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Hear the “Edgy,” “Animated” Performance That Won “Superstar” Mara Justine Her Battle
Sometimes a performance is so good that even when a winner is named, it doesn't feel like there's a loser.
One of the most exciting parts of The Voice is watching a Battle progress in a way that, by the end, it really doesn't feel like there's a loser. Sure, the Coach presiding over the Battle has to pick a winner eventually, but even after that, both singers emerge as shining examples of their particular craft. That's what happened this week on The Voice, when Coach John Legend paired Mara Justine and Claudia B. together for a Battle for the ages.
To challenge both of his vocalists, Legend chose one of the most famous songs in pop history: Dusty Springfield's classic "Son of a Preacher Man," setting up a must-hear showdown.
"It's such a good crossover between soul and pop and rock, too," Legend explained after announcing his song choice. "It's right in the wheelhouse of everything both of you do."
As Mara and Claudia worked on their arrangement together, rehearsing both on The Voice set and even in the stairwells of their hotel, it was clear they'd hit upon something special, to the point that Legend was nervous about his decision long before the Battle actually began.
"If they both do their very best, it's going to be a really tough decision for me," he said.
Mara Justine and Claudia B. sing "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield on The Voice Season 24 Battles
Just as the buildup suggested, the battle was one for the ages, as both singers put their particular spin on the classic song. It was so showstopping that, by the end, Coach Reba McEntire couldn't help but remark on just how powerful both singers were despite their young ages.
"I've been in this business a long time, and you guys are 25 and 21?! That's not right," McEntire said. "How did y'all do this?! You're so talented, you're so young...I don't get it."
Coach Niall Horan agreed: "I haven't heard that song sung that well in a while, probably since its first release."
"My God, John, have you got a problem here," he added.
As the other Coaches discussed the outcome of the Battle, it was clear they were divided on who should win, but Justine seemed to start pulling away when Coach Gwen Stefani began discussing her star power and energy.
"The moment Mara walked onstage there was a star quality in her walk," Stefani said. "Is that possible? Yes it is."
In the end, Legend chose Justine to advance on his team, but even back in the rehearsal room, he noted that he hoped someone would end up stealing Claudia B. due to the sheer power of her voice. By the time the battle was over, he even emphasized that the "loser" of the challenge hadn't actually lost anything.
"Both of these artists really did what they do best," Legend said. "This is a very tough choice because Claudia did nothing wrong, she sounded so great, she has such a great tone, but Mara just has a little bit more edge."
And in the end, Legend's prediction proved correct. Just after Justine's celebration died down, Horan came in with the Steal, claiming Claudia B. for his team and keeping both singers in the game for another week.