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Tears, Chills, & Triple Steals: Inside the "War" of The Voice Knockouts Night 1

The NBC competition is entering its fiercest phase yet! Here's everything that went down on Night 1 of Knockouts. 

By Josh Weiss

Well, we've arrived. Season 25 of NBC's The Voice has officially entered the treacherous waters of Knockouts, just two teeny-tiny steps away from the Live Performance Shows.

How to Watch

Watch The Voice on NBC and Peacock. 

This is when the collection of Coaches — Reba McEntire, John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Dan + Shay — must make the hardest decisions yet, whittling down their teams to the absolute cream of the crop (with a little help from Mega Mentor Keith Urban).

RELATED: The Voice Battles Season 25: Every Winner From the Rounds

"It gets so hard to make a decision in the Knockouts," Legend proclaimed in tonight's episode on April 8. "Everybody's so good, everybody survived the Battle. Nobody deserves to go home!" Of course, not everyone needs go home, not when there are Steals to be invoked.

Here’s everything that happened during Night 1 of The Voice Season 25 Knockouts...

Team Reba

Reba McEntire in her coaches chair on the voice episode 2508

Tae Lewis vs. Asher HaVon

Lewis sang “Nothing On You” by Cody Johnson; HaVon sang "Unbreak My Heart" by Toni Braxton

By the end of the two performances, McEntire was all bleary-eyed and overcome with emotion. "You guys give me chills, make me cry," she gushed. "I felt like a proud mama. You've both got so much soul. It comes from your toenails when you guys start singing." HaVon was named the victor, with McEntire citing his uniqueness as the main factor in her decision. "I definitely think Asher could win," she said. Before Lewis could leave the stage, however, Chance the Rapper, Dan + Shay, and John Legend all invoked their right to a Steal. It was literally called a "war!" Faced with three great options, Lewis ultimately went with Team Dan + Shay.

WINNER: Asher HaVon

STEAL: Tae Lewis joins Team Dan + Shay

Ashley Bryant vs. Josh Sanders

Bryant sang "Heads Carolina, Tails California" by Jo Dee Messina; Sanders sang “Wild as Her” by Corey Kent

"Ashley, you did great. You hit that big note at the end. I know you've got the pipes to support it," McEntire said. "And Josh, you can sell a song so well that I believe it. That's one of your talents. I love you both and thanks for taking the journey." In the end, Sanders was named winner due to his ability to full inhabit "the songs that he chooses," the Coach explained. "He relates to 'em, and I think that'll be a huge contender."

WINNER: Josh Sanders (Ashley Bryant sent home)


Team Dan + Shay

Dan + Shay appear in Season 25 Episode 5 of The Voice

Frank Garcia vs. Olivia Rubini 

Garcia sang "El Triste" by José José’; Rubini sang "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John

Dan Smyers praised Garcia's performance as "very dramatic ... in the best way," going on to compliment the singer's electric stage presence. "Olivia," he continued, "I feel like that came such a long way from rehearsals." Shay Mooney then offered up his feedback, hailing Garcia as an evocative performer. "I can't speak Spanish, but I didn't need to, and that's the beauty in it. I felt it. That's all that matters." However, Rubini's decision to sing the Elton John classic in a higher key (at the behest of Mega Mentor Keith Urban) ultimately won her the Knockout. As Mooney explained, "There's something special about what Olivia did ... she showed us that she was very coachable, that she was ready to go to that next level." Smyers added, "Her voice just inherently has a bit of a retro thing to it. She was spot-on with all of her notes."

WINNER: Olivia Rubini (Frank Garcia sent home)

Anya True vs. Kyle Schuesler 

True sang “Runaway” by AURORA; Schuesler sang “Say You Won't Let Go”  by James Arthur

Torn between two great options, Mooney described the necessity of picking between True and Schuesler as "the hardest choice we've had on this show so far." True came away victorious, but Schuesler stayed in the game with a surprise Steal from Chance, who exclaimed, "I was playing the long game, baby! I was just like a leopard, waiting to pounce. I knew I was gonna get [him] on my team at some point. I just had to play my cards right."

WINNER: Anya True

STEAL: Kyle Schuesler joins Team Chance

RELATED: Every Blind Audition on The Voice Season 25, Broken Down by Team


Team Legend

John Legend sits in his coaches chair on The Voice 2508

Val T. Webb vs. Nathan Chester

Webb sang “Sweet Love” by Anita Baker; Chester sang “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop

"Val, your highs were so high. It was so stunning. It was some of the best moments I've seen on this stage," Legend said. "And then Nathan, it felt cinematic, the way you delivered the performance. It felt like we were in a movie about that era of music and you were playing this amazing character that you understood. Really powerful." Chester's blockbuster delivery won him the Knockout.

WINNER: Nathan Chester (Val T. Webb sent home)

RELATED: The Voice Has a Schedule Change You Need to Know About


Team Chance

Chance The Rapper sits in his coaches chair on The Voice 2508

Serenity Arce vs. Dani Stacy

Arce sang “Unfaithful” by Rihanna; Stacy sang “Jaded” by Miley Cyrus

Chance praised Stacy as a "talented vocalist," going on to add, "I felt like you had a lot of passion onstage. I really wish you had tried to do a little bit more with the song." And while Arce was "willing to take a lot of risks" with her performance, it wasn't up to the level of her past vocals. Despite that, Arce still won the Knockout because "she has the passion," Chance explained. "In a competition like this, where everybody can sing, you have to be willing to go for it. Every time she gets onstage, she does it with the professionalism and intent of somebody way beyond her years."

WINNER: Serenity Arce (Dani Stacy sent home)

New episodes of The Voice Mondays at 8/7c on NBC and stream next day on Peacock.