The days of spinning chairs on “The Voice” are over for this season! For the rest of the year, we are actually going to know what all of these artists look like, who they are working with, and whether or not any of them are going to be brave enough to talk about Christina Aguilera’s silly hat.
In this ridiculously-drawn-out show, we saw a handful of the contestants square off in musical warfare. Could we have done without all the reminders and flashbacks? Sure, but the actual battles themselves made for some great singing and pretty dynamic television.
Tony Lucca vs. Chris Cauley (Adam Levine) – On paper, it looked like Tony was going to mop the floor with Chris. He’s more experienced, has the Christina Aguilera connection, and he gave arguably one of the best blind auditions of the season. In reality, Chris actually gave the guy a pretty serious run for his money.
Adam’s advisers Alanis Morissette and Robin “I wear shades indoors” Thicke provided some feedback that was more or less the show’s way of name-dropping while at the same time actually giving these contestants great advice on vocals and performance style.
To us, the only real difference between the two’s performance of U2’s “Beautiful Day” was how they sold the vocals to the audience. Tony did it slightly better inside of the obnoxiously-but-somehow-also-awesome boxing ring in a stage. Winner: Tony
RaeLynn vs. Adley Stump (Blake Shelton) – This was was obvious on paper, and it was obvious during the performance itself — RaeLynn is a serious contender to go very far in this competition. She has a voice that actually combines a bit of Adele’s soul with Miranda Lambert’s country growl. Doesn’t it help RaeLynn out that Miranda is Blake’s wife? When she stepped out to help mentor her, it looked like our contestant was about to handcuff herself to her arm. (Meanwhile, Adley worked with Kelly Clarkson.)
The fact that Blake even said that RaeLynn reminds him of a young Miranda seemed to seal the deal for the show’s youngest competitor (at age 17) even more. The only thing that was really a surprise here at all? That not all of the coaches agreed with us about who was the superior singer. Winner: RaeLynn
Chris Mann vs. Monique Benabou (Christina Aguilera) – We’ve made it very clear that we are major fans of Chris Mann’s voice. However, his training session with Christina and Lionel Richie showed that he has some serious flaws. As a classically-trained singer, the former “Glee” Warbler has a tendency to overthink everything and get in his own head. Meanwhile, Monique had the advantage when it came to passion — and we have to say that we totally loved Jewel as an adviser during her session. (Can we petition Jewel to replace Jennifer Lopez on “American Idol” after this season?)
During the actual performance, we noticed two things:
1. Chris somehow looked like the “Voice” love child of Adam and Carson Daly.
2. Did anyone else get the vibe that Christina had just made a music video to “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion? We actually expected these two to pucker up by the time the song was over.
While we think that Monique managed to do a better job of emoting during the actual performance, this show is about a voice — and Chris has a voice that could actually sell records. Winner: Chris (even in spite of the heavy underdog edit they were giving Monique)
Cheesa vs. Angie Johnson (Cee Lo Green) – First things first, we love that Cee Lo showed up for his battle round mentoring session wearing what looked like his Christmas pajamas. As for the actual competition, it’s pretty clear that Angie was the favorite based largely on the fact that she is in the military and could take us out if we said otherwise. (We’re still amazed by the fact that Angie has gone from a YouTube star to a contestant on this show.)
Babyface Edmonds and Ne-Yo were the advisers for Cee Lo, and we were immediately disturbed upon seeing the latter than someone apparently stole his fedora and left him wtih a beanie straight out of fifth grade. The concern of Ne-Yo was that Angie was not bringing it in the rehearsal room, whereas Cheesa was showing off her voice like it was Angelina Jolie’s leg at the Oscars.
We were really torn on the actual performance itself, mostly because neither one of them was perfect. There were pitch issues all over the place, and it was the toughest duel to watch at this point in the competition. Winner: Cheesa (which continues the trend of the first contestant being called for the duel being the one who ends up winning)
Jordis Unga vs. Brian Fuente (Team Blake) – First things first, we “love” the fact that “The Voice” refuses to acknowledges what show Kelly Clarkson was on that made her such a star to begin with. Then again, they also don’t mention that Jordin was on “Rock Star” back when the show aired on CBS.
Based on edit alone, Jordis is someone that the show has hyped up relentless — meanwhile, Brian is someone we barely remember (though we did realize during this performance that he struts around the stage like Paul McDonald did on “Idol” last season). It’s almost like Blake kicked Brian in the face by making him sing “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette to go along with it — a song that showcased Jordis’ voice much better.
This duel wasn’t even a competition — Jordin was clearly stronger, and Brian felt at times like a background singer. Winner: Jordis
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell (Team Christina) – This may very well be the greatest battle of the night. Both of these guys have powerhouse voices, and hearing them tackle Alicia Keys was akin to watching a fantastic prize fight without as many cuts and bruises.
Going into the performance, the real question was whether or not Mr. Not-So-Humble Jesse could actually keep himself in check and remember that Preacher’s son Anthony is a serious threat. Thankfully for him, he did enough … and we will leave you here with a brief part of the performance for you to sit back and enjoy. Winner: Jesse (and thus, the “being called first” streak is over)