Camila Cabello has been doing a bang-up job as The Voice’s new coach, overseeing arguably the strongest team of this season. But she’s still working on her comic timing, especially when it comes to sparring with Blake Shelton the way past coaches Adam Levine or Kelly Clarkson used to. This led to an awkward — if still (unintentionally) amusing — moment during Monday’s Battle Rounds, when Camila proved she is not the G.O.A.T. of comedy.
Blake’s contestants Kate Kalvach and Madison Hughes had just performed, and Blake mentioned that on Season 22’s premiere episode, he’d brought out a furry, hooved team mascot, an actual goat, to lure Kate to his team. (Because Blake is supposedly the G.O.A.T. of The Voice, get it?) Blake admitted that “the whole goat distraction” that night had prevented him from realizing just how truly talented Kate is, at which point Camila randomly interjected, “I actually brought my goat today. Bring him out!”
But there was no goat… and a long, squirmy silence ensued. On a heavily edited show when producers are usually constantly adding in canned laughter and audience screaming, that pause was super-uncomfortable — at least for Camila. “This crowd hates me,” she chuckled self-deprecatingly, her face growing as red as her dress and hydraulic chair.
“She’s on fire, folks,” John Legend deadpanned.
“Would you guys please laugh at one of her jokes?” Blake admonished the audience. “Just one of them?”
But when it came to coaching, Camila dead serious, and seriously on fire. During her one Battle of Monday night, she made the right call, advancing one of the most interesting artists of the season to the Knockout Rounds. The same decision-making savvy was not necessarily exercised by the other coaches this evening. So, Camila may well be having the last laugh this season.
Here’s what happened during Monday’s Battle Rounds:
TEAM GWEN: Kique vs. Tanner Howe, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”
“I picked a song that I love, so you better not mess it up,” Gwen Stefani warned Kique and Tanner during rehearsals. I am not sure if they fully heeded her warning; Gwen and her team adviser Sean Paul were put off by the liberties both singers took with the melody of this “perfect song.” By the time Kique and Tanner made it to the stage, they’d gotten a little closer to the Breakfast Club original, with both of them nailing that super-high “hey!” that had tricked them up in rehearsal. But the result was still like some cheesy, John Hughes-themed dinner theater revue. Gwen eventually went with 18-year-old “diamond in the rough” Kique, but suffice to say, Kique is no Jim Kerr. I actually would like to forget about this particular Battle. Everyone should just go listen to Simple Minds’ excellent new album Direction of the Heart, which came out last week, instead of watching this.
TEAM BLAKE: Hillary Torchiana vs. Kevin Hawkins, “Preach”
How shady of Blake to give these singers a John Legend ballad — when, as Blake noted, John always gets “weird when someone does his song.” But John was actually delighted with this Battle, particularly with Kevin’s performance, since he’d wanted Kevin for his team all along. (Gwen blocked John during Kevin’s Blind Audition, prompting him to lament, “A piano teacher who sings Stevie Wonder, and I don’t have a chance to fight? I wish I could work with you, Kevin!”) John even gave this “Preach” performance a standing ovation, shouting, “I loved it!” Hillary held her own with a solid performance – “These guys did an incredible job and sticking to the plan and representing the song,” said Blake — but Kevin, one of the most dynamite entertainers of Season 22, pretty much blew Hillary off the stage. “You knew you had a tall task going against Kevin,” Blake admitted, as he made his obvious decision. So, alas, John didn’t get the chance to use his Steal; maybe he can steal Kevin in the Knockout Rounds.
WINNER: Kevin Hawkins
TEAM CAMILA: Sasha Hurtado vs. Devix, “Electric Feel”
Camila dubbed this pairing her “left-of-center indie duo,” and I appreciated her assigning them MGMT’s mid-aughts indie-sleaze classic. They sounded gorgeous together on the downtempo, folksy arrangement – John declared this his favorite Battle of the night so far — and technically, Sasha showcased more range and dynamics. But Devix had such a unique and damn sexy voice, so he was the clear standout. The moment Devix started rasping, he was giving me Miguel/Maxwell vibes, and he had Camila and John purring and even grunting in approval. Camila told Devix, “You have a strong vision of who want to be as an artist. … It sounds like this could have been your song.” Gwen actually raved to Devix, “I didn’t even know that someone could sing that beautiful!” So, it was no surprised that Camila kept Devix, but I was a little surprised that Gwen spontaneously stole Sasha. ”It was just too good. … You just need a little bit of love to push you in the right direction,” Gwen explained to her.
WINNER: Devix / STOLEN: Sasha Hurtado moves to Team Gwen
TEAM LEGEND: Kim Cruse vs. David Andrew, “Heartbreak Anniversary”
I loved David’s cool-cat vibe and style on this Grammy-esque Giveon duet, but as John lamented, David “delivered what he was supposed to deliver” and was “flawless,” but “his problem was he was going against Kim.” Declared by all four coaches as possibly the best vocalist of Season 22, Kim even had Camila raving, “This huge dragon comes out of you. … It was just masterful. You’ve got one of the best voices I’ve ever heard.” Blake told Kim, “You are an elite vocalist. We don’t see many artist on this stage who can do all the things you can do.” It was totally understandable why John picked Kim, of course, but David deserved another shot. Gwen, who had turned and fought for David in the Blinds, seemed very charmed by the stylish and superfly David, so I really wished she hadn’t impulsively used her Steal on Sasha just minutes earlier. David would have been a fab addition to Team Gwen.
WINNER: Kim Cruse
TEAM BLAKE: Kate Kalvach vs. Madison Hughes, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
The reedy-voiced Madison had more bite on this Poison power ballad, and I totally dug her attitude (her “yeah, it does” one-liner was kind of fierce). “I swear there’s a little Elvis in your voice,” Blake even told Madison. But as was the case with David Andrew, Madison had the sad disadvantage of going up against one of the best singers of the season. “There’s something really sweet about [Kate’s] voice and how connected she is,” Blake explained. As mentioned above, Blake actually lured Kate to his team with a goat mascot, so he had to double down and keep this G.O.A.T. on his team.
WINNER: Kate Kalvach
TEAM GWEN: Alyssa Witrado vs. Ian Harrison, “Happier Than Ever”
Gwen had a soft spot for both of these contestants: Ian was her first team recruit of the season, and Alyssa auditioned with No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak.” And Gwen’s decision didn’t get any easier once this epic Battle began. While Billie Eilish’s whispery, staccato vocal style was right in young Alyssa’s wheelhouse, Ian did a remarkable job of embracing the song’s “quirkiness and weirdness” and “letting that theater and personality come out.” All of the coaches were especially impressed by how Ian ramped up his vocals at the end, a moment that Blake called this duet’s “shock factor.” Gwen even told Ian, “Your kind of voice for a male is my favorite kind of voice.” But then Gwen made another last-minute impulse decision. “I tell you, 10%,where I’m leaning right now is not what I thought I was going to do today,” she confessed. “I absolutely did not know this was going to happen.” And so, Gwen picked Alyssa over Ian. But the episode had a happy ending when John stole Ian. And everyone was happier than ever… until the brutal cuts continue during Tuesday’s Battle Rounds.
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