• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

'The Voice': Blake Shelton avoids inflicting 'emotional pain' on this steal-worthy singer

·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Blake Shelton is known for using his steal at the last possible second on "The Voice."

"When Blake steals, he usually goes for the drama," Kelly Clarkson said Tuesday during the fourth and final night of Battles, where each coach gets one steal and one save. John Legend added, "Your strategy is to put them through as much emotional pain as possible and then rescue them."

Shelton couldn't deny his questionable tactics, playfully explaining that he prefers to "beat (singers) down and then build them back up how you want." (Case in point: Last year, Shelton made a contestant cry after using a last-minute steal to "scare some stage presence" into her.)

Ariana Grande joked the contestants "will be in therapy for the next 30 years unpacking this moment." But Shelton didn't waste one second snatching up Team Legend's Jonathan Mouton following an incredible battle against Paris Winningham.

Last night on 'The Voice': Ariana Grande says she's 'going to quit' after singers nail 'Car Wash'

Mouton and Winningham equally tapped into the "storytelling, passion and connection" on Luther Vandross' "Here and Now," so much so that Clarkson, Shelton and Grande couldn't offer Legend any advice on who did better.

"I normally will stick my neck out and say who I would choose, but I don’t know," Shelton said. "I choose (host) Carson (Daly)."

Clarkson said she was "playing ping pong the whole time" between the singers. Grande called the mind-blowing duet "witchcraft" and said she's "also going to be of no help." Shelton asked for an encore: "Man, I want to hear it again." Legend said picking a winner "was almost like a coin toss." He ultimately dubbed Winningham the winner.

But Mouton wasn't eliminated. He joined Team Shelton, who used the last steal of the Battles: "You’re not leaving. What are you talking about."

"They had such an incredible performance. I was going to use my steal on either one of those guys, to be honest," Shelton admitted after Grande said he "had to" steal him. "She was bullying me."

That was just one of the many hard decisions the coaches made Tuesday.

Clarkson found herself in a similar predicament following The Cunningham Sisters' and Parker McKay's rendition of Lesley Gore's "It's My Party."

"It’s a difficult one because everyone sounded so beautiful on this," Grande said. Clarkson added, "I know I have to make a choice. Man, I’m so bummed right now."

Shelton offered Clarkson some guidance: "You want my advice? Quit."

Clarkson ultimately picked the Cunningham Sisters, made up of 14-year-old Marie and 15-year-old Macie, as the winners because of the siblings' "confidence and precision at such a young age." (Clarkson previously won Season 14 with Brynn Cartelli, who was 15 at the time, and Season 15 with Chevel Shepherd, who was 16 at the time.)

Although it "was really hard to watch Parker go home," Clarkson said her "team is so stacked this season" that "even the ones going home could have eventually made the finale."

"The Voice" contestants move one step closer next week with the start of The Knockouts. Ed Sheeran will serve as the mega mentor for the Knockouts.

More: Ed Sheeran says his new 'coming of age' album will drop in October

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'The Voice': Ariana Grande 'bullies' Blake Shelton into using steal