Kelly Clarkson admitted she made a rookie mistake on Monday evening (March 13) when she used her only block on Blake Shelton during night three of the Season 23 Blind Auditions of The Voice.
At the end of the two-hour episode, Laura Littleton received three chair turns with her performance of Harry Styles’ “Sign of the Times.” Clarkson, who has jokingly rivaled Shelton throughout her time on the reality TV competition series, turned around for the artist. Quick with her hands, Clarkson also blocked Shelton, who was also interested in adding Littleton to his team.
Niall Horan is a new addition to the celebrity panel in 2023, but Littleton’s song choice gave him an edge since he is a former member of the boy band One Direction, which included Styles before the group broke up. Horan was the third to slam on his red button for the contender, leaving Clarkson regretful as she realized she had to fight even harder to earn Littleton for her team.
Littleton, who revealed she struggles with bouts of depression, could’ve gone with Shelton’s team, because she considers herself a country singer. She also intentionally delivered her rendition of the Styles hit with a bluegrass twist.
In a pre-recorded clip ahead of her blind audition, the 26-year-old hopeful from Dickson, Tenn., told viewers, “A lot of Dickson makes me who I am. Music has always been around me since I was little. My dad was in a bluegrass band; it was just him and his buddies. They would meet at his tire shop and practice a couple of nights a week. The tire shop that he owns is almost 100 years old.… It’s been in the music videos. Blake Shelton‘s been down there. I call it one of the wonders of the world. I was probably a sophomore in high school the first time I ever got on the stage.”
After Littleton’s audition, Clarkson confessed she slipped up with her block.
“I love your energy. I feel like you match mine,” Clarkson told Littleton. “I know I should’ve blocked Niall. I just couldn’t tell that you were a country person.”
“She’s not necessarily a country artist, but she’s definitely a country girl,” Shelton replied.
“Fun fact, from Nashville to Centerville, Tenn., I would stop at the Arby’s off the exit and buy me and my dog a roast beef sandwich. And we would eat it on the way back, but anyway, I wish I could have you on my team,” he told the contestant.
Responding to Shelton’s words, Littleton said, “[Blake]. What you created here. I am so honored that I get to be here for your step-away. Getting to be a part of the process from the very start to the very end, right now, whether someone gets a chair turn or not, you walk away from this a better and more confident person. So I am thankful.”
Recognizing the connection between Littleton and Shelton, Clarkson couldn’t help but hide her face in her jacket, which she planned on gifting Littleton if she joined her team.
“Well, now I feel really horrible stealing that chance from Blake. I’m so sorry. He’s great. I know. It’s just awesome,” Clarkson shared before remembering she is in it to win it. “I love you so much. I used my only block on you.… I feel like you’re gonna attract people from different genres. You just have all these cool connections vocally. I was like, ‘This is like Dolly Parton meets Florence + the Machine.’”
“I love these like natural shakes you’ve got,” Horan intervened. “Such a nice thing to hear in your voice. You very rarely hear it, and it’s super unique. Your song choice was great. ‘Sign of the Times,’ when it came out, it wasn’t like your obvious pop song. It was a little bit alt, off to the left of that, and that’s why you scream so many different artists and genres. I can hear you singing rock. When I turned around and saw how much fun you were having, I was like, ‘Look at this girl.’ I would love to have you on my team.”
Afterward, Littleton chose to compete on Horan’s team.
Be sure to keep up with Littleton’s journey on The Voice Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC.