Save the best for last? More like the worst. This is the final week of the battle rounds on The Voice, and it seems the producers and the coaches want to put the viewers to sleep. Why?! This episode is still sorta interesting because there are a few underdogs selected to go to the live shows. However, in many of these cases, it's because one vocalist sucks less than the other instead of one person out-shining and out-wowing the competition (as it should be on reality TV). Anyways, let's get this over with and rip off the band-aid together:
James Massone vs. Wade: "True Colors"
Even before the battle starts, the two boys bring Cee Lo to tears during their final practice. Awz. We're still not giving him a pass for picking Erin Martin last week, but it's a start. James admitted earlier that he didn't know any of the words to this song, but he's a quick student and sounds good on the opening verse. Working in his favor is his stage presence and his unusual voice but there's only so much that can save this low-energy battle. Wade is no help: he has bad pitch on some of his big solo notes and his timing/delivery sound a little off. Adam and Christina pick James, and Cee Lo — after crying for a second time —names James the winner. Good to see Cee Lo willing to throw his preconceptions out the window and pick the true underdog.
Nicolle Gaylon vs. Mathai :"Love Song"
Nicolle originally performed on the piano when she sang during the blind auditions, but Adam quickly realizes Nicolle needs to step away from the ivories and focus on her vocal performance. However, it becomes pretty clear that Nicolle's voice is nowhere near strong enough to compete on this show. Nicolle lacks so much energy, she's so pitchy and her voice is especially small and soft compared to Mathai's range, natural ability and beautiful phrasing of the song. Honestly, judging from this battle alone, Nicolle really shouldn't have made it past the auditions. As Christina says, this is a "no-brainer" situation for Mathai. Adam says he was a little let-down by the performance overall, but says he's glad Nicolle stepped away from the piano. He picks Mathai. No duh.
The Line vs. Moses: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
Country battling hip-hop on a rock song? It's as if Christina is trying to one-up Cee Lo's crazy Shields Brothers vs. Erin Martin battle from last week. However, this is a better song choice simply because its such a classic tune, there is a lot of room for interpretation. However, Moses — who has a better singing voice than expected — is totally open to the pick whereas The Line is way too scared. Even coach Jewel calls them out for being too much of a shiny-happy wedding band. Moses and The Line could not be more night and day, and genre hardly has anything to do with it. Moses glides across the stage with ease, does some great impromptu dance moves, and really adds some depth to his vocals. He is even full of life when he is in the back giving the floor to The Line. And obviously his rap in the middle is great. The Line, however, is the group performing at the early bird special to Moses' late-night. Leland is at least trying to sway and give it his all, but Haley looks so stiff and the tambourine does not do her any favors. Cee Lo picks Moses, Adam says he liked The Line, as does Blake. Christina explains that "the voice" doesn't have to be this big powerhouse performance, and then picks Moses. Thank goodness.
Karla Davis vs. Orlando Napier:"Easy"
Adam originally picks Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl," but after the two both have trouble with the '80s tune, he changes to the more soulful Commodores track. The new tune makes for one of the closer battles of the evening, but Karla's articulation is beautiful and very smooth. Orlando is good too and as energetic as the two can get on this kind of a jam, but just one extra long pause in the first verse makes me lean towards Karla. Christina picks Karla too, Blake picks Orlando, but Adam calls Karla the winner. Either way, what's with all the sleepy battle rounds tonight? Save the worst for last? Are they trying put us to sleep in hopes that we don't wake up until the live episodes? Oy.
Jordan Rager vs. Naia Kete: "I'm Yours"
Jordan does a fairly impressive job of integrating his rocker edge into certain parts of the song, and the two are one of the few pairings that actually try to duet together and really complement each other, even if it doesn't work 100 percent. Naia has great articulation and knows how to — to borrow a Christina phrase — make the song her own, but she has some pitch issues towards the end. Jordan is more consistent, but he also has a few iffy moments. Christina and Adam go with Naia, and Blake acknowledges that both singers had issues during this lackluster competition. It's obvious he doesn't feel particularly compelled to pick either singer, but he sides with experience and selects Naia. Naia knows she didn't win for the right reasons necessarily so hopefully she brings it next time. She has the right tools, she just needs to know better how to use them.
Justin Hopkins vs. Tony Vincent "Faithfully"
Here we go again with Cee Lo's tears. Why does he keep getting so choked up? As my colleague jokes, 'He's allergic to Purrfect.' I love this Journey song, but its way too slow for two of the more vibrant performers in the competition. Tony is solid as predicted, and there's such a unique power to his voice, but Justin is very surprising in the best way possible with his gritty and raw vocal chops. Tony gets an impressive — if maybe a little too intense — last note and it seems to seal his trip to the live rounds. Or is he too much of the front-runner going into the battle? Adam and Blake actually pick Justin for his more consistent performance, but Christina looks to the future and places her bets on Tony's more diverse capabilities. Cee Lo does the same and picks Tony, but not before tearing up one more time with Purrfect in his lap.
And we're done! No, really, the battle rounds are dunzo and next week, The Voice goes live! Are you happy with the final battle round picks? Or were you falling asleep in front of the TV thanks to tonight's song selections? And does anyone else want to rip off Christina's hat and throw into a huge fire as much as I do? Sound off in the comments below!
Save the best for last? More like the worst. This is the final week of the battle rounds on The Voice, and it seems the producers and the coaches want to put the viewers to sleep. Why?! This episode is still sorta interesting because there are a few underdogs selected to go to the live shows. However, in many of these cases, it's because one vocalist sucks less than the other instead of one person out-shining and out-wowing the competition (as it should be on reality TV). Anyways, let's get this over with and rip off the band-aid together...