Some battles end in tears, or stunned disbelief. When Eli Ward and Jason Arcilla went head-to-head Tuesday night (Oct. 31) on NBC’s The Voice, they wrapped it up with laughter, like two old buddies catching up, cracking open a few cold ones.
The Team Gwen pair tackled Bread‘s “Make It With You,” bringing their own flair to the corny pop-rock number which led the Billboard Hot 100 for a single week in 1970.
“Gwen, what a song choice,” John Legend remarked. The performance was “so like fun and soulful” and “you got these handsome gentlemen to serenade you,” he quipped. The lads were smooth, Legend acknowledged. Arcilla had a “gentleness” of tone, he continued. And Ward, :I loved how confident and in command you felt the whole time.” If he had to choose, Legend would side with Ward.
“You guys sounded great together, you were having fun,” remarked fellow coach Reba McEntire. “I loved the little choreography moves.” If she had to pick, she’d go with Ward.
Niall Horan was impressed with Ward’s “’50s meets ‘70s” smoothness – and his biceps (the Waterloo, IL native is a Division I athlete at the University of Iowa with the cross-country track team). “Your tone is really pure and classic.” Arcilla, the 34-year-old who lives in Pukalani, Hawaii, has “an etherealness” to his voice. It’s a tough choice. If the Irishman had to make it, he would lean ever so slightly in the direction of Arcilla.
Stefani had to make the cut, and she wasn’t happy about it. “This is impossible right now,” she remarked. “I have zero, zero idea of what to do now.” After praising both singers, and remarking on their growth during the contest, she settled on a winner, someone who is “ready right right now.”
And that was Arcilla.
In the aftermath, the No Doubt singer explained her decision. “Jason has the kind of voice that has this breathy, airy, serene quality that I would actually listen to on a record. I think that he’s just really gifted.”