"I know how to steal, I'm a good thief." - Adam Levine
I must admit that I when I was a contender on The Voice, The Battles was my least favorite part of the experience. High tension, frazzled emotions and chronic nerves were felt by every contestant. That being said, as a viewer, The Battles are some of the best television out there. The stakes are high, the performances either dazzle or fizzle and we are privy to behind the scenes coaching which is what makes this show so compelling.
Last week, I told you guys to look up a sneak peek of Trevin Hunte and Amanda Brown's exhilarating battle. We now know that Trevin won with his thrilling rendition of Vision of Love but it wasn’t the end of the road for Amanda, who was stolen by Adam.
The Coaches' Steal is the most exciting, new aspect of Season 3. If a particular artist doesn't win their battle, the remaining coaches have an option to "steal" that artist and place them on his or her team. Just when it looks like it's over, this artist gets another chance and I'm in love with that concept.
Here are other battles this week that excited, moved and under whelmed me.
Caitlin Michele vs. Melanie Martinez
Both of these indie artists rendered me breathless during the Blinds. Caitlin, a Florence and the Machine-esque theater singer, sang Cosmic Love during auditions and Melanie sang Britney Spears' Toxic.
I was a little bummed when I saw Adam place these two together. They both are completely self aware and convey brokenness in their voices. I was more than ready to hear what they were going to do with Ellie Goulding's Lights.
During the rehearsal, Adam wasn’t blown away by their performances. He reasoned they were just having an off day, but even when these ladies were off, I found something that I liked very much about their voices. I liked the break in Caitlin's voice and was really drawn to the imperfect pitch in Melanie's voice (usually this is a turn off for me, but her imperfections are what make her so special.).
At the start of the battle, Caitlin whooshed out looking like an ethereal goddess in black (she's a really big fan of Florence and it shows. I kind of wish she'd explore her own thing a bit. She's way too good to be a copycat) And Melanie skipped out in a baby doll dress and big red bow (only thing she was missing was a lollipop.).
5 seconds into the song and I had goose bumps. These girls sounded amazing together with Caitlin hitting the high swooping melody of the chorus and Melanie carrying the harmony and making subtle changes to the original version. The only reason I would have chosen Melanie to win this one is because of the melodic liberty she took. Other than that, the girls were evenly matched and at the end of the song, Cee Lo, Blake and Christina called the match a draw.
Adam, basing his decision on his gut, chose Melanie. But Blake and Cee Lo were quick to hit their buttons to steal Caitlin.
"It seems like a natural fit," Blake argued.
"It does not seem like a natural fit," Cee Lo interjected.
Caitlin did right by choosing Cee Lo. I'm curious to see how both of these ladies fare in the Knockout Rounds.
De'Borah vs. Nelly's Echo
Nigerian born Nelly's Echo (I am not a fan of this stage name for the record) sang Ain't No Sunshine in the Blinds and Christina fell in love with his smooth, clean tone. Former gospel singer, De'Borah sang Hey, Soul Sister and came out on national television.
For the battle, they were assigned The Police's Message in a Bottle (which is a song I love, by the way). It was Nelly's Echos's (I mean, this name is ridiculous) job to carry the first chorus and he made the mistake of trying too hard and unfortunately, it showed. De'borah, on the other hand sang the song with so much grit and emotion reminding me of Lauryn Hill or Jasmine Sullivan.
Christina chose Deborah (rightfully so) and the cameras cut to De'borah's parents who were having church in their seats. I was surprised her mama wasn’t hitting a tambourine. Backstage, De'borah's dad said to her, "This is your time." I couldn't agree more.
2 Steel Girls vs. Gracia Harrison
This was a tough battle, in my opinion. I love when duos audition for The Voice, even though duos haven't had much success on the show. Blake chose these country beauties to battle it out singing Dixie Chicks' Sin Wagon (favorite line from that song: "Doin a little mattress dancin, that's right, I said mattress dancin").
Mama and Baby Steel sound amazing together. They have this tight, Gaither Vocal Band (southern Gospel. Look them up.) type harmonies. My first impression when they took the stage was how nervous they looked (see my former blog on nerves, the silent killer), but their voices were stellar. As the song progressed, they loosened up a bit, but it was too late.
Gracia came out looking strong and confident and even if she didn't feel it, she faked it. This, my friends, is the trick to performing. You may not be comfortable singing every song you sing, but it's your job as a performer to sell it; to immerse yourself so deep in the lyrics, it sounds like a song you wrote. This is what Gracia did and this is why Blake chose her for the win.
Domo vs. Cody Belew
Two of the most interesting personalities on the show vied for the win on Cee Lo's team. Singing Lady Gaga's Telephone, I thought Domo might wipe the floor with Cody on this one.
However, I should've known better.
Domo has this I'm-great-so-suck-it-if-you-don't-agree kind of approach that I haven't warmed up to. In rehearsal with Cee Lo and Rob Thomas, she actually said, "My problem is I look like a rock/pop star but I can sing like Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin."
That's your problem, Domo? Oy vey. That is not a real problem. Real problems are struggling with bills and health, not a made up quandary that you've had with yourself in the mirror. And, tell me who is saying you sound like these ladies? I want them to stop lying to you. You are a dancer that attempts to sing, please don't get that mixed up.
I don't think either one of their vocal performances was very strong but Cee Lo chose who he liked personally better: Cody. I strongly endorse his decision. Now Cody can bam-bam his way into the next round.
Last week, I had the honor of joining fellow Season 2 contestants James Massone and Tony Vincent in Vegas with Cee Lo Green for his TV Guide Christmas special, Cee Lo's Magic Moments.
It was great reuniting with these guys and sharing the stage with some very special guests (tune in November 27th, I'm not giving away all of the secrets!). It was also nice to be on stage again with the talented Cee Lo Green.
Again, it never ceases to amaze me the power of The Voice. I went from admiring this guy's artistry to singing a song with him in Vegas. It's bananas, isn't it?
I also lent my voice to a great cause, Women Like Us, showcasing the power of mentorship and sisterhood in LA. It was a great turn out and my "fam" that showed up gave me a lot of love. Thank you for that.
Here's to living the lives we were born to live! Did I have any hits or misses this week? Was I too hard on Domo? Let me know! Tweet me! @Jsquidward