The battle rounds begin on ‘The Voice’ season 20 with a surprise fill-in coach


(NBC) – You might recall back last summer, Kelly Clarkson filled in for an ailing Simon Cowell as a judge on “America’s Got Talent”.

Tonight, it’s Clarkson who’s ailing on “The Voice” and she’s got someone — not Simon Cowell– filling in for her.

Clarkson got to close out the blind auditions but almost immediately, start dreading “The Voice” battle rounds.

But Clarkson dove into rehearsals with her artists and battle advisor Luis Fonsi only to hit a roadblock. An illness had Clarkson calling in sick and that opened the door to a last-minute replacement, Kelsea Ballerini.

The change up lasts through all three weeks of the battles which are already pressure packed.

“Until the ‘Lives’ we’re picking and it is tough,” explained coach John Legend. “It is tough for us to have to send someone home just after you fought to get them on your team.”

Legend has Brandy assisting with his rehearsals, Blake Shelton called in Dan and Shay and Nick Jonas enlisted Darren Criss.

All to generate stellar performances that wind up sending nearly half the artists home.

“It’s a tough thing,” expressed Jonas. “But it’s part of what makes the show great. And that makes the stakes feel so high.” 

A challenge “The Voice” artists are ready to take.

“The Voice” airs Monday night at 8 p.m. on NBC4, followed by an all new episode of “Debris” at 10 p.m.

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