Apr 14, 2014
The Voice Recap: Welcome To The Battle Room
Battle Round 1
The gloves are off, and it’s time for the bare-knuckle fisticuffs on “The Voice” known as the Battle Rounds. Each coach pairs two singers from his or her team to tango. But before the blows, the singers meet with their coaches and some random famous singers who do or do not really mentor their asses off. Some are there just to be fawned over and act nervous — we’re looking at you Ed Sheeran.
Team Adam: Grey vs. Nic Hawk
Stolen: Nic Hawk
Song: Jessie J’s “Domino”
Flowy-locked Grey took on the gay, gay, gay music theater guy whose stepdad up and left his family in the middle of the night, leaving them destitute. He is an emotional favorite because he’s faboo, and he’s on the show to help his mumzy.
Grey, during her little one-on-one with the camera, admitted she was intimidated by Nic’s vivacious stage presence. “He’s a fireball,” she said. She knows he can work a room like RuPaul’s business.
Adam and Ryan Tedder (One Republic frontman, Adele collaborator) immediately warned Grey to ditch her impulse to sing like a wedding singer, which was awkward since she is a wedding singer. Don’t do the vocal break, don’t mess with the melody. “It comes off loungey,” he told her.
For Nic, Ryan had a little more love, telling him he has “superdope stylization,” but sometimes “it slips out from under your grasp,” he said. “You get this right, it’s going to shift everyone’s perspective.”
And then Nic stole our little hearts when he told the camera he called his mom right before because he needed to hear her say “I love you.” Please, someone, sell us his album right this second so we can hit the club with fake eyelashes and platforms. Please.
Then, even though two out of three of the other coaches seemed to favor Nic, Adam inexplicably chose Grey because of her effortless singing that is still untapped. “She’s one to watch out for,” he said, to which Blake shocked everyone by slamming the steal button for the bigger than life Nic. Nic broke down, tears streaming down his face, not being a pretty crier.
“If ever there was an odd couple,” Blake said, “it’s me and Nic.” We are so thrilled about this. Somewhere inside that hillbilly is a big ol’ faghag. When Carson Daly asked Blake why he stole Nic, he countered with: “Why is Adam such an idiot? Why don’t you ask me that?”
But it was clear Blake just wanted his dance card filled: “You delivered an excellent vocal performance and you did all that other crap that you do. Will you teach me to dance?” Yes, hells yes. More ugly crying.
Winner: Amber Nicole
Song: Beyonce’s “Listen”
Amber, 17, who had her musical menagerie family in the wings, boasts the fluffy hair and swagger, but 16-year-old Timyra’s got the hard-on-her-luck sob story, having moved in with her vocal coach to survive hard times.
They were both visibly and audibly petrified, to which celeb coach Ed Sheeran (ginger singer-songwriter who penned songs for One Direction and sang on Taylor Swift’s Red) helped calm their nerves like a spider, telling them he’s just as scared of them blah blah blah. Soooo British. If only he’d busted out some silly walks to break the tension. If only.
“What is your connection with this song?” Christina asked. Amber immediately broke out the tears, all “This portrays so much of my story. This is my time. This is me.”
But listen up, Amber, apparently this is Timyra’s song, too, girl. These two are so Dreamgirls ready, it hurts. Nic would have mascara running all over his moneymaker had he been in the room.
When Amber and Timyra hit the stage, Christina’s diva hands conducted as she was moved by the performance to, you guessed it, tears. “If I was up and coming and on the scene, I’d be scared of you guys right now,” she told the girls after the sing-off.
The other judges favored tiny, little, adorable Timyra, but Christina went with her “gut,” choosing Amber based on the older singer being farther down the path to greatness. Really? Amber is one year older. Our eyes just did a 360.
We think Christina was swayed by Amber’s cool hair, and hair, as we continually see, is very, very important to Christina. Bottom line, they were both aaaahmazing.
Winner: Shelbie Z
Song: Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson’s “Don’t You Want to Stay”
Cher? Cher with Blake, coaching country singers? We don’t get this at all, babe. And the near miss of having her work with his stolen ugly crier Nic just makes us sad. Instead, Cher (she’s CHER!) acted a little drunk and smug while pretty much offering no help to the two badass country singers taking on the heart-tugging ballad.
Big-dimpled Justin, who survived a head-on collision, and Shelbie Z, who made it out of the pageant circuit alive after getting chunky — both horrific experiences we are sure — are an admittedly obvious pairing. Cher helps them “think high” and get over their nervousness when hitting the shrill notes. They struggled to harmonize during rehearsals, struggled with some pitch issues, and moved on.
And while Justin dug his shitkickers in, making the song as emotional as possible, Shelbie is motivated by not wanting to go back to doing hair for the time being. This makes us wonder, too, what’d she think about Cher’s suddenly orange hair? We thought it was kinda great.
Then, those two rascal flats hit it out of the park and it was clear they should actually be a country duo in real life. The best battles are when it doesn’t seem like a battle, just a performance, Adam said. And even though they even got a little pitchy in the chorus, Blake went with Shelbie Z, even though Justin did clearly want to, as the song asked, stay. Bye Justin. Be careful out there.
Song: Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”
R&B show choirboy Anthony Paul, who put college on hold for “The Voice,” and Caroline, the fragile little chanteuse with the warbley smooth voice, took on the Biebs.
“There’s so much character in the choices that you make instinctively that really heighten the meaning behind the words,” said coach Miguel, who we have no idea who he is. Poor, poor Anthony thought he had this one. I mean, it’s the Biebs! This is his pancake batter. All he had to do was not over-sing it.
But that sneaky Caroline, she knew that everyone loves when a singer makes a cheesy pop song his or her own. All she had to do was “put her hand out,” as Miguel shouted at her, and be less introverted.
Caroline definitely put her hand out, which looked a little like when someone has a mannequin hand sticking out of a jacket sleeve in a wacky sitcom plot. That’s always a kneeslapper, but we assume she wasn’t trying to do standup.
After watching this, we’re starting a petition to replace Justin Bieber with Anthony and Caroline, on every one of his songs. Please, please, sign it for the chilrens. See, we actually would go out and, shudder, buy this Justin Bieber song, so long as Justin Bieber was not singing it. We are even cool with Anthony and Caroline dating Selena Gomez and driving their Ferrari recklessly around suburban hoods.
And, it was so fantastic that all the judges freaked the eff out. “You both killed it,” Adam said, pretty much summing it up. But, you know, one of them has to go, or not go, which is the premise of the show. But… “Caroline took it and made it into something that I could see becoming a very popular version of the song.” Adam truly feels like our people sometimes.
Christina lauded Anthony knowing how to work the louds and the softs and when to hold back. “Sometimes it’s the quieter moments that make people pay attention and say wow,” she said.
And while Anthony’s voice is razor sharp, Cee-lo said, he offered more wax-on-waxed-off poetics about Caroline: “There is something so surreal about your voice that it encourages me to dream with my eyes open.”
Oooh, Cee-lo. Sometimes you make us want your short little arms and man hands all over our bodies. He wants to win, he’s due, he says, and so he takes Caroline. And she wants to go to the end with him. Backoff, sister.
Steal! Christina takes Anthony, putting him back in the game. “To have vocal control like that is really hard, and I was waiting to hear it slide off, and it didn’t,” she said. Nice one, Xtina.
Song: Emeli Sandé’s “Next To Me”
Donna Allen, 54-year-old former backup singer for Gloria Estefan, and inexplicably Jamaican Tessanne who is most certainly Asian and much younger with fierce hair, took each other on. Donna came to “The Voice” to prove it’s never too late to follow your dreams, except that apparently tardies count beyond the blind auditions.
“Without a microphone, she is 110 decibels,” Ryan told Tessanne quite frankly about her upcoming duel with Donna. If you take a backseat to Donna, she will rule you, he said. “Pick your moments.”
At the final rehearsal, they nailed it. Tessanne brought the dynamics, and Donna worked to take down the frequency of her vibrato because she is not Tina Turner, even though she is a damn close second. Then it was time to see who owned it.
And guess what? It was epic, as Blake said. They both did, prompting Christina to put down her diva hands and ask Donna: “Are you Tina Turner?”
They slobber all over the two powerhouses before Adam very obviously chose Tessanne, the four-chair turner, because she would look cooler on a CD sleeve and has that quirky Kingston accent, even though Donna had purple braids in her hair.
BUT, they are both awesome. BUT Adam wants to win this thing, and he knows 54-year-olds don’t win “The Voice,” even if they have the voice, making our old, shriveled hearts sink. The others know it, too, and no one snatches her for their team.
Team Christina: Briana Cuoco vs. Jacquie Lee
Song: The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”
Briana, personal assistant to her superstar sister Kaley Cuoco from Big Bang Theory, got a promotion, playing a little game called “Who’s the Star here?” She’s the star at the Cuoco family compound, at least for another week or so.
And Jacquie, all of 16, is just cute as a glitter-covered button. So Christina threw the hauntingly beautiful N’awlins song “House of the Rising Sun” at the girls. The song gifted them a chance to show their sultry, all-growed up side, bringing out their inner BB King-as-a-sexy-vixen.
And, really, we don’t even think Christina needs a second coach, so just sit there and look pretty Ed Sheeran. That girl’s got it covered. Who else better to tell these girls when to make it saucy and when to hurtle out of their comfort zones? Ed was just in awe and a little useless.
This was an absolute tie other than that Briana, a former dancer, has a little more command of her curves. They were clearly enjoying themselves and appreciating one another, which always makes it more fantabulous.
Cee-lo liked Jacquie’s youthful spin on the gritty, soulful song. Adam was too perplexed to give an answer, admittedly doing nothing to assist. Blake was impressed with Jacquie’s control at such a young age. But Briana, he said, really captured what was meant to happen in the song (read: She does not look like a virgin).
And while both girls “dug deep,” Christina chose fresh-faced Jacquie. And Cee-lo promptly hit the steal button for Briana, as did Blake.
“I want to help you nurture that niche,” Cee-lo told Briana, telling her he thinks there is a story in her voice. Not so fast Cee-lo, Blake wanted her, too. He said she’s obviously a songwriter by the way she connected with the emotion in the lyrics.
And as Blake did the little finger-pointy thing over his head, Briana caved.
“Dude, I’m gonna go with Blake.” He’s won three times, she said later as she shrugged while celebrating with her family. And then Blake tried to makeout with Cee-lo.