The Voice >> The Battle Rounds Roll On!

On last night’s episode of The Voice, the battle rounds continued as the coaches continued to pair off their team for their shot at moving on to the live show.

Looking back on both of the battle rounds, it does seem that the coaches are looking at the contestants, deciding on who is each other’s biggest competition, and pairing them off. I think last week this strategy definitely worked against them, but this week it mostly worked.

The first battle came from Team Christina, as she teamed up Geoff McBride and Sera Hill to sing Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” Geoff and Sera both have big voices, so Christina Aguilera’s song choice was on the money.

In their initial rehearsal, I thought they both sounded good. The two met with their advisors, Sera with Jewel and Geoff with Lionel Richie, and then the battle was on.

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I thought both singers did an amazing job. I was thrilled that Christina picked Sera, because I think that she would benefit the most from this experience and gain a lot of knowledge from Christina. I think that right now she’s the force to be reckoned with on Team Christina.

The next battle was between Team Blake contestants, Charlotte Sometimes and Lex Land. Coming into the battle, I remember I wasn’t crazy about Charlotte’s blind audition and I remembered Lex seeming really nervous during hers. So, I wasn’t sure what was about to transpire on stage.

Blake Shelton picked out Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” for the two to sing. Definitely one of the better picks of the night, as far as allowing the contestants to come across more contemporary sounding.

Charlotte’s advisor was Queen Kelly Clarkson and Lex worked with Miranda Lambert. One thing I like that Blake does during his time, is that he has the contestants perform on a mini stage in their rehearsal spot, and it allows him to observe their stage presence, which is a key factor in the competition.

Something we learned about Charlotte is that she is super competitive, to the point that it’s kind of borderline obnoxious at times. After she was done talking about how much she wanted to beat Lex, it was time to battle.

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The thing about “Pumped Up Kicks,” is that if you don’t know the actual lyrics, and the person performing isn’t enunciating the words completely, the lyrics sound kind of muddled, which I felt was kind of the case the other night.

Both girls had great tone to their voices. I liked the Lex took more risk with her notes, even though she had one issue, but I felt with some coaching that she could be a contender this season. And I think if it wasn’t for losing control of that one note, Blake would have picked her. He said he was picked Charlotte, because she was more consistent, not necessarily because he preferred her voice over Lex’s. For me, it was probably one of the most heartbreaking battles of night, just because it was hard to see someone with so much potential wind up heading home.

Team Cee Lo was up next with Juliet Simms and Sara Golden going head-to-head.  He assigned the duo to sing “Stay With Me” by Rod Stewart. Good song choice from Cee Lo, although I’m still side-eyeing the decision to have these two battle, since their voices are stylistically so different.

Advisor–wise, Sara worked with Babyface, Juliet worked with Ne-Yo. And then it was time to battle.

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This battle to me was so weird, because I felt that if these two weren’t singing with one another, they each would have just given great solo performances. During the choruses, I couldn’t hear Sara as well over Juliet, whose gritty rock vibe, which I like, was just taking over this performance. Sara was a bit over-shadowed, which is unfortunate, because what I could hear of her vocal sounded pretty good. But obviously, Cee Lo went with Juliet.

Team Adam stepped up to bat on the next battle, where coach Adam Levine chose Kim Yarbrough and Whitney Myer to sing “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige. To be honest, I thought Kim was probably going to be battling Mathai, and since that is not the case, I’m wondering if Adam has set up another controversial pairing of Mathai and Angel Taylor for a later battle? Pure speculation, moving on…

During the initial rehearsal, I love how their voices sounded together. And even with their rehearsals with their advisors, Whitney with Alanis Morissette and Kim with Robin Thicke, I thought they were performing great. I think Robin gave the best advice to Kim, explaining how Mary J. sings this song like she’s standing on the edge of a cliff and could fall at any moment, and that Kim needs to let the tension of emotion come out through her vocal performance. With advice from Coach Adam and advisors, the ladies headed to battle.

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This was one of the best moments of the night. I thought both ladies sounded fantastic, but Kim really took Robin’s advice to heart and you could feel the emotion in her performance. And Adam built such a strong team that it’s tough to see anyone eliminated. And Whitney’s audition was one of my favorites, so I thought her elimination was a bummer.

Team Christina was up again, this time Sacramento native Lindsey Pavao and Lee Koch were battling out. Christina chose Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” for the pair to sing. The song pick was a little bit out of left field, but it mixed things up and allowed her team to show diversity.

After the pair met with their advisors, Lindsey with Lionel, Lee with Jewel, the battle was on!

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I thought Adam’s comment of the performance being “delightfully creepy” was pretty spot on. For a split second, I thought Christina was planning on picking Lee, especially after the praise he received from the other coaches. In the end, she picked Lindsey to send to the live rounds.

Not even gonna front here, I’m still a little pressed about the final battle from Monday night’s episode. Team Cee Lo closed out the show with Jamar Rogers and Jamie Lono performing “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. Cee Lo must be nostalgic for the 80’s or something, between this song pick and last week’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” I’m expecting some Bon Jovi or Wham! next week.

As soon as Cee Lo announced what the guys would be performing, I had suspicions that this song would not play to Jamie’s strengths. During the initial rehearsal, my suspicions were confirmed. He had issues with his voice cracking while going into his higher register during the chorus. When this happened, I had to wonder why a song that either guy could have sung fairly well wasn’t chosen. I get that Cee Lo likes to be the oddball coach, but this song selection seemed uneven, because it wasn’t able to let Jamie showcase his talent to his full potential.

In the advisor rehearsals, Cee Lo and Babyface chocked up Jamie’s issues with not being able to hit those higher notes to nerves. I don’t think I entirely agree with that sentiment, but they’re the professionals in the situation, so yeah, I don’t know.

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You know, I remember Jamar being on Idol in ’09 and really liking his voice, but I wanted Jamie in the live rounds. I love, love, loved Jamie’s audition and thought he would sail into the live rounds, no problem. Although Jamar is has an amazing voice, hands down had the better vocal performance and fully deserved to advance on, it’s really disappointing that someone as talented as Jamie isn’t on the show anymore.

I wish after the initial battle rounds that the coaches would pull from Idol’s playbook and on top on the battle round winners, pick one more vocalist that was originally eliminated back onto their team for the live shows. I feel like season two is missing out on a lot of talent that didn’t get to show the world their full potential, and as a music fan, it’s kind of heartbreaking.

Luckily, it seems these contestants are savvy enough to keep their new fan bases thriving online, so hopefully they take the momentum from the show and run with it.

Ah, another night of battles. More talent unfortunately eliminated from the competition. So what did y’all think of Monday night’s battles? Which contestant would you bring back as a wildcard contestant for the live show?

Also, follow me on Twitter (@KirsCoachman) & feel free to chat me up while The Voice is on!

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Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an entertainment writer and editor from the SF Bay Area. Fan of live music, film, Shondaland dramas, and the San Jose Sharks. Follow her on Twitter: @KirsCoachman

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