Kelly Clarkson pulls a Maury Povich, gives ‘master liar’ Blake Shelton a polygraph test on ‘The Voice’

Blake Shelton mostly fails his lie detector test administered at Kelly Clarkson’s request. (Photo: NBC)

In case you didn’t notice the first, oh, 517 times Blake Shelton mentioned it during Season 23’s final three episodes, this season marks the longtime popular trainer’s final rodeo on The voice. And he’s milking what he hopes will be his farewell victory lap for all it’s worth, getting every last jab at his longtime rival, Kelly Clarkson, and pulling every last dirty trick to recruit singers for his final team.

For example, during Tuesday’s blind auditions, Blake tried to connect with one contestant, aspiring Olympian Chloe Abbott, by claiming he’s coached the U.S. curling team “for a couple of years now.” An excited Kelly then gasped rhetorically: “Is anyone else fair ill if Blake is lying?” — and in one of the show’s better shticks in recent memory, she called out host Carson Daly, who right at the top came out riding a polygraph machine.

Getting into Maury “The Lie Detector Determined That Was a Lie” Povich mode, Kelly hooked Blake up and grilled him with questions like “Have you blocked me this season?” And of course, a red-X screen — which kind of looked like it was borrowed from the NBC sister show America’s Got Talent — instantly boomed and flashed the block letters “FAKE” when Blake denied it. It also wasn’t surprising when Blake’s “absolutely” response to Kelly’s “Am I really your favorite trainer?” query elicited another big red “FALSE”. (We all(knows that rookie coach Niall Horan is his new favorite.) And it was very funny when Carson’s question, “Did Gwen (Stefani) marry you out of pity?” – to which Blake drawlingly replied, “Probably” – generated a green “TRUE” result.

Blake Shelton receives his lie detector test results.  (Photos: NBC)

Blake Shelton receives his lie detector test results. (Photos: NBC)

“Kelly, Kelly! You know lie detectors don’t work on me,” Blake laughed after Kelly’s little stunt was over, throwing in some seemingly legitimate rink footage of him participating in an Olympic curling practice. “I’m a master at lying!”

In another humorous display of Blake and Kelly’s frenemy ship Tuesday, as they sparred over teen singer Mary Kate Connor, whom Kelly called a “younger Brandi Carlile,” Blake recalled, “I ran into Kelly Clarkson at a Brandi Carlile- concert 10 or 12 years ago…” To that Kelly replied without missing a beat: “Does not because you were there!” But then Kelly thought she’d gone too far and shouted, “I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding!” and runs to give Blake an apologetic hug. At the end of the day, or at least by the end of the hour-long episode, it was clear that these two really care about each other.

Kelly Clarkson apologizes to Blake Shelton after insulting him on 'The Voice.'  (Photo: NBC)

Kelly Clarkson apologizes to Blake Shelton after insulting him on ‘The Voice’. (Photo: NBC)

In his own wry way, Blake admitted he missed Kelly when she sat out last season, explaining: “It’s exciting to have Kelly back because when she’s gone, I really don’t have anyone to fight with. And when she is here, is the fight on!” But once Blake was out of earshot, Kelly shared a sweeter sentiment.

“Don’t tell him I said this, but he is The voice” Kelly said of his co-star. “He’s the king of The voice. So that is It gets really weird when he’s not here. He will be missed by all.”

Oh. When Blake eventually sees the footage, I’m sure the dirty trickster will use it against Kelly somehow. But really, Kelly told no lies. The show just won’t be the same without him. There’s only one more week of blind auditions before Blake can shout, “My team is full!” for the last time, but below is a breakdown of who he, Kelly, Niall and Chance the Rapper recruited on Tuesday — including which team the aforementioned Mary Kate Connor joined.

Kate Cosentino, 23: “I say a little prayer”

This sassy lady with “big chick energy” from a big Italian family has the potential to be annoying in a big way (she seems to make being Italian her whole personality). But her beautiful, jazzy, Sara Bareilles-esque performance and self-described “clown couture” made her a “readymade star”, according to Niall. “The fact that you chose that song means your standards are (high),” a seemingly smitten Niall said of Kate’s Bacharach/Warwick cover, while Chance called Kate “cool” and “so funny” and Kelly loved her “Wayne’s World guitar” and fat, “lullaby” vocals.

Who turned? Kelly, Chance and Niall.

Result: Team Niall. Kate explained that the Irish and Italians need to stick together and that’s what her “ancestors” would have wanted. (Apparently Kelly’s “30%” Irish blood wasn’t enough.)

Chloe Abbott, 24: “How Deep Is Your Love”

This competitive athlete, who hopes to qualify for the 2024 Olympics, brought her training to Vote stage, exhibiting what Chance noted was “amazing breath control” on her sultry Bee Gees cover. Chance also described the Detroit chanteuse as a (definitely winning) combination of Anita Baker and Norah Jones.

Who turned? Only chance, surprisingly. He was obviously excited, calling Chloe “the artist I was looking to find.”

Result: Keep chance. “I think she would have stood out someone’s team, but I’m glad she’s on winner team,” Chance said, proving it’s a tough competitor, too — even if he’s not trying to join the U.S. curling team.

Marcos Covos, 30: “Your sun you”

After enjoying an idyllic, music-filled childhood, Marcos was rejected by his family when he came out as gay in high school – which “made it painful to do music because it would remind me of the old life I used to have. ” Eventually Marcos and his parents reconciled and when he bristled Vote stage Tuesday, he declared: “I’ve never performed as myself; this is my first time in my life where I feel exactly who I am and proud of who I am.” There was a sense of triumph, joy and liberation in his performance, which Kelly called “beautiful” and “passionate.”

Who turned? Kelly, who has always had a soft spot for Latin and Spanish-language singers… and she seemed to think this one was a lock, till sneakily Blake pressed his button furiously during Marcos’ last note.

Result: Team Kelly, of course. “I knew there was no way I was going to beat Kelly on that one, but it made me happy to see her get mad at me for a second,” Blake admitted with a smile.

Tiana Goss, 29: “Emotions”

Tiana tried out for season 22, but “didn’t do as well as I would have liked. … It was honestly a bummer.” But as someone who was diagnosed in 2020 with a form of epilepsy that can actually affect her lyrical recall, Tiana is clearly not the type to give up. This time she “picked the perfect song that showed off all the best parts of her voice,” according to Niall (last year’s Nelly Furtado cover choice was ill-advised), and she was much improved.

Who turned? Just Niall, who clearly has a soft spot for soft female crooners. I was surprised Chance opted out because he looked so mesmerized throughout Tiana’s Samantha Sang cover.

Result: Team Niall. “I was hoping for you!” confessed Tiana who seemed as happy as Niall at this result. “I was looking for character and she has that in abundance,” Niall gushed, calling Tiana a “game-changer.”

Mary Kate Connor, 17: “Stars”

A fan of The voice since she was a very little girl, Mary Kate actually first heard her Blind Audition song, a soaring Grace Potter folk ballad, while watching the show. I personally don’t think the Mary Kate version took off enough — Her performance was too polite and tentative with none of Grace’s raw energy — but this theater kid delivered a beautiful, polished, professional vocal. Kelly loved “how beautiful and tender it was,” and Blake described Mary Kate’s “Appalachian sound” as “soft and angelic.”

Who turned? Blake and Kelly.

Result: Team Blake. I felt like Mary Kate was more of a Danielle Bradbery (season 4’s Blake-trained teen winner) than a Brandi Carlile – so this pairing actually made sense. Kelly seemed mostly ok with letting Blake have this one.

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