The Voice “The Final Battles” Review

We’ve finally reached the last round of battles on The Voice. The judges are just a few head-to-head matches away from finalizing their teams. And yes, I’m personally excited about finally seeing the judges in some new clothes!

Team Cee Lo
Cee Lo asked James and Wade to battle it out over Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” I absolutely loved James and Wade during the blind auditions so I was immediately saddened about the prospect of bidding one of them adieu. James was very nervous about performing a song he’d never heard before, which made me feel about a thousand years old. James, I know you’re into contemporary R&B and Hip Hop but don’t deprive yourself of the gems from the 80s!

Wade, on the other hand, confidently headed into his rehearsal with Cee Lo and his coach, Babyface. His self-assured performance earned him some major praise. It takes a special talent to get compared to Al Green and Luther Vandross.

We learned during rehearsals that “True Colors” holds a special place with Cee Lo. In fact, James and Wade put on a performance during the dress rehearsal that brought him to tears. We truly learn something new about Cee Lo every week and it never disappoints.

Despite his anxiousness, James put on a terrific battle performance. Unfortunately for Wade, his rehearsal confidence dissipated during the battle and it cost him a ticket to the final round. Clad in his own monogrammed “merch,” James moved on to the live rounds. It probably did not hurt that James and Cee Lo looked like they planned their battle round outfits together.

Tony and Justin battled for the final spot on Cee Lo’s team with their rendition of Journey’s “Faithfully.” Like “True Colors,” the contestants’ rehearsal performance of the song moved Cee Lo to tears. As Justin aptly noted, this battle was Broadway vs. dive bar. With their powerful voices and compelling background stories, Cee Lo had an extremely difficult choice to make between the two. Both singers were amazing and the performance will soon be on my iPod playlist. I preferred Justin’s “dirty” voice but cannot take issue with Cee Lo’s decision to go with Tony. Did anyone see Mr. Purfect? He didn’t look too happy with Cee Lo’s choice. Maybe it was all the guy-liner and mascara Tony wore. With the addition of James and Tony, I like Cee Lo’s team much more than I did last week.

Team Adam
Nicolle and Mathai vied for a spot on Team Adam with their performance of “Love Song” by Sarah Bareillis. If there was an award for flowery phrases, it would surely go to Robin Thicke for saying things like, “your voice is like morning coffee on the veranda.” Nicolle’s singing also made Robin want to ask her to the prom. Although Nicolle appears to be over the age of 18, the prom comment made me want to page Chris Hansen.

Mathai worked with Alanis Morissette on “honoring the notes” in her performance. I was initially glad that Adam booted the piano but I think that Nicolle was a bit lost without it. Adam was not thrilled with the final product but ultimately chose Mathai to advance. Nicolle got a really sweet tweet from Sarah Barellis on her performance that hopefully cheered her up a bit.

As the final two contestants on Adam’s team, Orlando and Carla (Bertha) battled it out for the last remaining opportunity to advance to the live rounds. When Adam initially chose “Rich Girl” by Hall and Oates, I squealed with joy! You now what’s even better than a Billy Ocean song? A freakin’ Hall and Oates song! When I grow up, I want to be a Hall-raiser just like Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy. I was crestfallen when Adam decided to go in a different direction but it was definitely for Orlando and Carla’s benefit. And by the way, Orlando a blues singer should totally know Hall and Oates.

The Commodores “Easy” was a great replacement and was a better vehicle for Orlando and Carla’s voices. The final performance was a bit like Carla’s sparkly flannel shirt – a bit of humdrum with a little sparkle. I appreciated Christina’s attempt to politely tell Orlando and Carla that their performance bored her to tears. Thanks to her inner Bertha, Carla won the final spot on Adam’s team.

Team Christina
Christina asked Moses and The Line to take on “Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones. It was a hip-hop/country mash-up. Two against one. When Christina announced the battle I thought (1) this is such a Cee Lo move and (2) this has the makings of the hilarious “American Duos” episode of Psych.

I was initially a little worried for Moses when he announced that the competition was not about the voice, despite the title of the show being The Voice. Fortunately for Moses, his willingness to embrace the challenge worked to his advantage. Only half of The Line seemed willing to embrace the strangeness of the match up – Leland. Jewel gave them really great advice when she suggested that they use their failed relationship as inspiration for their performance. I think Leland took this advice to heart as he was pretty great during the final battle. Hailey seemed put off by the battle and the “in your face” performance approach of Moses.

As weird as I thought this battle sounded when Christina announced it, the performance was actually pretty good. I finally understood how a singer/rapper fits into the competition. Moses moved on to the live rounds, Leland was happy for the experience and Hailey is somewhere swallowing a bitter pill.

Christina has a unique and talented team. Although she had a few standouts last year, this second season team provides much more than just a bunch of big, powerful voices.

Team Kia Blake
Jordan and Naia battled for the final spot on Team Blake with their rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” In perhaps the most lackluster performance of the night, Blake selected Naia for the final spot on his team. The win proved bittersweet for Naia, as she won the battle by being better than Jordan who struggled with harmony. Had Blake done like Adam and picked a different song, this battle could have had a completely different ending. Of all the teams, I think Blake’s is the weakest vocally.

Let the live rounds begin!

The final tally of awkward moments from the battle rounds on The Voice . . .

– Carson breaking up Cee Lo’s emotional response to “True Colors” with a reminder that his selection was needed immediately. It’s not a live show (yet), Carson. Give the man a few minutes to collect himself!

– Cee Lo outright admitting that he was biased towards Wade and envisioned them making it to the end together. How awkward for James as he stood there and listened.

– Hailey’s visible frustration with the judges’ feedback and her refusal to do a post-performance interview after losing to Moses.

Sound off on the final round of battles on The Voice. Whose team do you think is the strongest? Like Cee Lo, is there a song that moves you to tears?