Reagan James, 15, makes it to the live rounds of...

Reagan James, 15, makes it to the live rounds of "The Voice" Season 7 with a version of Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style." Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden

“The Voice” wrapped its long and winding preamble to Season 7 Monday night, with a few surprises and the last bits of fun from guest mentor Taylor Swift.

In the end, the teams were set and -- what a surprise! -- Blake Shelton seems to have the team most likely to win votes, with country powerhouse James David Carter, alterna-pop sweetheart Jessie Pitts, and the oddly poised 15-year-old aiming to be Kelly Clarkson 2.0, Reagan James.

Team Blake’s main challenge will come from Team Pharrell, which is packed with potential that could translate into big stars. Between soul singer Luke Wade and the unpredictable Elyjuh Rene and DaNica Shirey, there could be a winner in the pack if they keep progressing.

Team Gwen landed a front-runner Monday night in Anita Antoinette, who made the Magic song “Rude,” well, cool. She also has the Cute Boy Power of Ricky Manning and Ryan Sill, who could both stick around for a while.

Oh, and Adam Levine has a team, but producers didn’t care enough about the cool Matt McAndrew to show his whole performance, which hurts his chances, leaving Team Adam with singer-songwriter Taylor Phelan and the talented Chris Jamison, who is in a race to get his over-singing under control, as the best bets.

The live shows start next week.

Here’s how Monday night shook out:

TEAM BLAKE: Allison Bray vs. Taylor Brashears

Allison was a little too close to the original version of Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon” to be considered anything more than karaoke, regardless of how skillful you need to be to try to match up with Natalie Maines. Adam liked her best because he was unfamiliar with the original. However, Taylor showed a bit of artistry as she twisted Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” into something a bit more country, which Blake loved.



TEAM GWEN: Ryan Sill vs. Beth Spangler

Taylor Swift set out to get Ryan to unleash his “boy performer charisma” on Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent,” but he didn’t quite get there. He needs to watch more One Direction videos because he’s a little short of the swagger he needs in a performance, regardless of what he says. Adam said Beth’s voice gets a little “squirrelly” at the top of her range, which he said he knows all about as “Captain Squirrelly.” And her choice of JoJo’s “Too Little, Too Late” made her voice extra squirrelly and, as Gwen said, “a little abrasive.”



TEAM PHARRELL: Menlik Zergabachew vs. Jean Kelley

“Oh my God!” Taylor said, adding that Jean Kelley's version of Sia’s “Chandelier” in rehearsal was a game-changer. It wasn’t quite as good live, but as Pharrell said later, “She’s got the fire and he doesn’t.” Menlik’s version of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” was well-sung, but his performance skills aren’t quite there yet. Even after Taylor told him to keep his eyes open when he sang, he couldn’t do it. That said, Pharrell said he would do a track with Menlik after he got signed.



TEAM ADAM: Blessing Offor vs. Chris Jamison

Chris Jamison’s version of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” was still a little too much vocal gymnastics and not enough emotion, even as he tried a difficult falsetto section. Blessing’s made John Mayer’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland” almost unrecognizable, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but not quite good enough.



TEAM ADAM: Matt McAndrew vs. Rebekah Samarin

Oddly, this battle didn’t get shown, so we have no idea how Rebekah did because we didn’t get to hear her. Matt’s version of “Drops of Jupiter” from Train seemed good, judging from the snippet that was shown. However, not getting a full segment does not bode well for his future on the show, despite a strong standing so far.



TEAM BLAKE: Grant Ganzer vs. Reagan James

Reagan’s version of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style” was better in rehearsal than it was in the actual performance, though her energy and stage presence was remarkably seasoned for a 15-year-old. Grant was nervous during his version of OneRepublic’s “Apologize,” as nearly any 16-year-old would be. He has a future, but it isn’t right now.



TEAM GWEN: Anita Antoinette vs. Craig Wayne Boyd

Anita’s version of Magic’s “Rude!” was much more entertaining than the original, even if it wasn’t quite perfect. She got a standing ovation from Pharrell and screams from Gwen. New look Craig -- with his sleek haircut, pocket chain and hooded sweater --  was good on Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See,” a “turbo-masculine situation,” according to Adam.


SHOULD’VE PICKED: Anita (Blake steals Craig)

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