NBC’s ‘The Voice’ review: Monika Leigh, Ray Boudreaux, and Matthew Schuler battle it out

Ready? -The Voice” battle rounds wage on, and we are left once again to sit here and wonder if there is a more efficient way to do this. We say this because the whole idea of these duets just feels unnatural. It’s the same reason that we don’t like the Group Round on “American Idol,” but at least that has the comedy of seeing people fight with each other and be told off by Vocal Coach from Hell Peggy Blu. On this show, you just have people fawning all over Ed Sheeran.

The best thing about tonight’s episode? It was only an hour, and we’re not just saying that to be snarky. Another two hours of battle rounds would at this point be simply exhausting, so it was a thrill to see it cut down, even if NBC (sigh) only decided to give up three full battles over the course of the episode. At least the battles themselves were actually great, which made this probably the best edition of the competition at this stage in probably around a year’s time.

Jacob Poole vs. Matthew Schuler, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” (Team Christina) – Yes, Amber Nicole last night did prove that you can get little to no screen time and still advance on “The Voice” to the knockout rounds. But did you really think that was going to happen twice, and to Jacob over favorite Matthew? Once we got past the fact that preachers’ sons were doing a song about setting things on fire, we loved this. Insane energy, great choreography, and vocals that meshed well together. We’re sad for Jacob not getting a steal, but it was clear who the winner was from the first note. Christina picks Matthew.

Kat Robichaud vs. R. Anthony, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Team Cee Lo) – The battle itself felt rather lopsided before it began, since Kat had this sort of super-electric energy about her in the blinds, not to mention the sort of Juliet Simms-esque rocker style that Cee Lo tends to go for. She was great on the song. R. Anthony was average. The biggest problem here was the song, which was never in Aerosmith’s top 10 ever and has been done to death thanks to singing competitions. Why did Cee Lo think that this is going to be good for them? At least the right person won, and the show is moving on with a potential contender. Cee Lo picks Kat.

Monika Leigh vs. Ray Boudreaux, “Some Kind of Wonderful” (Team Blake) – Yep, the most frustrating part of this performance was the fact that we knew the steal was coming before the performance even began. Whenever that manages to happen, there’s only one way to describe what comes next: A performance without any tension. At least it was still fun, and these two have voices that are fitting of the name of the show. Also, at least Monika has an opportunity to continue on this season with another coach. Blake picks Ray, but Cee Lo steals Monika.

As we said, a pretty good episode of the battles, helped mightily to the element of surprise in some of the choices. It’s still not perfect television, but we’ve had far, far worse. Grade: B.

If you do want to read some more news related to “The Voice,” including the review of last night’s performance on the show, just be sure to click here.

Photo: NBC

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