The Voice “The Battles Begin” Review

You know what the best part of the battle rounds on The Voice is? New outfits for the judges! Hooray! Unfortunately, based on the previews for next week it looks like the battle rounds were shot in a long marathon session, which means a few more episodes of battles and Christina’s peculiar little hat. At least we get some variety during the coaching sessions.

This week, the judges selected two team members to battle it out for a spot in the live rounds. In addition to selecting the dueling pairs, the judges also chose the song for the duet/battle. First up were Team Adam members Tony and Chris. Adam asked the two to take on U2’s “Beautiful Day.” Neither performer had a very memorable performance. Given his long struggle to get a break, I was glad to see Tony advance to the live rounds. In the end, the highlight of this battle was seeing Alanis Morissette serving as one of Adam’s coaches.

The show picked up when Blake selected RaeLynn and Adley to sing Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” I agreed with Miranda, RaeLynn was way too worried about outperforming Adley instead of focusing on how to bring her best performance. Still new to singing, RaeLynn needs more training. Her tendency to over-sing every note is exhausting. Geesh! Perhaps I’m biased. I’ve loved Adley from the start. Her style, her voice and her mom’s straddle jump onto Carson Daly truly won me over.

Is it just me or does RaeLynn turn on the accent a bit thick during her performance? Her “twang” is much stronger singing than it is when she is talking. I’m no country music expert but surely this not necessary to improving her performance. Keen on unique voices, Blake unsurprisingly chose RaeLynn. I was pretty disappointed because I thought Adley gave a much better performance.

Although The Voice gets criticized for having a large number of contestants who have had recording contracts and in some cases, even released an album, it is actually something I prefer about the show. Because the contestants have so much prior experience, we spend less time on basic training and more time on creating mind blowing performances. The battle between Jesse and Anthony was an excellent example of this. This is yet another reason I wish Blake would have gone with RaeLynn instead of Adley. Oh well.

While on the subject of RaeLynn, what was up with the random Kia cross-promotion during the show? Does anyone really believe that the contestants are driving themselves to the battle round, much less in a car created by the company that just so happens to be one of this week’s commercial sponsors on The Voice? Let’s hope that we will not see the contestants doing corny car commercials a la American Idol.

Speaking of “over-singers,” Christina chooses Chris and Monique to battle it out over Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.” This was actually one of the more interesting pairings of the night because Chris and Monique are strong in such different ways. No one matches Chris in technical ability and many pale in comparison to Monique’s emotionally-charged delivery. After the dust settled, Christina chose Chris to move forward to the live show.

Cee Lo pitted Cheesa against Angie and selected one of the best songs ever – Total Eclipse of the Heart. The song was made even better by the wedding singer in Old School and it is so epic, that the great Michael Gary Scott created the timeless parody Total Eclipse of the Fart. After watching the coaching sessions, I’d actually rather hear Ne-Yo sing the song instead of Cheesa and Angie. Although I appreciate confidence and healthy competition, I found Cheesa’s attitude to be a bit off-putting. If you can sing, you don’t need to play head games with your opponent. I was rooting for Angie and find myself indifferent about Cheesa’s advancement.

Team Blake was up again and this time, the coach paired up Jordis and Brian. As previously mentioned, I love Alanis Morissette but “Ironic” is an extremely difficult song to sing. Do you put your own spin on it or do you do a really bad Alanis impression? Well, that’s what Jordis and Brian gave us and neither were very good. Jordis gave a bad Alanis impression that was painful to hear and see while there were times when I had no idea what the hell Brian was singing. Even Blake said the performances stunk. Too bad there is no option to boot them both and bring on Adley (I know, I need to move on).

Christina’s team closed out the night with what I’m sure will go down as one of this season’s best – if not the best – performances. Jesse and Anthony battled it out over “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. As an aside, I can’t believe that I missed how awesome Anthony’s dad’s hair was during the blind auditions round. I need Anthony to advance so that I may see this hair again. Seriously, it was laughable that Anthony was considered the underdog. I think Jesse is only better because of his experience. As expected, the two were nothing short of amazing together. If I was Christina, I would never have pitted these two against each other. Jesse is unquestionably a great performer but I connected more with Anthony’s raw emotion. Christina could not go wrong with either singer and alas, Jesse made it to the live show.

And the awkwardness on The Voice continues . . .

– What was the deal with Christina’s boobs in the dress she wore to Chris and Monique’s dress rehearsal? They were putting on their own show.

– The Chris/Monique battle was a bit strange. I understand that it is awkward for a man to belt out “you’re my laddddddddddy” but it is even more awkward for two people in a duet to sing completely different lyrics simultaneously.

– Did Cee Lo have on red satin pajamas during his meeting with Cheesa and Babyface? And if so, how could he not have Mr. Purrfect with him? The look felt so incomplete without Cee Lo’s furry feline friend.

– Does anyone else fight the urge to think of Cheesa as “Cheese-ah” rather than “Chess-ah”? That extra e really throws me off.

Sound off below on this week’s episode of The Voice. Did Blake get it right by picking RaeLynn over Adley? Did Christina make the right choice with Jesse instead of Anthony?