'The Voice': Blake Shelton declares new nemesis after Ariana Grande 'stabbed me in the back'

·4 min read

Move over, Kelly Clarkson. Blake Shelton has a new archenemy on "The Voice."

It didn't start that way, however. The cowboy went into the third night of Blind Auditions on Tuesday with a clear strategy: "Anytime I can help Ariana (Grande), I feel like I should. She’s the new coach and I want Ariana fans on my side," Shelton said, referring to her 268 million Instagram followers and potential voters.

"The Voice" veteran, 45, even dubbed the newest coach his "Grande-daughter," saying, "I look at you as a granddaughter." Grande, 28, replied, "Thank you grandpa."

Shelton enacted his master plan after Grande, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend all turned for Raquel Trinidad's soulful rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish."

"I can have an unbiased opinion here and help you choose Ariana as your coach," Shelton said. "I don’t want to see you end up with two coaches that are jaded, that have been here for a while and proven season after season that they can’t win." Ouch.

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Trinidad selected Grande as her coach. Legend took note: "I think Blake is sucking up to Ariana. I think Blake is always up to his old tricks. You can’t trust him."

Shelton struck again following Hailey Mia's mature performance of Tate McRae's "you broke me first," telling the 13-year-old singer, "You are in the position to be the youngest person to win 'The Voice' … The other first would be if you won this with Ariana."

A frustrated Clarkson objected: "Ariana Grande doesn’t need any help. She’s Ariana Grande … Blake never helped me. You’ve always been against me since Season 14."

Mia selected Grande over Clarkson. And although Grande was happy to secure the young powerhouse, she saw right through Shelton's antics: "I see what’s happening and I’m flattered. But I’m not dumb. I'm not falling for it."

Last week on 'The Voice': Ariana Grande disowns 'pov' after this singer had the 'audacity' to perform it

Shelton's plan backfired.

When he was looking for an assist from Grande to win Jeremy Rosado (who sang Rascal Flatts' "Here Comes Goodbye") over Clarkson, Grande said goodbye to their alliance.

"I think Kelly might be the right fit," Grande said to Shelton's dismay.

He protested: "It’s on now. You don’t realize the huge divide you just created right here." Shelton protested some more: "I can’t believe Ariana just did that after having her back and trying to help her. It was a slap in the face. The friendship is over."

But wait, there's more: "You stabbed me in the back… you are not my granddaughter anymore."

Clarkson gloated, "Sisters over misters." But it was everyone for themselves on four-chair turn Carson Peters, who impressed all the judges with Eric Clapton's "Tulsa Time."

Grande turned to strategy ("I have no one on my team that is a country artist"); Legend pulled out his EGOT-CMT ("I literally just won a CMT award, my very first award, with Carrie Underwood"); Clarkson pointed out her resume (My "country singers… took trophies home"); and Shelton played hardball ("Let’s not mess around with what this opportunity is for you. Let’s do this right.")

Although Peters initially said he would pick Grande because he's "a high school boy," the 17-year-old ultimately picked Shelton over his "knowledge" of country music.

Looks like Shelton got the last laugh: "What’s sad and funny is the fact that (the other coaches) thought they had a chance."

Don't mess with the Cowboy.

Blind Auditions resume on "The Voice" Tuesday (NBC, 8 EDT/PDT).

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The Voice: Ariana Grande 'stabbed me in the back,' Blake Shelton says

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