I've got to hand it to The Voice
: That was one efficient hour of
television! That may not sound like a selling point they'll want to pitch in
their commercials, but it's not unnoticed or unappreciated by those of us who are used to multi-night, multi-hour reality shows. Especially
viewers who are used to the three hours a week of
mostly non-song airtime on that other
televised singing competition. Tonight, in
just one hour, we watched as eight performers got paired up, sang duets,
received their critiques, and half were sent home. Not a dull moment!
Unless you count some of Carson Daly's voiceovers.
A little refresher on how The Voice
works: Last week marked the end of
the Blind Auditions
, and each of the four coaches rounded out their
teams of 8. Now, the coaches pair up two of their own team members,
coach them on a duet (which is also a duel, and so should OBVIOUSLY be
called a "duelet," and that is what I will call them even if The Voice
isn't smart enough to do it themselves) that they then perform in the
Vocal Boxing Ring in front of all the judges and their famous advisers.
The coach chooses who stays and who goes.
By my math, we should have four weeks of Battle Rounds, because the next
round is the Live Episodes, when each coach's remaining four
contestants will compete, and we'll get to begin voting. Here's the
recap of tonight's battles! But first, meet the teams again (I named
them -- you're welcome, NBC!):
Adam Levine: Adam It Feels Good to be a Gangsta
Blake Shelton: Frosted Blakes
Christina Aguilera: Xtinage Mutant Ninja TurtlesCee Lo Green: I Cee London, I Cee France
Xtina Battle One: Battle of the Soulful Powerhouse Ladies
Frenchie Davis vs. Tarralyn Ramsay, singing Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)."
Frenchie busts up laughing when she hears what they'll be singing.
Tarralyn is intimidated: "I went to see [Frenchie] when she was on
Broadway in Rent
, I was such a fan." Now she has to get up in the ring
and evict her Rent
idol, as it were. (Or as it weren't, because that
was a terrible metaphor, sorry.)
Christina and her eccentric, adorable adviser Sia coach Frenchie and
Tarralyn on how to "punch" and "attack" the vocals. Frenchie thinks
Tarralyn might have an advantage, because Frenchie is more "focused on
tone, pitch and face." After coaching with the piano, Xtina and Sia sit
down with each girl, and Sia tells Frenchie she has a tendency to sing
sharp. "That's the first time I've heard that!" says Frenchie, and then
says, "I'm going to work on that," instead of what she's actually
thinking: "OH HELL NAH."
During rehearsals, Xtina is stunned by all the "tension" between her
dueling dueters and tells them not to suck out the fun of the number
just because one of them will be immediately eliminated at the end of
the song. "Have fun with the moment!" Tarralyn is feisty, but Frenchie
would clearly win in a physical battle. Who will come out victorious in
the duelet of the soulful female vocalists?
I'm rooting for:
Frenchie. She's a powerhouse, and I can't help but hope for some Idol
Mr. Carson announces each woman like it's a literal boxing match. This
is intense! The unique thing about these duets is that each singer has
to work together but also try to outshine the other. Tarralyn's first
solo is a bit bizarre and off pitch. Frenchie plays it safer with hers,
but her vocals are consistent and strong. The song doesn't seem as
suited to Tarralyn's voice, but she holds her own toward the end,
especially in the "Oh oh oh!" part and the big final note.
The judges' critiques:
Cee Lo and Adam say they admire how much fun that
was. Blake says he felt like he was watching Rocky. (Frenchie was
Apollo Creed, but Tarralyn got some solid Rocky punches in at the end.)
Xtina's Decision: Frenchie wins!
Tarralyn took some risks, but at times
it seemed she was trying to shout over Frenchie, and it just didn't work
out in her favor.
Blake Battle One: Battle of the Young, Confident Fellas
Patrick Thomas Vs. Tyler Robinson. They're singing "Burnin' Love" by Elvis.
Oh my goodness, it's my favorite from the Blind Auditions, Tyler
Robinson! And speaking of favorites: Blake's "secret weapon" adviser is
the timeless, iconic, living legend REBA. During coaching, Patrick knows
the song but Tyler doesn't. Blake tells Tyler to "reel it in" and not
be a show-off, whereas Patrick may need to show off a little bit more.
Blake gives a dramatic inspirational speech: "One of the two of you are
going to need to make me believe that ... you really are ... a hunka ...
HUNKA ... burning love."
I'm rooting for:
Tyler. Patrick's great, but I'm still attached to Tyler after his adorable audition.
Patrick's voice is well suited for Elvis, and he has a natural,
consistent charisma in his voice and stage presence. Then Tyler busts in
and brings the soul. He shows off his range without showboating too
much. These guys are a little better than the ladies at not singing over
each other, but they do stand in front of each other during the "hunka,
hunka" part. It's honestly hard to say who won that duelet, but Tyler's
still shacking up in my soft spot.
Xtina says they both stepped up and took charge. Cee
Lo admires that they are both "surgerically, technical great singers,"
but he thinks Tyler is a better "SANGer." Reba says "you rocked
everything about it" and she's glad she's not Blake right now.
He's happy that Tyler took his advice and didn't get a
bad case of the runs, and Patrick is consistently great. But he has to
pick a winner, and the winner is: Patrick
WHAT! That is a shock to me,
even though Patrick is solid. Tyler just made me smile. Aww. Bye, Tyler!
:( I should have known my favorite would get cut so soon. Time to find a
new one, I guess.
Adam Battle One: Battle of the Sexes (and Ages)
Casey Weston Vs. Tim Mahoney. They're singing "Leather and Lace" by Don Henley. Our first co-ed duet!
This match is definitely stacked in Tim's favor: He's been on the music
scene for decades, while Casey is just a teenager starting on the scene.
Tim also knows the song already, and Casey has to learn it during their
coaching session with Adam and his advisor, Adam Blackstone. But
anything could happen, and Adam is enamored of Casey's potential, and it
almost looks like Tim will resist Adam's advice to go falsetto.
I'm rooting for:
I can't decide! I liked them both in auditions. Like Adam, I'm going into it with a clear head.
Carson introduces Casey as a "second-chance artist," while Tim is the
self-proclaimed "King of Almost." Not exactly the most optimistic way to
introduce either of them. Casey's up first, and her voice is soulful
beyond her years, but Tim steals the show for me, though he still quakes
a bit on the highest notes. Tim just seems to feel the song more, and
it shows through in the urgency of the way he sings. But Casey's voice
is gorgeous, and she's clearly more moldable. Plus, she looks gorgeous.
Now that this show is no longer blind, let's not pretend that doesn't
play a part in the decisions.
Blake says Casey's voice is "addicting," and he would
go with her because he sees potential development. Xtina thinks their
voices blended well together, and it was beautiful. Cee Lo says Casey
reminds him of a young Stevie Nicks, but he's more partial to Tim
because he's so unique.
Tim "brought it," but Casey held her own, too. The winner is: Casey Weston.
Adam wants young blood.
Man, I am one for three in my predictions for who "won" these battles! The
judges are keeping me guessing. At least I wasn't attached enough to any
of these people to be angry to see them go.
Cee Lo Battle One: Battle of the Rhyming Named Ladies
Vicci Martinez Vs. Niki Dawson. They're singing Pink's
(Cee Lo's good friend, remember?) "Perfect." I wonder if he picked this
song because, like his own hit, the original version includes the F-word
in the title.
Cee Lo is joined by the lovely Monica, who says Vicci's self-assurance
against Niki's sultriness will make for quite a showdown. Cee Lo,
dressed completely in red from his cherry sunglasses down to his shants
and ruby slippers, is already torn before the performance even happens.
"This arrangement... eeeuuugggh. I love you girls!" It's going to be so
hard for Cee Lo to say goodbye to one of his lady-loves.
I'm rooting for: Vicci.
It's not really fair to Niki, because we didn't
get to see her audition, but Vicci left it all on the stage in her blind
audition, and it stuck with me. Plus, she's from Seattle. Hometown
In the battle, the girls are pretty well-matched. Vicci owns her solo
with her sexy, husky voice, but Niki has one hell of a glory note toward
the end. I don't know who is going to win, and the duet just builds and
builds, making their refrains of "pretty, pretty please!" seem even
more awesome -- and sad! It sounds like a tie to me. They earn a standing O
from the audience.
Adam says that was "by far" the best duet of the
night. Blake tells a little tale about how when Cee Lo is old, he's
going to reflect on his life and regret pairing these two together,
because they're just too close to call. Xtina says, "this is a hard
one." (Virtual high-five if you "that's what she said"-ed her.)
Cee Lo's Decision:
Niki is "exceptional" and he calls her his sister,
but he's really in love with Vicci's "gut-wrenching" vocals and "war
dance." The winner is: Vicci.
Wow. And that's the end of the episode. One hour, four eliminations. That was exciting, wasn't it?
Do you agree with the coaches' decisions to keep Frenchie, Patrick,
Casey and Vicci? I'm still pretty bummed about Tyler's early exit, but
we have so many more showdowns to watch, I'll try not to let it get to
Nakia and Tje will battle from Cee Lo's team, and we'll
finally get to see how Blake's couple, Elenowen, compete as a pair
against a third singer. That's one duelet that could turn into a big mess.(Images courtesy of NBC)