updated 03/26/2014 AT 2:45 AM ET
•originally published 03/26/2014 AT 8:30 AM ET
It was the steal that stole the show.
The Grammy-winning singer pressed his button at the last possible moment to save Alaskan powerhouse Cierra Mickens, who began to walk off the stage in defeat after losing to Idaho session singer Emily B.
The two women delivered a flawed but fierce version of Sara Bareilles’s “Brave” that left coach Shakira with a difficult decision. The Colombian superstar ultimately chose Emily, 33, a multiple brain-surgery survivor, citing the “amazing quality in her voice” and her embrace of the song and its message.
Mickens, 23, gracefully accepted defeat and began to leave the stage until Usher slyly pressed his button, which prompted Mickens to drop to her knees in relief and joy.
“I planned on hitting my button because God blessed you with an incredible talent,” he declared of his decision to save her. “I’m happy that you’re on my team, and I now have the opportunity to pick up where Shakira left off.”
“She has star quality,” he added to his fellow coaches while explaining his decision.