‘The Voice’: Tony Vincent, Justin Hopkins, and the battle of the ages

Did Tony pull off Journey?

We have finally made it to the end of “The Voice” battle rounds, and this means that we can thankfully start to get ready for some of the live shows. This is ultimately the weakest portion of the entire competition, mostly because it becomes so paint-by-numbers that there’s no element of surprise to it. (This goes in contrast to the crazy element of surprise that is in the blind auditions.)

While there were some disasters in Monday night’s episode, we can at least say there were a few voices that we really think could make it all the way to the end.

James Massone vs. Wade (Cee Lo Green) – We wish that these guys performed the rehearsal version that made Cee Lo cry rather than the out-of-tune moments that we saw here.

Based on how much that Wade fell apart during this battle, this was really more or less a no-brainer. James completely owned this song, and the “blue-collar boy from Boston” (thanks Carson, for reducing him to just a few words!) took this without a problem. Winner: James

Mathai vs. Nicole Gallyon (Adam Levine) – Mathai is one of those “bizarre singers” that the coaches this season seem to be drawn to. Is she better than Erin Martin? Slightly, but she also had pretty easy competition in this mighty trainwreck of a battle.

Not only were there pitch problems here, but it’s also as if neither one of these two bothered to work on their timing, their phrasing, or really anything. Hats off to Adam for actually being honest about this snoozefest, but he made the choice that will make for more interesting shows. Winner: Mathai

Moses Stone vs. The Line (Christina Aguilera) – What a strange pairing this was to begin with. First and foremost, we were excited to see more of Moses since his original audition was barely shown. Unfortunately, knowing this gave us a pit in our stomach that he was going to be losing to the country duo.

We really wish we could just keep both of these acts and send everyone from Adam’s dreadful duel packing instead. This was just so much fun! Even though Moses hardly got a chance to rap, he still showed off some pretty decent vocals. We won’t drag this out, as we loved Moses … and so did Christina! We had the upset of the night, and we also had the female member of the duo acting totally uncool about going home. Winner: Moses

Karla Davis vs. Orlando Napier (Adam) – We’ll admit first and foremost that we really didn’t have any recollection at all as to who Karla was. Did she get glossed over in the blind auditions? It certainly didn’t help that she was up against a powerhouse in Orlando.

Unfortunately for Karla, the entire first half of this performance felt a bit like she was the backup vocalist for Orlando’s future band; at this point, all we could think about was how she looks like Ashley Hebert from “The Bachelorette” and we expected her to start handing out roses. Jokes aside, there was something strange that happened — as soon as she got her chance to sing, she owned Karla across the room.

This was the second-straight surprise of the night, as a one-time favorite in Orlando was sent home. Winner: Karla

Jordan Rager vs. Naia Kete (Blake Shelton) – This wasn’t easy for Jordan. After all, Blake saddled a country singer with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” — otherwise known as a song that is about as far from country as you could get. Meanwhile, Naia was tailor-made for the reggae sensibilities of this song.

Ultimately, we wish the editors hadn’t messed with the song so much, since it really took away some of its joy. Even though this battle was pretty messy, Jordan didn’t do much outside of coloring in between the lines. At least Naia tried to make some art out of it. Winner: Naia

Justin Hopkins vs. Tony Vincent (Cee Lo) – This was really a duel we have been looking forward to since we interviewed Tony earlier this year. Not only is he an incredibly talented vocalist in his own right, former “Last Call” band member Justin has a great voice (and also a pretty great beard).

The song was one we’d loved for quite some time in Journey’s “Faithfully,” and they did a stellar job with it. We loved the harmonies, the vulnerability, and even the way the two guys moved around on stage. Either one of these guys could have advanced, but at the end of the day Tony is a better fit with some of Cee Lo’s own sensibilities musically and the two could collaborate on some incredible things. Winner: Tony

Who were your favorites from this show? Be sure to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, and check back soon — we’ll have more coverage of the live shows next week!

Photo: NBC

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