It’s the first night of The Battles Part 2 (and the fifth of the Battle Rounds overall) on The Voice.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin is the guest adviser who helps all of the coaches with their singers, and some amazing performances follow as a result. Two steals are used and several singers are labeled as ones who could go all the way.
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Team Blake: Audra McLaughlin vs. Megan Ruger (“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus)
According to Blake, there is only room for one strong female powerhouse on his team, which is why he is pitting Audra the country singer against Megan the rocker. The two ladies get to choose their song. They pick “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus.
Chris Martin advises the ladies to channel their inner Mick Jagger and spread out on stage so they can work the audience.
What’s interesting is that Audra personifies old, innocent Miley Cyrus and Megan has the newer wannabe-punk Miley look going on.
Audra has a richer voice with more depth, but she sounds off-key on some of her solo moments. This is definitely a difficult song with lots of big, high notes. Megan performs admirably, but her voice isn’t as spectacular as Audra’s, even if she hits all her notes perfectly.
Usher thinks Audra won the battle. Shakira connected with Audra’s emotions more, even though she felt Megan was more technically accurate. Adam thinks that Megan hung right in there with Audra, one of the best singers on the show. Blake chooses Audra as the winner, because he thinks he can win the show with her.
Team Usher: Cierra Mickens vs. T.J. Wilkins (“Get Here” by Elita Adams)
It’s “The Battle of the Soul Singers,” says Cierra. Cierra is new to Team Usher, since she was stolen from Shakira in the last round. She is a huge Elita Adams fan, so she suggests they choose the song “Get Here” for their battle song.
Usher’s first piece of advice is if T.J. does dance moves, he shouldn’t let it affect his singing.
Chris Martin is impressed that T.J. can sing a lyric with “windsurfing” in it … has that ever been done before? Chris would like to see the duo work together more, since this song is a traditional duet. Ciara is told not to cut herself off.
Oh, wow. This performance is one for the books. Both of these two singers deserve to move on to the playoffs. Cierra gives a strong yet nuanced performance that has her belting it out and being soft and sensitive. T.J. matches her at every note and they sound like they were meant to duet.
None of the coaches can pick a winner, but Usher has to. He selects T.J. to advance.
I’m kind of surprised Adam didn’t steal Cierra. Everyone says they are holding out for a singer to blow them away before using their steal.
Team Blake: Jake Worthington vs. Tess Boyer (“Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt)
Blake dubs this battle “The Battle of Second Chances.” Pop singer Tess lost her previous Battle Round, but was stolen by Blake. Country singer Jake tried out for The Voice last year but didn’t make it until this year … hence the title of this battle.
In rehearsals for the song “Have a Little Faith in Me,” Blake cites pitch issues for both singers, but Tess seems to have an edge. Chris tells Jake to imagine each note right before he sings it. Um, thanks, Chris Martin. That’s a big help.
As Jake gets encouragement from his family, he responds, “Ain’t nothing to do it but to do it!” I had never heard that expression before tonight, and now it’s the second time in one hour that I’ve heard it. (T.J. said it, too.)
Even though Jake looks like a 12-year-old, his voice is definitely more manly. He sounds at least 15 when he belts out the song.
He does much better than I expected and I think he won the battle. Tess is okay, but she doesn’t have that shining moment that she should have had.
Usher seems to suggest that Jake won the battle, but Shakira was blown away by Tess. Adam can’t choose.
Poor Jake looks like he’s going to cry, but have no fear: Blake chooses Jake to move on to the playoffs. Blake says that this battle was a virtual tie, but he has to be loyal and stick with Jake, who has been on his team from the beginning.
Carson can barely get the words out of his mouth to remind the judges that Tess is available for a steal before three buzzers light up. Adam, Shakira and Usher all want Tess for their teams.
Obviously, Usher has the hardest hill to climb in convincing Tess, because he let her go in the last round. Adam says he wasn’t a fan of hers originally, but he is now. Shakira says she will kill to have Tess on her team, because she believes Tess is the best female singer in the competition right now. Tess chooses Team Shakira.
Team Adam: Christina Grimmie vs. Sam Behymer (“Counting Stars” by OneRepublic)
Everyone thinks everything about this battle is odd. Sam thinks it’s odd that she is paired with Christina, because her own style is so subdued. Adam thinks the song the ladies choose is odd, because it’s sung by a dude. (Didn’t Adam give them their three song choices?)
I think it’s odd that Sam acts like she doesn’t know who Chris Martin is when she walks into rehearsal.
Thankfully, Christina gives Chris his proper dues by fawning all over him, calling him a lyrical genius. I don’t know how anyone is able to focus in practice, with Chris Martin’s baby blues staring at them while they sing. Is that his true eye color? It can’t be.
Adam tells the girls he wants them to do what they want to do, but use control. Also, he says that rhythm and pocket are everything. When you’re out of the pocket and off your rhythm, that’s when mistakes happen.
Sam starts the song off and it sounds like the song was meant to be sung by her … OneRepublic who? Christina can’t match Sam’s truly unique voice. Sam just took this song and made it her b*tch.
Blake, Usher and Shakira don’t give a clear answer about who they would choose, which makes me think that they just didn’t want to say that Sam was the obvious winner. Adam chooses … wait, what? No! Adam chooses Christina as the winner of the battle and Sam must leave.
I totally called that one wrong. Damn you, Chris Martin and your eyes. You hypnotize me and confuse me.
Team Shakira: Josh Murley vs. Patrick Thomson (“Run to You” by Bryan Adams)
Shakira picked these two to battle because they have similar singing styles. During rehearsals, Chris Martin suggests that they need props. He says Mick Jagger has his wild arms, Jay-Z has his hats, so Josh and Patrick need mic stands.
I think both of these guys are talented rockers, but I just prefer Patrick’s vocals. He sounds like a growling but cuddly bear … Mama like. Josh never has that moment where he just nails it.
Adam doesn’t want to choose between these two guys again, since they were both former members of Team Adam who were let go. Blake thinks Patrick won the battle, and Usher can’t decide.
Shakira is proud that Patrick challenged himself, and she says that Josh delivered an amazing performance. She chooses Patrick to advance on Team Shakira.
Team Adam: Delvin Choice vs. Josh Kaufman (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder)
Delvin and Josh get a trio of oldies to choose from, and they decide on “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” Adam and Chris are impressed right from the start of rehearsals.
Adam tells Josh that Delvin has a big voice, but he shouldn’t try to compete with him. Delvin is told not to make his monster voice too monstrous.
Delvin kicks the song off right on target and it’s clear that this song is more suited to his singing style. Josh does his thing, too, and they both do some little be-bops that are fun … but I’d give this battle to Delvin. I must say, Adam picks the most talented singers and truly gets the most out of them.
Blake thinks that Delvin controlled his bravado and it didn’t take over the song, which shows growth. Usher thinks this battle was the performance of the day. Well, day for them … night for us. Shakira would choose Delvin.
As usual, Adam acts like he has no idea who to choose, but ultimately he picks Delvin. Adam thinks Delvin’s voice is earth-shattering and he has more power than anyone in the competition. And Usher jumps in with the steal of Josh!
The Voice Battle Rounds Part 2 continues Tuesday night at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)