The Battle Rounds of The Voice season 10 started off strong in the episode they were forced to share with the end of the Blind Auditions. Free of the Blind Auditions toxic boorishness, The Voice really began to stretch its wings on night two of the Battle Rounds. All of the performances are very good. Even the bad ones are a sight better than the bad battle(s) of the first night — looking at you Paxton and Brittney.
It is no surprise then that the Steals are out in full force with almost all the coaches sweeping up “eliminated” contestants. Some of the Steals make more sense than others, but nearly all of them are exciting. The Steal button also gives Blake another opportunity to troll Christina, which is always welcome.
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Tamar Davis vs. Shalyah Fearing (“Lady Marmalade”)
I hate “Lady Marmalade” a lot. I think it is one of the stupidest songs of all time and Christina’s version of it is way too over-played. So I enter this battle with a lot of bias. These ladies don’t convince me that “Lady Marmalade” isn’t stupid. They do convince me that both are incredibly talented singers. While Shalyah does a better job with the song, it’s hard to begrudge Christina’s decision to go with Tamar. Shalyah has her entire life in front of her, whereas Tamar has been waiting almost her entire life to make it big. When Pharrell steals Shalyah, though, it is the first Steal of the season that actually makes me happy with the result.
Result: Christina chooses Tamar; Pharrell steals Shalyah
Justin Whisnant vs. Mary Sarah (“Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man”)
Justin is one my favorite artists on Blake’s team and that’s grading on a curve, but the statement still stands. Mary Sarah is one of the best artists on The Voice this season. The fact that Blake pairs them up, meaning one of them will (probably) leave, is very upsetting. The song choice is a little … whatever. It’s not bad, it’s just not my type of music. The song also completely favors Mary over Justin, which is just supremely unfair. She already is the favorite here; no need to rub salt in the wound.
There is one thing I will say in defense of “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” The song is already a duet, so the transition into the Battles feels natural, which doesn’t often happen. The Voice often has to jam songs into becoming duets in awkward ways. Blake picks Mary Sarah. Justin goes without a Steal, which isn’t surprising because, again, the song completely favors Mary Sarah.
Result: Blake chooses Mary
Nick Hagelin vs. Jessica Crosbie (“Electric Feel”)
Team Pharrell’s mentor, Sean Combs, is right up there with Rihanna from season 9. They are both artists who I expected nothing from on The Voice and they give everything. I want to point out how good Sean Combs is as a mentor now because I’m not wild about this Battle.
Nick and Jessica are not my favorite Battle so far; in fact, they are probably my least favorite. Jessica sounds very generic and Nick is riding that one-trick pony of his falsetto, all the way to the live shows (most likely). It does make sense that Pharrell picks Nick. It doesn’t make any sense that Adam uses one of his precious Steals to swoop up Jessica.
Result: Pharrell chooses Nick; Adam steals Jessica
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Kata Hay vs. Chelsea Gann (“I’m the Only One”)
Team Christina has been constantly turning out the best Battles of the season so far, but her luck was bound to run out. Here, the end of the line has been reached and it looks to be Kata and Chelsea’s Battle. This a boring mismatch from the beginning. Kata has more personality than she has a voice. Chelsea has very little personality but a pleasant voice. (She looks unfortunately similar to Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms; this has no bearing on her talent or value as a person, but it’s really bothering me.) Still, I vastly prefer Chelsea over Kata and find it to be a huge mistake when Christina picks Kata instead.
Result: Christina chooses Kata
Natalie Yacovazzi vs. Nate Butler (“Hollow”)
This is the first battle where Tori Kelly actually adds to the practice sessions. Granted, Adam has only had one previous Battle this season, but the insight that Tori has here is invaluable. It is her song, though, so Tori should be familiar with how to sing it and what it means.
As for the actual Battle, I expected Natalie to kill it and drive away with it all because she is my dark horse of the competition. I get Nate confused with about three other guys on Adam’s team, so he hasn’t made much of an impression.
This Battle changes all that, or at least the Nate side of the equation. I would still be very happy with Natalie winning, but Nate launches himself into being a frontrunner with this Battle. Nate tackles the song impressively and even overtakes Natalie. I won’t get the chance to see Natalie win The Voice this season, though, because Adam picks Nate. Natalie goes home without a Steal. The fact that Natalie goes home this early and Jessica Crosbie is still on the show actually enrages me.
Result: Adam chooses Nate
Hannah Huston vs. Maya Smith (“Elastic Heart”)
This is a Battle that is worthy of Sean Combs’ skills as a mentor. He gets both ladies to get out of their skin and it ends up causing the best Battle of the season. This is a far superior “closing number” to Malik and Bryan’s Battle that closed the first night, and I liked them.
I barely remember Hannah from the Blind Auditions and have no recollection whatsoever of Maya. After this Battle, they are two of my favorites from this season. Thankfully, they can both conceivably go into the live shows and have a chance of winning because they both stay on the show.
Result: Pharrell chooses Hannah; Christina steals Maya
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
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