It’s the FINAL week of Battle Rounds on the Voice. I’ll be live blogging the action right here!
I’m really glad these battle rounds are over, because they are pointless and drag on forever. I don’t know what Cee Lo was smoking, but both his decisions tonight were totally WTF. Wade and Justin were both more soulful and interesting singers than James and Tony, respectively. I also thought Orlando out sang Karla in their Team Blake round. These pairings are so dumb and random anyway. The outcome is predetermined. How else to explain a round where a green high school kid is handed a song he doesn’t know in a genre he doesn’t understand against a near-pro who sings songs totally in the same wheelhouse? To be fair and sensible, you’d pair up acts who are similar and give them songs they are both comfortable with, but that would not be good TV, now would it? In conclusion: The battle rounds suck and I’m glad they are over.
ETA: And the guest mentors, pretty much added nothing, but to be fair, that’s mostly true on Idol too.
Next, it’s the live shows. A top 24, with only seven weeks to winnow them down. I don’t expect to get to know ANY of these contestants, but I am hoping there are at least some entertaining performances coming up in the live round. Then, once the show is over, the winner can go back to a life of obscurity, and the coaches can look forward to careers that are bigger and better than ever! YAY.
Team Cee Lo
James Massone vs Wade – “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper – Seriously. Is Cee Lo high? Giving a Cyndi Lauper song to R&B and Hip Hop guys? Wade probably has a better shot at it. He covered Amy Winehouse for his audition. James, the blue collar dude from Boston, is really nervous. Ne-Yo advises James, which makes him even more nervous. They tell James straight up that he has to get over it. “You’re at the game,” says Ne-Yo “You got to play.” Baby face advises Wade, whom he compares to AL Green and Luther Vandross. Wade’s mentoring session is going much smoother. I think James is screwed. After the duo’s rehearsal, Cee-lo began to cry. “OK,” says Cee Lo, “I surrender.”
There’s some big time pitchiness in spots. But If I had to pick, I’d go with Wade. He’s got a gorgeous tone and some beautiful phrasing. He’s a more adventurous singer than James. I can’t get into James nasally nasal singing. Adam: James voice captured his attention. He’d go with James. Blake: Both have good voices, but James took it. Xtina: She also chooses James! Wow. I disagree. Cee Lo: James, you came in so cocky and confident, I was so impressed with you. Wade, you were nervous today. Cee Lo picks James. Wow I totally disagree with that. To make it worse for Wade, Cee Lo said he favored Wade up until the battle round.
Battle Round Winner: James Massone
Nicole Galyon vs Mathai “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles – Nicole, the country songwriter/piano player is going to play during her round. Robin Thicke advises Nicole. After she sings, Robin is a little smitten. He tells her he wants to take her to prom! His advice to Nicole is to embody the sweetness of the song a bit more. Nicole is intimidated by Mathai, who comes from a family of doctors, but has an unusual voice and natural charisma. Alanis Morissette, her adviser tells her not to chop off the notes. And to be herself. Once they get into rehearsal together, Adam decides the piano isn’t working and has it taken away. Nicole feels insecure without her instrument.
Mathai is the more charismatic singer. She’s also got a more current and radio friendly tone. Her vocal really pops. Nicole’s performance is breathy and nervous and she has no idea what to do with her body away from the piano. There were some major pitchy spots from both singers, though. Blake: He thinks breathing affected Nicole’s performance he picks Mathai. Xtina: It’s a no brainer, she picks Mathai. Cee Lo: Nicole is a generic singer. He picks Mathai. Adam was disappointed with the performance generally. (So was I) He thought the rehearsal was better. Having said that, he chooses Mathai. Nicole was at a disadvantage without her piano, but even if she were playing, I don’t think she stood a chance against Mathai’s unique vocal talents.
Battle Round Winner: Mathai
Moses Stone vs The Line – “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones – Uh. A country duo vs an MC singing a classic rock song. Christina must hate them both. The Line, a duo, feel like the song will be a challenge. Moses is a little more confident. Lionel Richie mentors Moses. So Moses is going to sing? What’s the point of that? He’s a rapper. I SMELL A TRAINWRECK. Jewel helps The Line. She tells them basically to stop being a wedding band. They are a little taken aback. Xtina wants moves! Moses is crowding. She’s expecting BOTH acts to be something they are NOT and NEVER WILL BE. I don’t see the point.
This is surprisingly not terrible, even if it’s a little weird and awkward. Moses isn’t a great singer, but he does have charisma. The male half of The Line has a TERRIFIC voice. Really powerful. When Moses raps part of the song, he’s obviously more comfortable. Cee Lo: That was great. Moses has charisma and swagger. He liked The Line too, but he goes with Moses. Adam: It was unorthodox. He chooses The Line because their vocals were better Blake: I thought that was pretty weird, but good. He goes with The Line. Christina says you have to know how to be versatile in this business. She chooses Moses. I still don’t see the point of this goofy battle. Pitting people who are so different puts everyone at a disadvantage. I have a feeling Xtina would have picked Moses no matter what. This battle was conceived purely to create some good TV.
Battle Round Winner: Moses Stone
Orlando Napier vs Karla Davis – “Easy Like Sunday Morning” by the Commodores – Adam changed from”Rich Girl” by Hall and Oats because he felt it wasn’t working. Orlando has a criminal past. Karla was afraid to sing in front of people. Alanis Morissette advises Karla. Adam calls Carla’s ‘big voice’ ‘Bertha’. Karla feels like she had a breakthrough. Orlando’s adviser is Robin Thicke. Robin preaches the importance of vowels. You need power at the right moment, he tells Orlando.
Orlando is the more dynamic singer and performer, but this duet, overall, was not a great performance. Whatever Karla learned in her mentoring session, she seemed to lose in the live performance. Blake: I love the sound of Carla’s voice, but overall, Orlando was a better performer. Xtina: She felt Karla was the more entertaining performance. Orlando was too loud, she wanted more dynamics. Cee L0: Loves Orlando’s vibe. Adam: Has seen Karla blossom, so he chooses her as the winner. Hm. Neither was perfect, but Karla seemed to be holding back.
Battle Round Winner Karla Davis
Naia Kete vs Jordan Rager – “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz – Naia is a street performer. Jordan is a 17 year old high school country singer. This song would appear to favor Naia. This fits her style perfectly. Young Jordan didn’t know the song at all, and he had never sung harmonies before. Miranda Lambert advises a smitten Jordan. She works with him on harmonies, but it’s not easy for him. He’s green and unconfident. Kelly Clarkson advises Naia. Blake tells her to save the vocal tricks for the end. Don’t get too tricky! (BLAKE HATES THAT!) After the last rehearsal, Blake thinks Jordan has improved a lot.
The duet parts are awful. Once Naia is off on her own singing, she stomps all over Jordan. But the country kid holds his own considering the cards were totally stacked against him. Xtina: Jordan’s performance was solid, but Naia had a natural groove. Cee Lo: Wanted to see Jordan be more confident. He chooses Naia. Adam: He realizes the Jordan was out of his comfort zone but he has to go with Naia. Blake: Both missed notes. He was really surprised by that. He goes with experience and chooses Naia.
Battle Round Winner Naia Kete
Tony Vincent vs Justin Hopkins – “Faithfully” by Journey – Tony is a Broadway actor wanting to break into pop. Justin is a family man who sang Babylon in his audition. Oh look. Cee Lo is crying again. Babyface advises Tony. Babyface realizes that Tony is a pro looking to improve what’s already there. Ne-Yo is Justin’s adviser. “A lot of emotion in his voice, naturally,” says Ne-Yo about Justin. He likes the natural growl in his voice. But the power of the song is the emotion. Cee Lo calls Justin a diamond in the rough. He is clearly at a disadvantage.
Tony’s guyliner and bald head is skeering me a little. To be honest, I prefer Justin’s vocals. Tony’s style is very cabaret. He lacks grit. His Big! Broadway! Notes! feel empty. Justin DIGS IN to the song. So much more emotion in that performance. That’s what counts, to me. Adam: Likes the dirtiness in his Justin’s voice. Blake: Tony may be more versatile. Thinks Justin was a more solid performance. Xtina thinks Tony has the full package. Cee Lo: Thinks both brought it to life. He likes how Tony is enigmatic. Justin has heart and soul. Cee Lo picks Tony. I TOLD Y’ALL TODAY. I TOLD YOU. Justin was better, but Cee Lo went with the ringer.
Battle Round Winner: Tony Vincent
The Teams Going into the Live Rounds
Teem Cee Lo
- Juliet Simms – Rocker girl
- Jamar Rogers – Ex Idol contestant & Danny Gokey pal
- James Massone – Boston auto body worker
- Erin Martin – Former model with giant hair
- Tony Vincent – Broadway Star
- Cheesa – Singer from Hawaii
- Tony Luca – Former mouseketeer
- Katrina Parker – Insurance worker
- Mathai – Nursing student, daughter of medical professionals
- Karla Davis – Nashville artist
- Pip – Super twee pop artist
- Kim Yarbrough – Middle-aged soul singer
- Jesse Campbell – Single dad
- Ashley De La Rosa – Young hopeful
- Chris Mann – Ex Glee Warbler, Opera Singer
- Moses Stone – Hip Hop MC
- Lindsey Pavao – Indie artist
- Sera Hill – R&B singer
- Rae Lynn – Country hopeful
- Erin Willett – Powerhouse vocals
- Jermaine Paul – Alicia Keys background vocalist
- Naia Kete – Reggae artist
- Jordis Unga – Rockstar: INXS alum
- Charlotte Sometimes - Singer/songwriter