Episode Recap: Season 3 Battle Rounds, Part 1

With the Top 64 chosen, now it’s time to get into competition on The Voice. With the addition of “The Steal” this year, it’s going to be messier than ever before, too. Let’s go to battle!

Tonight we open with Blake and his advisor Michael Buble, who quips, “Million bucks says they don’t know me.” Yeah, right, Michael. It’s Team Blake’s Casey Muessigmann and Terry McDermott who are going to head-to-head first (note the Street Fighter style graphics that are new this season!) Blake’s reasoning for putting them together is that they’re both “loud, powerful” dudes who auditioned with classic rock, which is also why he gave them the Kansas hit “Carry On Wayward Son” for their battle.

It’s not a song that Casey is initially comfortable with, but that’s something we’ve seen plenty of times before on The Voice, and even by the end of rehearsal, Casey’s acclimated enough that Terry has taken notice. When they get into the ring, this unlikely combination really works, although Terry does still seem just a bit more comfortable both on the stage and with the song.

What do the coaches think? “You both chose your spots really well,” Christina says, while Cee Lo compliments Terry on his confidence and Casey on the assertiveness in his voice. Adam agrees that Casey definitely overcame the song choice. It’s then time for Blake to make his decision, which he prefaces with “someday this will make sense.” He chooses Terry as the winner – but unfortunately, nobody chooses to steal Casey, meaning that he’s out of the competition. That’s a hard pill for Casey to swallow, but he’s to be commended for leaving with the right attitude.

Team Adam’s first battle pits Bryan Keith against Collin McLoughlin, and both guys freak out a little bit at rehearsing with their coach and mentor Mary J. Blige. Adam selects “Santeria” by Sublime for them, which is a little more up Bryan’s alley, but Collin gets great early feedback from his coaching team. Adam thinks he has “maybe the best pitch I’ve ever heard” (but wants “a little more danger” in his performance) and Mary calls him “amazing.”

In rehearsal, Adam’s already convinced it’s going to be a tough call, and he’s right. Both Bryan and Keith sound like they’ve been working on this one a lot longer than they have; you could probably stick them in a band together, because they are clearly having a lot of fun with this. So is Adam, who’s beaming like a proud parent through the entire song.

Christina thinks Bryan had more swag, while Blake takes a liking to Collin, and Cee Lo compliments both singers in equal measure, although he says he’d take Bryan. It’s decision time for Adam, who picks Bryan to move forward.  Thankfully, both Blake and Cee Lo cut Collin’s goodbye speech off, wanting to steal him. (It’s really sweet that Adam seems overjoyed by this and offers to weigh in on who Collin should go with next. My coach may look like a badass, but he’s got a heart of gold.) Collin chooses to join Team Blake, and gets a goodbye hug from Adam while he’s at it.

Team Cee Lo’s Diego Val and JR Aquino are the next pair to go to battle. They meet with Cee Lo and advisor Rob Thomas (and Voice bandleader Paul Mirkovich, who is everywhere) to get their song assignment, which is Rick Spingfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.” The song concerns Diego a bit, and he stumbles over the lyrics and the melody at first, which concerns both Rob and Cee Lo. By the final rehearsal, he’s still a little iffy. Will that do him in?

Once they’re in the ring, it’s a different story. JR is clearly more at home with the song and his voice seems to suit it better, but Diego doesn’t have any major stumbles, has figured the song out and is willing to fight him for stage time. Adam is surprised by Diego’s performance, while Blake admits that he doesn’t know pop music (“Just because it’s not country doesn’t mean it’s not awesome!” Adam tells him), and Christina selects Diego. In a shocker, Cee Lo picks Diego as well, and JR surprisingly goes home.

That brings us to Team Christina, where Christina and her advisor Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day are waiting to meet De’Borah and Nelly’s Echo. Christina has picked out The Police’s “Message In A Bottle” for them. Nelly is so polite that he asks if he can take liberties with the song before he starts making alterations. De’Borah admits that she doesn’t know a lot of popular music, and that makes her nervous, but Billie Joe reassures her that “even the mistakes you’re making are amazing.” Despite that, she’s still apprehensive by the time of final rehearsal.

Nelly impresses right from the start of the battle, but De’Borah comes in with some serious power in her vocals, although at points it might even be too much. Cee Lo calls her “the clear winner” of the battle, while Adam takes a moment to get emotional about how he’s sad that someone could ever not be accepted for who they are and that he’s happy they could be a part of helping De’Borah. (Did I mention I love this guy?) Blake sides with De’Borah, and Christina agrees. She leaves to plenty of applause and lots of hugs; as great as winning the round is, it’s the personal accomplishment that is almost more important here. Sadly, nobody steals Nelly, and he will be missed.

Back to Team Blake: 2 Steel Girls are facing off against Gracia Harrison with the Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon,” but first Blake needs to make fun of Michael Buble. Once that’s done, both sides have issues with the fast-paced tune, and Blake does his best to get everyone to relax. Never mind that there’s the track record of duets not usually having made it past battle rounds on The Voice (see: Elenowen, The Line). You’ve got to look back to Tori and Taylor Thompson for a duet that passed battles, and that result was a shocker back in the day.

Gracia has her half of the song down pat, but as is always the issue for duets, 2 Steel Girls have to figure out how to divide their half of it between the two of them so that it shows off their skills in the best way possible. Christina prefers Gracia, while Cee Lo admits he has “a thing for duets” and takes the 2 Steel Girls, and Adam doesn’t actually make a decision. Blake has to take a minute, but eventually picks Gracia, saying she brought “way more confidence” to the throwdown. That means it’s all on Beat Frequency to break the streak of duets’ bad luck (but no pressure!)

The last battle of the evening is Amanda Brown versus Trevin Hunte from Team Cee Lo, pitting a near-unanimous pick over somebody that could’ve been one to the tune of Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love.” Rob calls Trevin “his own worst enemy” while Cee Lo is suddenly mad that he chose to pair these two together. Suddenly, Trevin sees himself as the underdog. You wouldn’t know that when he steps into the ring, though. He and Amanda sing the heck out of the song, and it should definitely not be the last time we hear them sing together.

By the end of the song, they get a standing ovation – and Adam is actually standing on the furniture and will not get down, he’s that impressed. He tells Amanda and Trevin that “whoever he doesn’t pick, I’m committing to right now…This is the show. You guys are why we’re here.” Blake quips that he’s attracted to both singers. Christina restores order by thanking them for their performance, and after Cee Lo picks Trevin, she, Adam and Blake all jump in to take Amanda from him. (You have to love Trevin cheering when this happens.) After everyone makes their pitches, Amanda signs up with Team Adam.

To recap, two artists changed teams tonight – Team Adam’s Collin McLoughlin to Team Blake, and Team Cee Lo’s Amanda Brown to Team Adam. We also eliminated four artists from the competition – Casey Muessigmann, JR Aquino, Nelly’s Echo, and 2 Steel Girls.

With that, we’re done for the evening. Were you happy with the results? Now that you’ve seen “The Steal” in action, do you think it was the right move for the show? Sound off below – and tune in tomorrow for another hour of battles!

For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).  

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner & Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.

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14 thoughts on “Episode Recap: Season 3 Battle Rounds, Part 1

  1. Yes, it’s time to watch the amazing Paul Mirkovich appear in every rehearsal, again. He’s hilarious just by being here, there, everywhere. They should do a special segment on the band, one of these episodes. BTW – there’s still another duo (the husband-wife couple, although they didn’t sound that great in the audition to me). And so far, there’s been only one duo that’s won its battle – Tori and Taylor Thompson from season 1, the pig farmers (and previously, American Juniors champions). Whatever happened to them – any clue?

    • I forgot the Thompsons! I need to correct that…no idea what happened to them, actually. I’ll admit that I was not a fan of theirs and so I haven’t really kept my ear to the ground on that one.

      What did you think of the Steal? I like it in principle, but it seems like we’re risking getting the show way too convoluted. Now I have to keep track of who won, but who isn’t necessarily gone, and then we’ve got a whole other phase of competition…agh!

      • Aw, I liked the Thompson girls. Oh well.

        The basic idea of the Steal is good. Carson specifically mentioned the Niki-Vicci and Jesse-Anthony battles for which a Steal would have remedied premature eliminations. I think the window to push the button is awkward, because the losers are saying their goodbyes while secretly hoping someone else will take them, so it can feel a little inauthentic. But I think it serves its purpose. Personally, I’ve given up keeping track of who is who, for now. Some naturally stand out, and some don’t. By the live shows, each coach only has 5 remaining, and I think they said every contestant will sing every week, this season.

        BTW – I miss the scene where the coach has the whole team gathered and announces in front of everyone who is singing against who. Maybe they’re saving that for the Knockout pairings…?

      • Let’s not forget the Justin-Tony Vincent situation, too. I’m surprised more people don’t use that as an example. That was epic.

        I wondered about that myself. Perhaps it’d be a good idea to let the coaches choose to steal immediately after the current coach makes their decision and then the person can say their goodbyes IF they actually leave the show, or make a remark to their departing coach if they get stolen. It’s so painful watching them stand there hoping someone’s going to pick them up and then realizing it’s not going to happen – like Casey last night. It’s not clear how long the coaches have to buzz in so the poor guy was clearly so unsure what was happening.

        BTW, did you hear Cee Lo signed Juliet to a management contract?

      • Cee Lo is going to be Juliet’s manager, or she’s going to get his manager? In either case, that’s excellent. I was wondering what happened with her, considering that she was the runner-up.
        Your idea makes sense. It looked as if the other coaches already knew by the end of the battle song whether they wanted to steal or not. (Amanda didn’t even get a chance to say anything before the fastdraw.)

      • I don’t know. I just saw a Billboard article that said he “signed her to a management contract,” whatever that means. It was from a press event that I wasn’t able to go to last week. (I did, however, know Amanda was going to get stolen…that’s the clip we got teased with at the August press conference in Malibu!)

        And now, I’m spending my morning trying to find Chris Mann’s Christmas CD, which WalMart does not have. Fail.

      • I just called my local Walmart and they have no idea what I’m talking about. I’ll probably just wait till it pops up on Walmart.com. Well, there went my plans for the day (until tonight’s episode of course). I’ve got tickets to tomorrow’s blind audition taping, but sadly I might not go just because gas prices are ridiculous out here in CA right now. It’s going to cost me somewhere between $70-80 in gas to go, and the publicity folks have always been a little gunshy about me going to blinds anyway.

      • They’re filming season 4 tomorrow? That’s wild for Adam and Blake, coaching 10 season 3 singers, each, plus auditioning another 16 for season 4 at the same time. (It’s still 16, isn’t it? They’re not increasing it again to 20 or 24, are they?) (Ha!)

      • Yep. I believe it starts tomorrow morning and goes through Friday? And as far as I know, they’re not increasing team size again, though on the other hand I suppose they wouldn’t mention it if they were until the run-up to Season 4. (Saying I’m the official #17 in Team Adam doesn’t have the same ring to it as official #9 did. Ha.)

  2. I liked the steal but it’d be much better if the skipped when Carson doesn’t remind the coaches that the losing artist is available to be stolen. It just comes across as waaaay too harsh when the coaches don’t :S

    I’m honestly kinda surprised the producers were selling the Trevin/Amanda as the high point of the night. It was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but I thought the Nelly’s Echo/De’Borah was amazing. And what Adam told De’Borah was probably the best sound bite you can ever use to show how awesome The Voice is.

    and BTW, right now only ‘Roads’ is showing up on Walmart.com so I’m guessing Chris’ Xmass record should show up in a few days

    • Yeah and after awhile it gets repetitive. It’s like, ‘We know, you just reminded everyone of that five minutes ago.’

      I actually got choked up listening to what Adam had to say last night. It made me so proud to be a fan of his – doubly so because through my own interactions with him I know he practices what he preaches. I was so proud to hear him say what he did, and hopefully for that moment some of the people who dismiss him thought twice. (I also loved how Trevin was cheering when Amanda got stolen. How sweet was that?)

      • I don’t mind the repetitiveness so much because I know the producers tell Carson to say that over and over again just so they can put the battles in any order they want.
        It’d just be much better if they just skipped it

        and yeah, Trevin cheering for Amanda was the second best moment of the night (the best being the aforementioned Adam moment)

      • Yeah, it’s one of those production things we overlook (right up there with ‘Why are the coaches wearing the same outfits on five nights?’ Because they were really only taping two days). Last season I joked that you could figure it out because I was there on-camera throughout battles, but wore a different outfit each day and sat on a different side each time, so I could guess at the edits just by seeing if I could spot myself and what I was wearing.

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