This new round pitted contestants from opposing teams against each other, thus effectively doing away with the team quotas that have traditionally been in place until the free-for-all top 24. As a result, after two weeks of Cross-Battles (which pared the top 32 down to the top 24 moving on to the Live Playoffs), Adam’s team has practically been decimated. While his longtime rival Blake Shelton will head to the Playoffs with a whopping eight contestants (actually the same number he started with), and Kelly Clarkson and John Legend each have six, Team Adam’s ranks have already been thinned to a mere four singers.
Here’s a stunning leaderboard graphic to drive this point home. Blake still has so many contestants that his last one, Andrew Sevener, won’t even fit on the screen:
That doesn’t mean that Adam has no shot. Three of his hopefuls — Domenic Haynes, Kalvin Jarvis, and Mari — are three of Season 16’s most interesting artists. Meanwhile, the other coaches all definitely have some fodder. Perhaps as the Playoffs play out, this playing field will become more level. But if there is strength in numbers, then it looks like Blake is on his way to a seventh victory.
These were the final Cross-Battles results of the season, announced Tuesday:
LB Crew (Team Adam) vs. Jej Vinson (Team Kelly)
I think LB gave the stronger performance Monday, and considering how well religious songs do on The Voice, I was surprised that Jej won this round. Jej himself seemed downright shocked. I do think Jej’s fresher vibe has more long-term competitive potential, so I wasn’t necessarily upset by this result. But I will say there are other contestants, less worthy than LB, who skated through the Cross-Battles this season. Which brings us to our next result…
Kendra Checketts (Team Adam) vs. Jimmy Mowery (Team Legend)
Power-singer Kendra wiped the NBC soundstage floor with the oddly affected Jimmy on Monday, but somehow Jimmy ridiculously prevailed — presumably because of his boyish good looks, because it surely wasn’t because of his boyish voice. Adam didn’t have a Save left for either LB or Kendra, but thankfully Blake, Kendra’s original coach, swooped in to use his only Steal here. “It’s time for Kendra to come home,” Blake declared. (Side note: If you’re keeping track, this was Adam’s second loss of the night, and the episode was barely past the first commercial break.)
WINNER: Jimmy / STOLEN: Kendra moves to Team Blake
Shawn Sounds (Team Legend) vs. Karly Moreno (Team Blake)
This was another seemingly sledgehammering showdown, with Shawn belting a soulful Sam Smith ballad and Karly just scatting randomly and looking lost. This time, America got it right. But poor Karly didn’t get even a hypothetical chance at redemption — her coach didn’t have a Save, and the other coaches didn’t have Steals — so there was no suspenseful countdown clock during her goodbye speech. Man, if I were a contestant on this show, I’d definitely want my Cross-Battle to take place in week one. These second-week contestants were screwed.
Carter Lloyd Horne (Team Blake) vs. Jacob Maxwell (Team Legend)
These best friends were “heartbroken” to have to compete against each other, but hey, this ain’t RuPaul’s Best Friends Voice. Carter was clearly the superior singer of the two, so America got it right again. But then John decided to use his only Save on Jacob — which really surprised me, considering that at this point, the fate of one of Team Legend strongest contenders, Beth Griffith-Manley, was still unknown. Maybe John just wanted keep Carter and John’s bromance going. Maybe this really is RuPaul’s Best Friends Voice.
WINNER: Carter / SAVED: Jacob stays on Team Legend
Kalvin Jarvis (Team Adam) vs. Julian King (Team Legend)
Kalvin gave one of the most compelling and creative performances of the season with Monday’s dark, anguished interpretation of Dua Lipa’s "New Rules.” Adam even said it turned him into a “frontrunner,” and America agreed. Nothing comes between this show and its Kalvin! I look forward to see what he does next. I don’t know if he’s a frontrunner, per se, but he may be Adam’s only hope.
Rebecca Howell (Team Kelly) vs. Beth Griffith-Manley (Team Legend)
This was the big bummer result of the night. Rebecca was completely outclassed by Beth’s spell-binding “I Put a Spell on You” this Monday, but America got it wrong this time and of course went with the generic country girl over a raw, fiery soul goddess like Beth. Kelly, Beth’s original coach, seemed crestfallen to see Beth go, telling her, “You gave a hell of a performance last night. You are crazy-talented. If you ever want to sing with me, please tell me.” I totally believe Kelly would have used her Steal if she’d still had one. John truly blew it by squandering his Save on the mealy-mouthed Jacob.
Gyth Rigdon (Team Blake) vs. Abby Kasch (Team Kelly)
I preferred Abby’s feisty-filly Carrie Underwood cover Monday over Gyth’s Conway Twitty karaoke, but of course America’s core country fans sided with Team Blake. Would Kelly use her one Save, or would she hold out in case her Bundys were jeopardy later? Sorry, Bundys, but Kelly made the right call here. “That Gretchen [Wilson] vibe you have, it is so important for women, especially in country. And I think what you represent is so fresh on the show,” Kelly told Abby, explaining, “I didn’t want to risk losing you.”
WINNER: Gyth / SAVED: Abby stays on Team Kelly
The Bundys (Team Kelly) vs. Andrew Sevener (Team Blake)
The Bundys were the first trio to ever compete on The Voice, but their short chapter in the series’ history book ended this Tuesday, when America predictably (but in this case, correctly) voted for Blake’s capable country crooner.
So, there you have it. Tune next week, when the unevenly distributed top 24, plus newly announced Comeback Stage winner Kanard Thomas, compete in the Live Playoffs.
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