‘The Voice’ Battle Rounds, Pt. 3: Sound Decisions
"The Voice's" Season 3 battles continued apace on Monday, and once again, the coaches for the most part made the right choices and sent the most deserving singers through to the next round. Fine by me! Yes, maybe "The Voice's" relative lack of shockers and scandals makes these show recaps less tweetable or bloggable, but we'll save all that controversy for the evenings when Fox's also-enjoyable but very different rival show, "The X Factor," airs. Personally, I'd rather just see talent prevail, night after night, with--as this season's guest mentor Mary J. Blige might put it--no more drama. And judging from "The Voice's" ratings this season, many people out there agree with me. So hey, maybe a recap of happy endings and semi-predictable outcomes will get clicks! Yay.
Here's how Monday's mostly sensible battles panned out...
TEAM BLAKE: Terisa Griffin vs. Julio Cesar Castillo
Terisa was convinced that Blake Shelton picked Miami Sound Machine's "Conga" for this battle in an attempt to railroad her off the show--since the song was, at least in theory, clearly more suited to Latin singer Julio. "You're trying to get rid of me," she said, with her usual lack of shyness. But Terisa was not going without a fight. She shook her booty like a one-woman conga line and sang the song in the most caliente way possible, and I thought it was pretty obvious that she won this battle. And I thought Blake's reasoning for saving Julio instead--that BECAUSE Julio had struggled more in rehearsal, he somehow deserved it more, or something silly like that--made absolutely no sense. But this was the night's one truly annoying decision, in all of the episode's two hours. And all was not lost for Terisa, anyway: Cee Lo Green decided to use his one last "Steal" on her, poaching her for his already-very-strong team. And Terisa jumped up and down with enough gusto to make even Cody Belew look sedate. I think Cee Lo will have his hands full with this diva, but the two of them might be a match made in TV heaven.
STEAL: Terisa moves to Team Cee Lo
TEAM XTINA: Dez Duron vs. Paulina
Hmmm, let's see. The heartthrob who'd already gotten a ton of screentime (Dez Duron, a returning contestant from Season 2) up against the girl whose first audition wasn't even shown in full (Paulina). It wasn't hard to figure out who had the advantage here. And it was especially easy to figure this one out once the two started actually singing Bruno Mars's "Just The Way You Are." Dez sounded natural, smooth, sexy, and, according to Cee Lo, "like the total package," while Paulina came across as schizophrenic and insane, completely ignoring guest mentor Billie Joe Armstrong's advice to not do too much with the vocal acrobatics and as a result sounding like some sort of Auto-Tuned Muppet. She just sounded...weird. All three of Christina Aguilera's fellow coaches declared Dez the winner of this battle. I don't even know why Christina pretended to agonize over her decision for even a nanosecond. But I do know why no one else tried to steal Paulina.
TEAM ADAM: Benji vs. Sam James
This outcome also seemed obvious, at first, since Benji was totally pimped during the Blind Auditions, while Sam was relegated to a mere 10-second montage alongside the quickly/sadly forgotten Lelia Broussard and Laura Vivas. But then Benji struggled during rehearsal, relying way too much on his signature scream and growling his way through much of this pair's battle song, "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi. (Dude, it was Bon Jovi, not some more screamy '80s metal band like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. Calm down, Benji!) Both contestants brought an abundance of aggression to the ring, beginning their battle nose-to-nose like they were posing for some sort of Rocky poster, and although they were both overdoing it, I thought Sam was actually the better singer of the two. Adam Levine adored Benji's scream ("You scream like a bat flying straight out of hell," he said), but thought Sam sounded more original. So this one was a real nail-biter. And then Adam picked...Sam! Finally, a "fodder" contestant got a shot. Now I just wonder why Sam's entire first audition was not shown a few weeks ago. What gives, NBC?