'The Voice' Recap: Let the Battles Begin
'The Voice' Recap: Let the Battles Begin
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The blind auditions are over and now the battle rounds begin on The Voice season 4. Two singers enter (or three, in some cases), but only one leaves. Or two, if one of the coaches uses a Steal.

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Yes, I realize it's hard to care about who Adam Levine will choose in light of the tragedy today at the Boston Marathon, but after hours and hours of watching this depressing news, I've decided to try and find a tiny bit of joy in the world by embracing The Voice. On nights like this, I need the escapism of Adam Levine and Blake Shelton bantering, Usher dancing and Shakira being so gosh-darn adorable that it makes me realize there is good in the world.

As in season 3, each coach gets two Steals. They also have mentors. Adam brings in Hillary Scott, the lead singer of Lady Antebellum, Blake has Sheryl Crow, Shakira has The Voice: Australia coach Joel Madden, and Usher has Pharrell Williams. Adam is definitely making a hardcore push to steal Blake's country thunder this year.



Let The Voice live blog begin!

Team Adam: Amber Carrington vs. Sasha Allen ("Try" by Pink)

Sorry, but Adam Levine is a total idiot because both of these women definitely deserve to move forward. Amber goes for the country and emotion while Sasha rides her R&B diva belting. From the rehearsals, Adam seems to be sandbagging Sasha by cutting down her big notes. The song plays to Amber's strength of raw emotion while preventing Sasha from showing off her technical skills.

The Performance: Amber does an amazing job and Sasha is clearly trying really hard. But this was a truly unfair battle because the song choice fits Amber like a glove while it's the absolute wrong style for Sasha's talent.

The Decision: Adam Levine wastes no time with the hyperbole by claiming it's one of the best battle rounds ever. He also rewrites history by saying he was the only one who recognized Amber's talent, forgetting that Blake's team was already full and he ABSOLUTELY would've turned for her. Adam is so full of crap as he's clearly trying to build Amber up as the season's huge underdog. Amber Carrington is the winner.

Usher and Shakira both want to steal Sasha because they think they can win with her. They're not wrong. She gets swayed by "the woman thing." Shakira steals Sasha Allen. Usher is flabbergasted.



Team Shakira: Garrett Gardner vs. J'Sun ("How You Like Me Now?" by The Heavy)

I really couldn't care less about this battle, except I'm once again hypnotized by Garrett's absurd poodle hair. Garrett says that Joel Madden is one of the reasons he wanted to be a singer, which, like his hair, is something that he should never reveal in public. Shakira sees a young Jim Morrison in Garrett. I suspect Shakira has been stealing from Paula Abdul's medicine cabinet.

The Performance: There's something unpleasant about all the growling. I'm not really into either of them, and neither of them have a chance of winning this competition.

The Decision: Shakira goes with the mildly cute boy with the dumb hair. Garrett Gardner is the winner. No one wants to steal J'Sun.



Team Blake: Holly Tucker vs. Michelle Raitzin ("Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood)

So here we have a country singer who got all four chairs to turn around (Holly) against a nobody who we barely saw in the blind auditions. This is a no-brainer. Even Michelle wants to know why Blake put them together, because I suspect she knows she's like one of those cows walking through the abattoir. "Gee, what's that pointy metal thing pressed up against my forehead? Uh-oh, it's a..." And that's how hamburgers are made.

The Performance: Man, this song just kicks so much ass. It's definitely more in Holly's wheelhouse and she also seems to be given all the good parts. Michelle is a lot better than I thought she'd be, but I'm distracted by her odd flapper costume and the fact that she reminds me of Becca Moody from Californication.

The Decision: It's not easy and Blake wants to keep them both. When Carson Daly says that's not an option, his response is just "Screw you." Holly Tucker is the winner. No one steals Michelle Raitzin. See, this is what happens every time you have a battle where one person got a full audition and the other only got about 10 seconds of screentime.



Team Usher: Jess Kellner vs. Taylor Beckham ("You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse)

Who vs. who? Apparently they're both young women from Texas. Usher seems far more concerned with energy and stage presence than he is with the actual singing. I'll be curious if this coaching strategy works, because I don't think it will.

The Performance: Taylor looks kind of terrified the whole time. And Jess doesn't do much better. Can there be no winner? Like, Team Usher would be better off if he didn't have to waste time with whatever loser he's forced to keep around for now.

The Decision: Somehow Adam and Shakira both think Taylor is the winner, but Blake goes with Jess. Usher even admits that neither of them lit it on fire and, like me, he doesn't seem too excited about having to pick one. Jess Kellner is the winner. And, inexplicably, Blake Shelton steals Taylor Beckham. He claims he said Jess was better knowing Usher would listen to his advice so he could steal Taylor out from under him. What a complete and utter waste of a steal from Blake.



Team Blake: Christian Porter vs. The Swon Brothers ("I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty)

Ooh, this is a tough one. I absolutely LOVED Christian's "Sexy and I Know It," but The Swon Brothers rocked pretty hard. The fact that The Swon Brothers sang Petty for the blind auditions and they're from Oklahoma like Blake gives them a huge advantage. But they seem to screw up a lot during the rehearsals while Christian works hard. This is either an upset or a misdirect.

The Performance: This is my favorite battle of the night so far. Christian's tone is fantastic, but I was turned off by his odd pointing. He needs to get those hands under control. The Swon Brothers are just comfortable and great as well. It's not an easy choice, but I always go with the solo over the duo.

The Decision: Blake is angry that neither of them "crapped the bed," giving Adam the chance to make fun of Blake for being a bed-crapping expert. Yawn, even their banter is getting stale. The Swon Brothers are the winners. What? No one steals Christian Porter. WHAT??? ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME? Taylor Beckham gets stolen, but not Christian Porter? Garrett Gardner is making it farther in season 4 than Christian Porter? This show just lost me.



Team Adam: Judith Hill vs. Karina Iglesias ("It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown)

Ugh, just let Judith win since Adam already claimed he was going to ensure that she wins. I can't really focus because I'm so freaking pissed that Christian Porter is gone. I mean, SERIOUSLY? Anyway, back to this. Adam needs to stop pretending that Karina has even the slightest chance of winning.

The Performance: I can certainly understand why some people might like this, but I don't. Every single second is full of obscene oversinging and it's just two very loud women hitting a series of impressive runs. That might be impressive to a singer, but I find it painfully obnoxious. The song is so overused on shows like this, so I'm over it. I'm also over Judith and the show mentioning that she sang with Michael Jackson every other minute. Also, Judith looks like an alien.

The Decision: A performance full of oversinging deserves overpraising. Everyone claims putting these two together was a bad idea, but I think Amber vs. Sasha was dumber. Adam calls it the best battle he's ever seen on this show. I can't figure out if he's genuinely this delusional, or if he's just trying to play up the drama to boost his team's chances in the future. Judith Hill is the winner. Was she ever NOT the winner? I'm gonna laugh when Judith gets eliminated in the Top 6 or Top 8.

Shakira steals Karina Iglesias. Wow, so it's only the first night of battles and Shakira has already used up both of her steals taking Adam's leftovers. Does she not realize that the other coaches still have 13 battles, and she won't get to steal any of the losers? And how the heck did Shakira spend both of her steals, but no one picked up Christian?



Anyway, thus ends the first night of the battles. Adam Levine made two hard decisions and both of his losers are still in the competition thanks to Shakira's steals. Blake proved that he doesn't care about this show at all anymore by making two of the worst decisions ever. First he stole the truly awful Taylor, then he picked The Swon Brothers over Christian Porter.

Thanks for nothing, The Voice. I wanted to use you as an escape from my depression, and now with Christian leaving, I'm still depressed. Maybe I'll be over it by tomorrow, but if De'borah is any indication, probably not.


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