Up until this week, I have considered John Legend — who won his first time out with contestant Maelyn Jarmon — to be one of the best coaches in The Voice history. I’ve also believed that he has the best team of Season 18. But I am questioning John’s decision-making abilities after Monday’s final Season 18 Battle Rounds episode, when he bafflingly decided to pit the two best contestants on his team — nay, the two best contestants of this entire season — against each other.
We all remember 28-year-old Cedrice, a.k.a. “Ceyoncé.” The gorgeous, Sinead-headed chanteuse made a major impression as the final Blind Audition of the season, when she slinked onto the stage, sizzling her way through “Fever” while Kelly Clarkson declared her “the hottest woman alive.” And during the Blinds, 23-year-old hip Hawaiian troubadour Thunderstorm, besides having the marquee-worthy name of a superstar, was so brilliant during his gentle cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” that even normally reticent host Carson Daly declared it one of the best Voice auditions he’d ever seen. So, for John to sacrifice either singer this soon made absolutely zero sense.
On the plus side, what was Team Legend’s loss was viewers’ gain. Cedrice and Thunderstorm’s duet of Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s “Stay” was one of the most magical and sensual Battles of all time, and it was heartening to witness the mutual appreciation society between them. Thunderstorm described Cedrice’s voice as “silk” and “milk ‘n’ honey,” while Cedrice raved about the “clarity in [Thunderstorm’s] powerful moments.”
These two were generating some serious heat. The minute they started singing while sex-eyeing each other, Kelly gasped, “Whoa!” Raved Nick Jonas: “This was one the Battles I was most looking forward to seeing — and you guys did not disappoint. You guys were out of this world — and also incredibly intimate! I didn’t know if I was supposed keep watching or look away!”
John must have realized he’d made a big, dumb mistake. He told Cedrice, “You carry yourself like someone who should be on all sorts of stages — a supermodel, an actress. … And Thunderstorm, you have one of the most special voices I’ve ever been around. It’s raspy and angelic at the same time.” (“Like an angel that smokes,” Blake Shelton joked.) But John had to make a tough decision.. and so, he went with smoking-angel Thunderstorm instead of the smoking-hot Cedrice.
But there was no way that Cedrice was going home so soon… especially after her thoughtful and moving elimination speech, when she told the coaches: “Whatever it is that you have all experienced — all the hardship, all the sacrifices — thank you for going through it to be here with us.” (I guess Cedrice can add “motivational speaker” to her list of talents/possible career opportunities.) So of course, Blake — the only coach with a Steal left at this point — swooped in to, as Carson put it, “save the day.” Even Blake’s rival coaches were delighted. “No one wanted you to go home,” Carson told Cedrice, speaking for all of America.