The Voice: Gwen Stefani Makes a Strategic Steal as Battle Rounds Conclude
The coaches finalized their teams heading into next week's knockout rounds
Gwen Stefani is one sly stealer.
The No Doubt frontwoman was the only Voice coach to have a steal going into the final night of the battle rounds Tuesday – and she used it with aplomb to steal one of two “divas” who performed a commanding rendition of the Christina Aguilera hit “I Turn to You.”
Coach Adam Levine paired four-chair-turning Beth Spangler, 30, an X-ray technician from Aiken, South Carolina, against fellow four-chairer Mia Pfirrman, 19, of Temple City, California, because “there’s only room for one belter on my team,” he said during rehearsal.
But their powerful performance left the veteran coach with a difficult decision, as all four coaches praised their battle match-up.
“That was definitely a couple of divas up there giving it all they had,” declared Blake Shelton, who called out the “raspy roughness that blows your mind” in Pfirrman’s voice.
“Mia, this song I felt was way more suited to your voice and you sang it so beautifully and confidently,” said Stefani. “And Beth, you kept surprising me. All of a sudden you’d do a note and I’d say, ‘Wow, she has a lot of potential. She really is a good singer.’ ”
A pained-looking Levine ultimately chose Pfirrman – but the night didn’t end there for her opponent.
A defeated Spangler kept her bright smile as she hugged the coaches one last time, and when she embraced Stefani, the coach cunningly leaned back and pressed her button for the steal.
“She was showing her range,” Stefani explained of her decision. “And clearly she has a real presence to her. She could go really far.”
The two singers weren’t the only winners on the show Tuesday.
The evening kicked off with a strong pairing from Team Pharrell, who pitted jazzy 21-year-old Boston music student Brittany Butler against Ricky Manning, a 19-year-old Florida native who moved to New York to pursue his musical dream.
The duo sang “On Broadway” and both brought their strengths to the classic tune.
“Ricky, I am so impressed to see you realize being soulful in your own way is okay,” coach Pharrell Williams said after the performance. “Brittany, I felt like you reserved it at first, then let it fly.”
Levine praised Manning for making a “huge leap” from what he heard during the blinds, then couldn’t help pointing out how much he looked like Joaquin Phoenix.
Williams ultimately chose the movie star look-alike, explaining he selected Manning “just because I’ve seen so much improvement.”
Shelton faced another tough choice as he was forced to choose between teen singers Kensington Moore, 16, of Nashville, and Reagan James, 15, of Burleson, Texas, who performed “Team” by Lorde.
Moore battled kidney stones during rehearsals, which forced her to miss the final dress rehearsal with advisors Little Big Town, but managed to keep up with the soulful James during their battle performance.
“I have no idea what you are going to do,” Williams said to Shelton after the song, while also praising James for “playing it cool” after she dropped a word but didn’t panic.
Levine also praised James for “walk[ing] up here like you’ve been a pop star for 20 years – and you’re 15 years old,” while commending Moore for having a voice “that really filled this entire room.”
In the end, Shelton chose James, explaining, “I just got to go with my gut on this one.”
The Voice‘s knockout rounds kick off on Monday (8 p.m. ET) with special advisor Taylor Swift.