'The Voice': A Show-Stopping Battle Round Duet Gets a Standing Ovation From the Coaches
By Meredith B. Kile
The Battle Rounds are in full swing on season 19 of The Voice-- and one of Tuesday's epic matchups blew the coaches away!
The showdown came between two of the singers on John Legend's team: John Holiday, a 35-year-old professor of music from Rosenberg, Texas, and Julia Cooper, a 21-year-old singer from Poland, Ohio. The two have totally different musical backgrounds and singing styles, but Legend proved his coaching prowess in pairing them together on an unexpected song, Stevie Wonder's "Summer Soft."
The complex tune -- which Legend called "expert level" -- was a showstopper, highlighting Holiday's otherworldly range and Cooper's soulful sound and bringing the coaches to their feet for a rare standing ovation.
"That was amazing!" Gwen Stefani raved. "That was so entertaining, and weird in the best way."
All the coaches praised Cooper's impressive vocals, particularly Kelly Clarkson, who highlighted the young singer's "unexpected" choices and impressive control in her upper register, but Holiday was clearly the standout.
"I have no words for you," Stefani praised. "I don't even understand how you're real."
"You're a force on this show," Blake Shelton agreed. "I mean, you have a gift."
For his part, Legend thought his team members both "knocked it out of the park," praising Cooper's progress from the Blind Auditions: "What you've shown is leaps and bounds ahead of where you were."
As for Holiday and his "immense gift," the coach noted, "There's just no one they can compare you to. The world needed to hear your voice, and we're so lucky that you came here and that we were able to give you this opportunity to be heard and be seen, because you deserve it."
Ultimately, Legend did choose Holiday as the winner of the Battle, but immediately chose to save Cooper as well. "Obviously, John is such a unique talent, but you showed us so much with your soul, your musicality, your uniqueness," Legend explained to the elated young singer, who will move on to the four-way Knockout battle, where four singers -- one from each team -- compete for the remaining spot in the live shows.
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‘The Voice’ Returns for Season 19 Despite the Judges Battling Personal Struggles
The Voice looks a little different this season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with safety glass distancing the coaches and team members and separate performances spaces on stage for the Battle Rounds. But Stefani noted ahead of the season how excited the coaches were to be back in any capacity, bringing some music and joy into people's lives.
"I think that being able to sit down and watch a show that's so inspiring and will bring inspiration to people, it will definitely bring joy," she noted. "Music is the heartbeat of human beings, so I feel really blessed to be here and to be a part of that and to be able to connect around America on the TV."
"Maybe the reason there's so much talent is that a lot of people are kind of paused and they get to kind of, you know, follow the dream in a way they didn't get to because maybe they're working or they were in school," she added. "I think there's kind of a different kind of group of people this time because of the opportunity that we are all paused in the world right now."
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC. See more on this season in the video below.