Shoreham youth Carter Rubin moved forward on the NBC singing competition "The Voice" Monday as he edged out fellow teen singer Larriah Jackson in the one-on-one battle round to advance to the knockout round later this season.
Rubin, who turned 15 since competing on "The Voice" this summer, performed an exquisite duet with 15-year-old Jackson of Sacramento, California, the two trading solos and melding soaring harmonies on "Like I’m Gonna Lose You" by Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend. The teens received a roaring ovation from the four coaches and the virtual audience.
"OK, you guys were so incredible," said Gwen Stefani, on whose team both are ensconced. Kelly Clarkson enthused, "That was so well done. Like, all your choices, how you kind of floated together. … I was, like, 'What?!' Like, you're 14 and 15 — that's insane!"
"You both were just wonderful," chimed in Legend. "Usually I'm very judge-y when it comes to songs that I've recorded, but I was thoroughly impressed with your take on the song. I thought you found new places to go musically," he said, then added, "Carter, you know I wanted you on my team … and I was really, like, a little bit hurt when you didn't pick me … but I did feel you were just so impressive and interesting musically."
Stefani, who had the final decision, gushed over Jackson's performance, then told Rubin, "I think you have this incredible voice that you can do all this stuff with, and you're just getting started. To watch you perform the way you did, you just had a lot more confidence in your body language, and I saw a big growth in that. Vocally, you were just so incredible today."
Visibly distraught over having to choose between the two singers, Stefani said, "My dream on this show is to work with young artists, and I've got two of them here that I think are so magical. I don't know what to do. I really don't know what to do." Then, with a heavy sigh, she decided, "I'm going to say the winner of this battle is Carter."
After thanking the panel of coaches, which also included Blake Shelton, Rubin sobbed offstage, saying, "I can't believe it." He added to an off-screen interviewer, "The validation from Gwen, I think it's just — means a lot to me. Going to Knockouts. I can't believe that. Oh my gosh."
The drama was not yet over. Stefani enthusiastically hit the "Save" button over and over to keep Jackson in the competition. The astonished and grateful teen covered her mouth in joy, while backstage Rubin jumped up and down with happiness for his talented teammate, yelling, "Yes! Yes! Whooo!"