We are back with our third Battle Round episode and it is a fantastically good one. Another 12 artists step into the ring for the toughest smack-downs of their lives. The performances this round are stupendous and very evenly matched. Two male vocalists paired with females are shockingly improved over their practice sessions, rendering Pharrell unable to choose. In the end, he takes so long that the artist and Christina need to pee (Xtina actually says that) and Carson says it's the longest time in the history of The Voice
for a coach to choose. When all is said and done, and by the grace of god and coach steals, eight artists earn entry to the next round.
A couple episodes ago, we said goodbye to the Blind Auditions
and the competition ramped up exponentially. In the Battle Rounds, each artist performs with a team partner and only one gets to go forward. That is, unless one of the other three coaches pulls the losing artist's crispy bacon out of the fire. Up until now, 12 artists have been chosen by their own coaches and only four have been stolen by another coach. Let's see how it goes in night three of the Battle Rounds.
Meghan Trainor, Ellie Goulding, Nick Jonas and Lionel Richie on Deck
Once again, we've got the biggest names in the music industry on deck to assist the coaches in prepping their artists for undoubtedly the most intense round of competition. Blake Shelton has invited superstar Meghan Trainor to be his wingwoman. Adam Levine is working with Ellie Goulding to take his teams through boot camp. Nick Jonas joins Christina Aguilera to train her artists and, finally, Pharrell has none other than Lionel Richie. All bow to the one of the best selling artists of all time who penned and performed "Truly."
Briar Jonnee and Caitlin Caporale ("Fallen")
We start with a little reminder of the backgrounds of these two powerful artists. Caitlin blew me away in her Blind Audition with "It's Impossible." She's a powerhouse, but Briar is no slouch. Pharrell advises Caitlin not to hold back, while Briar needs to open her eyes and give her soul to the audience. During their final practice together, Pharrell tells Caitlin she has to practice those high notes so her muscle memory will carry her through during performances. Lionel gives Briar a tutorial on the acting side of performing.
Pharrell has chosen Alicia Keys' "Fallen" for the artists and it is a powerful performance. They are neck and neck the entire time. Goosebump-inspiring. Damn. All the coaches are blown away. It's clear neither one of these women should go home in this round. Pharrell can't choose, so Christine tells him to go with his heart.
Result: Pharrell chooses Caitlin
Barry Minniefield and Jack Gregori ("Feelin' Alright")
Chef Barry has set aside a career to pursue his art. Jack leaves behind a law practice and brings a rich baritone to The Voice. Ellie Goulding and Adam are excited about the testosterone that this pairing exudes. Both men are powerful and unique. Barry oozes swagger and flavor, and Jack is like smooth dark chocolate richness in a cowboy hat.
The performance is a ton of fun and the men have a blast together. They both seem amazingly comfortable.
Result: Adam chooses Barry
Katelyn Read and Treeva Gibson ("Addicted to Love")
Katelyn and Treeva meet Nick Jonas and are crazy about the opportunity to learn from someone at the top of the Billboard charts. Christina has chosen the Florence and the Machine version of "Addicted to Love" for this duet. Christina calls them on the carpet for being too sweet and gentle. She advises that they sing like they are trying to push down their inner crazy. Christina gives them a scream therapy session to help them release their passion. By the end of the practice, it doesn't look like they are going to be able to do it.
The stay-at-home mother and the partially-deaf high school student go head to head, and the music combined with their vocals begins hauntingly. They circle each other like two feral beasts as they each pull out their freak flags and unfurl them on the audience. Treeva's a bit screechy and a little out of control as the song goes on, but Katelyn is full quality and more in control of her instrument.
Result: Christina chooses Treeva
Kimberly Nichole and Lowell Oakley ("Hound Dog")
The rocker and the crooner meet and embrace Lionel Richie. Lionel explains to the competitors that Elvis was not the first to take ownership of "Hound Dog," the song Pharrell has chosen for them. Blues maven Big Mama Thornton
has that distinction. Pharrell identifies Lowell as ice and Kimberly as fire. "If you do it right, it will be steam," Pharrell says. The advisers recommend Lowell practice his growl and grit. Kimberly's voice is so diverse that it's easy to give away the finale at the beginning.
None of the coaches have whipped out a steal yet, so I'm hoping Pharrell doesn't choose Lowell's potential over Kimberly's masterful ability like he did when he chose Elyjuh Rene over Maiya Sykes
, who was clearly the superior performer.
But then they perform and they simply kick the sh*t out of that song. Kimberly is awesome again, but Lowell is her equal in every way. He brings a side of him that no one expected. Damn. Blake slobbers all over Kimberly ... but Pharrell is so flummoxed he can't choose his strategy. In a hilarious exchange between coaches who need to go to the bathroom, Carson Daly releases America to go pee, literally, and hopes there will be a decision when we all come back.
I think Pharrell wants to choose Lowell, but he can't bear to let Kimberly go.
Result: Pharrell chooses Lowell
Christina Hits Her Buzzer for Kimberly Nichole
In the very first steal of night three, I wait for Blake to hit his buzzer and fight Christina tooth and nail for Kimberly, but he never does. He must be saving his steal for something, and someone, extra special. He's already stolen Meghan Linsey from Pharrell, remember?
Result: Christina steals Kimberly
Brenna Yaeger and Kelsie May ("Fancy")
These two sugar pie honey buns look similar with their long dark tresses, their sweet maxi dresses and their country twang on delicate lips of pucker pink. They both, of course, love country and are thrilled to be advised by both Blake and his friend Meghan Trainor. I'm glad we get a chance to hear a bit more of Kelsie's voice than we did in her audition, and Brenna we already know has a strong voice. Meghan and Blake counsel most about taking control of the song. Meghan commends the girls for having the guts to do what she never felt courageous enough to do: audition for The Voice. By the time they are ready to take the stage, it looks like it will be a fair battle because Kelsie has gained the confidence to go up against Brenna's stronger voice.
Blake hems and haws and then chooses.
Result: Blake chooses Kelsey
Clinton Washington and India Carney ("Stay")
Clinton chose his craft over his job to come to The Voice. India is a classically trained vocalist whom Christina has dubbed a "vocal beast." The producers chose this particular battle for the pimp spot, so it's gotta be good and it will most likely include a steal. Throughout the practice, it seems like Clinton is out of his league pitted against India's perfection. But someone had to go up against the classically trained goddess, right?
Clinton and India's performance blows the top off Alessandra and Joe's cover. Hands down. Their timing is spot-on. Their harmony resonates much more tightly. Their control is well matched, which is a lot to say for Clinton considering that he seemed to struggle during the practice sessions. I really didn't know how Christina was going to choose between these two, but in the end she makes the right choice.
Result: Christina chooses India
Adam and Pharrell Hit Their Buzzers and Charm Clinton's Pants Off
No surprise, Clinton inspires two coaches to push their buzzers and compete to be his coach.
Result: Clinton chooses Adam
The Final Analysis
Going forward from this episode are the following who won their coach's favor: Caitlin Caporale, Barry Minniefield, Treeva Gibson, Lowell Oakley, Kelsie May and India Carney. Christina stole Kimberly Nichole and Adam picked up Clinton Washington.
Next time, the final 12 artists hit the mattresses and hope for the best. Pharrell is the only one left with a steal at his disposal. Who will he choose? Tune in to find out.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)