Carson Daly called it “THE MOST EPIC BLOCK EVER!” Well, it was definitely the most epic catfight between two ex-American Idol contestants on The Voice, I’ll give him that.
Since they started sitting side by side this Voice season, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson have a been a cute buddy act, bonded by their shared reality TV past on that other Show That Shall Not Be Named. But when Kelly used her one Block of the season to prevent Jennifer from recruiting gospel diva Kymberli Joye, what ensued was an Idol showdown every bit as cutthroat as Ruben vs. Clay, David vs. David, or Adam vs. Kris. And The Voice ’s usual two rivals, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, seemed to love watching the action from the sidelines.
It’s understandable that both Kelly and Jennifer wanted Kymberli: The church-trained singer is this season’s Judith Hill-style pro, having toured with Grammy-nominated gospel group J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise and sung backup for Childish Gambino. It’s also understandable that’s why Kelly was worried Jennifer would prevail: Kymberli’s evangelical, masterful performance of Whitney Houston’s “Run to You” was total J.Hud Productions material. Jennifer was so bitter over Kelly’s Block-age, she even tried to persuade Kymberli to go with Blake (who had also turned)!
In the end, Kymberli did go with Kelly, but she made it clear that Jennifer had been her first choice. My guess is that Jennifer — the one coach who hasn’t yet used a Block this season — will exact her revenge later.
Here’s who else got through this otherwise ho-hum Monday — none of whom, to be honest, were Blockworthy:
Dave Fenley, 39: “Help Me Hold On”
Dave is an everyman bar-band singer, Texan-born and Nashville-based, singing a Travis Tritt in gruff Kris Kristofferson voice. He seemed like Team Blake material through and through … until he started beat-boxing.
Who turned? “I’m counting on ol’ Blake to come through for me, but Kelly Clarkson, she knows her country too. So I would love for both of them to turn,” Dave said. He got his wish, but Kelly turned a lot sooner than Blake, surprisingly.
Result: Team Blake. It looked like Kelly had a chance, but Dave’s Blake Shelton-stanning mama made the final call.
Steve Memmolo, 35: “Spooky”
This Boston wedding band singer seemed like … well, a wedding singer. The dated American Idol circa-Season 2 song choice, smarmy delivery, and Men’s Wearhouse suit didn’t help.
Who turned? Surprisingly, Adam Levine — who insanely/blasphemously compared Steve with Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson — and Jennifer.
Result: Team Adam. It doesn’t matter; I predict Steve will be Battle Rounds fodder.
Audri Bartholomew, 19: “Never Enough”
Loren Allred is one of The Voice’s secret success stories, because the Season 3 contestant originally sang this Greatest Showman power ballad. Is Audri destined for similar glory? She certainly has a big voice, as evidenced by the way she held her own next to Jennifer in their “impromptu” duet.
Who turned? Oddly, only Jennifer.
Result: Team J.Hud.
Rachel Messer, 19: “I Wanna Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart”
Rachel was giving me total RaeLynn/Mary Sarah vibes with her bottle-blonde perkiness and retro rodeo sound. She’d be entertaining in Branson, but her Hee-Haw outfit and yodeling made her seem like a novelty act.
Who turned? Kelly and Blake. No shocker there.
Result: Team Blake. Also not a shock.
Chevel Shepherd, 16” “If I Die Young”
This tomboy was named after the car, not the alt-rock band, but she seemed like a baby rock star anyway. Her performance of the Band Perry weeper was nervous and tentative, but her rasp and breaks were undeniably distinctive.
Who turned? Kelly, Jennifer, Blake.
Result: Team Kelly! After desperately trying to land a female country singer this season, Kelly, who likened Chevel to Dolly Parton and Sarah McLachlan, finally succeeded.
Delaney Silvernell, 21: “In My Blood”
Delaney is a high school wrestler from a family of wrestlers, but her vocal style was gentle and sweet. And she brought the power, even to the point of sounding Clarksonesque. This was the one performance of the night that really grabbed my attention.
Who turned? Only Kelly, surprisingly.
Result: Team Kelly.
Anthony Arya, 15: “Danny’s Song”
This long-haired teen busker was Sawyer Fredericks 2.0, with his lilting voice, chill hippie attitude, and folksy style. But he’ll need to crank up the energy to stand out this season.
Who turned? Adam. And that’s it. What’s up with all these one-chair turns so early in the season?
Result: Team Adam. But Anthony loves Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, and the Stones, so he’s with the right coach.
Natasia Greycloud, 29: “I’m Not the Only One”
Natasia has a big voice, but with her awesome name, I expected her to exude more stage presence. Maybe with the right coaching she could have potential.
Who turned? Kelly and Jennifer. This time, they kept things civil and didn’t fight.
Result: Team J.Hud. Perhaps Kelly should not have made that self-deprecating mention of the not-Oscar-winning From Justin to Kelly in an attempt to break the ice.
Lynnea Moorer, 18: “Location”
This charismatic YouTuber with the interesting indie-girl, rounded-voweled voice actually seemed like a contemporary hip-pop star.
Who turned? No one! Adam thought the song was too ambitious and the performance too unfocused.
Result: Team Kelsea. After Kelly asked her to sing a ballad, Lynnea’s a cappella verse of Adele’s “Someone Like You” earned her a spot on the Island of Misfit Toys, aka the fifth “Comeback Stage” team coached by Kelsea Ballerini. I actually thought Lynnea’s Khalid cover was cooler.
Come back Tuesday for more Blind Auditions … and to see if Jennifer and Kelly make up.
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