“It was certainly a woman’s world tonight,” host Carson Daly said after power vocalists Karina Iglesias and Judith Hill threw down on the James Brown classic, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”
Soaring, impassioned and fierce, the divas-in-training matched up perfectly, putting on a clinic of sorts in a performance that had judge Blake Shelton “freaking out.”
“You guys were connected from the moment you first came out,” said a grinning Usher.
In the end, Adam Levine, who had coaching help from Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott on this week’s show, settled on Hill, a former back-up singer for the late Michael Jackson whose polish and star wattage is undeniable.
But not all was lost for the spunky Iglesias. Shakira quickly hit the “steal” button to snap her up, thrilling the audience and Iglesias, who now remains a top contender on Team Shakira.
Shelton paired quirky bar singer Christian Porter against country duo The Swon Brothers on Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” While Porter practiced hard and hit initially difficult high notes, in the end Shelton, who had judging help from Sheryl Crow, chose the brothers, saying they were from Oklahoma, like he was, and their connection was strong.
Shelton also had a tough time with two other team members: Holly Tucker and Michelle Raitzin.
“You both pushed each other and you both challenged each other,” Usher said after the girls battled over Carrie Underwood‘s hit “Blown Away.”
In the end, Shelton went with Tucker. “I have to go with what I’m good at and that’s country artists,” he said.
Usher, who enlisted the help of Pharrell Williams this week, challenged Jess Kellner and Taylor Beckham to captivate the crowd with Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” He ultimately picked Kellner – but added a warning.
“I can’t say that you both came out here and 100 percent lit it on fire the way I know that you can,” Usher told them. “I want to make you understand – the work is only going to get harder from here.”
Garrett Gardner, 17, of New Jersey, bested 27-year-old J-Sun of Brooklyn, N.Y., in Shakira’s battle round.
“I almost felt like you guys were having a sermon up there,” said Usher of their tight duet.
Meanwhile, Amber Carrington beat out her Team Adam competitor Sasha Allen as they faced off on the Pink hit “Try.” Levine said Carrington “really exceeded my expectations.” But Allen, a back-up singer for John Legend and Alicia Keys, was quickly stolen by Shakira.