‘The Voice’ Battles, Round 2, Pt. 2: ‘Man’s World,’ A Great Big World, and Planet Sisaundra
Yet another round of battles took place on "The Voice" this Tuesday, and by the end of the night, I was feeling a little beat-up myself. Seriously, it seems like this Season 6's draaaaaagged-out battles have been going on since Adam Levine was still in Kara's Flowers and Blake Shelton still had a mullet. Bring on the Live Playoffs already, I say.
However, during Tuesday's episode, there was some stellar singing that got me excited to see what the surviving battlers can do on the imminent live shows. So I won't drag out this intro any longer. Here's what happened:
TEAM BLAKE: Biff Gore vs. Sisaundra Lewis
Blake's R&B powerhouses-of-a-certain-age took on James Brown's "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" — a huge, huge, huge song that could've felled a lesser-lung'd contestant (read: not Biff or Sisaundra). These two belted it so intensely, they practically blew each other's faces back until they resembled skydivers in freefall. And yet, they made it seem like an easy-breezy singalong, like "Happy Birthday" or "My Humps." High-kicking Biff was certainly a JB-style entertainer, but I've always thought this song feels like more of statement, so much more important, when a female artist interprets it. (Remember when Juliet Simms brilliantly covered it in Season 2?) So Sisaundra had the edge here. "That's a man," said Usher, pointing at Biff, before turning towards Sisaundra and drawling, "but that's a woman." (Yowsa.) "Sisaundra, your register's sick! Sick, sick, sick!" howled Shakira. "Sisaundra, I'm 80 percent sure you're not from Planet Earth," chuckled an amazed Adam. (Really, Adam? Only 80 percent?) Blake was torn, or he at least pretended to be torn, telling the pair: "You guys solidify why 'The Voice' is the best singing competition on television." But he ultimately had to go with Sisaundra, who was a total beast on the mic. "You're changing this show. You're that good," Blake told her. Guest advisor Chris Martin of Coldplay had actually warned Sisaundra earlier that she might be "too good," but I don't think Blake needs to worry about that. This lady won't be returning to "Planet Sisaundra" any time soon; she's sticking around in this competition. I'm more than 80 percent sure of that.
WINNER: Sisaundra Lewis
TEAM SHAKIRA: Ddendyl vs. Deja Hall
This battle between two very young, very sweet singers seemed troubled from the start. Ddendyl felt lost and scared without her piano, while romantically inexperienced teenager Deja struggled to bring enough gravitas to their cover of A Great Big World's heartbreak ballad "Say Something." (Suffice to say, this "Say Something" duet was not going to come to close to the greatness of Alex & Sierra's series-redeeming version from "The X Factor.") Onstage, Ddendyl was shaky and whispery, but somehow that fragility lent itself well to the sad song, and her performance was more believable. Deja's vocals may have been more robust, but she came across as pageanty and child-starry, and she didn't make me feel anything. "Ddendyl, you're so artistic, and your voice is just so special. It's probably the most unique voice here right now. Deja, your voice is earthly and at the same time heavenly; there's something so authentic about you," mused Shakira. I totally would have gone with Ddendyl, but Shakira saved the malleable and "sponge"-like Deja instead. And no one stole Deja. Sigh. The words "I'm giving up on you" never rang so true.
WINNER: Deja Hall