After a few shaky battles, the final week of battle rounds was back to the high quality of the first week. Each battle had a clear winner and all but one had at least one strong performer. With the show shifting to public votes in the next round, the winners are going to be much harder to predict.
Team Cee Lo: Wade vs. James Massone, “True Colors”
Cee Lo was honest about how much of an advantage Wade had going into this battle. “True Colors” is in his old-school soul wheelhouse, while James was unfamiliar with it and nervous about it. His voice, though, is so infectious and seemingly effortless that he won over all the judges. And it doesn't hurt that he could easily be plugged into the current boy band phenomenon right now.
SHOULD HAVE ADVANCED: James
Team Adam: Mathai vs. Nicolle Galyon, “Love Song”
Mathai has such a unique voice and powerful delivery that she was an overwhelming favorite. Nicolle has a nice voice (“It sounds like morning coffee on your veranda,” Robin Thicke said) and showed some nice phrasing in rehearsals, but her performance was nervous and wobbly, partly because of her breathing, as Blake said, and partly because she was off-key. Mathai remains one of the show's front-runners and I can't wait to see her in a quirk-off with Erin Martin.
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SHOULD HAVE ADVANCED: Mathai
Team Christina: The Line vs. Moses Stone, “Satisfaction”
The look on mentor Jewel's voice was priceless, when she heard The Line. They were too sweet for her taste – something that wasn't a problem in their audition. Moses Stone certainly doesn't have that issue. He has enough swag to burn, even if his vocals aren't quite as powerful as his rapping. Watching them perform together, though, was incredibly awkward.
SHOULD HAVE ADVANCED: Moses
Team Adam: Karla Davis vs. Orlando Napier, “Easy”
This was a teachable moment. Orlando has more experience and a nice voice, but he oversang nearly every note. Karla, on the other hand, held back a lot, in order to make a few notes very special. She was also much easier to listen to. Sometimes, Orlando, less is definitely more.
SHOULD HAVE ADVANCED: Karla
Team Blake: Jordan Rager vs. Naia Kete, “I'm Yours”
Wow, this ended up being so much worse than it should have been. Naia was so nervous, she reached for notes and missed. Jordan was so worried, he seemed out of breath at times and off key at others. It was a mess, but Naia was less messy.
SHOULD HAVE ADVANCED: Naia
Team Cee Lo: Tony Vincent vs. Justin Hopkins, “Faithfully”
They saved the closest battle for last. Justin has a warm, gritty voice and an equally winning personality. Tony has a stunning, powerful voice and a steely, enigmatic personality. They both did well with “Faithfully,” but Tony is a far better performer, with his experience on Broadway in “American Idiot” paying dividends and keeping him one of the show's front-runners.
SHOULD HAVE ADVANCED: Tony