The Voice 9 Recap Battle Rounds #1 Live Blog
Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams are joined by advisers, John Fogerty, Brad Paisley, Selena Gomez and Missy Elliott, respectively, as team members do battle for a spot in the upcoming Knockout Rounds. We’re live blogging here.
Adam Levine is sporting his new, bald look. Is male pattern baldness finally getting the best of him?
Jordan Smith & Regina Love – Team Adam Levine – Like I Can by Sam Smith – Download from iTunes
Rehearsal: Jordan Smith has a very different sound. Regina is 51 and once had a record deal with Evander Holyfield and is a radio host in Atlanta. It’s an odd matchup. I suspect Regina is being set up as a sacrificial lamb–Jordan and his unique sound have been pimped since his blind audition. Adam says the challenge is emotional. Can they bring it? Adviser John Fogerty is really impressed. Adam warns them not to allow their harmonies to trail off. In final rehearsal, singing with the band energizes them both. There were some small critiques to get the duo ready to go.
Performance: I think Jordan is overrated, to be honest. So, he doesn’t “look” like his voice. Take that away, and he’s a solid singer, but has a thin voice–particularly compared to Regina, who is blowing him off the stage. She’s such a pro–but also really old fashioned.This really isn’t a great match up, chemistry-wise. Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige they aren’t. (Which is probably what Adam had in mind when he paired them up). Blake feels like he’s at the Grammys. He loves Regina’s control and passion. He calls Jordan’s voice from another planet. Pharrell calls the performance “Masterful” and compares it to “Game of Thrones” and trumpets. Gwen calls Jordan “unexpected.” Adam calls them both powerful, but generous. He’s starting to feel dumb putting them together, but Jordan wins the Battle. OF COURSE. “Jordan can win The Voice,” says Adam. Gwen Stefani steals Regina. “You deserve to be in this competition,” she says. Gwen must need some cannon fodder.
Tyler Dickerson & Zach Seabaugh – Team Blake Shelton – “I’m Going to Be Somebody” by Travis Tritt – Download from iTunes
Rehearsal: Tyler had a deal once upon a time, but lost it and ended up working for his dad. Zach is a high school junior. He gave up football for music. Adviser, Brad Paisley, thinks Tyler has the Travis Tritt bad boy thing down pat, but Zach’s deep voice is a more traditionally country voice. Blake warns Tyler not to go through the motions on a familiar song. Zach needs to use his voice and connect to the song. Brad gives Zach tips on how to make the performance more heartfelt and earnest. Blake thinks Tyler might have the edge, but you never know, he says.. Blake thinks Zach’s performance improved in the final rehearsal, while Tyler is a little pitchy.
Performance: This duo is pretty evenly drawn. Tyler has the more versatile voice. He can hit those high notes, and they resonate. But Zach has some pretty nifty phrasing going with that deep country voice, but he’s green. Who Blake chooses will be based on what he wants on his team. Pharrell noticed that Zach’s voice cracked at one point. Pharrell admires Tyler’s well-worn experience. So does Gwen. Adam felt Zach threw some notes away. Zach was trying harder. Blake chastises the “dirty old women” stanning for Zach (LIKE GWEN!). Blake is proud of Zach, even if he didn’t raise him! Blake felt Tyler was still phoning it in a little. Zach wins the Battle. Hm. I enjoyed Tyler’s performance more. Zach has more potential for radio success. But he may not even last past the Knockouts. This matchup was more or less a mid card.
Ellie Lawrence & Tim Atlas – Team Gwen Stefani – Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood –Download from iTunes
Rehearsal – Ellie came from a country music loving town, but she’s an indie girl. And a Gwen Stefani fan! Tim is performing solo without a band for the first time. Gwen put the two together because they both have an indie singer/songwriter vibe. The song she picked fits them both well, she thinks. Tim is a little intimidated by Ellie’s strong voice. But Gwen thinks Tim is doing a better job articulating the melody. Selena compliments Ellie’s control, much to her delight. Gwen advises Tim to allow his personality to come through. Tim really misses his guitar. But she doesn’t want him fading into the background on stage, like a backup musician, against Ellie’s strong personality. Selena finds Tim’s awkwardness charming, but Gwen wants him to feel confident in himself. Don’t close your eyes so much, Gwen tells Ellie. Gwen thinks the singer with the strongest stage presence will win the battle. That sounds like Ellie.
Performance: It’s another draw. I don’t remember Tim that well from his audition. OH RIGHT BECAUSE HE WAS MONTAGED. smh. While Ellie has the stronger voice, there’s something intriguing about Tim. He’s intense in a quiet way. He completely holds my attention. Ellie is pedestrian by comparison. Adam felt they both really committed. But Adam would go with Tim, his performance grabbed his attention. Blake would also go with Tim for the same reasons. Ellie has the outgoing personality, but Tim is intriguing. Pharrell thinks it’s a difficult choice. They are both gifted. Gwen felt Tim really came out of himself tonight. She suspects Adam and Blake want to steal Ellie, that’s why they want her to pick Tim. But Ellie Wins the Battle. She’s totally shocked. Pharrell steals Tim! That kid has something special. He deserved to be stolen. Adam and Blake sat on their hands.
Celeste Betton & Mark Hood – Team Pharrell Williams – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell – Download from iTunes
Rehearsal: Celeste’s husband is in the military, her passion is gospel. Mark’s mom wanted him to be a farmer, inexplicably. He’s proving to her music is where he belongs. He’s certainly a personality and a clown. I can’t imagine him behind a tractor. He totally freaks out when he realizes Missy Elliott is the adviser. Pharrell will give the round to the singer who makes him feel it. “Feelin,” “passion,” “gift,” and “anointed” are words that get thrown around in this session. Missy felt like she was back in the 70s listening to them. After they run through the song, Missy is brought to tears, she is so moved. Celeste and Mark were so good, says Pharrell, he and Missy never needed to give a note. A first, he says. Pharrell and Missy were even more impressed with the final rehearsal.
Performance: These two have so much good will and generosity for each other. They totally engage during the performance and both are soooo good. They truly embody that soulful R&B vibe from the 60’s and 70’s. The runs are plenty, but well placed. They NEVER step on each others toes. Marvin and Tammi are somewhere grooving, I swear. Somebody better steal the loser. Mark is a ball of energy and charm. At one point they come together on one amazing run, and Pharrell freaks out. Gwen calls it “my favorite battle that I’ve ever seen.” Gwen loves Mark’s spirit. Celeste has an infectious attitude. Adam calls mark a spark plug. He loves Celeste’s tone. Blake thinks either could be a star. Pharrell thinks he made a mistake putting them together. Adam says they were the best ever, so no mistake. AND WE GO TO BREAK BEFORE DECISION TIME. I knew that would happen. It really is a draw. In the blinds, Mark had four chairs turn, but only Pharrell turned for Celeste. She’s the big surprise here. Mark wins the Battle Pharrell picked Mark because of his versatility. His charisma gives him an edge. NOBODY IS STEALING CELESTE. She breaks out a gospel song as a goodbye. And Gwen stole Regina at the top of the show? WTF. Everyone is upset, including a tearful Pharrell “I LOVE YOU PHARRELL” someone screams from the audience. Emotional.
Dustin Monk & James Dupre – Team Adam Levine – Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival – Download from iTunes
Rehearsal: James has been listening to John Fogerty’s music forever. And now the duo will sing one of his songs in battle. Adam paired them, because they have the same presence. But they have distinct styles. John calls Dustin a rocker, while James Americana style country take on the song impressed him. John describes how and why he wrote the song. For this song in particular, it’s important to understand that the song is fiercely anti-war. John has a style that can’t be imitated, says Adam. They have to make the song their own. John, guitar in hand, helps them re-arrange the song to suit their styles. John and Adam sing along during the final rehearsal. The discussion revolves around getting the conviction right, and singing on the beat to punctate the passion.
Performance: This is another close battle, but I think Dustin and his rocker vibe commanded the stage. Blake thought James was the most consistent, but Dustin took more risks. James sang with more precision, so Pharrell would choose him. Dustin was more electric, says Gwen, but James was effortless. Adam explains how John lent a hand and talks about the singers’ differences. They’re both good. He’s super proud of both. But James Wins The Battle. Hm. James may have sang more “perfectly,” but Dustin captured my attention. He cries as he thanks Adam for the opportunity. Aw. James is going back to his day job for now.
Barrett Baber & Dustin Christensen – Team Blake Shelton – Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn – Download from iTunes
Rehearsal: Barrett is a high school drama teacher who survived a tragic plane crash. He was a four chair turn. Dustin has an MBA, but his heart is in music. He also turned 4 chairs. Blake thinks the two are so powerful, they can only compete against each other. He gave them a powerful song to see who sings it with the most confidence. Barrett grew up near Memphis. He connects to the song. Brad Paisley gives them some good tips on phrasing. He thinks Dustin may have the more unique voice. But Barrett has an incredible energy! His diction improved on the final rehearsal, the coaches note. Blake feels the performance may be the ULTIMATE FOUR CHAIR BATTLE. Both are in their 30s, and have a last chance fueled hunger to prevail.
Performance: Both these singers have powerful personalities and voices. They are pretty evenly matched and sing in similar styles. It’s a battle built for a steal. Barrett and Dustin’s voices are distinctive–both do the blue-eyed soul thing very well. Soulful white guys with mature voices often go far on The Voice. At some point, though, one is going to knock the other off. But not tonight. Pharrell felt they’re both “so rad'” but Barrett is his favorite. Gwen can’t believe Barrett is a teacher. Adam thinks they are two of the best the Top 48 has to offer. “Blake is an idiot for putting the two of you together.” Adam says, “Thanks Dr. Evil,” Blake shoots back. It’s such a hard decision for Blake, but in the end Barrett wins the Battle. Blake thinks Barrett has a future in music, and a voice that cuts through. Adam and Gwen steal Dustin. “Please do not break my heart a second time,” pleads Adam. Gwen worships Dustin’s voice. She wants to do a duet, and hints they’ll get to “hang out.” Blake thinks it’s an easy decision. “Are you going to go with superwoman, or Lex Luthor?” he asks. In the end, Dustin chooses Adam Levine
The Voice moves to its NEW TIME. 9/8c PM One Hour show.
Moving On to the Knockouts:
Jordin Smith – Team Adam
Regina Love – Team Gwen STEALS from Team Adam
Zach Seabaugh – Team Blake
Ellie Lawrence – Team Gwen
Tim Atlas – Team Pharrell STEALS from Team Gwen
Mark Hood – Team Pharrell
James Dupre – Team Adam
Barrett Baber – Team Blake
Dustin Christianson – Team Adam STEALS from Team Blake
Tyler Dickerson – Team Blake
Celeste Betton – Team Pharrell
Dustin Monk – Team Adam