The battles are over! With just a few remaining contestants still untested from the blinds, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, and Gwen Stefani each have one more pair to pit against one another for the top 32 of The Voice season 12. Let’s see who made it through the final round of the battles and will gear up to duke it out in the knockouts.
Team Alicia: Lauryn Judd vs. Lilli Passero
“Every Little Bit Hurts” by Brenda Holloway
Alicia’s made some surprising decisions throughout the blinds - picking Quizz Swanigan over Felicia Day and Jack Cassidy over Hunter Plake, for example. But even though she sacrifices a contestant with pure potential for someone with a little less pep in her step than the other, tonight’s call isn’t unjust in the least. Lilli Passero’s got a lot of strength and clarity in her tones, and she connects to this song, which is particularly important to Alicia. Meanwhile, Lauryn’s got only a superficial read on heartbreak and piecing together a consistent performance.
That said, Lauryn’s still the more exciting performer of the two. When she’s on, she’s electric and commands the stage. The problem is that she’s not always there with those layers she has in her voice. Whereas Lilli’s able to work out all of her off-key moments before the battle begins, Lauryn’s still bouncing around (quite literally), making just enough mistakes to earn herself a ticket home instead of advancing.
Winner: Lilli Passero
Team Adam: Jesse Larson vs. Taylor Alexander
“Shameless” by Billy Joel (by way of Garth Brooks)
As Adam himself puts it, “this pairing makes no sense at all.” Taylor Alexander and Jesse Larson were pretty much just the leftovers of his squad, so he threw ’em in the pot together to see how the concoction would taste. He did add a dash of smart seasoning, though, by picking a song that has multiple genre variations like this one so that both of these very distinct fellas could find some part that’s in the comfort zone and attempt to mesh it together.
Surprisingly, it’s not annoying at all, and they both handle their ends well enough to impress the coaches. Taylor gets Blake Shelton’s attention and respect with his solid, ready-ready twang thing, but the bad news about his timing tonight is that only Adam’s got a steal left of the four coaches. Womp. So, when he tops out in his upper register while Jesse Larson sails on through another couple of octaves without breaking a sweat, it’s clear who’s got the better chance of making it on this show. Adam’s even ready to go so far as to compare him to season 11 winner Sundance Head for his soulful stylings at the mic. But Adam’s been handing out “so and so can win” postulates like candy this season.
Winner: Jesse Larson
Team Gwen: Brandon Royal vs. Davina Leone
“In the Night” by the Weeknd
Let’s just get this out of the way first: It was pretty gross, even coming from the advice of Celine Dion, how much they forced Davina Leone to sexualize herself on that stage tonight. During rehearsals, Gwen and Celine didn’t have much substantive feedback for the artists, so they harped on their stage presence and advised her to snap and shake her hips and the works. And she didn’t come here to be thrown in some belly-baring top and made to rub up on her opponent for stage sizzle appeal - nope, nope, nope. A show called The Voice shouldn’t expect its contestants to win with anything but that, and the pressure that was put on her was completely cringeworthy. Then again, they kinda did the same thing with Brandon during the blinds and tonight as well with Gwen gushing over his appearance and Blake echoing that sentiment this go-round. It’s broaching on a weird territory with these two here, guys.
Sigh. As for the performances themselves, well, Brandon Royal stole the show, but it wasn’t a total runaway. His smooth upper register tones were better suited for this particular number, but Davina held her own well enough to make it a formidable showing, and Adam decides he wants to see more of what she has to offer, so he offers her the final steal.
Winner: Brandon Royal
Steal: Davina Leone to Team Adam
- Team Adam: Johnny Hayes, Mark Isaiah, Jesse Larson, Josh West, Malik Davage, Hanna Eyre, Autumn Turner, Davina Leone
- Team Gwen: Joshua “JChosen” Hunter, Stephanie Rice, Brandon Royal, Troy Ramey, Aaliyah Rose, Johnny Gates, Brennley Brown, Hunter Plake
- Team Alicia: Anatalia Villaranda, Lilli Passero, Quizz Swanigan, Jack Cassidy, Vanessa Ferguson, Chris Blue, Ashley Levin, Dawson Coyle
- Team Blake: Lauren Duski, Aliyah Moulden, Casi Joy, Enid Ortiz, TSoul, Andrea Thomas, Felicia Temple, Caroline Sky