The Voice got off to a no-nonsense start Monday (Apr. 29), with the season's Top 24 performing live for the coaches, as well as America's votes. It was a solid two hours of pure music, with little of the fluff or gimmicks to move things along.

This particular episode will whittle the 24 down to 12. Additionally, the teams are uneven, with Blake Shelton having eight, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend each having six, and Adam Levine with four.

Clarkson's team, in the form of Rebecca Howell, brought the most country offering to the table, with Howell performing Faith Hill's "Wild One."

Clarkson noted of her coaching strategy: "I feel like sometimes when you get into the competition setting people try to emulate other people. Just be yourself. Rock you. I want them to be themselves."

Of Howell in particular, Clarkson said, "Each time she's getting better. That's my favorite part of being on this show, watching people blossom."

Howell gave a solid if not electrifying version of the 1993 song, which given that Shelton has the bulk of the Top 24 (and most of the country) might not be enough to pull Clarkson's country creds ahead. Still, her version will likely be interesting enough to win some of the popular vote. The jury is out if she'll make the brutal cut into next week's journey.

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