Barry Black and Preston Puhl perform "I Wish It Would...

Barry Black and Preston Puhl perform "I Wish It Would Rain" in the final battle round of "The Voice" Season 5. Credit: NBC

The final battle rounds offered a few surprises and sets the stage for the Knockout Rounds next week, as the Top 32 becomes the Top 20 in a hurry. (Carson Daly announced that each coach gets a steal in the Knockout Rounds, meaning that they go into the live shows with five people on their teams.)

Here’s how the final battles shook out:

TEAM CEELO: Jonny Gray vs. Shawn Smith, “Refugee”
The struggle to get this right showed how hard it is to sing a Tom Petty song because his phrasing is so unique and his range is deceptively wide. It was a bit too much for Shawn, who has a strong voice and could find a career with a lot more training, which, theoretically, is what “The Voice” could provide him. Actually, Blake goes for Shawn. However, Jonny’s vocals are immediately likable and he has a natural charisma that is hard to beat.

TEAM ADAM: Barry Black vs. Preston Puhl, “I Wish It Would Rain”
This was probably the best of the battle rounds. They both did a great job with the Temptations classic, though Preston’s power gave him the edge. He really could win the show. Barry is good and the horn-mimicking is interesting. It’s a surprise that CeeLo didn’t steal him, but understandable after what comes later.
ADAM PICK: Preston

THE MONTAGE OF WINNERS// TEAM BLAKE: Holly Henry vs. Cilla Chan, “Torn” BLAKE PICK: Holly; TEAM BLAKE: Emily Randolph vs. Brandon Chase, “Tiny Dancer” BLAKE PICK: Brandon; TEAM CEELO: Tamara Chauniece vs. Keaira LaShae, “Big Girls (Don’t Cry)” CEELO PICK: Tamara

TEAM CHRISTINA: Olivia Henken vs. Stephanie Anne Johnson, “Done”
They’re the “Sass Masters!” And they need every bit of that sass to tackle the Band Perry song. Christina oddly picked Olivia on the strength of her performance, though she was clearly comfortable with the song and had been singing it for a while. Stephanie’s ability to learn and master the song as quickly as she did actually says more about her skills. It made perfect sense for CeeLo to steal her and she’s probably going to make Christina regret her decision.
SHOULD’VE PICKED Stephanie (stolen by CeeLo)

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