Wednesday, October 23, 2013

“The Voice” – The Final Battles

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Tuesday night the final battles were played out. Each coach has eight artists, so we go into the Knockouts with thirty-two singers. During the battle rounds, I lost four of my original top twelve picks, but after the battle rounds, a couple of artists showed me what they're really capable of... so I add two to my list to make my Top Ten after battle rounds.

Part four SPOILERS ahead...


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CeeLo began the show with with an Air Force versus Army battle. Jonny Gray and Shawn Smith sang “Refugee” hoping for one of the final spots on Team CeeLo. During the initial rehearsal, Shawn was having some problems holding the rhythm and timing of the song. Jonny, on the other hand, being a “rock ‘n roller at heart,” seemed to have no real issues during practice.
The battle started and Jonny instantly found the groove needed for the song. Shawn did really well, seemingly to have solved the timing issue he was having. Shawn’s vocals have that rough and tough vibe and are very strong. Jonny’s vocals are more subdued, with a rocker’s edge. Even though Jonny’s voice was continually over powered by Shawn’s, when Jonny’s sang, his voice cut right through everything and filled the stage. Both singers were good in their own way... both have two very different styles, but my point goes to Jonny. CeeLo was also more drawn to the rocker and gave Jonny the win. As there were no coaches with steals, Tuesday was the end of the road for Shawn.

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Adam put his two soul singers against each other, giving “I Wish It Would Rain” to Barry Black and Preston Pohl to use in their battle. Both of them are strong singers, but Preston had more of a gospel tone in his performance. During the battle, Barry included his ‘lip horn,’ even though Adam ‘suggested’ to him not to. Honestly, neither one of them really made me take notice. Maybe it was the song choice... maybe the performance... I’m not sure, but I couldn’t justify giving my point to either one. All the coaches, including Adam, were amazed by Preston’s performance, awarding him the win. Maybe I missed something, but I just didn’t see it. Ultimately, Barry went home, and Adam’s team was now filled.

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As it was with last Tuesday’s broadcast, three battles were clipped together and shown in only a few minutes. This week really disappointed me, though. I was anticipating and very much looking forward to seeing Holly Henry’s battle. In the Blinds Auditions, she was the one with that voice that entranced me (and many others). I was really curious to see her perform in a battle... I wanted to see what she had and could do with a different style of music. Unfortunately, we were only give a few seconds of the battle. Downloading the song from iTunes wasn’t the same. I wanted to see her on stage, essentially singing to ‘survive.’
During the ‘quick-clip’ montage, Blake chose Holly Henry over Cilla Chan and Brandon Chase over Emily Randolph. CeeLo sent Keaira LaShae home after selecting Tamara Chauniece for the final spot on his team (He still has a steal to use, however).

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Christina’s final battle for the last spot on her team had Olivia Henken go against Stephanie Anne Johnson, dueling with “Done.” Right from the start, Olivia had a clear advantage, as she knew the song very well. Stephanie, however, had not actually heard the song before. Christina chose them to battle, because she wanted to see the sass and spunk both could bring to the stage.
The battle brought two very different approaches to the song. Olivia brought the sass and had the perfect country touch for the song. Her energy and natural strength radiated from the stage, and her power and control (especially in the upper range) was outstanding. Stephanie really surprised me. For not knowing the song choice at all, she really performed amazingly. She was a little too raspy and gritty for me (it didn’t quite fit the song), but still put out a solid performance. Her upper range wasn’t as strong as Olivia’s, but she was naturally at ease in the lower range. Two great renditions... both very different... but my point easily goes to Olivia. Christina seemed a little torn on who to declare as the winner but ended up choosing Olivia. CeeLo finally used his final steal and scooped up Stephanie to complete Team CeeLo.

After the Battle Rounds, my Top Ten are (in no particular order):

From Team Adam:
1. James Irwin
2. Grey
3. Juhi

From Team Blake:
4. Holly Henry
5. Brandon Chase
6. Briana Cuoco

From Team Christina:
7. Destinee Quinn
8. Jacquie Lee
9. Olivia Henken

From Team CeeLo:
10. Caroline Pennell

Though it’s still very early in the competition, and the Knockouts are still to come (with each coach having one more steal), I think Team Christina currently has the most powerful team. If she can keep Jacquie and her two country powerhouses... this year Blake Shelton will be dethroned by Christina Aguilera.



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