DRAPER, Utah (ABC4) — A Draper man on season 23 of The Voice made it past round two of the show on Monday after his successful performance with another contestant.
EJ Michels, 31, sang “The Tracks of my Tears” by Smokey Robinson, with another voice contestant, Tasha Jessen, on March 27. The performance took place during The Voice Battles, which you can watch here.
On The Voice Battles, two contestants from the same team perform a duet, and the judge chooses one singer to advance to the next round. However, in this episode, both Jessen and Michels made it to the next round.
Michels, from Draper, Utah, first made it on The Voice on March 13, after he sang the song “Easy on Me” by Adele during blind auditions. Two teams, Team Blake and Team Chance, turned around during the blind audition here, but Michels chose to join Team Blake, led by Blake Shelton.
Jessen, 21, is from Pakistan, but is currently living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She made it on The Voice on March 6, after she sang the song “River” by Leon Bridges during her blind audition. Niall Horan, Blake Shelton, and Chance the Rapper all turned, and Jessen chose Team Blake.
On Monday’s episode of The Voice, after Jessen and Michels finished their duet, Kelly Clarkson, a judge on the show, spoke to the artists about how great they did, and spoke to Shelton about how difficult it would be for him to choose which artist to advance to the next round.
“I got to say [Michels], you came out here, and I was afraid for her, cause I was like, ‘oh, he’s really really good.’ And then [Jessen] came in, ‘and your tone is incredible.'” Clarkson said.
Clarkson then turned to Shelton and said, “I do really feel like it was evenly matched, that’s hard [Shelton].”
Chance the Rapper, another judge on the show, added his praise of the performance, and specifically of Michels. “I thought it was award show-level performance,” Chance said. “I’d agree with [Clarkson] you (speaking to Jessen) have like an amazing individual tone, but I would go with [Michels] just ’cause, man I think your stage presence is something this competition could use.”
Niall Horan, the fourth judge, spoke about the performance of the two individuals. “Hello guys, that was absolutely insane. The two of you really brought that song to life,” Horan said. “[Jessen] I’m still glad I turned for you, I’m still sad I lost you.” Then Horan spoke to Michels. “I must have had earplugs in that day or something, cause I never turned. This is full regret. You were phenomenal dude.” Horan said he would choose Michels.
Finally, Shelton spoke to the artists about their performances, first addressing Jessen.
“[Jessen], I love hearing everybody talk about your tone and how special it is, because there truly is something special about you, and it starts with the sound of your voice.” Shelton said. “When my back was turned to you, just to go, “Wow, I want to be in the [Jessen] business.”
Shelton then addressed Michels, “[Michels], I don’t know that I’ve ever been more shocked with somebody from the Blinds. It’s just like, where the hell did this guy come from? I mean this is crazy, you know? And I’d like to sit here and go, ‘See? One rehearsal with Blake.'”
Clarkson interrupted with a witty comment, “In spite of that [rehearsal] you still did amazing. That’s incredible.”
Shelton continued talking about Michels, “He came in swinging, and it made for just a great duet. That was a great performance.”
It was now up to Shelton, their team judge, to decide which singer was going to advance through the competition. Horan and Chance both said they would go with Michels, and Clarkson didn’t say who she would go with. Shelton said after all this time, he thought decisions like this would get easier, but it was still a difficult decision.
Shelton announced, “The winner of this battle is Jessen.” Meaning, in normal circumstances, Jessen would continue to advance in the show, and Michels would not. However, both Horan and Chance the Rapper pushed their button to ‘steal’ Michels.
Judges are only allowed one “steal” during this round, where they can take a contestant from a different team after they perform. Out of forty total artists, and twenty duet battles, both Chance the Rapper and Horan wanted to use their one steal for Michels.
Chance the Rapper was the first one to make the argument for Michels to join his team, “I turned for you. You went with Blake, which was a decision…(audience laughter)” Chance said. “I think with the right song choices, you could win this whole thing.”
Horan then made his case for why Michels should join his team. “As I said, I’m very regretful that I didn’t turn, and to be honest, I think you did an unbelievable job, and I definitely don’t have a singer with the range that you’ve got,” Horan said. “You would fit perfectly.”
After a short pause, Michels announced his decision to go with Horan and join Team Niall. Since Michels has made it past The Voice Battles round, the next time he will perform will be in The Voice Knockouts, which will begin April 17.
The Voice Knockouts is similar to The Battles. Michels will be performing against one of his teammates in this round, for a chance to make it to the next round. However, in this competition, the artists get to select their own songs and perform individually. Out of eight individuals per team performing in The Voice Knockouts, only four will advance.