On The Voice: Battle Rounds Take Two

THE VOICE -- "Battle Rounds" -- Pictured: (l-r) Justin Whisnant, Mary Sarah -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Tonight, as the battle rounds continued, we lost three contestants in six bouts. I would love to say how warm and fuzzy that makes me feel but one of my favorites was one of the three! We’ll get to that later. The level of talent this year is pretty good so it isn’t surprising that so many have been saved. But there are already only three saves left and a LOT of battles to go! With saves being NBC’s favorite cliffhanger (not) carrot, they’re going to have to stretch out the final three or montage a whole lot of people.

Night two begins with Houston powerhouse stepping out as a solo artist, Tamar Davis and 15-year-old inspiring pop-singer from Florida, Shalyah Fearing. I would have gone with Former Beyonce band member turned background vocalist for Prince and BFF of Tyler Perry but whatever Carson. This was a battle royal with these two mega-talented ladies going head to head with Lady Marmalade for coach Christina. No pressure but Patti LaBelle is X-Tina’s mentor and she too performed this ditty once over 40 years ago. I thought Tamar was perfection but she has a lot of experience over Shalyah, who basically only lacks the years under her belt. Shalyah felt a bit shouty in places and where I wanted her to be raspy, I felt like she was throaty, if that is a word. Both girls did a lot of crying in the end but Christina chose Tamar to move on to the knockouts. It is totally her turn and she deserves this shot but I hope she doesn’t fall into the Judith Hill trap where she is so good and has had so many shots already that people don’t feel the need to vote for her. Shalyah was quickly picked up by Coach Pharrell so nobody is going anywhere.

I honestly felt like the next duet was every bit as good as last night’s epic battle between Bryan Bautista and Malik Heard but in a totally different way. Cowboy boot saleswoman with a classic sound (seriously with this one) Mary Sarah and small town country singer with big city dreams, Justin Whisnant channeled some serious country greatness on Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man. My first impression of both of these singers was two thumbs way up. I gave them stars and circled their names and they were both on my favorite so far list yesterday. Why would you put them together and risk losing either of them? Anyway, I thought the pair was spectacular. Mary has a bouncy, sparkly presence and her vocals were wobbly at first but spot on by the end. Justin was my favorite country singer and I could see him being so current and marketable and together they were love (for me). Anyway, I suppose wisely Blake chose to keep Mary because he does really well with female country singers (no jokes here). But then nobody buzzed in to steal Justin. My heart is broken. I’m looking at you Levine! One down.

Things went downhill for me from that point. Next up was family man and former ballet dancer Nick Hagelin and British nanny and singer-songwriter Jessica Crosbie with Electric Feel by MGMT. Honestly, this song has been done a few times on this show and I still don’t know it so apparently it doesn’t have a big impact on me and neither did this battle. I was slightly bored with the song but I thought Jessica did the best she could with it. Nick spent most of the duet using his falsetto which unfortunately does get on my nerves. As a former ballet dancer myself I don’t like to diss the dancer but I don’t enjoy that much high voice. Pharrell surprised me and went with Nick for the win and Jessica was quickly grabbed up by Team Adam.

Blake made some funny jokes about Adam’s hair looking like Guy Fieri and Miley Cyrus tonight. I always wonder if those two are actually that funny or if they have really good writers.

I feel pretty bad but I almost forgot about the battle between Nashville karaoke singer Kata Hay and singer-songwriter Chelsea Gann who struggled with weight issues. The two were Christina’s least successful performance tonight doing Melissa Etheridge’s Only One and sounding a little like they were fighting all over each other’s vocals. Kata has an over-the-top personality that will grow old very quickly (if it hasn’t already). Throughout their battle, Kata was rushing and shouting and singing over Chelsea, who seemed to be trying her best to stay on task. Kata was all over with her pitch and Chelsea was just hanging on for dear life. For reasons I can only attribute to producer intervention because of the whole girl-kiss debacle, Christina chose Kata to move on and Chelsea was not saved.

Moving on, round five was between single mom and credit card processor Natalie Vacovazzi and 19-year-old busboy and singer Nate Butler. I’m really starting to enjoy these #Carsonquips. Natalie had auditioned last season and didn’t get any chairs to turn around. Nate suffered in high school because he enjoyed singing so much that he was teased and musical theater got him through. I think both of these contestants had a lot of nerves but they were pretty evenly matched vocally. They were tasked with a Tori Kelly song, oh and Tori is Adam’s mentor so no pressure there. Natalie seemed to connect to the song and feel the lyrics where I felt like Nate was just doing a performance of a Tori Kelly song. Once again my instincts were off and Adam chose to move forward with Nate and Natalie was our second casualty of the night. (oops, spoiler, nobody else is leaving).

The last round of the night was between Nebraska pre-school teacher with a big personality Hannah Huston and Los Angeles soul artist and postal worker Maya Smith. Again, both these auditions were pretty stellar so I’m not sure why this pairing happened but not my game I guess. The ladies were given Sia’s Elastic Heart and after a shaky, nerve-wracked couple of bars, they settled in to do a great job on this intense song. Hannah actually had a more polished and confident performance but once Maya relaxed, I think they were toe-to-toe vocally. I’m pretty sure they are the best of BFFs too so this was a tricky one. Coach Pharrell went with Hannah which wasn’t too surprising but Christina had already said she was planning to take one of them. Maya quickly joined the already powerful Team X-Tina (for Season X) get it?

So I’m still a little mad that one of my favorites was one of only three people to go home tonight. Hats off to you Justin!! But I guess it is a competition and if I didn’t get mad at least once a night it wouldn’t be any fun.

On an unrelated note, more hats off to the fashion team at The Voice. It’s worth noting that nobody has been dressed so as to distract or otherwise cloud my judgment of their performances. That’s a skill!

See you Monday.


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