Night three of The Voice season 12 Battle Rounds features performances by pairings who are both similar and starkly different stylistically. The coaches are chipping away at the challenge of pairing artists together who represent a similar style or quality that would translate into a compelling performance. Adam is the only coach with both of his steals left, so let’s find out if he uses one or more to keep a contestant in the competition as we move past the halfway point of the Battles!
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Team Blake: Josh Hoyer vs. TSoul (“In the Midnight Hour”)
Josh and TSoul have surprisingly undeniable chemistry, but Josh is intimidated by Tsoul’s note range. Luke Bryan encourages TSoul not to reach too far for notes that push his comfort zone, and Blake reminds them to cement their harmony parts even though their soulful styles blossom largely from their in-the-moment improvisation.
The performance during the Battle itself is a blast to watch, with Josh’s raspy voice a complementary contrast to TSoul’s more melodic falsetto. Both the singers and the coaches appear to be having fun at a jam session rather than participating in a cutthroat competition. Alicia comments on the energy and life that Josh and TSoul brought to the stage, emphasizing the joy in their performance. The crowd is incredibly enthusiastic over the dynamics between the two singers, and Blake struggles to make a decision.
Result: Blake chooses TSoul
Team Alicia: Autumn Turner vs. Vanessa Ferguson (“Killing Me Softly with His Song”)
Autumn’s audition performance sparked Adam to predict a victory for her this season, even though she chose to join Team Alicia. Vanessa turned three chairs during her audition and has spent her career singing all over the world, but she expresses that The Voice is the only platform that can catapult her to the next level. During rehearsals, the two R&B singers contemplate how they can create standout moments in a song that’s been performed and remade by so many artists over the years.
Both Autumn and Vanessa succeed in creating those unique, wow factor moments during a performance that gives me chills while watching. The rich, mellow rhythm of Vanessa’s tone and the powerful tone of Autumn’s effortless range distinguish them from one another, making it an equal performance overall.
Result: Alicia chooses Vanessa
Steal: Before Carson finishes his sentence, both Gwen and Adam push their buttons to steal Autumn. Gwen appeals to her desire to work with Autumn stylistically, but she ultimately picks Team Adam.
Team Adam: Johnny Hayes vs. Julien Martinez (“Hard to Handle”)
After a rejection during the season 11 auditions, both Adam and Gwen turn around for Johnny this time around. Julien describes how living with ADHD prompted him to channel his focus and concentration in music. John Legend tells Julien not to overthink the lyrics and pronunciations, while Adam continuously reminds Johnny to stay in the pocket and not to rush the song.
Johnny and Julien manage to master the mouthful of lyrics that compose a classic rock ‘n roll song, and the coaches are split roughly evenly over the winner of the Battle. In the end, confident ownership over the song is what determines the victor of this round.
Result: Adam chooses Johnny
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Team Gwen: Caroline Sky vs. Stephanie Rice (“The First Cut is the Deepest”)
Gwen pairs these two women together because of their similar singer/songwriter aesthetic, even though their ages and experience levels differ greatly. Although the two artists are similar artistically, Caroline and Stephanie couldn’t be more opposite vocally. Celine Dion works to strengthen the power of Stephanie’s voice, while Gwen makes an effort to rein in Caroline’s edge and raspiness.
The raw emotion of this Sheryl Crow ballad shines through in this performance, and both singers manage to shine on their own merit. However, even though Caroline takes Celine’s direction to embolden her technically trained voice, she translates that as taking direction almost too literally. The coaches are split down the middle on their preferences, and ultimately the decision lies in whether Gwen’s preference is a seasoned or beginning singer for her team.
Result: Gwen chooses Stephanie.
Steal: Blake uses a steal on Caroline
Team Adam: Kawan DeBose vs. Malik Davage (“Love Me Now”)
During the Blind Auditions, Adam compared Kawan’s falsetto range to Prince’s, and he was the only coach to turn around for Malik. The two are given the challenge of performing one of John Legend’s songs with him as their mentor. Adam and John Legend give the guys some tough love and criticisms over how prepared their harmonies are and the lack of mastery over the lyrics.
Kawan and Malik still appear to lack the cohesive qualities that come along with a duet, instead focusing on their individual runs and moments rather than the harmony of a paired performance. Blake and Gwen both compliment Kawan’s vocal abilities, but Gwen ultimately recommends choosing Malik because of the earnestness in his performance.
Result: Adam chooses Malik (but doesn’t seem thrilled with either singer)
During Battle performances that aren’t fully shown during the episode, Blake chooses Enid over Valerie, Team Adam picks Hanna instead of Sheena, and Gwen goes with Troy over Jozy.
Team Alicia: Hunter Plake vs. Jack Cassidy (“Dancing On My Own”)
Hunter and Jack’s pairing was inevitable due to their backgrounds in gospel and worship music. DJ Khaled encourages Jack to “go to church” and leave it all out on the table when he suspects the singer is holding back during the first rehearsal.
The last duo of the evening gives an emotionally invested performance, with both contestants leaving it all out on the stage in a stripped down ballad that exposes their rich talent. Hunter and Jack both stand on equal footing as far as investment and vocal ability, and it’s obvious that the two respect one another’s talent.
Result: Alicia chooses Jack
Steal: For the second time in this round, Adam and Gwen both fight it out for their remaining steal. Since Gwen has pushed her button for him twice now, Hunter chooses her as his new coach.
Which Battle performance did you think was the best? Did the coaches make any bad decisions? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)