Last week’s episode of The Voice introduced us to how the battle rounds work and gave us some amazing performances. Remember the epic battle between Nicki Dawson and Vicci Martinez? Incredible. This week’s battle rounds saw more amazing performances, but this time around, I pretty much agreed with all of the judge’s decisions even though that meant saying goodbye to at least one of my favorites. Let’s get started.
Team Cee Lo
The Contestants: Tje Austin, Nakia
The Song: Closer by Ne-Yo
Initial Impression: I was crushed by this one. Tje and Nakia have been two of my favorite contestants from the start and I didn’t want to see either of them go home in the battle rounds. I was also pretty nervous. As much as I love Tje I was rooting for Nakia and Cee Lo’s song choice really seemed to favor Tje’s style.
Coach’s Advice: It seemed like Nakia wanted to go somewhere a little different with the song, but Cee Lo wisely suggested not to let the song become a ‘soul by numbers’ sort of deal’. He said to let the little vocal flourishes happen when it felt right instead of planning it out. Cee Lo also advised Nakia to get into the story of the song.
The Performance: While the song may have been more suited to Tje, both contestants pulled it off. Tje is incredibly talented. I love his voice. I love his style. I love him. With that said, Nakia really took the song and made it his own. I went with Nakia on this one, but only barely. Tough call.
Professional Opinion: Adam, Christina and Blake all voted for Adam. Cee Lo’s trusted advisor, Monica, however was pulling for Tje. I really wasn’t sure how Cee Lo would go on this one. I didn’t envy this choice at all. Christina liked Tje’s package which isn’t nearly as dirty as it sounds.
The Result: Tje goes home and Nakia moves on to the live shows.
The Contestants: Elenowen, Jared Blake
The Song: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye
Initial Impression: This just seemed like a strange battle, but to be fair, I think pitting Elenowen against anyone in this competition would’ve seemed strange. Jared seemed pretty concerned about the whole thing and I was a little concerned as well. Before Jared hit the stage, he spoke of the beauty of Elenowen’s harmonies and said there was ‘nothing beautiful about him’, referring to himself. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that would disagree.
Coach’s Advice: Reba (Blake’s trusted advisor) gave Elenowen invaluable advice when she told them they really need to feel confident in what they’re doing on stage. Jared also got excellent advice with Reba telling him to make sure he remained interesting and connected to the audience while Elenowen was performing their parts of the song.
The Performance: I was surprised how well these guys sounded together. In rehearsals it sort of sounded like it would be a mess, but it worked. In their audition, I found Josh’s voice a bit weaker than Nicole’s (Josh + Nicole = Elenowen), but I found the opposite to be true of this performance. I went with Jared on this one simply because he owned the song and he owned the stage. All the same, it was a nice performance all around.
Professional Opinion: The coaches seemed mostly in favor of Jared although no one had much bad to say about Elenowen either. I don’t think this one was really all that hard to call.
The Result: Elenowen head home and Jared moves on to the live shows.
The Contestants: Angela Wolff, Javier Colon
The Song: Stand By Me by Ben E. King
Initial Impression: I don’t think anyone on Team Adam (that hasn’t already battled) stood a chance against Javier. Vicci might give him a run for his money, but I think Javier is an early favorite to be the last man standing in this competition. That said, I loved Angela and hoped she’d prove me wrong.
Coach’s Advice: I think Adam and Adam gave Javier great advice when they told him not to ‘over sing’.
The Performance: Angela really surprised me. She came out strong and made an impression even if I didn’t feel it was strong enough to take Javier down. I give her serious props for being able to hold her own. Her voice cracked a bit in one spot, but overall, I thought she did a tremendous job. Still went with Javier on this one though.
Professional Opinion: You can always count on Blake for at least one quotable phrase in every episode and this episode’s gem came following Team Adam’s battle. “There is an extremely beautiful girl on stage right now but all I can do is sit here and go ‘Javier’.” Christina gave Angela a “you have a very sweet presence”.
The Result: Not very shocking. Angela heads home. Javier moves on to the live shows.
The Contestants: Beverly McClellan, Justin Grennan
The Song: Baba O’Reilly The Who
Initial Impression: I honestly didn’t remember Justin Grennan, but I sure remembered Beverly. Beverly excites me. She really does. She’s so strong and confident. Maybe that can come across as cocky, but I see it more as passion. She loves singing and I love her for it. I felt bad for poor Justin. I didn’t think he stood a chance.
Coach’s Advice: Probably the best advice anyone could ever give Beverly is that she needs to be careful not to go too overboard and Christina delivered that advice. Arrogance can cost people competitions like this (I’d point to American Idol for proof of this) and I would hate to see Beverly be misunderstood.
The Performance: Well holy cow – that was incredible. Justin really shut my mouth. While Beverly out-sang and out-performed him, he did an incredible job. I was impressed – completely impressed. He handled himself well on stage; putting on a great performance and singing his heart out. All the same, I went with Beverly because, well, she’s just flat out awesome. All the same, it was definitely the duet of the night – so much fun to watch.
Professional Opinion: The judges comments on this one were awesome.
- “You stole it, you owned it and you sold it.” – Cee Lo to Beverly
- “I thought she was gonna murderize you.” – Adam to Justin
- “You look like the guy that works at my bank.” – Blake to Justin
The Result: Justin heads home and Beverly heads to the live shows. Still, I was surprisingly sad to see Justin say goodbye. He did a great job.
Summary and Predictions
Last night’s episode of The Voice was excellent. We’re only two shows into the battle rounds and I’m already excited to see where this is all headed. The live shows should be something else! I’ve been trying (and failing) not to pick favorites, but I still have a few. I can’t wait to see all of the contestants perform, but I’m most excited about Curtis, Dia, Emily, Jeff, Rebecca and Xenia. They’re all really strong performers in their own ways and I think it will be interesting to see how they fare in the battles. Let’s take a look at the battles scheduled for next week’s show:
- Devon Barley VS Rebecca Loebe for Team Adam
- Dia Frampton VS Serabee for Team Blake
- Kelsey Rey VS The Thompson Sisters for Team Cee Lo
- Raquel Castro VS Julia Eason for Team Xtina
Out of all these battles, I’m probably most excited for Dia VS Serabee. Dia is one of my favorites, but we didn’t really get to see much of Serabee on the show. I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. The same can be said for Casey Desmond. We’ve only really seen a brief clip of her singing Born This Way by Lady Gaga and she sounded awesome. I’m nervous about Rebecca VS Devon. I loved her version of Come As You Are, but I’m not sure how she’s going to do against Devon. In addition, I love Devon. I don’t want to see either of them eliminated before the live shows, but sadly, it looks like one of them will be.
Finally, if you haven’t yet done so, take a moment to help the lovely and talented Lukas Rossi get signed to a single release contract with EMI by visiting his MOArtist page (by clicking here). All you have to do is register for an account (it takes less than a minute), become a fan by clicking the blue ‘become a fan’ button below his profile picture, and then voting for him by clicking the red ‘vote for Lukas Rossi’ button on his profile page. It’s easy and you can vote every single day. Make sure you check out his videos and the songs he has posted as well. Each time you listen to a song, watch a video, post a comment or VOTE, you help him get closer to winning. Lukas got screwed out of his chance to reach a nationwide audience when his performance on The Voice was not shown (there has still been no reason given by NBC or the show’s producers) despite the fact that he was shown in a promo for the show. Let’s make sure we don’t let him miss this chance.
Of all of the contestants who have battled so far, who do you think has the best shot at the live shows? Anyone you think will be eliminated right away? Who hasn’t battled yet that you’re excited to see? Sound off in the comments section below and let your voice be heard.