I was a little worried when part three of the Battle Rounds began. In all honesty, The Voice got off to a rocky start with some merely okay performances in this cycle of the Battles. Luckily, it ended up being a case of saving the best for last. Once The Voice moved beyond the first few shaky performances, things got really interesting and really entertaining. The fourth and final round of the Battles has yet to occur, but night three might just end up being one of the best nights of the season, both in terms of the Battle Rounds and the show as a whole.
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Adam Wakefield vs. Jared Harder (“Can’t You See”)
The set-up for this one is interesting. The fact that this isn’t just a standard Battle but more of a jam session does separate it a bit from the norm. That’s about it, though. Jared does better than I would have expected from the Blind Auditions, but this is Adam’s performance from start to finish. When Blake picked up Jared, I thought he would sacrifice Jared in the Battle Rounds and that’s exactly what happens. Blake lobbied this battle up for Adam to hit it out of the park and Adam was happy to oblige.
Result: Blake chooses Adam
Emily Keener vs. Jonathan Bach (“Explosions”)
Jonathan Bach was one of the contestants who got put into a montage in the Blind Auditions and that might be the smartest thing The Voice has ever done. Johnathan is extremely obnoxious. It might be nerves, but he stinks of trying to be cool and interesting, and instead comes off as desperate. Luckily, Diddy is there, a phrase I’d never thought I’d write, to keep him in check and try to get Jonathan more focused on the emotions of the song and less on himself. If only Diddy could do the same for Carson.
Anyway, since so much time is spent trying to talk Jonathan off the proverbial irritating ledge, very little of the rehearsal is spent on the actual vocals. The end result is a Battle that is very much a mess. Emily, one of the best singer of the Blind Auditions, doesn’t sound that great. Emily and Jonathan’s harmonies are all over the place. Jonathan himself is wildly inconsistent in his vocals. Pharrell makes the right decision picking Emily, but that’s definitely based on her Blind Audition performance, not this train wreck.
Result: Pharrell chooses Emily
Daniel Passino vs. Kristen Marie (“Turning Tables”)
This is another great Battle from Team Christina, another phrase I never thought I’d write. Thanks to Christina and Patti’s advice, Daniel and Kristen avoid the problem that happens a lot with Adele covers on talent shows. It doesn’t seem like a (very good) karaoke version of the original. Their version sounds remarkably different and it almost seems like a totally different song. It is not surprising, though, that only one of them goes through without a Steal because Daniel is stronger than Kristen throughout the performance. I can’t come down on Kristen as hard as the coaches do, but Daniel is the clear winner here.
Result: Christina chooses Daniel
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Brian Nhira vs. Abby Celso (“Sugar”)
This makes up for the bad will created in the previous Team Pharrell Battle between Emily and Jonathan. It helps that both Abby and Brian are very likable, unlike the heinously annoying Jonathan, but they also have a good voice. This Battle is just a very fun duet. “Sugar” is one of the sillier Maroon 5 songs, though nowhere near as ridiculous as “Moves Like Jagger,” and the Battle reflects that joy. In all honesty, though, Brian and Abby’s version is sometimes more interesting and enjoyable than the original. It is one of the most even Battles of the season and easily the best of the night so far. It is so good that I almost, almost don’t mind that The Voice separates the whole thing by using three commercial breaks.
I will say it is unexpected that Pharrell goes with Abby and not Brian. Brian is the clear winner of the Battle as far as I’m concerned, but maybe that’s why Pharrell didn’t pick him. Perhaps in a moment of selflessness, Pharrell picked the artist with the least chance of getting stolen, Abby, so both artists would stay on the show. There doesn’t really need to be more evidence that Pharrell is the patron saint of artists on The Voice, but if that is why Pharrell picked Abby, it solidifies his status.
Result: Pharrell chooses Abby; Adam steals Brian
Caroline Burns vs. Mike Schiavo (“Like I’m Gonna Lose You”)
This is a shocker of a Battle. While I remember both Mike and Caroline from the Blinds and I both recall them being good, I didn’t think they were this good. This is a great Battle with some terrific harmonies. The coaches are pretty much all over Caroline with their praise, though, so it’s not at all shocking when that is who Adam picks as the winner.
I love “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” but it is a song that favors the female part of the duet. So it is weird that everyone points out that Mike is holding back when he is just performing the song. He isn’t supposed to be the star, really. If anything, they should be going after Adam. This is another example of a coach showing clear favoritism to one artist with the song choice.
Result: Adam chooses Caroline
Alisan Porter vs. Lacy Mandigo (“California Dreamin'”)
Lacy is another montage artist, but thankfully she is a lot more likable than Jonathan. Granted, Lacy is a bit of small town cliche. She has never been on a plane before The Voice. Lacy’s speaking voice even sounds like the stereotypical, vaguely but not too Southern, small town girl. She has also never heard “California Dreamin’,” which is insane to me. In the rehearsals, Lacy does sound a bit too much like Christina-lite for my liking. I am saying all these negative things about Lacy to underline how surprised I am by her performance. She genuinely does a great job in the Battle.
It is still kind of a domination, though. Alisan performs all over the song, and as much as the coaches try to qualify the win, they can’t deny it. Alisan triumphs all over poor Lacy. Alisan is one of the frontrunners of the competition and she remains in the front. It is a welcome turn of events, though, when Blake uses his last Steal on Lacy and saves her. It is certainly a better use of the Steal than Adam saving Jessica Crosbie. (I’ll be over it happening when it stops being ridiculous so … never.)
Result: Christina chooses Alisan; Blake steals Lacy
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
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