It’s the third night of the Battle Rounds on The Voice, and the coaches again have Aloe Blacc, Miranda Lambert, Jill Scott and The Band Perry on hand to help mentor the singers.
Young singers rule the night, with several teenagers throwing down dominating performances to wow the crowd. Also, my personal favorite Josh Kaufman performs as The Voice Battle Rounds continue.
Team Adam: Austin Ellis vs. Josh Kaufman (“Happy” by Pharrell)
Adam chose “Happy,” a new song by Pharrell that should be perfect for two soul singers. Aloe Blacc says it will showcase what should be one of the best battles of the season. They are looking for Josh to show more attitude and for Austin to rise to the occasion vocally.
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During rehearsals, Adam tries to teach the singers that they need to engage with the audience. Maybe throw in some James Brown noises?
Josh is clearly the stronger singer. I don’t think anyone can match his unique voice. He even throws in some dance moves! Austin has the swagger, but can’t make his vocals powerful enough. It seems like he’s shouting too much.
Blake and Usher think Josh won, and Shakira tries to be nice by saying she doesn’t know who she would pick. All that counts is Adam’s vote, and he picks Josh as the winner.
Team Blake: Alaska and Madi vs. Audra McLaughlin (“When Will I Be Loved” by Linda Ronstadt)
Blake has paired all his young country girls against each other for this battle. Sure, Alaska & Madi sound great together, but how will they sound up against the four-chair-turn performer Audra McLaughlin?
The Band Perry tells Audra not to scoop every note … just some. Alaska and Madi will have to decide how to divvy up their performance so it highlights their harmony.
For me, this battle is a no-brainer. It’s clearly Audra. Even when Alaska and Madi are harmonizing, they can’t top Audra. She has a greater poise and maturity.
Usher can’t choose, and neither can Shakira. Adam thinks they all should advance, and he is pissed he doesn’t have a steal left.
Blake agonizes and says this is the hardest decision ever. Doesn’t every coach say that every round? Blake chooses Audra, because her voice style is what’s missing from country music today. Alaska and Madi turn on the waterworks, but no one steals them.
Team Shakira: Deja Hall vs. Music Box (“Eternal Flame” by The Bangles)
I don’t like this pairing. Deja is so young and sensitive, and Music Box is not being very friendly to her. It’s clear that Deja is nervous. Shakira tells her to relax her facial muscles, while Miranda suggests she picture her dog when singing “Eternal Flame.” I mean, I love my dog … but he’s definitely not my eternal flame. (That would be my cat.)
This Music Box needs to be tuned, because she is off-key during rehearsals.
Both ladies sound lovely during the battle. I think they are both talented in different ways, so how do you choose?
Adam says he’d pick Deja, while Blake would go with Music Box. Usher thinks they’re both going to go far, and he implies that he will steal the loser of the battle. Shakira chooses Deja as the winner, and Usher steals Music Box.
Team Usher: Madilyn Paige vs. Tanner James (“Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran)
Usher dubs this the Romeo and Juliet Battle. Madilyn and Tanner went to the same school back in Utah but didn’t know each other. Usher and Jill Scott try to push them into a relationship of sorts as the youngsters are encouraged to be passionate and follow their instincts.
Tanner is told to tap into his emotions, and Madilyn must also channel some feelings of her past relationships. Oh wait, she’s never had a boyfriend. Hey Miranda Lambert — should she think of her dog during the song, too?
Madilyn’s voice is like pure crystal as she starts the song. Tanner is fine, but he can’t beat this chick. Still, the duet is absolutely beautiful. Can’t we keep them both?
Carson refers to the battle as The Notebook Part 2, while Adam says it was like watching puppies frolicking in the field. Shakira loves Madilyn’s tone and thinks Tanner’s delivery was flawless.
Usher appreciates both singers, but he declares Madilyn the winner.
Team Adam: Dawn and Hawkes vs. Josh Murley (“Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel)
Adam wants Dawn and Hawkes to infuse attitude into “Stuck in the Middle with You,” a fun, drunk, sloppy song (in the words of Adam Levine). Josh is told to make his gravelly voice stand out, because he is battling two for the price of one.
During rehearsals, Josh is told he should probably pick up a guitar because he looks weird just standing there empty-handed next to the guitar-toting lovebirds. He is also advised to engage with the audience better. Dawn and Hawkes will have to show their versatility.
I don’t like this battle. There’s too many instances when all three are singing at the same time, which isn’t fair to Josh. (Can you tell that I hate duos? I think they’re unfair.) Dawn and Hawkes are nothing special, but neither is Josh.
Blake agrees with me. There were no special moments in the performance. Usher thinks Josh is the winner. Shakira says the song made her want to have a beer. Adam selects Dawn and Hawkes as the winner.
Team Usher: Bria Kelly vs. Tess Boyer (“Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin)
Usher’s two singers will be performing the classic Janis Joplin song “Piece of My Heart.” As they rehearse, Tess is told she has to loosen up her and Bria has to control her pitch.
This battle gave me chills. Bria definitely has the more Joplin-esque rasp in her voice, but I think she’s oversinging it at parts. Tess’ performance comes off sexy, sultry and strong. I can’t pick a winner!
Shakira feels the girls were equally matched, as does Adam. Blake gives it to Tess for her finesse and dimension. Usher picks Bria, and Blake steals Tess.
The Voice Battle Rounds continue Tuesday night at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)