Blake Shelton's country boys went head-to-head in Monday's Battle Rounds -- and Kelsea Ballerini had to step in!
The country star paired up two of his youngest team members for the first night of the Battle Rounds: 17-year-old Ethan Lively and 20-year-old Avery Roberson. Both small town singers have voices well beyond their years, so Blake and his season 20 celebrity mentors, Dan + Shay, set them up with a new country classic, "Just Got Started Lovin' You" by James Otto.
"This song is tricky to sing, and it comes right out of the gate challenging you on your lower register," Blake noted. "Ethan is this very, almost in your face, confident cowboy, while Avery is more introverted, very thoughtful. They're completely different as far as their artistry goes."
"Girls are gonna go nuts for these dudes," Shay teased, telling Ethan and Avery, "I can't imagine being back in your hometown."
The pair wowed all of the coaches during their performance, with Blake exclaiming, "That's what steals are made for!"
And it did seem like a steal was imminent, with each coach unable to make up their mind about which singer Blake should choose.
"I think in this moment, Ethan did a little bit better," John Legend noted, "but the song played to his strengths."
"That's kind of a non-answer," Nick Jonas teased. Check out the full battle performance below!
Guest coach Kelsea Ballerini, who was standing in for Kelly Clarkson while she was out sick, gushed about both singers as well. "I feel like I got serenaded and I'm blushing," she said of the pair.
Ultimately, Blake said his strategy was to make a decision "based on what I just saw," and so he chose Ethan to move on to the Knockout Round. However, Avery was then available for a steal, and Kelsea made it happen on behalf of Team Kelly, hitting the button after checking her phone.
"I'm over here texting with Kelly, and she's like 'You have to get him for me!' Kelsea shared, telling Avery, "I'm really excited, because you're so talented!"
Later on the phone, Kelsea and Kelly celebrated some more. "I think that you're gonna bring him out of his shell and make everyone regret their choices," Kelsea praised.
ET spoke with Kelsea ahead of the season 20 Battle Rounds, and she detailed how her last-minute involvement in this season of The Voice came together in "the biggest whirlwind" when Kelly fell sick.
"I was home in Nashville and got a text from Kelly at like 9pm, like, 'Hey girl... I'm not feeling well. I don't have COVID, but with the protocols, don't feel safe going to set, could you cover the Battle Rounds for me?'" Kelsea recalled, noting that saying yes meant she had to be in Los Angeles the next day to start filming. "So I got on the plane, studied everything and watched everything. Landed, hair and makeup, set, said hi to Nick Jonas and John Legend and Blake Shelton, got in Kelly's seat and said, Fake it til you make it!'"
Thankfully, Kelsea had some kelp from Kelly herself, who was watching a livestream of the Battles and texting her notes, "and picking on Blake the whole time," she added with a laugh.
"I really enjoyed it," Kelsea shared, though she couldn't tease much about what moves she got to be a part of on Team Kelly. "I didn't have the time to get nervous, 'cause it was so quick, and that's good for me. If I know something's coming up, I mull over it and I get so nervous and anxious, so it was actually a real blessing. But yeah, I really liked sitting in the seat, I'm not gonna lie."
The Voice airs Mondays at 8 p.m. PT/ET on NBC. See more from season 20 in the video below!