The coaches finalize their teams in season 7's final knockout rounds

By Andrea Billups
November 04, 2014 08:20 AM
Advertisement
Image
Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC

The four teams on The Voice were finalized Monday. And thanks to a last-minute save by Blake Shelton, one Southern rocker – looking “hotter than ever” – could make a big splash when the live rounds kick off next week.

Craig Wayne Boyd, the charismatic Mesquite, Texas, native, heeded mentor Taylor Swift‘s advice to “take us to church,” commanding the stage with the Marshall Tucker Band’s classic heartbreaker “Can’t You See” and earning a standing ovation from Pharrell Williams.

Gwen Stefani ended up picking reggae singer Anita Antoinette over Boyd, but her makeover of Boyd freshened his rugged appeal and set the stage for a dramatic steal by Shelton.

By getting a haircut and a goatee trim and ditching his ’70s-inspired fringe jacket, Boyd looked – and sounded – so good that Shelton couldn’t hide his man crush. “It’s almost like you break up with a girl and the next week she comes back looking hotter than ever,” Shelton marveled.

Adam Levine also took notice of Boyd’s rockstar command of the stage. “You make me feel like a little less of a man singing that song,” he said. “You just wrestled it to the ground and said, ‘That’s right, dammit. I’m Craig.’ ”

After the show, Shelton couldn’t contain his excitement over nabbing a true country artist, Tweeting: “The Voice Honky Tonk is back in business, people!!”

A three-time winner of the show, Shelton will face stiff competition as the coaches set their final teams with five artists each. Moving ahead on Team Gwen was another favorite with the ladies, wholesome R&B singer Ryan Sill, who followed Swift’s suggestion that he “unleash the boy performer” and get the girls screaming with Kelly Clarkson‘s “Miss Independent.”

His pure voice, easy falsetto and charming smile evoked Justin Timberlake. And yes, there were screams. “I feel like the girls are gonna die,” Stefani said of Sill’s appeal, later noting: “I think your style is coming through now I can see you evolving in such an incredible way.”

Williams added his final competitor in Jean Kelley, who shocked him as she turned in a deeply emotional performance of Sia’s “Chandelier.” The judges could not look away.

“Gee, that was like a haunting performance,” Stefani told Kelley, who smoldered on stage in black tap pants and heels with her long, curly, flame-colored hair braided and cascading onto her shoulders. “It was an intense performance. I liked the theater of it.”

Levine said it left him confused, but in a good way. “When you sing, it’s like this really interesting combination with like the deep anxiety that I feel, then combined with a sense of relief.”

Williams was equally enthusiastic. “Jean, it was like a Broadway play on stage,” he said.

Moving on for Team Adam were Matt McAndrew and Chris Jamison, who kicked it old-school soul with Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.”

Stefani took notice that a young guy totally owned a throwback song. “Chris, at 20 years old, to come out and do this song in this new modern way I was just really impressed with that,” she said.

Shelton picked up another country artist in Taylor Brashears, who proved her own rock chops on a lilting and measured version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” that she easily claimed as her own.

“You do have amazing control, and also to have that amazing country sound it’s impressive,” Shelton said.

Shelton also nabbed the show’s youngest artist in Reagan James. Just 15, James showed major maturity and control on Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!).”

Strutting the stage, James confidently accentuated her performance with a little funky, shoulder-popping swagger. Her moves did not go unnoticed by Williams, who said he loved her precious “NaeNae” dance.

Shelton said he picked James because she seemed ready to pursue a career, even as a teen, and predicted a big future ahead: “I think she is one of the most important artists that I have ever had the chance to work with on this show,” he said.

The Voice continues on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET with a one-hour “Road to the Live Shows” preview.

Want more stories like this?

Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers:

Thank you for signing up!

Gwen Stefani’s Baby Don’t Lie is Today’s PEOPLE Pick – We Hit The Streets For Trivia on the Star