Casi Joy, a graduate of Smithville High School and Park University, won her battle round Monday night on the NBC singing competition “The Voice.”
Joy, who has lived in Nashville, Tenn., for more than two years, was chosen by her coach, Blake Shelton, over fellow contestant Ashley Levin. The two performed a cover of Reba McIntire’s “How Blue.”
Shelton’s fellow coaches — Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Alicia Keys — all praised both singers and their powerful performance. Keys said it was like “bona fide battle status.” Levine called it a “boxing match posing as a singing competition.” Keys praised Joy for her energy. Stefani said Joy seemed a little more seasoned and professional than Levin.
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Before the battle round, the two singers were coached by Shelton and fellow country star Luke Bryan. The two praised Joy’s voice for its “classic country sound” and its resemblance to Tammy Wynette’s, although she was advised by Shelton to “turn down the growl because there’s a finesse to this song, and it can come off as a little bit abrasive.”
Before choosing his winner, Shelton expressed hope that both singers would survive by way of a “steal,” in which a losing contestant can advance by being claimed by another coach. Then he said: “I have to go with a gut feeling. The winner of this battle is Casi.”
Then Shelton got his wish. All three judges then voted to steal Levin, who will remain in the competition. She chose Keys as her new coach.
Joy selected Shelton to be her coach after her blind audition, which aired March 2. After her cover of “Blue” a classic-country hit from 1958 that made LeAnn Rimes a star in 1996, all four judges lobbied hard to be her coach.
Shelton wooed her with heavy praise: “What you did to this room and all four of us coaches is the same thing that happened when LeAnn Rimes came out with that song. Somebody yodels? The fact that you have already mastered that, I am not giving up until Casi is on my team because this is meant to freaking be. It is.”