The Voice” host Carson Daly could finish introducing the concept of a steal, Adam Levine hit his button. The next thing you know, Blake Shelton hits his button as well. It’s unclear if he was motivated by Morgan’s outstanding performance, her incredible vocals or simply the chance to show up his rival coach. In any case, the intense stare-down between the two became a moot point. When Aguilera decided to steal the contestant for herself, Morgan was all too happy to join Team Xtina.
“You pointed out to her that there were more episodes left,” Shelton said to Levine after the stage was clear. “How can you say such mindless things for so long?”
As the crowd gasped at the dig, Levine stood up and gave the country crooner the kind of look you give someone before you either kiss them or punch them. Luckily for Shelton (or possibly Levine), Adam found a happy medium between the two and sat on his rival's lap to give him a hug.
“I can’t stay mad at you,” Levine joked.
The next battle didn’t have such a happy ending. Team Adam, with the help of guest mentor Ellie Goulding, put singers Tonya Boyd-Cannon up against FedEx delivery driver James McNeiece. Levine made the very tough call to keep Cannon, leaving McNeiece’s fate to the three judges who, unfortunately, decided his time was better spent delivering packages than singing on the "Voice” stage. Just like that, Levine waved bye-bye to the first Battle Rounds contestant eliminated.
The night ended with Brian Johnson and new father Joshua Davis going head-to-head in a soulful rendition of Bob Dylan's “Knockin' on Heaven’s Door” that left Team Blake guest mentor Meghan Trainor in tears during rehearsal. After the dynamite duet, Shelton chose Johnson to move on to the next round. Not forgetting the attempted steal from earlier, Levine was quick to scoop up Davis, much to the delight of his wife and children, who were standing in the crowd.
With the Blind Auditions over and the Battle Rounds just beginning, Tuesday night will see more contestants from all four teams go head-to-head. Meanwhile, the coaches will continue to steal from one another in the hopes of building the best finals team.
Tune in to “The Voice” Season 8 on NBC at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC.