If there’s one part of NBC’s “The Voice” that coach Blake Shelton dislikes, it’s being forced to choose between two standout singers.
So, it’s no surprise that Monday, Oct. 31 proved to be a tough episode for the country music superstar, as it marked the last night of the nail-biting knockout rounds.
Team Blake members Austin Allsup, 32, and Gabe Broussard, 15, were first to face-off against each other. Austin, who met Blake years ago at a Texas gig, sang Tom Petty’s classic song “Breakdown,” while teen Gabe crooned a touching version of “It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars.
The video above shows Austin’s growly and gritty performance of the 1970s hit. You’ll notice right away that he has a true sense of confidence with his facial expressions and hand movements. Heck, he had all of the judges moving around in their seats. At one point Miley Cyrus even mouthed the words, “Awesome performance!”
Gabe followed Austin’s “Breakdown” performance with his impressive and emotional “It Will Rain” cover. Alicia Keys praised Gabe, saying that he was “1,0000 percent there” and the control in his voice was “really not normal.”
Adam Levine echoed Alicia’s sentiment saying, “One thing the girls don’t understand is when I was your age I wouldn’t have had that much control.” Miley, too, admitted that she was a fan of Gabe, but added that she also enjoyed Austin’s performance.
Despite Gabe’s unmatched ability to control his voice, he didn’t make it through to the next phase of the competition. Instead, Austin proved to be the champion of the round. But, Blake’s decision to choose the talented blast from the past didn’t come without hesitation.
“I hate this so much,” said Blake, “I think the world of both of you. This hurts me.”
Ultimately, Blake’s choice came down to one thing — who he thought would make it in country music. That, of course, was Austin.
“Austin definitely has a place in country music right now,” he said.
Austin will continue his journey during the live shows of the competition, which start on Nov. 7. Be sure to catch highlights from the previous knockout round performances on Tuesday, Nov. 1 on NBC.