We always lead with honesty within these reviews, and we should start with this: We’ve never loved the Battle Rounds as a premise; it shakes out the individuality of each performance and pits people directly against each other. That’s not necessarily the spirit of artistry to us, even if we understand that this is a competition series at its core. This is just forcing that competition in a way that is greater than we’re necessarily comfortable with.
As you should expect at this point if you enjoy our The Voice UK coverage, we’re updating this episode review LIVE! Be sure to come back throughout the night with our take on more performances.
Mike Platt vs. Cedric Neal, “Jumping Jack Flash” (Team Tom) – The biggest challenge within this performance was, honestly, differentiating the work the two did. This was almost a bona fide duo act! The two had wonderful chemistry and a delightful interplay. They hit the notes and they owned the stage. Cedric (who we’ve got a kinship with due to his geographic upbringing) was perhaps just a little bit better, but this is not a divide we’re talking about. It’s more of a creek than a river. Cedric advances, and Mike fails to receive a steal.
Brieya May vs. Ilianna, “American Boy” (Team will.i.am) – This is a deceptively difficult song since it’s in a weird key at times. It’s also easy to go too far and deliver a little bit too much. That’s what happened throughout the performance. The intonation and the harmonies were off virtually throughout, as the two struggled to keep control of the song and the swagger of it. This felt more like two people nervous to compete against each other. Breiya was flat virtually throughout, and that seemed to doom her here. Ilianna advances, and Brieya fails to receive a steal.
Kieron Smith vs. Remember Monday, “Home” (Team Jennifer Hudson) – Wonderful song, but also challenging in this environment. Any song would be when you are pairing up a trio against a single solo artist. Kieron has a lovely voice and hit some nice notes at the end, but the structure of this performance made it very difficult for him to consistently find his footage. Remember Monday was actually better here than in their audition. There were some nice harmonies and at times, they gave this Phillip Phillips cover a very choral feel. Remember Monday advances, and Kieron fails to receive a steal.
Connie Lamb vs. Molly Hocking, “With You” (Team Olly Murs) – Other than a shaky end of the song, this may have had the highest ceiling of any battle to date. When it was good, it was great — and also emotional. Connie may have had the experience and the knowledge of this song; yet, we actually thought Molly was able to channel her emotion into a perfect sense of vulnerability. Olly seemed to agree, but this is one of those instances where there are two victories. Molly advances, but Jennifer steals Connie!
Christina Ellinas vs. Nyema Kalfon, “Confident” (team Will) – This wasn’t perfect, mostly because this song is absolutely not meant for two people to do it together. Both actually are confident vocalists and in that sense, the song choice worked. We preferred Christina’s audition on the basis of potential, and we do think she had the right combination of intonation and performance quality here. The scary thing is that we don’t think we’ve seen the best from Christina. Christina advances, and there is no steal elsewhere.
Georgia Bray vs. The Flat Pack, “Hit the Road Jack” (Team Olly) – This felt almost like a number in a musical, where George was the woman being pursued by three different men desperate for her attention. That was projected into the performance. Georgia felt like the star to the Flat Pack’s backing vocals. They were solid, but the moment that Georgia starting scatting, this was over in our mind. Georgia advances, and there is no steal.
Roger Samuels vs. Jimmy Balito, “Let It Be” (Team Tom) – This was a runaway freight train of a performance, once that started good and became bigger and more powerful as it went along. The best of the night by a wide margin when you consider completeness and two contestants desperate to bring it on stage. We see Jimmy having more of a commercial upside, but Roger being perhaps the better singer in the short-term. Roger advances, and both Will and Olly steal. Jimmy chooses Olly.
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What was your favorite battle on tonight’s The Voice UK? Sound off with your thoughts within the comments. (Photo: ITV.)