Team Shakira leads off the night, teaming up Brandon Roush with Shawna P in a battle of youth versus experience. Shakira has selected the Janis Joplin hit “Piece of My Heart,” and she and advisor Joel Madden meet the pair, who were somewhat expecting to compete against each other. Shakira’s looking for the artist who most connects with the sentiment in the song, which seems at first like it might be easier for Shawna, but Brandon finds his place in the song by the second rehearsal.
The eclectically styled duo arrive at the studio for their battle. Shawna has the expected command of the stage that comes with her much longer resume, while Brandon certainly doesn’t sing like a teenager. In fact, maybe these two should consider collaborating together when it’s not a competition.
Adam calls the battle fun, then tells Brandon that Blake used to have the same haircut – but seriously now, he says the 19-year-old rose to Shawna’s level. Usher compliments both artists. Nobody asks for Blake’s opinion, so it’s back to Shakira, who is pleased with both of her artists but ultimately elects Shawna as her winner. The only person left with a steal after last night’s action is Usher, and he chooses not to use it on Brandon.
Next to battle are Team Adam’s Duncan Kamakana and Sarah Simmons. It’s the battle of the guy who got twenty seconds in blind auditions against the girl that turned all four chairs. Duncan and Sarah get handed the Lady Antebellum song “Wanted You More,” which is great and/or slightly intimidating considering that Adam’s advisor is Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. Hillary is impressed by Duncan’s first crack at the song.
Hillary: I envisioned him serenading some girl and her just, you know, drooling over him.
But can Duncan and Sarah come together as a team? At their second rehearsal, Adam thinks they don’t even sound like they’re in the same room. The pair obviously did their homework, though, because when they’re in the ring, this battle is anything but one-sided. It’s like watching the sudden disintegration of a relationship on stage. Their rendition is beautiful, painful, and definitely did Hillary Scott proud.
Blake praises the performance and calls Sarah one of his favorite singers he’s ever heard, which is a pretty big nod in her direction. Usher points out how Duncan drives women crazy, but also compliments Sarah. Carson skips clear over Shakira to get back to Adam, who looks like he’d rather have a root canal than make this decision, yet he takes the obvious road and stays with Sarah, who Duncan believes could win the whole thing. It’s utterly disappointing that Usher doesn’t steal Duncan, because he proved with his battle performance that he was so much stronger than the twenty seconds Voice fans saw of him during blind auditions. We may have just missed out on someone amazing.
Now for the most unfortunate montage yet. Team Usher’s Michelle Chamuel beats Chelsea M. in their battle, while Amy Whitcomb knocks out Agina Alvarez in a Team Adam contest, and Team Blake’s Justin Rivers surprisingly eliminates four-chair duo The Morgan Twins. That’s twice in a row Amy’s gotten the cut-down treatment, even though she was good enough for The Sing-Off. And audiences truly lost not getting to see the Justin-Morgan Twins matchup, because Justin delivered a shockingly great performance that proved he’s got some serious chops. He left it all on the stage, and that deserved to be heard.
Team Shakira’s pair of young Latin singers, Cathia and Mary Miranda, get the last full slot on the show. Shakira chooses one of her own songs, “Antes de las Seis,” for them, setting up The Voice‘s first foreign-language battle. Never mind the intimidation factor that comes with having to perform one of your coach’s tracks in front of them.
Shakira: If you’re going to go change my melody, you better be sure about it.
The language barrier makes this performance a little harder to understand unless you know the song, but that’s not this battle’s biggest concern. The two ladies, while both good at what they do, are pretty similar to each other. Neither performance really stands out. With the singing over, it’s time for the jokes about everyone else’s lack of comprehension.
Adam: That was beautiful. Didn’t understand a word of it obviously.
Blake: What on Earth does that mean, Carson?
Carson: That means you barely speak English.
With her fellow coaches splitting the decision, Shakira decides that Mary wins the battle. If you haven’t figured it out yet by process of elimination, Usher chooses now to finally hit his button for the second time, and picks up Cathia. It’s a serviceable but somewhat underwhelming end to the battle rounds.
For those of you keeping score, Team Shakira’s Cathia received Usher’s final steal, while Brandon Roush, Duncan Kamakana, Chelsea M., Agina Alvarez, and The Morgan Twins all went home tonight.
The Voice returns Monday for knockouts, and be aware that it’s a three-night event: there are new episodes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, all starting at 8 PM ET/PT.
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.