VOICE OVER: The Battles Seem More Like Friendly Duets
While Mondays get a really bad rep for being the start of a work week, those who have been watching The Voice for a while know with that show, there is now something redeemable about such a universally un-motivating day. So on Monday, October 15, the Battle Rounds week two continued in full force. However, with the compatibility of all of these singers, the audience was left wondering if these should be called the "Battle Rounds" at all, because nothing about tonight resembled a battlefield. Indeed, the friendly atmosphere made it seem like tonight's episode should have been dubbed simply the, "Team Bonding Rounds." If you need a quick refresher on the contestants, click here to read the other summaries from this season.
Team Blake Shelton, with the help of advisor Michael Bublé, opened this evening's battles. Latin-style singer Julio Cesar Castillo faced off against who Carson Daly called a "fiery soul singer," Terisa Griffin, singing "Conga." With these incredibly fast-paced lyrics, both singers were tongue-tied the moment they tried this song. Terisa was concerned because she thought the song fit her opponent better than her, and she even accused Blake of pairing her with Julio to try to get rid of her. Blake eagerly reminded her, "I begged and pleaded my case to get to be your coach." He just wanted to find something that makes a good battle. Even at the last rehearsal, however, they both had trouble with the lightning speed of the song, especially Julio. But they got up on that stage and owned it. As the coaches cracked up during this whole performance, you could tell they all loved this number with its purely insane speed and the combination of the two singers who were just plain different in both looks and musical style. Blake told them, "Both of you did awesome! I don't really even know what to do. I have to think back to when we were in rehearsals. Julio had the most trouble in rehearsals, and seeing what I saw today, I think he put the most work into it. So I'm gonna have to go with Julio." Because he's no fool, CeeLo Green stole Terisa to keep her in the game.
The next round was made of two young, wide-eyed singers from Team Christina Aguilera and advisor Billie Joe Armstrong. Dez Duron and Paulina sang a beautiful duet arrangement of "Just the Way You Are." Dez had auditioned unsuccessfully last year, so he admitted to being really nervous, which didn't surprise Christina. She said, "There's a little more weight on Dez's shoulders to show that he made it past the blinds for the second time for a reason." Christina also cautioned both of these singers on multiple occasions to use the crazy riffs and tune ad-libs in moderation. Paulina was particularly fond of her ad-libs and had a hard time being sparing with them all throughout rehearsals. At the final rehearsal, Christina voiced her fear that Paulina might end up experimenting with that on stage and end up flat. During the performance, these two sounded great, but Paulina still seemed to want to do her own thing, which caused Christina to just shake her head. The consensus among the other coaches was that Dez won, though Blake said Paulina's voice would jump out on the radio. Christina concurred with them, choosing Dez to represent her team next week. An elated Dez said, "Moments like these are what you live for. I want to be the one to give Christina her first win."
Sam James and Benji from Team Adam Levine (and advisor Mary J. Blige) sang, "You Give Love a Bad Name." In rehearsals, Adam described Sam as a powerhouse, while Benji likes to scream. "There's density to Sam's voice. Both of them together is going to be a really powerful duet." In the final rehearsal, they were really sounding awesome, but Adam reminded Benji to do the screaming and growling in moderation and for Sam to make sure to get those big notes; these two smart guys clearly took everything Adam said deeply to heart. This was one of those performances that NBC showed previews for all night leading up to this, so the audience was really looking forward to it. The rockstars did not disappoint. This performance was just a huge load of awesomeness and excitement, which the coaches clearly loved. Adam especially was very visibly proud of his mentees. This performance was definitely the highlight of the night. The coaches basically all said that Benji won, except for AdaM. Adam basically told Sam that he delivered a pretty spot-on performance the whole way through, which won him this battle.
Singing "She's Gone," Team CeeLo and Rob Thomas's Nicholas David and Todd Kessler both brought their strong voices to the table in a big way. More so than the other contestants tonight, though, these guys focused on their friendship a lot. Nicholas said that the biggest difficulty was the fact that he was getting to know and really get along with Todd as a friend, making it hard for him to compete hard-core. CeeLo said, "It's a friendly competition, but it's a war. He needs to get serious about this battle if he plans on winning." Todd heaped the praise on his competitor friend, "He sounded so good that I was just like, 'What am I doing here?'" Adam and Blake said that there was nobody else in the world like Nicholas. Blake added, "Also, you look like Jesus, and people like that," and elaborated on his variety in his voice. CeeLo said, "Nicholas, they're right about you. You moved me in a very special way. Todd, you are euqally incomparable. I appreciate you equally. I'm going to go with St. Nick, though." As Todd was leaving, CeeLo clearly wanted him to keep going with his singing, "Don't stop here! You call me. We'll talk."
Team Blake and Michael Buble's girls Lelia Broussard and Suzanna Choffel were the next ones to go, with "The Dog Days are Over." Blake described this as the, "Most obvious pairing of a battle I've ever seen. It's mad rock, indie sounds," which both singers embodied wonderfully. Having been a music teacher for quite some time, it was hard for Suzanna to let loose and not be so stringent about the "rules" conerning singing. Michael said to Lelia, "When you go into your falsetto, it's so pretty!" In the final rehearsal, Lelia was still getting her bearings, while Suzanna could change the sound of her voice at will. Blake told her to just pick one and have fun with it. Even before they sang, he knew it would be a tough decision picking whom to keep and whom to send home. During the big performance, both of these girls were really getting into it, clearly enjoying getting to sing together. Adam admitted that he was sad that he didn't get Suzanna on his team at the blind auditions, and CeeLo said, "You both have talent overflowing." Blake told them, "When Lelia sings, she almost becomes the song. Suzanna has the ability to turn into whatever artist she's singing. Suzanna sounds like Suzanna when she wants to. I'm going to go with Suzanna."
At the start of her next team practice session, Christina admitted to being jealous of Billie Joe Armstrong, saying, "In my next life, I want to come back in an all-male rock band." Her next mentees were Joselyn Rivera vs. Sylvia Yacoub, singing, "Best Thing I Never Had." Billie Joe said, "Sylvia's voice is very powerful. I think that having a powerful voice is Sylvia's strength. But with great power comes great responsibility." Yes, he absolutely said the famous Spider-Man quote. He and Christina basically said that Sylvia needed to pick her moments to do runs and song variations. In contrast, Joselyn had a pure, solid sound in her voice. She said, "Sylvia can be a little overpowering... Sometimes it can be a little annoying." Sylvia seemed to understand, "If I try too hard to show my power every time, I can't have those soft moments." In the performance, Jocelyn showed off her incredible range, while Sylvia seemed like she was trying too hard to bring a powerful performance and had trouble with simply building rather than bringing it full force the whole time. However, Christina chose Sylvia after extensive deliberation. She described her as being, "like fire." That left Joselyn to possibly be stolen, which of course she was. Both Adam and Blake wanted her. Blake pointed out that unlike him, Adam did not push the red button at the blind auditions, and he simply said, "Joselyn, I love you." Adam said, "You impressed all of us, no doubt. It makes a lot more sense for you to be on my team than his." Yet again, Adam won another mentee.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Battle Rounds, and NBC claims that this will hold the most surprising steal yet. So tune in Tuesday night at 8/7c on NBC for some more awesome battles, including an epic country showdown!
Visit www.nbc.com/the-voice/artists/ to view the full list of mentees, plus their stories, videos, and more. You can download your favorites from tonight's performances at www.iTunes.com/thevoice, or watch them on The Voice's YouTube channel: www.Youtube.com/NBCthevoice. Keep up with The Voice through the week and while the show on Twitter: @NBCTheVoice, #TheVoice.