The battle episodes continued this week on NBC's The Voice, with each coach pitting members of their own teams against one another to earn a spot in the live singing competition. I've officially stopped listening to the inane Carson Daly voice-overs, so if you think he said anything remotely interesting or pertinent to the competition, leave it in the comments!
This week's competition was chick-heavy; only one male vocalist competed during the entire hour. Without further ado--on to the recap!
Christina chose Raquel Castro and Julia Eason for the third battle for her team. Assigning them "Only Girl in the World" by Rhianna, Christina called the girls her "two dynamo gems, I truly adore them." Christina comes off a lot more genuine in her taped interviews than she did in the blind audition rounds, when she was trading what seemed like scripted barbs with Adam Levine.
During rehearsals Raquel gushes about the tone and quality of Julia's voice. Raquel also mentions that when she was six she starred in Jersey Girls with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez; a bit of a non-sequitur, but interesting. After an unremarkable run-through of the song, Sia advises Julia to relax her vocal chords to improve her tone, and then Christina shares that she sometimes wants to puke or pee her pants before a show and wonders aloud why she shared that on national television. Christina and I agree on so much. There is a brief stage rehearsal, during which Christina tells Raquel to pull back and Julia to push herself vocally, hoping that each singer will resolve their pitch problems.
The Performance: It's hard to believe the voice that comes out of little Raquel. Julia is definitely pushing it harder and adding runs, but she sounds pitchy. Julia has a pained scrunchy face thoughout her performance while Raquel looks more relaxed. The judges' reactions: Cee-Lo loved Raquel, calls her "Little Momma" and says she took it. Blake thinks Julia is a better all-around singer, Adam thinks they were dead-even vocally but thinks Raquel is it. Team coach Christina says Julia's runs are cleaner but ultimately goes with Little Raquel.
Blake pits Dia Frampton against Sarah B., assigning them "Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. I am PSYCHED because I love this song. I can't even remember Sarah B. from the blind auditions, leaving me wondering if she was that remarkable to begin with. In the post-rehearsal rap session Dia expresses stage fright, and Reba says she still gets it, and when if goes away it's not exciting anymore. Blake advises Sarah B. not to "sing too much" and Sarah B. says she grew up singing in the Baptist church, giving people the Holy Ghost, which is why she projects so forcefully. I hope that doesn't come through the TV. Ghosts are scary.
The Performance: Dia kicks off the song, sounding nervous and clearly holding back. Sarah B. comes in and sings the 2nd verse solo. I'm confused, because the way they are singing this is less "duet" and more "taking turns." Also, Sarah B. is giving it a Southern Baptist preacher vibe that trips this recovering Catholic out. Oh, and they just flashed names onto the screen and I realize I've been writing "Sarah B." this whole time but her name is SERABEE. Woops. The judges' reactions: Adam says Serabee was having fun and seemed carefree, while Dia was timid. Cee-Lo comments "that was bizarre" but loves Dia's voice. Christina thinks Dia is "sweet" and Serabee is "powerful" but their odd pairing leaves her speechless. Blake says that just because Serabee can sing certain notes doesn't mean she has to do it all the time, and notes that Dia did look uncomfortable. Blake chooses Dia and Serabee looks PISSED OFF.
Adam pairs up Rebecca with Devon, assigning them "Creep" by Radiohead. Adam says he picked this tune because the two singers are the opposite of the song, which is dark and ominous. In blind auditions Devon did Jason Mraz "I'm Yours" for chrissakes, and Rebecca is a folk singer. I'm left wondering where this is going to go.
In rehearsals Rebecca is excited about the song, but Devon isn't familiar with it and it shows. Adam advises Devon to "access his inner freak." Adam says that he knows that Devon has reservations, and Devon admits he's nervous. Devon works on relating to the lyrics in hopes of feeling more comfortable. There is a brief scene from stage rehearsals where we only see and hear the singers perform two runs at the last line. So - that was worth it.
The Performance: Goosebumps. Seriously, just go online and watch it. It's awesome. I wish they didn't have to omit the "I want you to notice when I'm not around/You're so fucking special/I wish I was special" lyric. Stupid networks. The judges' reactions: Blake advises Adam not to pick, and to keep them both. Christina says Devon stole the choruses, and Cee-Lo says they have an uncanny, cohesive quality, but ultimately likes Devon "because he doesn't look like his voice." Adam is rendered speechless and says he's split down the middle, and curses--which NBC both bleeps AND blurs, just to be thorough. Adam picks Devon! I'm excited but sad to see the talented Rebecca go.
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Cee-Lo pits the pig farming singers Tori & Taylor Thomson against Kelsey Ray, assigning them the song "Unwritten" Natasha Bedingfield. This song is at the top of my Most Annoying Songs Ever list. In rehearsals we see a mutual admiration society among the singers but in her individual interview Kelsey is ready to throw down against the duo. The Thompson girls seem to struggle vocally, and since Kelsey is a stronger vocalist I wonder if this is even a close race. At the stage rehearsal the whole thing is looking and sounding a little girl-band, but Cee-Lo thinks it's adorable and makes some choreography suggestions.
The Performance: Kelsey really does have an incredible voice--she is very polished. The Thompson girls come out strong but I really don't think they are as good as Kelsey. When the three of them sing together the harmonies are beautiful The judges' reactions: Adam says it was fun to watch, and he can't pick because the whole thing was "too cute." Blake thinks the Thompson girls are singing better already, but that Kelsey is more seasoned and he would go with her. Christina loved Kelsey but would go with the Thompson girls. Cee-Lo says it's a very difficult decision: he likes the charming innocence of the Thompson sisters and he goes with them, but not before removing his glasses and wiping his eyes theatrically.
Next week is--mercifully--the last round of battle competitions before the live performances start. To watch past episodes and individual video performances, visit The Voice on NBC.