It’s time for the second half of battles on The Voice, with plenty of strong artists left to perform and four steals still to be had.
The first matchup of Monday night comes from Team Usher: it’s his final pick, Jessica Childress, versus Vedo. Usher has chosen the Bruno Mars hit “Locked Out of Heaven” for them, the choice of which makes Jessica “a little bit apprehensive,” especially when she hears Vedo. However, advisor Pharrell Williams tells Jessica he thinks she’s wrong about her range, which bolsters her confidence. In second rehearsal, it’s Vedo who’s impressed by what Jessica can do. Usher seems much more satisfied with this pairing than he did with his last one.
In the ring, the pair put on a strong performance that brings them together as a duo while also highlighting what each of them can do individually. It’s clear that they’re enjoying the song as much as the audience and coaches are liking what they’re doing with it. Shakira compliments both artists, including Jessica’s energy.
Shakira: I can tell that you must have like a ton of friends.
Adam likewise has kind words for both competitors, while Blake uses this duel as another example of why battle rounds are such a pain to go through. With no one offering their opinion as to a pick, it’s all on Usher, who compliments his artists for overcoming their initial difficulties with the song and supporting each other. He then goes on to name Vedo as the winner. Jessica takes the verdict like a champ, although Carson doesn’t mention that she’s available to steal, so this battle might have happened near the round’s end. It’s a shame, because she was definitely worthy of being picked up by another coach. Meanwhile, Usher takes a moment to tell an emotional Vedo that his late mother would be proud of him.
Over on Team Shakira, it’s dark horse Luke Edgemon versus four-chair artist Monique Abbadie. Shakira and Joel Madden hand the two of them Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” calling them her most eclectic duo. Monique thinks Luke is one of the strongest singers on the team, while Luke returns the favor, referring to Monique as serious competition. Shakira gives both her artists very specific constructive criticism, including reminding them to work together while they’re performing, even though it’s a competition.
Battle time! Not that there was ever any doubt, but Monique is as talented in English as she is in Spanish. You’d expect that from someone who turned all four chairs in blind auditions, though. The surprise of this battle is Luke, who more than holds his own against her. He has just as much confidence as she does and hits some pretty ridiculous notes while he’s at it.
Adam gives the nod to Luke, and Blake agrees with him.
Blake: Where in the hell did Luke come from?
Adam: He came from heaven!
Shakira: He came from Team Shakira.
Usher adds that Luke was impressive, too, before Shakira makes another food reference, this one to tabasco sauce. While the guys laugh at that, she makes a “strategic decision,” keeping Monique with the hope that another coach will steal Luke and therefore keep both of her artists in the competition. There’s something really sweet about that. Her dream comes true when Blake slams on his button, followed shortly thereafter by Usher. Luke also cites strategy in choosing the country star as his new coach. This means that only Adam and Usher have steals remaining, and Usher’s losing streak continues.
Usher: I thought less would be more.
Team Blake matches Jacqui Sandell with Savannah Berry, and the song is Little Big Town’s “Little White Church.” Their coach is looking for something fun and up-tempo from the two ladies. Advisor Sheryl Crow tells the audience that Jacqui has to trust herself to hit the higher notes, while Savannah needs work on her timing. At the second rehearsal, Blake notices that Jacqui has listened to his advice, and tells her that she’s got a little bit of country in her, too. Is she in with a chance against the already well-liked Savannah?
The two artists head for the stage. They actually don’t sound that different; if you’d said that they were a duo to begin with, we’d have believed you. Blake gets almost no help from his coaches, who compare him to Shrek. Then there’s this little gem of dialogue.
Blake: I respect that you two have a respect for each other.
Adam: I respect that.
Shakira: I respect that you respect his respect for their respect.
Adam: Thank you. I respect that too.
Blake names Savannah the winner, sending Jacqui home, although she gets to call him “Blakey” on the way out. People should call him that more often.
The next battle is from Team Shakira again – it’s C. Perkins versus Kris Thomas, also known as “the guy who sung Whitney Houston.” Shakira assigns them the second Bruno Mars song of the night, “It Will Rain,” which Season 3′s Bryan Keith demolished. It’s a battle of the R&B singers that’s as smooth as one could ever ask for. Adam gets bleeped talking about the fear he saw in C.’s eyes when he first heard Kris, but congratulates both artists. Blake says both artists still have more to show. Usher starts making noises about stealing whoever doesn’t win. Shakira thinks the guys did better in their rehearsals than in the battle, but she’s still a proud coach, going so far as to chastize the record label that dropped Kris.
Shakira: I hope those jerks are watching you now.
She designates him as the victor of the battle, and Usher waits until literally the last second to steal C. The kid would’ve been gone if Adam hadn’t stopped him with a compliment. What was the hold-up? Usher wanted to make C. stew for a second. Mission accomplished.
Finally we get around to Team Adam. It’s the eccentric, endearing duo Midas Whale versus Patrick Dodd and his excellent musical taste. This battle is going to be interesting, because it’s to the tune of Elvis’ “Burning Love.” In rehearsal, Adam doesn’t think it’s fun enough and suggests more of a bluegrass feel that all the guys agree with. The final product isn’t the most energetic version of this song that’s ever been performed, but it does the job. Everyone is entertained, and Blake is particularly surprised by Patrick.
Blake: It’s like he gargles with broken glass.
Adam doesn’t want to be himself at this particular moment, and wants to consolidate the two acts into a trio, but Carson vetoes that idea. The Maroon 5 front man calls it the hardest decision he’s ever had to make in his tenure on The Voice (we’ll trust you on that one, Adam, because we could think of a few excruciating ones), declares that he wants to throw up, and then names Midas Whale the winners. The show’s attempt at keeping the suspense up fails when it cuts to commercial just a second too late, enabling the audience to hear the “M” leaving Adam’s lips. Whoops. Patrick is eliminated, although Adam is there to console him and his family afterward, because that’s Good Guy Adam for you.
After that it’s back to Team Usher, as Orlando Dixon competes against Ryan Innes on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Pharrell wants Orlando to make the audience believe what he’s singing, and tells the artist in a post-rehearsal chat that he’s hiding behind his voice. This causes Orlando to get emotional, but he takes the advice to heart – and goes on to impress Usher in the final practice session before battle. He and Ryan share the stage well, and both of them know how to convey heartbreak, but they also seem like they’re having a great time.
Shakira refuses to bow to Carson’s request to pick someone, but Adam says he’s now a believer in Orlando Dixon and Blake responds by picking Ryan. After Carson tells him to think out loud, Usher jokingly talks to himself for a minute before he throws the host the ultimate fake-out.
Usher: The winner of this battle…is going to be very happy when I decide to make my mind up.
Seriously though, Usher eventually names Ryan the winner of the battle. Only one other coach has a steal available, and that’s Adam, who happily signs up Orlando. He tells the young man that he needs to be in the competition, and welcomes him to Team Adam with a hug. That means the only person who can steal anyone going into tomorrow night’s final action is Usher, and he’s only got one pass left. Tuesday, it will almost truly be win or go home.
With the night over, the Adam Levine Expletive Counter moves from two to three. On the scorecard, two artists went home tonight (Jessica Childress, Jacqui Sandell, Patrick Dodd) and three were stolen (Team Shakira’s Luke Edgemon to Team Blake, Team Shakira’s C. Perkins to Team Usher, Team Usher’s Orlando Dixon to Team Adam). See you tomorrow night for the final round of battles!
For more on The Voice and its artists, you can visit BFTV’s dedicated The Voice blog, Big Red Chairs.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse and Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.