The dreaded battle rounds have arrived on “The Voice.”
Having two singers do the same song simultaneously rarely showcases both singers fairly, but it does make for good TV. And this season is no exception, though it would often be more enjoyable to watch Blake Shelton sing and dance to mentor Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin’” more or offer a behind-the-scenes look on what happened to Christina Aguilera’s hair for this round.
Here’s how the round has shaped up:
TEAM PHARRELL: ANTHONY RILEY vs. TRAVIS EWING, “Get Ready”
Pharrell pits his two promising soulful singers against each other on the Temptations classic, with mentor Lionel Richie explaining to them that being coachable is an important part of the process. The deck seems kind of stacked against Travis, but he uses that to his advantage with a gutsy performance, compared to Anthony’s smoothness. Coaches Christina and Adam give the edge to Anthony, while Blake sides with Travis.
PHARRELL PICK: Anthony
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Travis (Stolen by Blake)
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TEAM CHRISTINA: AMEERA DELANDRO vs. SONIC, “Masterpiece”
Christina gives them Jessie J’s empowerment ballad, but Sonic runs right over Ameera in both technique and attitude. Sonic was on a completely different level, even though Ameera may have survived a different pairing. Blake and Adam gave the edge to Sonic.
CHRISTINA PICK: Sonic
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Sonic
Argh! We’re in montages already. No idea who deserves to move on in the snippets of battles. They don’t even get their names on the screen. TEAM CHRISTINA: GABRIEL WOLFCHILD vs. JOE TOLO, “For the First Time” (CHRISTINA PICK: Joe) // TEAM ADAM: DEANNA JOHNSON vs. NICOLETTE MORE, “Love Me Like You Do” (ADAM PICK: Deanna) // TEAM ADAM: JOSH BATSTONE vs. NATHAN HERMIDA, “Thinking Out Loud” (ADAM PICK: Nathan)
TEAM BLAKE: HANNAH KIRBY vs. SARAH POTENZA, “Gimme Shelter”
Blake gives the big-voiced rockers the Rolling Stones classic “Gimme Shelter” and they do not disappoint. They get a standing ovation from all four coaches. “It was almost like if she was Janis Joplin, you were Stevie Nicks,” Adam told Hannah. Pharrell said Hannah “came out here swinging her purse like a southern church lady.”
BLAKE PICK: Sarah
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Hannah (Stolen by Pharrell)
TEAM ADAM: BLAZE JOHNSON vs. MICHAEL LEIER, “Rude”
Adam gives them Magic’s “Rude” for some reason, leading them both to over-sing the lightweight song. Blaze was slightly better, though they both struggled. “I see an upward trajectory for both of you guys,” Adam said.
ADAM PICK Blaze
SHOULD’VE PICKED Blaze
TEAM BLAKE: CODY WICKLINE vs. MATT SNOOK, “How Country Feels”
Blake gives the country singers Randy Houser’s recent anthem “How Country Feels,” which stretches them both. Matt was way more comfortable, with Cody seeming a little too intense. “That felt really good,” Christina said. Adam gave the edge to Matt.
BLAKE PICK Cody
SHOULD’VE PICKED Matt
TEAM PHARRELL: MEGAN LINSEY vs. PAUL PFAU, “Don’t Let Me Down”
Pharrell said the Beatles classic was the midpoint between their pop styles. “If she doesn’t make eye contact, it’s over,” Lionel Richie said of Megan, who made the adjustment in her performance. However, Paul’s interesting voice and charismatic style was a bit stronger.
PHARRELL PICK Paul
SHOULD’VE PICKED Paul (Blake steals Megan)
And from the weird half-blinds, half-battles episode Monday:
TEAM PHARRELL: ASHLEY MORGAN vs. MIA Z, “Put the Gun Down”
Pharrell crafts a great battle with the super-technical Ashley and the super-personable Mia on the ZZ Ward song. They met in the middle so well that the result could have come from a new duo, though Mia still has more star quality. “I think you both are winners,” Pharrell said, before picking Mia.
PHARRELL PICK Mia
SHOULD’VE PICKED Mia (Christina steals Ashley)
TEAM ADAM: JAMES McNEIECE vs. TONYA BOYD-CANNON, “P.Y.T.”
Poor James has to take on Tonya’s big, booming voice on the Michael Jackson classic. That’s a task that would crush many a professional. He handles it OK, though Tonya is the real, well, thriller.
ADAM PICK Tonya
SHOULD’VE PICKED Tonya
TEAM BLAKE: BRIAN JOHNSON vs. JOSHUA DAVIS, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
Blake pits his two best male (non-country) singers against each other because he only has room for “one singer to occupy that space.” Really? Anyway, mentor Meghan Trainor liked them both and they even bring her to tears in rehearsal of the Bob Dylan classic. “Your tone is ridiculous,” she tells Joshua. “Your soul is outstanding,” she tells Brian. The gorgeousness of Brian’s runs, even on a song that doesn’t need one, wins out.
BLAKE PICK Brian
SHOULD’VE PICKED Brian (Adam steals Joshua)