Elvis Presley has left the building! Well, Madison Hughes has. But not before Blake Shelton compared her to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll during the latest episode of NBC’s The Voice.
The country singer from Florida went head-to-head in a battle round against country-pop hopeful Kate Kalvach, who ended up claiming victory for her incredible vocal range.
Hughes, 25, and Kalvach, 27, took the floor on Monday (Oct. 24) night’s edition of the popular televised singing competition, battling it out on a cover of Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” During the impressive take, it appeared the tune was more in Hughes’ wheelhouse due to her rock edge and lower range. But Kalvach’s ability to throw herself into the lyrics and reach certain octaves drew attention from the panel of judges.
“Wow!” Camila Cabello said, raising her eyebrows in surprise, during the performance.
“Kate, you have one of my favorite voices on this show right now,” she added of Kalvach, who received a three-chair turn for her blind audition of Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow.” “I fought for you really hard in the blinds and clearly I still am [fighting for you]. I think that you are so excellent. With this song, I feel like you leveled up. You hit some high notes but you did it tastefully. It’s so pleasant. It’s just like butter. Your voice is like butter.”
Gwen Stefani, who was next to speak, added, “Madison, my favorite thing about you is your ability to sing those verses so soft and emotional. Vocally, your sweet spot is that tenderness you have. I thought it was really pretty. Kate, when you’re singing, it’s not just about the voice, tone, and lyrics. It’s about how you interpret it with your body. You seem effortless with that. It’s very believable and honest. It’s great.”
John Legend praised Kalvach for her vocal technique, saying, “Kate, you started to emerge as a superstar when you opened up and got big at the end. When you’re hitting those notes, there’s this openness and roundness to your voice. It’s just so good.”
“It might just be me, but when we’re talking about Madison’s tone, I swear there’s a little Elvis in your voice somehow,” Shelton added. “I thought overall your performance was good. There were a few moments where I heard some pitchy things toward the end. Kate, your performance when you started singing, I could hear [the other coaches] one by one go, ‘Whoa! Hey!’ That’s kind of how I felt too when I heard you singing…”
In the end, Shelton chose Kalvach due to her ability to connect to the lyrics and her overall performance of the song. And despite Hughes’ journey coming to an end on the show, she did leave with even more confidence than she had coming onto The Voice.
“It’s been hard for me to believe in myself a lot. But it’s been crazy to see other people who don’t know who I am recognizing something in me,” she emotionally told viewers before the battle round. “For so long I was not believing in myself … Blake has helped me get out of my own head.”
And Shelton seems to have a way of bonding with each of his team members. For Kalvach the two are uniquely bonded as they both hail from Oklahoma City — something Shelton used to coerce the contestant to join his team during the blind auditions. Kalvach has also shared that Shelton was always her first choice as a coach.
Fans can keep up with Kalvach’s journey on The Voice Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.