On The Voice: California Dreamin’ as #VoiceBattles Continue

All cheesing aside, I have to say that when I watch The Voice I am generally so impressed with the level of talent on this show. For the most part, every battle round tonight was professional, entertaining and relevant. I can’t say I agree with all the choices (pairings and stealings) but not once did I get distracted looking at clothes or wanting to make fun of people. These are the elements that I find lacking in other (cough) singing competitions on the air right now that seem to have lost a little bit of the magic when it comes to discovering, or fostering, real talent. Let’s talk about The Voice, though.

Tonight started off with Blake and his mentor/girlfriend Gwen Stefani flirting a lot. Probably the most amount of public flirting we’ve been allowed to see. This almost made me cringe only because I hate cheap theatrics for ratings and whatnot, but I’ll move on. They’re cute. Fine, whatever.

First round tonight was between 33-year-old determined Southern rocker from Nashville Adam Wakefield and 22-year-old Missouri country singer with small hometown roots Jared Harder. This was one of those battles where I just felt bad for Jared when he walked in the room with Adam. The song Blake chose for them was Can’t See You by The Marshall Tucker Band and it was a song Adam knew well. Jared played guitar and Adam played the keyboards and the duet was cool, like something you’d see in a real nice country bar in Austin. Unfortunately for Jared, who has a great voice, Adam can’t help but shine in this country-rocker lane and he pretty much took the battle. Adam obviously had more experience on stage and kind of reminded me of Bob Seager and Travis Tritt in one man. Ok, a little weird. Anyway, Blake chose Adam Wakefield and we say goodbye to Jared.

Pharrell paired Emily Keener, a high school senior from Ohio, with Jonathan Bach from Detroit, Michigan. Jonathan, a pre-med student, came on The Voice with the support of his parents who only hoped he would get this singing thing “out of his system” and get back to school. Together they performed Explosions by Ellie Golding and I thought it was a really great pop duet. Emily, an introverted singer/songwriter, had a smooth, mellow tone to her voice that blended well with Jonathan’s falsetto that he used just enough. This one had to come down to personal preference for Pharrell but I agreed with his choice to move on with Emily Keener.

Team Christina chose to pair Opera trained Daniel Passino with Indi-Jazz artist Kristen Marie on Adele’s Turning Tables. Daniel draws his influences from Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake and Kristen is really more of a unique singer so this was an interesting duo. I thought it worked but Daniel was able to out-sing Kristen for much of the performance. Adam noted that something in Kristen’s vocal prevented him from hearing “her” in the performance. I pretty much agree with that statement. Christina chose to advance Daniel and Kristen wasn’t stolen.

Very quickly, three rounds were montaged and oddly enough, these were many of the same contestants that we know nothing about because they were montaged during the blind auditions. Pharrell chose to advance Moushumi over country boy Jonathan Hutcherson. Adam chose Katherine Ho over Lily Green and Blake kept Angie Keilhauer over Teresa Guidry who never really got her minute of screentime.

Next up for Team Pharrell was Abby Celso and Brian Nhira who performed Sugar by Maroon 5. These two worked so well together during this entire package that I wanted them both to stay. Brian, spirited worship leader from Oklahoma, was so entertaining and charismatic onstage and his vocal was smooth. Abby, New York waitress singing for her mom, played along well and the duo looked like they might have been on tour together for years. All three coaches said they would choose Brian as the winner but, in a weird twist, Pharrell chose to keep Abby. I can only imagine that he knew Brian was the stronger contestant and by saving Abby he basically ensured that both would move on. Adam and X-Tina quickly buzzed in to steal Brian and he quickly chose Team Adam. I’m so confused with Pharrell on this move but I think it might have been the nicest thing ever!

Oh, and Adam sort of slammed his team by saying something like how great Christina’s team was and how Brian would just be another great singer on her already great team but that he would be on a pedestal on Adam’s team. I’m not sure how I’d feel if I was already on Adam’s team.

Anyway, the only battle I had real issue with tonight was from Team Adam. Tiny, pixie-like, 16-year-old Caroline Burns was paired with 21-year-old cool Jersey rocker Mike Schiavo. This was weird on paper and weird on stage. I felt bad for Mike who had to sing Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor and John Legend with a teenager who looks like a doll. Mike deserved a better shot and I blame Adam for this weirdness. Both singers have great voices and they didn’t sound bad together but I couldn’t help but feel like Mike was tiptoeing around trying to not overshadow or over power Caroline. I thought she was slightly ahead of the music and seemed to need Mike to keep her on track. In the end, Adam shocked me and kept Caroline because he said she was so interesting and had so much he wanted to learn about her. This happened after they played a quick clip of Adam telling Mike they were going to go really far. Caroline stays and poor Mike is dismissed without a save.

The final bout of the night also seemed a little unfair. Ultra-hyped, former child star Alisan Porter was paired with montage contestant Lacy Mandigo on California Dreamin’ (which Lacy had never heard). We know very little, if anything at all, about Lacy and everything about Alisan so the deck was pretty much stacked. I thought they actually performed well together and their voices blended and all that good stuff but Lacy just seemed either really nervous or really pissed during the entire segment. Even in the end, she looked angry, right up until Blake decided to scoop her up. She is a beautiful girl but I was distracted by her attitude a lot. In a show where you need people to vote for you, she’s going to need to show a little more personality since we know nothing about her. I’m confused by this steal but I guess Blake knows how to play the game better than I do.

So tonight we actually lost quite a few and tomorrow night there is only one steal left. That means a lot of great singers are going to leave on Tuesday. My guess is that the final steal will come from Adam’s team but we’ll see what happens.

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