‘The Voice': Blake Shelton Helms First Battle — and an Unexpected Steal!
It's time for The Voice season 16 Battle Rounds, which started Monday (March 25)! Everyone loves this particular segment of the show, which has the coaches pitting their team members against each other in epic duets—and training them with the help of celebrity advisors.
Team Blake Shelton, which of course is the country cornerstone for the show season after season, enlisted iconic duo Brooks & Dunn to help groom the hopefuls. "I brought in Brooks & Dunn as my advisors this season because these guys are legends in country music and just music, period," explained Shelton. "These guys have accomplished everything musically that you could ever dream of.
"When I was in high school, they were the biggest thing going, and I wanted to be them," he elaborated. "Their music has influenced the next generation of country music."
Shelton put the duo to work on a formidable pairing, Gyth Rigdon vs. Rod Stokes. "I paired Gyth and Rod together because they're my powerhouse country singers," he explained. "Gyth leans more of today's country sound that you hear on the radio at the moment. Rod is more traditional... but they both have a ton of energy."
Both of the singers were overwhelmed at the prospect of working with B&D. Stokes, in particular, let it all hang out: "Oh, my God!" he yelped. "I'm the biggest Brooks & Dunn fan ever. I have to say that, outside of marrying my wife, [this is the] greatest experience of my life." (He later sheepishly admitted, "I was kind of, like, fangirling.")
Stokes had another golden moment when, upon being told that he'd be singing "Drunk Me" by Mitchell Tenpenny, noted: "I've never been drunk before. This oughta be good."
Rigdon had no such confession, but did admit, "I'm from a little bitty town...The blind auditions had to be probably one of the most nerve-racking parts of my entire career 'cause I, like, blacked out the whole time."
While working on the song, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks nodded in approval. "It sounds real good," marveled Dunn, asking if they'd both been gigging professionally. Both have had public experience, but as Blake pointed out, very different platforms: Church (Stokes) vs. clubs (Rigdon).
Regardless of where they found their chops: "It's obvious you've already learned how to control your car there, so you both got power. You got big engines," said Brooks, in admiration. Shelton merely noted that it was going to be a "hellacious" choice deciding between the two.
In the end, Shelton related that it was indeed a hard choice, but that he had to go with Rigdon. "Gyth really surprised me because Rod is a beast of a singer, and I feel like Gyth had the bigger mountain to climb, vocally," he said. "He stepped up to the challenge, and I couldn't ignore that."
Things worked out just fine for Stokes though, because much to everyone's surprise, Coach Adam Levine used a steal to grab him! "Rod has power, and he's got grit, but he's good at controlling it," Levine observed. "I think Rod is even better than people realize, and maybe even better than he realizes."
Rod himself was surprised, but happy at the twist of events. "Being a country boy on Team Adam, hey, I want to see where he will take me," he enthused.
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