Molly Stevens of Raleigh and Britton Buchanan of Sanford each got their shot at “The Voice” Battle Rounds on Monday.
In the Battle Rounds, singers are paired with someone from their own team in a duet. The coach then picks one “winner” of the round to advance. The losing singer can be stolen by another coach at that point, but that doesn’t happen too often.
Molly was up first in the show, so we’ll tackle that first.
Molly had strong competition with Justin Kilgore — he got a four-chair turn in his audition — and the two seemed to bond. Coach Kelly Clarkson gave them “Burning House” by Cam, and during rehearsal, Kelly told Molly, “Girlfriend, you’ve got one of the coolest tones I’ve ever heard.”
Singer Hailee Steinfeld, there to help Kelly mentor her singers told Molly: “You have this amazing raspy quality that’s so good.”
Molly then told Kelly why she thinks she and Justin connected on the song.
“We have a similar story so I think that’s what we’re kind of connecting on,” Molly said.
“What do you mean?” Kelly asked.
“We’re both gay, so this song and you picking it is … it’s been really special because we’ve both been in these broken places,” Molly said.
Hailee told them that she finds them both “incredibly inspiring” and Kelly added, “Maybe that’s why you’re great storytellers — you’ve struggled so much."
After the performance, the other coaches weighed in.
“I enjoyed hearing your twang,” Alicia Keys told Molly, and added that she would lean toward picking Molly.
Adam Levine thanked the duo for making him “feel something.” He said he might pick Justin if he had to choose, but praised Molly: “No one sings like Molly, you know when it’s you.”
Blake Shelton liked both singers, but had special praise for Molly.
“It’s crazy to hear her go from that hard-edged voice she has into that falsetto sound,” Blake said. “It’s such a new crazy sound that I’m not used to hearing, and I was very impressed with that. I’d probably go with Molly.”
Kelly told Molly that she has a “crazy, cool Indigo Girls-Melissa Etheridge-Patty Griffin greatness.”
But in the end — unbelievably — Kelly went against the advice of other coaches and picked Justin. (I’m trying really hard not to turn on Kelly right now.)
Molly was gracious. “Kelly, you’re awesome, thank you so much,” Molly said before her exit.
Britton, our 18-year-old senior at Lee County High School, is on Team Alicia Keys, and Alicia paired him with 16-year-old Jacklyn Lovey. The two sang Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud."
"Britton has this wisdom in his voice that's really honest and when you hear him sing, it's just pure singing," coach Alicia said of Britton during rehearsal. Mentor Shawn Mendes told Britton to smile a little when he sings and it'll help calm his nerves a bit.
Britton played guitar during the performance and as soon as he sang the first words of the song, he got screams from the crowd. He *killed* it — so good.
Immediately after the performance Adam and Blake argued over the fact that Blake blocked Adam from getting Blake during Blind Auditions. Blake told Britton he had done him a favor. Adam objected.
"You're just a badass dude and I'm so sad I didn't get a chance to work with you," Adam said. "I blame Blake entirely."
"Your singing and performance and stage presence are timeless," Blake said of the duo.
Kelly, who we're still a little mad at, heaped praise on Jaclyn and didn't say much about Britton.
Britton's coach weighed in: "Britton, you're only 18 years old but you have such a lived-in voice. I think that's something that's just so powerful."
Alicia also told Britton that he was better than in rehearsals, which means he performs under pressure.
Then the very wise Alicia Keys did the right thing (with all due respect to Jaclyn, who is great) and picked Britton to advance.
But no worries, Jaclyn fans, Blake stole her so she's still in.
Also from North Carolina
Chapel Hill native Rayshun LaMarr sang in the Battle Rounds last week, a member of Team Adam. Adam picked Rayshun so he'll advance to next week's Knockout Rounds.
Another Battle Round airs Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC. The Knockout Rounds start next Monday, April 2 at 8 p.m.