All I can say is I’m glad that the fourth part of the Battle Rounds is only an hour. This isn’t a bad episode of singing. The Voice has the best talent of any musical reality show as far as I’m concerned, so any episode is a good episode. There are just no real “water cooler” moments. Well, except the battle that closes out the episode and this portion of The Voice. Those two contestants might be real contenders for the crown, but more on that in a bit. Everyone else is pretty adequate.
Though, one of the great things about The Voice is how the artists grow over time. This is a just a just okay episode of the Battle Rounds, but it should be exciting to see how all the remaining artists continue to develop going into the upcoming Knockout Rounds.
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Amanda Ayala and Shelby Brown (“Edge of Seventeen”)
The recorded package before this battle cements my belief that Adam is the best coach on The Voice. He not only gives Amanda and Shelby praise but is frank and honest with them on their faults. I love Adam’s ability to be constructive, realistic and comforting all at the same time. You can really tell that Amanda and Shelby take his words to heart.
The advice pays off because this is one of the most evenly matched battles of the season. The two girls’ harmonies are perfect and they both give as good as they get. Only one artist is allowed to move forward with Adam. In my opinion, Adam ends up making the right choice when he chooses Shelby. Even though this is one of the closest battles, I understand why no coach steals Amanda. These girls are evenly matched, but neither are among the best on The Voice — not yet anyway.
Result: Adam chooses Shelby
Amy Vachal and Jubal & Amanda (“To Love Somebody”)
Team Pharrell’s last full-fledged battle round of the episode is next. Pharrell pits a solo artist, Amy, against a double act that famously got engaged in the Blind Auditions, Jubal and Amanda. Pharrell seems to unfairly stack the deck in Jubal and Amanda’s favor by giving them a love song to perform. To be honest, the practice session is a mess, with Jubal and Amanda singing to one another sweetly and Amy just sort of standing there awkwardly.
This might just be a casualty of The Voice‘s manipulative editing because the actual battle comes together surprisingly well. Even though I think Amy is at a clear disadvantage, she really rises to the occasion. This might be because Jubal and Amanda don’t feel quite connected in the performance. In fact, it feels like three separate singers (who are very proficient) performing together rather than two distinct acts battling. The coaches praise Jubal and Amanda’s voices, but everyone is in love with Amy, including her coach, Pharrell.
Result: Pharrell chooses Amy
There is another Team Pharrell battle in the customary montage time. This time, it is between Darius Scott and Daria Jazmin. I’m just going out on a limb and saying their similarity of names has nothing to do with them being paired together. Apparently, Pharrell isn’t a huge fan of animated sitcoms on MTV from the ’90s because he ends up going with Darius, not Daria.
Team Blake is up next, pitting Nadjah Nicole and Cole Criske against one another. Nadjah not only has the better afro but also the better voice, and Blake chooses her to move forward. Team Gwen has Hanna Ashbrook and Summer Schappell face off. Gwen chooses Summer for her attitude and growth.
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Emily Ann Roberts and Morgan Fraiser (“I’m Kind of That Girl”)
In the last battle, Blake chooses two of his female country singers to go against each other. Blake is initially skeptical of both girls’ ability to bring it in the performance for different reasons. Assistant Coach Brad Paisley sees it as a battle between youth and experience. Morgan is ready for a career in his mind, but Emily Ann could surpass Morgan, given the right coaching and experience. Though, if you want my opinion, Blake’s biggest challenge might be telling these two blonde singers apart because they look shockingly similar.
They are not only similar in appearance but also in skill level. In the battle, the two girls are so much more evenly matched than Team Adam’s girls at the beginning of the hour. This is a stellar battle and Blake has an impossible decision. All the coaches, especially Adam, tell him this fact with barely-contained glee. Blake ends up choosing the younger Emily Ann. Of course, Morgan’s journey isn’t over. Pharell presses his button to steal her right away. She is the first country artist Pharrell has ever coached.
Result: Blake chooses Emily Ann and Pharrell steals Morgan
The final portion of the night is a teaser for the next few episodes of Knockout Rounds with guest coach Rihanna. I’ll spare you my effort to clumsily explain and summarize a trailer and just let you watch it for yourself:
The Voice airs Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)