It's the second week of battles on The Voice
season 4, and things are moving quickly. With only two weeks of Battle
Rounds, there isn't much time to waste, though the show doesn't seem to
be aware of that fact since they add so much filler into these episodes.
So far we've seen Shakira use up both of her Steals grabbing Adam Levine's talented leftovers, Adam scoring a very impressive team by stealing one of Blake Shelton's losers and Blake amassing a rather mediocre team of country artists while using one of his Steals. Usher still has both of his Steals left, so he's definitely on the lookout.
I'll be here with my live blog throughout the two-hour episode. So as Carson Daly would say, the battle begins now. Or let the battle begin. Or some other variation of those words. It's amazing how many different ways he can say the same thing.Team Usher: Jessica Childress vs. Vedo ("Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars)
I'm always suspicious when a coach picks a song by the same artist that one of the two singers auditioned with (in this case, Jessica also did Bruno Mars). I know it's a different song, but I'm also suspicious that they make Jessica look like the underdog in the rehearsals. Especially since she appears to totally dominate Vedo the whole time.
Then, as a punch to the gut, we learn that Vedo's mom, who was diagnosed with lung cancer and given two to six months to live, passed away shortly after the blind auditions. It's quite sad, but the fact that his mom got to see him make a team on The Voice
is a silver lining.The Performance
: It's a bit like after praying matnises make love, because Jessica swallows Vedo whole. She is truly amazing. Vedo, is OK, but if I'm being honest and not letting my heartstrings get tugged, it's not very close.The Decision
: Vedo is the winner
. Um, what? WHAT? And the fact that no one steals Jessica is equally mind-blowing. Yes, Vedo wishing his mom was there was sweet, but this is almost as ludicrous as Christian Porter getting cut. These coaches are leaving some insanely talented people behind.
Team Shakira: Luke Edgemon vs. Monique Abbadie ("You and I" by Lady Gaga)
OK, if Monique loses this battle, I might have to watch and recap this show under protest. Or at least hope that they add a new twist where Cee Lo Green returns as a coach with an eight-person team comprised entirely of battle losers. So far J'Sun, Michelle Raitzin, Christian Porter and Jessica Childress would make the start of a formidable team. Actually, this sounds like a pretty great twist for season 5.
Luke's hair reminds me of Diego Val from last season. Mentor Joel Madden's hair makes me want to punch him in the face and never stop punching. Shakira doesn't want them to sing over each other.The Performance
: It starts OK, but then it gets much better as it goes along. Luke is pretty revelatory, though I think he'd be better suited for Broadway (I could see him as Roger in Rent
) and Monique is a big Latina diva whose assets aren't front and center with this song.The Decision
: The coaches are all in awe of Luke and think he won. Shakira rambles on and on about using Tabasco to get a man. Monique Abbadie is the winner
. Shakira explains that it's because she wants them both to move on, and she's pretty sure someone will steal Luke, but no one would steal Monique. This makes me love Shakira even more, because she knows she's the only one who can successfully coach Monique, but other coaches might be better for Luke. It's a rare moment of selflessness, doing what's best for the artists, not necessarily her own team.
Blake Shelton and Usher both want to steal Luke. Luke claims he's going to be strategic, then proves he's not. Blake Shelton steals Luke Edgemon
. Dude, Blake only cares about country this season, so Luke is gonna cut him in the Knockout Rounds. Usher's team is so soft that, strategically, picking Usher would've given him a better shot at going far. Now Shakira and Blake have both used up their Steals and Adam only has one left, so Usher can basically take whoever he wants. Though it's pretty sad that he's tried to steal three singers and lost every time (and to all three of the other coaches).
Team Blake: Jacqui Sandell vs. Savannah Berry ("Little White Church" by Little Big Town)
Gee, I wonder who's gonna win this, the Jersey chick or the country girl? It's a country coach who has picked the country singer every time with a country song. Even Jacqui knows she doesn't have a snowball's chance in Hell. Jacqui gets excited that Blake even notices her, which is sad but understandable. I'm not about to get fooled by the rehearsals that show Savannah struggling.The Performance
: Jacqui tries really hard, but this is just so not her. At all. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but Jacqui looks desperate and scared, like she knows she's gonna lose, but is hoping that maybe, if she wishes really hard, she can create a vortex that takes everyone into a parallel universe where Blake won't automatically pick the country singer.The Decision
: The coaches are more interested in comparing Blake to Shrek than talking about the actual performance. Savannah Berry is the winner
. Of course. The look on Jacqui's face right before Blake makes his decision breaks my heart. She seems to start crying, like a girl laying in the guillotine, listening to the executioner slowly raise the blade. Somewhere in the audience, Yoren says "Don't look" to Arya. No one steals her.
Team Shakira: C. Perkins vs. Kris Thomas ("It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars)
Who vs. who? This battle could not be more meaningless. The only thing of note is that Kris is the dude all the other coaches thought was a chick. I like Bruno Mars as much as the next guy, but he's way too overexposed on singing shows. It's also odd to refer to a grown man just by his first initial. "C"? Every time they call him "C," it drives me nuts. You can tell someone is probably gonna get stolen, because otherwise this would be one of those quicky battles that gets lumped into a montage.The Performance
: They both have high-pitched, girly voices. Honestly, it's like twins. Flip a coin and be done with it.The Decision
: The coaches recognize there were some vocal problems all over the place, but they still like them. Kris Thomas is the winner
. C. says his goodbyes then walks over to personally shake the hands of the coaches. He thanks Adam, then Shakira, then, as soon as he extends his hand to Usher, Usher pushes his button. Usher steals C. Perkins
. OK, that was a cool move. I don't think it's a particularly good steal, but it was a cool move.
Team Adam: Midas Whale vs. Patrick Dodd ("Burning Love" by Elvis Presley)
It's the awesome folk duo (featuring American Idol
's Jon Peter Lewis) against the bluesy Memphis singer. The Midas Whale dudes know that duos often fail in the Battle Rounds, but they are going to sing together at all times to ensure that one isn't perceived as weaker. They're also very entertaining and I could watch them crack jokes all day.The Performance
: This is a simple matter of personal preference. Patrick has that rich, textured rasp of a man who has lived a long and hard life. Midas Whale are fun and quirky. I'm partial to all things weird, so I give the edge to Midas Whale, because I'd love to see a whole lot more of them.The Decision
: All the coaches love both of these guys for different reasons. Adam Levine suggests forming a trio, but he can't. The show does that annoying thing where they cut to commercial right before Adam makes his choice, but they did a bad job. We hear Adam say "The winner of this battle is M..." There's a very obvious "M" sound, so when we come back from commercial, there's not much suspense. Midas Whale are the winners
And for the first time ever, TWO duos have survived the Battle Rounds (they join The Swon Brothers, and season 1's The Thompson Sisters are the only other duo to do it). No one steals Patrick Dodd. Hey, Blake, if you didn't waste your first Steal on the subpar Taylor Beckham, you could have Patrick on your team right now. Also, if they take my twist idea, Patrick could be the fifth member of Cee Lo's team of battle losers.
Team Usher: Orlando Dixon vs. Ryan Innes ("Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers)
I'm feeling pretty good about Ryan';s chances. But Orlando has an emotional breakdown during his one-on-two with Usher and Pharrell Williams about how badly he wants and needs this.The Performance
: There's a whole lot of soul and awesomeness going on. Ryan is just a natural, and the greatness flows out of him. Orlando, on the other hand, seems to be trying really, really hard. Like, you can literally see him throwing each and every vocal trick he has in his arsenal into this battle to win.The Decision
: Orlando was a revelation to Adam while Blake simply prefers Ryan's style and tone. Usher draws it out, because he genuinely doesn't seem to know who to pick. Ryan Innes is the winner
. I think that's a smart pick. Ryan is definitely Usher's top dog and best bet at winning. Adam Levine steals Orlando Dixon
. That's another great Steal. But seriously, Adam's team is waaaaaaay too good. Orlando, Caroline, Warren, Judith, Amber, Midas Whale, and with Sarah Simmons yet to perform. Only four of them can win in the Knockout Rounds.
Tomorrow night the battles come to an end. We still have two from Team Adam (including early favorite Sarah Simmons), two from Team Shakira (with Latina singers Cathia and Mary Miranda), one from Team Usher (with quirky Michelle Chamuel) and one from Team Blake (where he will probably complete his unanimous selection of country singers with Justin Rivers over The Morgan Twins). And Usher still has on Steal left.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)