"The winner of this battle is Mandy."
With those words from coach/judge Kelly Clarkson, Central native Sara Collins was eliminated from the 18th season of NBC's "The Voice" on Monday night.
During the second night of battle rounds, 18-year-old Collins went up against Mandi Thomas, 33, of Memphis, Tennessee, in a duet of "My Baby Loves Me (Just the Way That I Am)," released by country star Martina McBride in 1993. To see their performance, click here.
"The guys (other judges John Legend and Nick Jonas) are right when they say you're voice cuts through and it's like oh my God, country right off the bat and I love your sound," Clarkson told Collins after the performance. "You know, this is a hard one for me because you are very different. … I'm going to have to go with who I feel like is consistent and steady."
While Collins concentrates on country, Clarkson noted that Thomas' versatility is an advantage in the competition. Thomas sang opera in her blind auditions, but seemed to have no problem nailing the country tune as well, the coaches agreed.
Collins, who now lives in Dandridge, Tennessee, has worked with several national artists, including Kane Brown and fellow Louisiana native Hunter Hayes.