The Blind Auditions on The Voice may be complete, but the competition to find the winner of season 9 is far from over. The Battle Rounds have begun, with the contestants pairing up for performances in which only one will advance — unless a coach uses a Steal, that is.

BuddyTV spoke with the first group of advancing Battle Round singers during a conference call. Regina Love, Tim Atlas and Dustin Christensen discussed what it felt like for the coaches to use their Steals on them. And the contestants also shared their experiences of working with the all-star advisers — John Fogerty, Selena Gomez, Missy Elliott and Brad Paisley. Which contestant found it a “little scary” to work with Ms. Gomez? Read on to find out.

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What was It Like Working with the Celebrity Advisers?

The Voice always brings in big-name stars as advisers for the Battle Rounds, and season 9 is no different. Helping out Team Adam is John Fogerty. Contestant James Dupre “grew up listening to [Fogerty’s band, Creedence Clearwater Revival] and seeing John Fogerty stand before me, it was just a huge honor,” he said.

Reflecting on the experience and performing “Fortunate Song,” he went on to say, “Having the opportunity to work with him one on one on a song that he actually wrote, and hearing the story about the Vietnam War and how he was drafted … and how he came to write that song, it was a moving experience.”

On Team Gwen, Selena Gomez helped out as an adviser. Ellie Lawrence found it to be a “little scary” working with Gomez “because she’s been in the industry for a while and has made a name for herself” from being on the Disney Channel. She went on to say, “But I was also interested to see what she could offer because she has insight from the acting side and with music. Beyond stage, you do have to have theatrics. So I was excited to learn from her.”

The one and only Missy Elliott stopped by to advise the contestants on Pharrell’s team. Mark Hood said that she “was a part of my childhood. Although I couldn’t really listen to secular music, I would sneak and listen to her.” So being able to work with Missy Elliott was a “dream come true” for him. But he admitted that the first day with her was a blur: “I felt like I missed out on it because I was there but I was so in awe; it was one of those ‘pinch me, I’m dreaming’ moments.” But on the second day, she gave some more advice and he was able to take it in.

Finally, Brad Paisley was on hand to advise Blake’s contestants. Barrett Baber admires Paisley and was “really honored to be in the presence of somebody like” him. The country star is a very down to earth person. “Right away, he just set me at ease. He’d start cracking jokes about himself right away, and just disarms any type of misconceptions anyone might have about who he is and how big of a deal he is by just being a regular guy.” Because Paisley set everyone at ease, it didn’t take long before it “felt like just four guys standing around the piano making music together and talking about music and trying to figure out how to best dial in a great song like ‘Walking in Memphis’.”

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Being Stolen by Other Coaches

As viewers know, the coaches can steal artists onto their teams if someone is eliminated. During the first Battle Round episode, three singers — Regina Love, Tim Atlas and Dustin Christensen — were given a second chance after their initial coaches sent them packing.

When I asked Dustin what it felt like to have Adam use one of his Steals on him, he said, “It’s great to have anybody use a steal on you. That was the hope going into the Battle Rounds, was that we didn’t treat it like a battle and we just wanted to make it as good as possible so both of us would stay. And I was happy to get anybody to turn.”

Thinking back to the moment that two coaches pressed their buttons, he added, “I saw Adam press his button and I kind of blacked out for a second, and then I noticed Gwen had also pressed her button. It’s incredible. In that moment, your worst fear is going home, so having anybody wanting to steal you is such a great compliment.”

Tim agreed with what Dustin said, and also mentioned, “I knew there was a possibility of staying; it was in the back of my mind. But I was preparing myself for the worst case scenario. I had my goodbye speech ready and everything. But I was just so fortunate to join Team Pharrell.”

For Regina, she thought back to the rehearsals. “Adam was like … ‘don’t think about [being eliminated]; just do your best because neither one of you are going home.’ There’s always the possibility, you never know.” Later on, Regina added, “This whole thing is a beautiful opportunity and I just didn’t want it to end. I was just so grateful that it didn’t end.”

Regina had such a positive and uplifting attitude during our call. She even brought up that the contestants are like family and they’re all learning from each other. “That’s what I love about the whole thing. It’s a competition, but it doesn’t feel like one.”

The Voice airs Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm on NBC.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.