This is The Voice
! The Battle Rounds are in full swing (see what I did there?) as more contestants go head to head for a shot to make it to the Knockout Round. There are plenty of highs and lows from tonight's two-hour Battle Round episode, including two steals. Because we have the full two hours, nobody's song is cut short or rushed through.
As mentioned in last week's recap, the song choices this season have felt a bit stale and recycled. Tonight's episode is like a breath of fresh air. While some of the performances are underwhelming, the song choices themselves are at least new and interesting. Overall, it's an entertaining episode, with me screaming at the television only once. Okay, twice.
Team Christina: Josh Logan vs. Michael Lynch ("Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5)
It's the bar singer, aka Fedora, and the Irish boy with the Latin flavor who won over Christina during the Blinds with his rendition of "Bailamos." Josh shares that he came here to grow and is willing to push himself out of his comfort zone for the performance. Ed Sheeran, while giving a relatively creepy stare, advises that the guys work on memorizing the lyrics because it is a wordy song. Christina advises that Adam, of Team Adam and mutual Maroon 5 acclaim, wrote the song clearly pissed off so the guys better perform with that passion.
While the performance has a lot of energy, I'm generally nonplussed because the song is so repetitive and it doesn't give either of them a chance to shine. Though their harmonies are tight, and I generally like Michael's personality better, I'm not too invested in the outcome of this battle.
Cee Lo believes that they both performed the song effortlessly, but that Josh's voice is identical to Adam's and thus deserves to win. Blake feels "110% into that [performance]" and enjoyed Josh better. Adam shares that this song was Maroon 5's first hit and that he really enjoyed it. He feels that Josh overpowered Michael.
Christina compliments Adam's songwriting and passion before she gets to the actual performance. In the end, she agrees with her fellow coaches and Josh is the winner!
Team Cee Lo: George Horga Jr. vs. Juhi ("Best I Ever Had" by Gavin DeGraw)
George's family moved to the US from Romania to pursue their dreams. George has forgone college to pursue music. Juhi is a 16-year-old high school scholar who is hoping to major in Aerospace Engineering in college. Oh, and they're both great singers.
During rehearsals, Miguel thinks that while George has good grit to his voice, Juhi's personality and unique singing style stand out more (which is true -- good on you, Miguel). Cee Lo advises before their performance to "be yourself, be confident, make us proud."
While Adam says they couldn't be more different, their voices sound like the male/female versions of the other to me, though I like Juhi's personality more. Blake and Adam both point out that George hit an off-pitch note, but commends him on his pushing through the performance. Christina thinks they both brought the song alive and appreciates the character in Juhi's voice.
Cee Lo shares that he chose the song because it is young and current. While he feels that Juhi "was brilliant," he commends George on having a "brave heart and no plan B" other than music. In the end, he chooses George. I yelled at my television when this happens. Adam hears me and uses his steal on Juhi! He says they have work to do, but he thinks she has "potential, potential, potential."
Team Blake: Austin Jenckes vs. Brian Pounds ("To Love Somebody" by The Bee Gees)
Blake pairs his two country singers together to see who reigns supreme. Austin has emotional depth to his performance even in the first rehearsal. Brian tries and it's commendable, but overall, he seems doomed from the start. Cher advises that he needs to actually connect with the song on an emotional level, though she thinks he may be better technically. This is a theme of tonight's show.
Austin clearly outshines Brian in the performance and it's a clear winner when the judges give their feedback. Christina is moved by Austin. Cee Lo feels that Austin was effortless. Adam straight out says that Austin "took this one." Blake says that, ultimately, "Austin left his heart on the page" and Austin is the winner!
Team Adam: James Irwin vs. Matt Cermanski ("Counting Stars" by OneRepublic)
This is a Battle Round of "The Comeback Kids." Both of these contestants auditioned for The Voice in the past and didn't make it past the Blind Auditions. This time, they find themselves on Team Adam and both have what the other lacks.
Adviser, lead singer and actual writer of the song Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, advises that while James has more natural ability, Matt could take it if he lets himself really get into it. Adam believes in both of them as returning contestants and is looking to see who wants it more.
Overall, the performances is pretty underwhelming. Blake feels that it got better as it went along. Christina thinks that Matt was strongest. (I pretty much always agree with Christina.) Cee Lo, who also often agrees with Christina, shares that this time he disagrees and thinks James was stronger. Ultimately, Adam agrees with Cee Lo and James is the winner!
Team Christina: Destinee Quinn vs. Lina Gaudenzi ("Not Ready to Make Nice" by The Dixie Chicks)
Christina shares that she paired these two together because they both demonstrated a softness to their voices during the Blinds, and she wants to bring more passion out of them. During rehearsals, Ed Sheeran advises that they both have to connect to the song emotionally to sell it. He gives Destinee advise on the ending harmony that she struggles with. I really like his music, but he's proving to be kind of a useless adviser.
The performance is the first all night to give me goosebumps. Christina gives it a standing ovation for the passion and emotion they put into it. Cee Lo shares that he likes Destinee more because he can tell that she "meant the song out loud" due to her emotional expression. Adam feels they both emotionally connected, but he appreciates Lina's vocal range more. Blake agrees with Adam. Christina is torn because she feels that Destinee won it for her emotion and Lina won it for her range.
Ultimately, Christina "got into this business because music is about making people feel moved" and chooses Destinee as the winner! As usual, I agree with Christina and feel that Destinee's performance was superior, even if her vocals weren't. However, Adam doesn't forget that this is The Voice and uses his last steal on Lina!
Team Adam: James Wolpert vs. Will Champlin ("Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons)
The final performance of the evening. Adam pairs these two together not because they both wear glasses, but because they both need to be pushed out of their comfort zones. James is the guy who dropped out of a prestigious college to work at the Apple store and pursue music. Will is the son of the guy in the band Chicago and has a beautiful wife and newborn baby.
Adviser Ryan Tedder says that James puts on too much technical elements of singing and needs to connect more emotionally. Adam feels that the competition will encourage competition in them both to do better.
The performance is a good one. James seems stiff and more like a robot trying to connect with the song, but he has a good command of the vocals. Will is overall more passionate and seems like a clear winner to me. Blake shares that James "shocked" him because he wore a sweater and tie but sang a rock song. Christina says that Will gave a far superior, solid, consistent performance (agreeing once again). Cee Lo says that because it is intriguing that James looks different than he sounds, he would pick James for his "own intrigue and amusement."
Adam hems and haws awhile, but in a shocking choice (to me), the winner is James! I literally booed at my television. Will is giving his goodbyes when -- again, shockingly -- Christina backs up her praise and uses her last steal on Will! Commence my clapping at the television. Perhaps I'm too invested.
So invested that I will be tuning in to the continuation of the Battle Rounds Tuesday night at 9pm on NBC.