The Voice Battle Rounds Recap: Locked Out of Knockouts [Updated]
Can you call 911 and report a non-robbery? Because that’s kinda sorta what I feel like doing after watching a pair of awesome vocalists get booted, then left to languish on the side of the road without a patented “Steal” from a competing coach, during The Voice‘s Battle Rounds tonight.
I can’t be alone in scratching my head that spunky Jessica Childress and growl-monster Patrick Dodd won’t be part of the Season 4 Knockout Rounds, right? Especially when the sweet-yet-pedestrian C. Perkins somehow hit the reality singing competition Powerball and got a second chance on Team Usher.
But hey, when the talent level is as high as it is deep, no Voice fan is going to come out of the Battle Rounds without a scratch or two, or perhaps even a wound deep enough that it might leave a scar that’ll still be visible this time next year. (#TeamChildress4Eva) And if you don’t already have at least three or four singers you’re super-excited to hear in the aforementioned Knockouts, then, well…Ke$ha is playing somewhere on the radio I guess?
With that side serving of snark, it’s time for me to weigh in on the night’s proceedings: I’ve ranked each individual battle from least- to most-promising winner, as I often do:
Team Shakira: Kris Thomas defeats C. Perkins on Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” (C. Perkins stolen by Usher) | Shakira herself played the “better in rehearsals” card after Kris soured Bruno Mars’ melody with lots of shrill runs, and C. offered up a serving of decent karaoke. The latter singer may have boyish charm and room for growth — but he needs a good year or two of boot camp before he’s ready to step to Judith Hill or Grace Askew. Which makes me think he’ll be flat on the matt by the end of Knockouts. Actually, so will Kris for that matter, no?
Team Blake: Savannah Berry defeats Jacqui Sandell on Little Big Town’s “Little White Church” | Blake continued his irksome Season 4 trend of favoring his country artists above all else. (Why even bother turning for non-country artists in the blinds, dude?) To my ears, Savannah had less air than a minnow in a shot glass by the time she reached those end-of-ditty harmonies. Not to say that Jacqui displayed perfect pitch, either, but at least her tone was kind of distinctive on a track that took her far from her rocker roots.
Team Usher: Vedo defeats Jessica Childress on Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” | I loved the energy and connectedness Vedo and Jessica brought to the surface during their duet, and frankly, it was hard to fault either singer when it came to pitch. Jessica, though, took more chances — punctuating runs with frisky growls, throwing in the occasional crowd-pleasing shimmy — and that made her the clear winner in my book. Delightful to the end, though, Ms. Childress said she couldn’t be too upset with the result. “Vedo and I just shut it down!” she grinned. Yes, sister, you sure did.
Team Usher: Ryan Innes defeats Orlando Dixon on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Orlando stolen by Adam) As much as I loathed Usher’s arrangement on Bill Withers’ classic heartbreak ballad — those dueling “I know, I knows” on the bridge sounded as musical as a barnyard cockfight — the singers in question definitely proved they’ve got chops. I’d have actually handed the win to Orlando, who seemed to have a slightly stronger grasp on pitch (despite a few too many runs) over Ryan (whose gravelly tone is so expressive, but sounded intermittently flat). The heaping portion of hype that Carson and the producers served with this Battle, however, leads me to believe these two will be contestants to watch going forward (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Team Shakira: Monique Abbadie defeats Luke Edgemon on Lady Gaga’s “You and I” (Luke stolen by Blake) I know Shakira seemed to indicate she was picking Monique because of the near certainty that Luke would get stolen, but I fear that may have unfairly hindered her pink-haired diva — who was giving serious “young Xtina” vibes with her muscular runs and come-hither stage moves. Which is another way of saying I thought Monique deserved to win the Battle because she was a smidge better than Luke, who seemed to fall a little too far off the beat and couldn’t really match Monique’s firepower when the serious throw-down began. (Also, his cutesy facial expressions were not my bread and jam.) I do think Luke made the right choice when he went with Blake over Usher for the Steal, and not just because the former judge’s self-pointing index finger remains as hilarious as the day he first used it. But then again, I kinda wish Blake had used his power to snatch up Patrick instead.