The Voice's John Legend Had A Surprising Reaction To Team Blake Dueting One Of His Songs

John Legend on The Voice.
(Image credit: NBC)

Anybody who’s watched The Voice over the past handful of seasons has likely caught on to the fact that John Legend doesn’t always like it when artists cover his songs. He’s admitted to judging them more harshly because he’s so familiar with the tunes, and, in fact, in his seven seasons as a coach on the singing competition, he’s only turned his chair for one singer who auditioned with his music. That makes his reaction to a Team Blake Shelton duet from the second-to-last night of the Battle Round all the more surprising, as he gave a standing ovation to a rendition of “Preach.” 

Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani weren’t the only ones feeling the love on the October 24 episode of The Voice, when Kevin Hawkins and Hillary Torchiana went to battle for Team Blake, singing rival coach John Legend’s 2019 single “Preach.” Since it was Shelton alone who had to make a decision between the two singers, the pressure was off of the EGOT winner, and maybe that’s why he was able to sit back and enjoy the performance. Enjoy it he did, as afterward Legend gave the contestants a standing ovation and said: 

I loved it! Thank you for singing my song. I felt your passion. I felt your love. It was really beautifully executed.

He went on to tell Hillary Torchiana that she really dug into the spirit of the song, while Kevin Hawkins was capable of being soft and heartfelt as well as big and soulful. Hawkins was a Four-Chair Turn in the Blind Auditions, but Gwen Stefani used her Block on John Legend, and he said hearing Hawkins sing “Preach” just reminded him of how mad he still was at Stefani — a fact that greatly amused her husband.

Even more than the standing ovation and kind words, the "Ordinary People" performer was so honored to have his song covered, he even took to social media to tell the artists how great they did, tweeting

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Blake Shelton chose Kevin Hawkins as the winner, which is kind of a shame, because if the cowboy had picked Hillary Torchiana, I’m pretty sure John Legend would have taken the opportunity to snatch Hawkins up for himself. Check out the duet below to see what got Legend so excited: 

John Legend has turned his chair for just one contestant who covered one of his songs in the Blind Auditions. In Season 20, Victor Solomon sang the Academy Award-winning “Glory,” which The Voice coach wrote with Common, and joined Team Legend. Solomon made it all the way to the finale, finishing fifth that season.

With the Battle Round almost complete, John Legend could have one more opportunity to steal Kevin Hawkins from Blake Shelton in the Knockouts, so tune in, as The Voice airs at 8 p.m. ET Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Also check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what premieres are coming soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.