Much ado has been made about Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s long-running The Voice bromance, but it seems like Blake has been displaced. This Monday, as Season 16’s Battle Rounds kicked off, Adam seemed practically besotted with his new bestie, “amazing man” and Team Adam adviser Charlie Puth. The two workout buddies giggled about their meet-cute backstory and frequent sleepovers, and it was actually kind of adorable.
“We talk about this stuff anyway, so it’s just like sharing the world our relationship,” explained Adam.
“I met Adam on the PCH [Pacific Coast Highway]. I was driving down the street, and he was in my buddy’s car. I rolled down my window and I said, ‘Where you going for lunch?’ We stopped and had lunch. We became best buds ever since. We became very close, very fast. It just felt super-natural,” Charlie reminisced, before the two BFFs started riffing on some sort of improvised song about liking each other’s sweaters.
(This bromance is the real deal, people. I might as well think up a cute name-smash for them now. Leputh? Puthvine? Chadam? Let me mull it over.)
Adam and Charlie’s teamwork made the dream work and resulted in one of Monday’s best Battles, when Domenic Haynes went up against Trey Rose. Their intense performance of Aloe Blacc’s “I Need a Dollar” really felt like battle, with Trey almost tripping off the stage because he was going so hard. But the thing is, Domenic barely even had to try. Everything was, much like Puthvine’s friendship, just super-natural and in-the-pocket for him. Plus, Adam had blocked John Legend for Domenic during the Blind Auditions and once declared Domenic his favorite Voice singer ever… so Trey really never had a chance, despite his admirable effort.
“I’m going to make this decision based upon something that isn’t quite as harping on the technical, because this person has shown me something that I’ve never really seen before in what they do,” Adam said. “Domenic is indispensable. I can’t not have Domenic on my team.”
The other three Battle Rounds advisers were Khalid for Team Legend, Kelsea Ballerini for Team Kelly, and Brooks & Dunn for Team Blake. Here’s how the rest of the night panned out:
Team Legend: Matthew Johnson vs. Shawn Sounds
Matthew the smiley debt collector stole the show during rehearsals, but onstage, it was Shawn the singing teacher who had the edge. The two soulmen, both four-chair turners in the Blind Auditions, were fairly evenly matched on Luther Vandross’s “Never Too Much” (Adam likened this Battle to a “tennis match,” and John said, “Luther is smiling down, watching them sing it”), but while Matthew was smiling, Shawn was smizing. He simply sold it a little more, performance-wise. “I wish there was a button that you can push and it makes them be a duo for the rest of the season,” mused Blake. Hmmm, not a bad idea… but since such a button does not exist on this show, both Kelly Clarkson and Adam used their Steal buttons on Matthew, after John chose Shawn.
Winner: Shawn / Matthew moves to Team Kelly
Team Kelly: The Bundys vs. Mikaela Astel
Kelly’s song choice, Eva Cassidy’s “Songbird,” seemed to favor the Bundys, the first trio in Voice history — since Kelly had mentioned Cassidy, the Bundys’ favorite artist, to lure them to her team during the Blinds. Fourteen-year-old School of Rock prodigy Mikaela had been one of my one-to-watch auditioners this season, and while it was obvious that she was very nervous in this situation, outnumbered three-to-one (is that really fair?), I still thought her crisp, crystalline vocals cut right through the Bundys’ competent but generic harmonies and acoustic guitar. I was hoping that one of the coaches would steal Mikaela (or push some button that would make the Bundys and Mikaela be a quartet for the rest of the season), but alas, Mikaela was sent home. I would love her to come back after she completes a few more School of Rock semesters.
Winner: The Bundys
Team Blake: Gyth Rigdon vs. Rod Stokes
You might’ve thought that bar singer Gyth would be one with the advantage doing Mitchell Tenpenny’s “Drunk Me,” since church singer Rod confessed that he has never even been intoxicated before. But Rod’s rasp sounded convincingly whiskey-soaked anyway. I would have gone with Rod, but Blake was probably partial to Gyth, since he’d used his Block button on Gyth in the Blinds. Adam swooped in to steal Rod, though, and I think if Adam ever had a shot of beating his onetime bromance buddy Blake with a country contestant, it could be with Rod.
Winner: Gyth / Rod moves to Team Adam
Team Legend: Savannah Brister vs. Maelyn Jarmon
Adele’s “When We Were Young” is not easy to sing, but both these women were up for the task, despite Savannah being very young (only 17) and Maelyn being partially deaf and unable to hear herself. Khalid warned that this would be one of John’s toughest decisions, and he was right, because Maelyn and Savannah sounded glorious together and earned a standing ovation. (Where was that damn “Duo Button” that Blake suggested, when the show needed it most?) New York theater performer Maelyn was more polished and ready for prime time, so John chose her… but all was not lost for Savannah, who got a second shot on the Bebe Rexha-coached Comeback Stage team. (More on that in a few paragraphs.)
Winner: Maelyn / Savannah moves to Team Bebe
Team Kelly: Beth Griffith-Manley vs. Jej Vinson
Beth is more than double Jej’s age and descends from R&B royalty (her dad was a member of Motown’s Funk Brothers and used to play keyboards for Aretha Franklin), but this was an absolutely even pairing — not just in terms of vocal ability, but also maturity. The pair’s version of Labrinth’s “Jealous” felt like a Grammy night performance; their interplay was exquisite, both in unison and in harmony, and those runs were everything. “Damn,” reacted Adam, and “YASSSS!!” yelled Kelly, speaking for all of America. Jej’s vibe felt more current (he is in fact the most viral contestant of this season), but I am glad that both contestants got to stay in the game.
Winner: Jej / Beth moves to Team Legend
Team Bebe: Nathan & Chesi vs. Savannah Brister
Over on the Island of Misfit Toys, a.k.a. YouTube’s Comeback Stage, a.k.a. the Lay’s Recording Lounge filled with all sorts of weird pickle- and lime-flavored snack items, unpleasantly shouty country couple squared off with actually-very-pleasant-sounding Savannah. Nathan & Chesi did Dobie Gillis’s “Drift Away,” a song choice that was tired when Corey Clark sang it on American Idol Season 2, and Savannah took on Sara Bareilles’s “She Used to Be Mine.” Do I really need to tell you how this one panned out?Nathan & Chesi drifted away, right off the show.
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