The battle rounds CONTINUE tonight. I’ll be live blogging the face-offs right here.
Other than the last performance where Christina stole Will Champlin from a fairly evenly matched battle with James Wolpert, the steals were terrible this week. Let me amend that. Adam Levine stealing Juhi after Cee Lo inexplicable chose the non-descript George in their battle was righting a wrong. Cee Lo must have been creating some fake drama and/or taking on cannon fodder to sacrifice in the kickoff round.
And why any of the coaches would steal a singer out of the Desiree/Lina face off is beyond me. The two women were decent singers, but both were expendable. I’ll be shocked if either make it through the knock outs.
And the prize for MOST IMPROVED goes to Christina Aguilera! That cycle away from The Voice did her so much good. She’s turned into a great mentor, with wonderful suggestions for her team, and her attitude has taken a 180. Remember when she used to bicker with Adam and take passive aggressive swipes at contestants she didn’t like? Those days appear to be over.
Cher would be a great judge. One of these competition shows have to snap her up, if she’s willing. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and doesn’t sound like an asshole while doing it. Being tough is hard, especially for women who are so quickly labeled with the B word if they are anything other than motherly or encouraging. Cher is straightforward and smart, without being mean.
Team Christina Aguilera with Ed Sheeran is first.
Josh Logan vs Michael Lynch – “Harder to Breath” by Maroon 5 – Josh is a gigging Dad. Michael Lynch is the blue eyed latin singer who dueted with Christina. Ed thinks Josh’s gravel is suited to the song. The song is wordy, which worries Michael. Christina tells them NOT to worry about ad libbing during the verses, but save them as a call back when the other is singing. Christina plays an excited audience member, in an attempt to get them both to engage. She’s frustrated that they don’t seem to know the lyrics. Ed takes away their cheat sheet. Christina reminds them that the guy who wrote the song will be sitting in front of them. They have to bring it. It’s about a pissed off guy, and they aren’t bringing the passion to their performance.
Josh sounds a little like Adam. Actually A LOT like Adam. Michael has a lighter tone, Josh is more naturally soulful. They’re both good, playing off of each other well. But I’d give the edge to the naturally soulful and confident Josh. Adam looks happy sitting in his chair. Cee Lo calls Josh effortless. Blake loved the energy and thought they both gave 110 percent. Adam thought the performance was fun and they did an amazing job. He’d give it to Josh. After loading Adam with a shower of compliments. Christina is happy that Adam approves. Team Christina chooses Josh.
Team Cee Lo Green with Miguel
George Horga Jr. vs Juhi – “The Best I’ve Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw – George’s parents were Romanian immigrants. Juhi’s dad is an engineer, she’s thinking of following in his footsteps, if the music thing doesn’t take off. George LOVES Miguel. Juhi is a quirky girl and experiments with phrasing and rhythm. George is more straightforward and has trouble with the high notes. He’s going to have a hard time standing out. Sixteen year old Juhi is, nevertheless, intimidated. They remind Juhi to enunciate and breath.
Geez, do you think these two were paired up because they both have immigrant parents? Heh. Whoa. George hits some BUM notes. And he’s simply not as charismatic as Juhi. She’s got a standout style that just pops. She’s a pushing a little hard on the chorus though. I think they’re both nervous. Still, with her energy, and personality and unique way with a phrase, Juhi is the winner of this battle. Adam mentions the bad note, but admires that he kept on. He likes Juhi’s range. They both need work. Blake calls Juhi “Juju”. I don’t think he can pronounce her name. He’s astounded that she’s so young. He really likes her. Christina thought they both brought energy to the song. Cee Lo picked the song because he felt both could bring a young, fresh energy to it. He calls Juhi “a young Einstein.” He admires George’s resilience and that he’s 100% dedicated to a career in music. Cee Lo chooses George. WTF? He knows someone is going to steal her. And indeed Adam Levine steals Juhi. That would have been RIDICULOUS letting her go. Manufactured drama. Seriously. George is cannon fodder for the knockouts.
Team Blake Shelton with Cher
Austin Jenckes vs Brian Pounds – “To Love Somebody” by Bee Gees – Brian gave up sports to pursue country music. Austin’s father committed suicide when he was 16. Hank Williams Jr. recorded this song, so it’s not such a weird pick for two country singers. Blake thinks the song will bring out the vulnerable side in both. Cher advises Austin NOT to show all his cards initially. Brian is having trouble connecting to the song. He’s got to get lost in the song the way Austin does. Cher didn’t like Austin’s microphone technique. Brian decides to lose his guitar. Cher is very observant! She tells Brian to use his body when he’s trying to hit notes. Austin also needs to work on his higher register. After rehearsals, Blake regrets putting them together. They are more evenly matched than he thought. He probably tossed Brian in there as fodder.
Brian is more soulful than I remember him, but Austin is kicking his butt. Brian’s thin under pitch vocals are no match for Austin’s rich, warm growl. Austin knows how to tell a story and bring emotion to a song. Despite all the wank during rehearsals, Brian is still, basically fodder. No match. Christina thought they each had good moments. But Austin brought it emotionally. Cee Lo felt Brian didn’t connect the way Austin did. Adam also thinks Austin took it. Blake thinks the two country singers did great with a song out of their genre. Blake mentions Austin’s connection. He thinks they are dead even vocally, but Blake chooses Austin.
Team Adam Levine with Ryan Tedder
James Irwin vs Matt Cermanski – “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic. James came back after failing last season. This time, all 4 coaches turned. Matt is also a returnee, prevailing with a version of “Have a Little Faith in Me” after bombing the season before with “Teenage Dream.” It’s nerve wracking to be performing the adviser’s song! Ryan tells James not to sit on the words. Adam feels he’s a little languid. Matt wants to lower it a tone and James agrees. Adam thinks it’s too low and draggy. They convince him to sing in the higher key. See, you can hit those notes Matt! Ryan thinks Matt could steal the battle from the more naturally gifted James. Adam thinks James needs to bare his soul. Matt is having trouble with pitch. Adam persuades Matt to put down the guitar.
Matt wanted to lower that key? It already sounds low for him. I don’t know what it is. Matt sounds subdued on the verses. James has superior vocal abilities. They both come alive on the bridge, which is the part highlighted in the preview. That performance was lackluster, but James voice cut through with a fuller, rounder more soulful sound. Blake thought the performance got better as the song went along. He thinks Matt has a different sounding voice, bigger in the upper registers. James has better pitch. Christina also thinks Matt has a better upper register. Cee Lo disagrees with Christina. James has the fuller voice. Adam believes in them both, but the performance was flawed. Adam chooses James
Team Christina Aguilera with Ed Sheeran
Destinee Quinn Vs Lina Gaudenzi “Not Ready to Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks – Destinee works in a biker bar. Lina was a teen model. Both are soft singers. Christina picked the song to get them out of their safety zone. Interestingly, the country singer, Destinee, isn’t comfortable with the song. She feels Lina, and her ad libs will rule the day. Both singers are having trouble connecting to the song. It’s the EMOTION that moves the audience. She wants them both to go for it. Lina is very nervous in the last rehearsal. Christina tells her to get out of her own way. She’s an overthinker. Destinee is having trouble incorporating the team’s notes. Finally, Christina sings the song to demonstrate what she means by CONNECTION and EMOTION and basically SHUTS IT DOWN. That’s how you do it girls.
I’m having trouble telling these two apart. Which is a bad sign, actually, because neither really stands out. Destinee didn’t need to be so insecure, because she’s holding her own against Lina. They bring more emotion here than they seemed to in rehearsal. Cee Lo thought Destinee lived the song. They both connected to the song, but fell flat at points, says Adam. He goes with Lina. Destinee convinced Blake by the end of the song. He gives her a free pass on the technical stuff. But Lina performed it better from beginning to end. Christina is proud of both. Destinee nailed emotion, Lina had the range. Christina chooses Destinee But then…Adam steals Lina. Eh. Neither of them were that great.
Team Adam Levine with Ryan Tedder
James Wolpert vs Will Champlin – “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons – James works at an Apple store. Will is the son of a Chicago band member. Adam wants to take them BOTH out of their comfort zones. Will is pitchy in his upper register. Yep, he was in his audition, too. He needs to work on his nerves, says Ryan. James is doing it perfectly, but he needs to work on emoting. In the last rehearsal, Ryan tells James that he’s overusing his vibrato. Ryan thinks Will totally stepped up his game and nailed it.
Will has improved since his audition, which I did not like at all. He actually has some edge, which is a nice surprise. It’s an intense song, but they’re both pushing their vocals beyond what’s necessary. Still, this is easily the battle of the night. Out of the the two, I prefer James. He’s got a nicer tone, and is a more interesting and varied singer, although Will did have his moments. Blake thinks James is the surprise out of the battle, because he’s so buttoned up. He goes with James. Christina thought Will’s performance was more solid. Will won the battle for Christina. Cee Lo likes James better. It was more even that Adam anticipated. Will stepped up in the rehearsal. James had more to prove. Adam chooses James But then…Christina Steals Will