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