So far this season, “The Voice” hasn’t developed a crop of front-runners the way it has in the past. That makes the battle rounds seem that much more important at creating the kind of star they desperately want.
Here’s how Night 1 shook out:
TEAM USHER: Biff Gore vs. T.J. Wilkins, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
“Don’t dial back the emotion,” Usher tells them before the battle, and then tells them it was wonderful afterward. It was a good version of the Temptations classic, but there wasn’t much difference between them. “That was just pure entertainment,” Blake Shelton said afterward. Usher picks T.J. because he was “relentless” and then Shelton stole Biff. The edge should have gone to T.J. because he is still rapidly learning, while the entertaining Biff is as good as he’s going to get.
USHER PICK: T.J. (Biff stolen by Blake)
SHOULD’VE PICKED: T.J.
TEAM BLAKE: Lexi Luca vs. Jake Worthington, “It Goes Like This”
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It’s the battle of the 17-year-olds for cute country supremacy. However, Jake owns this Thomas Rhett song from the beginning, aside from a couple of lyrical missteps. Lexi’s nerves cause her voice to waver all over the place and she’s off key a lot. “You have to develop fearlessness as an artist,” Usher tells her, before giving him the edge. Adam says Jake’s going to go far in the competition and he’s right, especially if he gets to the voters.
BLAKE PICK: Jake
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Jake
TEAM SHAKIRA: Dani Moz vs. Deshawn Washington, “My Kind of Love”
The odds seemed stacked against Dani when they tackled the Emeli Sande song. She has a good voice, but it isn’t distinctive. Deshawn’s voice is instantly recognizable. “Big things come in small packages, bro,” Usher tells him. Shakira regrets pairing them because it makes the decision tough, then picks Dani because she thinks she can do more with her powerful voice.
SHAKIRA PICK: Dani
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Deshawn
TEAM ADAM: Kat Perkins vs. Patrick Thomson, “Whenever I Call You Friend”
This was an interesting pairing -- two powerful singers with almost directly opposite performance styles. Patrick was more cuddly than Kenny Loggins, while Kat was as wild as Stevie Nicks. Blake gave the edge to Kat, while Shakira picked Patrick in the battle. She then stole Patrick.
ADAM PICK: Kat (Patrick stolen by Shakira)
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Kat
TEAM BLAKE: Paula DeAnda vs. Sisaundra Lewis, “Do What U Want”
This was an uneven battle. Paula could have moved forward, but she got swallowed up by the Lady Gaga song, even before Sisaundra’s massive voice crushed her. If Sisaundra can figure out a way to warm up her delivery without giving up any of her power, she could be a front-runner.
BLAKE PICK: Sisaundra
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Sisaundra
TEAM USHER: Jake Barker vs. Stevie Jo, “Higher Love”
This battle was crazy. It ended up sounding like ‘N Sync doing the Steve Winwood song, with some problems on the harmonies. Both Shakira and Blake gave Jake the edge, but Usher picked Stevie Jo. This is an interesting bit of strategy on Usher’s part, though probably a mistake.
USHER PICK: Stevie Jo (Jake stolen by Adam)
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Jake