Which team’s troops are ready for the first night of the Battle Rounds? Team Shakira has enlisted the help of Miranda Lambert, Team Adam has Aloe Blacc, Team Blake has The Band Perry and Team Usher has Jill Scott as mentors.
In the exciting Battle Rounds, the coaches pick two singers on their team to battle it out by singing the same song. The winner advances to the next round, but the other coaches have the option to steal the loser.
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Team Usher: Biff Gore vs. T.J. Wilkins (“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations)
The two soul singers are very different, according to Jill Scott. Biff is urged to rough up his singing style, while T.J. is told to commit to the song. Usher tells them to not to dial back the emotion, because that is what the judges are looking for.
Both men have fun with the song in what Carson Daly calls a “textbook Voice Battle.” They have lots of energy and some good dance moves. Their performances are both outstanding and all the coaches agree that on pure vocal technique, it’s a tie.
Usher picks T.J. because he’s a fighter, and Usher wants that on his team.
Impressed by his high kicks and the audience’s reaction to him, Blake steals Biff. “I’m a fan,” he tells Biff. “Teach me your ways!”
Team Blake: Jake Worthington vs. Lexi Luca (“It Goes Like This” by Thomas Rhett)
Blake is excited to have the first band as mentors, because it’s like having three extra coaches on hand. Lexi is very off-key during practice — she is extremely nervous and it shows. The Band Perry advises her to relax and tells Jake to open his mouth wider.
The song they are battling is “It Goes Like This,” which Blake says is representative of country music today. The duo start out strong, but Jake has the definite advantage. He is built for country music. Lexi is a bit off-key when she has her solo moments.
Usher says he was blown away by Jake. Shakira is non-committal and says they were both good. Adam thinks that under Blake’s tutelage, Jake could win this whole thing.
Blake is disappointed that Jake flubbed some lyrics, but ultimately says he’s going with his gut by choosing Jake. “There’s just something about Jake, and I think he could be a star, and he clearly won this Battle for me,” says Blake.
Team Shakira: Dani Moz vs. DeShawn Washington (“My Kind of Love” by Emile Sande)
Shakira is excited to have Miranda Lambert (Blake’s wife) there to give her insight into how to put Blake in his place. I mean, and she’s good for some vocal advice, too.
Miranda reminds Dani that out-singing another person isn’t accomplished by just yelling out the high notes. DeShawn is told to get his phrasing right.
Dani’s voice is amazing as she starts off. DeShawn is a bit too nasally for my liking, but he still sings well. Dani only gets better as the song goes on. She has a strong, unique voice. I have declared her the winner of this Battle even before it’s halfway over.
Adam can’t pick a winner of the Battle. Blake says DeShawn surprised him, and Usher agrees. Are they just trying to be nice since Dani was clearly the winner?
Apparently so, since Shakira chooses Dani and no one steals DeShawn.
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Team Adam: Kat Perkins vs. Patrick Thomson (“Whenever I Call You Friend” by Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks)
Who is Adam’s stylist this season? I don’t know how anyone can listen to him when his hair is looking all goofy off to the side and he’s wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Adam has chosen a classic duet. Patrick is advised to make the song his own so that the coaches can see his evolution. Kat is advised to open her eyes wider. Does that really help one sing better?
Their duet is highly entertaining, but I think Kat performs the song better. Her voice takes command over Patrick’s.
Blake thinks Kat was better. Usher agrees. Shakira liked Kat’s delivery, but would choose Patrick.
Adam declares Kat the winner of the Battle, and … Shakira steals raspy-voiced Patrick!
Team Blake: Paula Deanda vs. Sisaundra Lewis (“Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga)
In Blake’s eyes, Paula has to play it up and Sisaundra has to play it down. He thinks it’s going to be one of the best Battles of the season.
This is just not fair to pit anyone against Sisaundra. She rocks this song out and totally overpowers Paula, who could have won against lesser competitors … but not Sisaundra.
Usher cites pitch issues for Paula and says he would choose Sisaundra, as does Shakira. Blake tells Paula she sang the crap out of the song. Adam can’t believe these two singers are on Blake’s team.
Blake correctly chooses Sisaundra as the winner.
Team Usher: Jake Barker vs. Stevie Jo (“Higher Love” by Steve Winwood)
Jill says that Jake has a Justin Timberlake thing going on. (I’d like to disagree. He has a Jason Mraz thing going on.)
The duo is pretty terrible during practices, but seem to make improvements under specific instructions from the coaches about breathing and tone.
For his second ever stage performance, Jake does pretty well. I still prefer Stevie Jo’s vocal style, however. Neither of them know how to dance. And you know Usher can help with that.
Maybe I didn’t hear the performance correctly. Shakira can’t decide between the two; neither can Adam, who claims that he will be stealing whoever Usher does not choose. “I literally don’t care who he takes. You’re both amazing. I want both of you,” says Adam. Blake says he would pick Jake.
Usher is conflicted, but chooses to keep Stevie Jo on Team Usher. “Each time he performs, it’s getting better,” says Usher. True to his word, Adam buzzes in to steal Jake, as does Shakira and then Blake.
Despite Shakira’s pitch to introduce Jake to Rihanna, Jake chooses Team Adam.
Adam, Shakira and Blake have each used up one of their steals. Usher says he’s waiting for an undeniable talent before he steals.
The Voice Battle Rounds continue Tuesday night at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)