After 16 seasons on The Voice (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/MT on CTV TWO), there have been multiple coach changes, but two constants have been Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. This year the two reality show veterans are joined by Kelly Clarkson for the third time and new coach John Legend, who has been quietly making his mark. Very quietly. Or, maybe everyone seems quiet next to Levine, Shelton and Clarkson. While there have been times when we’ve questioned why Levine chooses to continue being on The Voice, with his frustrations with Shelton, the audience, and sometimes his own team members getting the best of him, Shelton has somehow never shown signs of workplace fatigue. And as he displayed on Monday night’s battle between Kim Cherry and Kendra Checketts, Blake is a great coach for country musicians et cetera. Kim and Kendra are the et cetera.
While Shelton’s team does tend to veer more towards the country side of music, because nine CMA Awards and eight CMT awards will do that, he’s continually pursued both country and non-country artists. It’s paid off, with Shelton’s most recent victory on The Voice care of retro pop singer Chloe Kohanski. So when R&B singer and rapper Kim Cherry picked Blake over Kelly on this season’s Blind Auditions, we weren’t surprised. Okay, we were a little surprised, but Kim has obviously been watching The Voice. Being a great singer is one thing, but being a great coach is a totally different ballgame. *Sidenote: Kelly Clarkson is also a great coach. Kim was in a win-win situation.
As for Kendra, she was one of the Blind Auditions this year that had us questioning whether the buzzers were broken on the chairs of the other coaches. Blake was obviously onto something when he was the solo chair turn for Kendra after her stunning performance of Demi Lovato’s “Sober,” with both Adam and John fighting for a steal following Monday’s performance.
It was beginning to feel like the producers who book Blake’s celebrity advisors haven’t caught up to Shelton’s friendly cross-genre coaching style, but maybe we’re the ones who haven’t caught up. Like Shelton, this year’s advisors, Brooks and Dunn, were able to offer advice to all of Blake’s team members, regardless of whether they performed country. but it was still hilarious to see the two country legends jam along to Kendra and Kim performing Alessia Cara’s “Here” during rehearsals. “Can you imagine me and Brooks and Dunn trying to coach these two?” said Blake following the Battle Round. “They were like, ‘I’ll be damned. That’s pretty good.’”
Blake may not have all of Alessia Cara’s album (though he should), but he knew the right song for his artists and he knew how to coach them to get the best performance out of both women. “You have to be talented to do that song,” said Blake. “You have to have pocket, pitch, personality. To do it right, you have to have all of those elements and then add in the passion that you two have.”
Our favourite piece of advice from Shelton came near the end of his comments and didn’t have anything to do with pitch or song choice or genre. “I tell all my artists on my team every season, it’s like, man, don’t let this go by. Very few people on earth have ever performed on something like this,” said Shelton.
His advice especially resonated with Kim, who spoke to the cameras following her winning performance, saying, “That performance was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. Blake is amazing and I can’t wait to sing on that stage again.”
When both Adam and John pushed their buttons to steal Kendra, Blake was on stage hugging Kendra before host Carson Daly had a chance to finish announcing the double steal. That’s the sign of a coach who truly wants the best for his artist. You don’t have to be ‘country til I die’ to find a great coach in Blake Shelton. But you do have to be okay with man hugs.
And while we give Adam Levine a hard time, his coaching of Celia Babini and Karly Moreno on Monday’s episode was the best we’ve seen from him in a long time. Great song choice (finally!), great vocal pairing, and great positive advice during rehearsals (voices crack, don’t worry about it). Fingers crossed for the return of the not-crabby Adam Levine we fell in love with years ago.
NIGHT TWO OF THE BATTLE ROUNDS
Dexter Roberts (Winner) vs. Dalton Dover
Kim Cherry (Winner) vs. Kendra Checketts (Stolen by Team Adam)
Presley Tennant (Winner) vs. Rizzi Myers
Julian King (Winner) vs. Denton Arnell
Celia Babini (Winner) vs. Karly Moreno (Stolen by Team Blake)
LB Crew (Winner) vs. Ciera Dumas
Watch The Voice Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV TWO. Catch up with new episodes online the day after broadcast. The Voice returns to two nights per week starting Tuesday, April 9.