This season of “The Voice,” much like the NCAA Tournament, is shaping up to be the season of parity.
There may not be a front-runner yet, but there is definitely a lot of talent spread across all four teams.
Here’s how the battles shaped up Monday night:
TEAM ADAM: Austin Ellis vs. Josh Kaufman, “Happy”: This was the best battle of the season so far -- maybe in years. Austin is a great performer with a good voice, while Josh is a good performer with a great voice. And they both attacked the Pharrell song with a great deal of skill, with Josh shining a bit more because Austin pushed him.
ADAM PICK: Josh
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Josh
TEAM BLAKE: Alaska & Madi vs. Audra McLaughlin, “When Will I Be Loved”: OK, let’s be honest. An Alaska & Madi reality show would be adorable. Singing-wise, though, Audra was just head-and-shoulders above the duo on the Linda Ronstadt song. “Those girls could’ve won and you’re crazy,” Adam Levine told Usher after he refused to steal them. That’s not totally true, but they could have gone far.
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BLAKE PICK: Audra
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Audra
TEAM SHAKIRA: Deja Hall vs. Music Box, “Eternal Flame”: These two are so different that it was almost like they were singing two different songs. Deja was sweet and understated on The Bangles classic, while Music Box was powerful and emotional. The difference is in the way Deja connected with the song better than the more experienced Music Box.
SHAKIRA PICK: Deja (Usher steals Music Box)
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Deja
TEAM USHER: Madilyn Paige vs. Tanner James, “Everything Has Changed”: It’s the battle of Provo, Utah, teens and, as Carson Daly said, “it was the most adorable battle ever.” They both bring something charming to the Taylor Swift-Ed Sheeran collaboration, with Madilyn showing a little more of Swift’s sweetness. “That was like watching golden retriever puppies frolic through fields of wheat,” said Levine. “It was cute overload.”
USHER PICK: Madilyn
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Madilyn
TEAM ADAM: Dawn & Hawkes vs. Josh Murley, “Stuck in the Middle With You”: Dawn & Hawkes weren’t quite as magical on the Stealers Wheel song as they were on their memorable first audition, but they were still interesting. Josh handled himself well, with an interesting tone in his voice.
ADAM PICK: Dawn & Hawkes (Shakira steals Josh)
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Dawn & Hawkes
TEAM USHER: Bria Kelly vs. Tess Boyer, “Piece of My Heart”: It was a good battle over the Janis Joplin classic, but Bria’s natural grit was more effective than Tess’ more studied moves.
USHER PICK: Bria (Blake steals Tess)
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Bria