The Battles began on The Voice Monday, with a new set of mentors (Usher, Darius Rucker, Normani, and wil.i.am) and a new rule allowing coaches to save one contestant each from elimination. But before all that, there were a few more Blind Auditions, including one form Season 17’s new heartthrob, Matthew McQueen. He may not be related to Steve McQueen, but he had undeniable star power -- with a pretty face and a pretty voice to match plus just the right about of darkness and edge.
“He kind of looks like a combination of Tom Cruise and Christian Bale. You're like a very handsome movie villain,” John Legend told Matthew. “Like a vampire. You could be in a vampire movie,” said Kelly Clarkson, who seemed a little flustered as she called the 21-year-old indie-pop crooner “so cool and sexy -- I mean, not in a weird way!” Blake Shelton compared Matthew’s modern-sounding vocals to that of another heartthrob, Shawn Mendes. So I guess music really was in Matthew’s, um, blood.
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Matthew’s cover artist-of-the-moment’s Lewis Capaldi’s weeper “Someone You Loved” was haunting, and not just because he looked like Lestat while singing it. I was impressed by his sense of dynamics, the way he started soft and subtle and built the song to its anguished crescendo, instead of starting at full volume. It was a sophisticated and nuanced performance. “You got better and better and you kept it classy, you kept it tasteful. When you get into that rasp -- like, whew,” Kelly marveled.
It seemed like Kelly might be on her way to a third victory by getting Matthew on her team, but unfortunately for her, Blake also turned around. He made a very good case, noting that three of his past six winners were not country singers, stating, “It doesn't matter what lane your coach is in. It's what lane your coach can put you in.” Combine that with the fact that Grandma McQueen had dreamed that Blake would turn for Matthew, and it was a done deal. Now Blake might win again with another non-country artist. “With his range and his pocket -- this guy is a threat to this entire competition,” Blake proclaimed.