The coaches praise the star potential of Blake Shelton's comeback kid, Jake Worthington

By Andrea Billups
March 18, 2014 06:30 AM
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

The first night of battle rounds on The Voice exposed one thing about the Season 6 coaches. They are quickly looking to be strategic and showed it with their steals.

Blake Shelton went after an old-school soul singer with a trademark high kick, Biff Gore, a father of six, who lost his battle to soulful T.J. Wilkins on Team Usher.

Shakira picked up a Joe Cocker-esque blues man, Patrick Thomson, who fell in a tight contest against Kat Perkins from Team Adam.

And after Usher landed himself a baby-faced metal rocker in Stevie Jo, Adam Levine stole heartthrob Jake Barker.

Joining the coaches this week were new mentors, with Shelton’s wife Miranda Lambert joining Shakira, the Band Perry teaming up with Shelton, Jill Scott pairing with Usher and Aloe Blacc joining Levine.

Coming up strong, once again, was Sisaundra Lewis, 44, a mother of three from Orlando – and former vocal director for Celine Dion – who overshadowed battle partner Paula DeAnda, 24, of San Angelo, Texas.

Lewis opened up her vocal power on the Lady GagaChristina Aguilera duet “Do What You Want,” hanging onto a sustained note at the end that had the coaches on the edge of their seats.

“That high note. Wow! It’s just unbelievable,” Shakira praised.

It also got the attention of a rapt Shelton, who quickly chose Lewis to continue on his team. “That note is just my gosh.”

Lewis was moved by the accolades. “At this stage in my life it’s certainly surreal,” she said through tears.

Comeback kid Jake Worthington of La Porte, Texas, who auditioned but failed to turn chairs on Season 5, offered his newfound polish in his battle with Florida’s Lexi Luca. The dueling 17-year-olds harmonized sweetly on Thomas Rhett’s “It Goes Like This.”

“Jake, I think your talent coupled with who [Blake] is and what he does, it’s a very good combination,” Levine said. “I could see you take this whole thing.”

Shelton, who chided Worthington for messing up the song’s lyrics a bit, agreed. “There’s just something about Jake. I think he could be a star.”

Shakira held onto a strong vocalist in Dani Moz, 26, who works at an L.A. public relations agency, praising her “fire.” Moz knocked out DeShawn Washington of Louisiana in a close battle on Emeli Sande’s “My Kind of Love.”

No one seemed to want to let go of Barker from St. Petersburg, Fla., whose sex appeal and skill had the remaining three coaches battling to steal him after he lost his battle round on Team Usher, singing Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” against Stevie Jo.

Last week, Barker, 28, confessed that his blind audition was his first stage performance – ever – shocking the coaches.

Levine telegraphed that he was going after Barker in the steal before Usher even made up his mind. “I did win The Voice last season,” he bragged as he sought the stunned Barker’s attention. “I think we are definitely like-minded in some ways we both have tattoos.”

Shakira, however, went for the name-check. “Jake, you reminded me of Justin Timberlake. I love your voice and I can introduce you to Rihanna.”

After a tepid pitch from Shelton, Barker chose Levine. “There’s a lot of raw talent there,” the Maroon 5 singer said. “He’s really new at this, which to me is shocking. This guy can do it all.”

The battle rounds continue Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.