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How Mac Royals’ “Disgusting” (in a Good Way) Voice Got Him a John Legend Steal
Sometimes a One-Chair versus a Four-Chair Battle doesn't go the way you think.
Mac Royals and Rachele Nguyen entered the Battle Rounds of The Voice after very different receptions during the Blind Auditions. Royals managed to get a coveted Four-Chair Turn before choosing Reba McEntire to be his coach, while Nguyen only got one chair to turn. Thankfully for her, it was Reba, setting up a Battle that seemed like a mistmatch... until it wasn't.
For their Battle pairing, McEntire asked Royals and Nguyen to sing the Bee Gees classic "How Deep Is Your Love?" while focusing in on the soft, ballad-worthy tones of both of their voices.
"I paired them together because they are in the R&B space. Rachele's very soft, and Mac can also get very soft in his, especially when he's going up into falsetto. I thought they could play off each other better."
During rehearsals, McEntire had certain very pointed direction for both singers. For Royals, she emphasized the importance of following the traditional melody of such a well-known song, thus encouraging the audience to feel like they can sing along and be in the moment with the performer. For Nguyen, who tends to sing with her eyes closed, she emphasized expressiveness, and keeping her eyes open to connect with audience members.
"The battle will come down to how they touch my heart when they're performing," McEntire said.
Mac Royals and Rachele Nguyen sing "How Deep Is Your Love?" by the Bee Gees on The Voice Season 24 Battles
Throughout the Battle, Royals and Nguyen traded off beautiful harmonies. Afterwards, the Coaches couldn't say enough nice things about their confidence in the face of such an iconic tune.
"To take on a song of that stature is brave in itself," Coach Niall Horan said.
"Rachele, the fact you're 17, I hate to throw that in there, because singing is singing, but the things that you can do with your voice and instincts, it's pretty magical," Stefani said.
Horan picked Nguyen as the winner of the Battle, while Stefani declined to state a preference. When it came time for John Legend to speak, he was clear that while he loved both vocalists, he leaned toward Mac.
"Mac, I just love the sound of your voice," Legend said. "It's so full, and it's got richness and character, and it's just the kind of voice I love to hear."
After that, it was time for McEntire's decision, and she had some clear reasoning on why she made her choice. After once again reminding Royals that he strayed from the beat of the song, something she'd specifically emphasized was important to avoid, she chose Nguyen to move on with Team Reba.
"She just blew me away... and for her to beat out a Four-Chair Turn says a lot," McEntire said.
But before Royals could get out any parting words, he heard the sound of a Steal, as Legend swooped in to take the vocalist for his team.
"He just sounds like he should be a star right now," Legend said. "Maybe he should have always been on Team Legend."
So, while the remaining coaches commented on what a "ridiculous" and "disgusting" (in a good way, according to Stefani) voice Royals has, he made his way over to a new team, and a second chance at winning The Voice.