Tuesday, March 25, 2014

'The Voice' (s.6) Recap – Battle Rounds 3rd Night

Last night was the next-to-last of the Battle Rounds. The performances were exceptional – the battles were amazing (All winning performances are available on iTunes). Usher completed all his battle pairings and now has his team complete for the Knockout Rounds beginning next week on NBC. One should note that FOUR of his six contestants who did not make his cut were stolen (two by Blake and two by Adam). Shakira used both her Steals to grab two of Adam's artists, and Usher has stolen one of Shakira's... Blake hasn't had any of his artists stolen yet, and Usher is the only one with a Steal left. That's going to make tonight's Battle Rounds even more intense, as only one of the six who don't win the Battle can be 'stolen' and taken to the next round.
The winners of Monday's Battle Rounds were...

1. TEAM ADAM: Austin Ellis vs. Josh Kaufman (“Happy”)
Adam paired his two soul-singers, and it was a pretty evenly matched battle. Both were engaging. Both had the energy and were playful with each other. It was an entertaining battle and fun to watch. Austin and Josh are quite different in style and pitch but are equally talented. Adam was singing along and dancing in his chair, and I didn't envy him when he had to make a choice.
Winner: Josh Kaufman
Steal: No

Alaska & Madi and Audra McLaughlin - Credit: Tyler Golden / NBC
2. TEAM BLAKE: Alaska & Madi vs. Audra McLaughlin (“When Will I Be Loved”)
An incredible country duo up against a highly talented solo country artist makes for some great country music. Alaska & Madi had the power and the attitude, but Audra really held her own against such a powerful duo. She was strong in her vocals and nailed her runs. Both took what Blake had said during rehearsals and applied it perfectly to their performances. Again, I did not envy Blake in having to choose between them, but I was very shocked when a Steal was not used. Even Adam was surprised and was more upset because he didn't have a Steal left to use.
Winner: Audra McLaughlin
Steal: No

3. TEAM SHAKIRA: Deja Hall vs. Music Box (“Eternal Flame”)
I think the song choice for this battle was perfect for both artists. I was a little concerned with Deja, as she had this sort of deer-in-the-headlights look during rehearsals, but she came out and nailed it. Her soft voice slowly grew in power as the song went on (and I think as the nerves calmed down). Music Box had a good show of personality and power on stage, but I think there were times she pushed the power a little too far. Deja showed great feeling through her vocals and did have better and more consistent harmony throughout the song. I wasn't surprised (based on that battle) win the result.
Winner: Deja Hall
Steal: Yes (Usher)

4. TEAM USHER: Madilyn Paige vs. Tanner James (“Everything Has Changed”)
This was the sweetest battle I've seen on The Voice. It had feeling, romance, and a great connection. The chemistry (needed for the song) between Madilyn and Tanner was so intense that I was drawn completely into them and the song. With two young artists, Usher's coaching was instrumental and spot on when it came to teaching them how to expand their amazing talent to incorporate feeling and connection. Madilyn's extraordinary and angelic voice definitely dominate the song. It was just the right amount of 'tender' needed, and I think she touched almost everyone. She was the only one last night to crack the iTunes Top 200 Overall (#174) and was at #45 on the Pop Charts. Tanner has a very strong, but still soft, voice and did amazing in conveying the meaning of the lyrics. Both were great and connected beautifully with each other. This was my favorite battle of the evening.
Winner: Madilyn Paige
Steal: No


5. TEAM ADAM: Dawn & Hawkes vs. Josh Murley (“Stuck In The Middle With You”)
Another great battle and a tough one for Josh. Dawn & Hawkes are an amazing and powerful duo but also great vocally on their own. All three took the stage with their guitars and did an excellent job. Josh did hold his own against the duo, but I think there were times he was a little sharp. Dawn & Hawkes may be two people, but on stage, they seem to vocally become one. Their harmony was flawless, and I think a pretty easy pick for Adam.
Winner: Dawn & Hawkes
Steal: Yes (Shakira)

Bria Kelly and Tess Boyer - Credit: Tyler Golden / NBC
6. TEAM USHER: Bria Kelly vs. Tess Boyer (“Piece Of My Heart”)
Two artists – two different styles – one amazing battle. Both looked great when they took the stage, and both sounded phenomenal. Bria easily has much more power in her vocals and showed that off last night. She has this great ability to explode with power but never actually let it get out of control or overtake the song. Her attitude suited the song and performance perfectly and really just nailed it. Tess had a great feel and tone to her vocals and easily stood her ground against a vocal powerhouse. Although not as powerful as Bria, I really enjoyed the feeling and overall sound of Tess's voice. Either way it went, however, neither one was going to go home that night, anyways.
Winner: Bria Kelly
Steal: Yes (Blake)

Tonight there will be six more battles (three of which will be in a montage). The remaining twelve artists will have to give it their all, because there is only ONE Steal left (and Usher holds it). I think the battles will be intense and well fought. There are some big singers left, and they all want to move on.

Tune in tonight at 8/7c on NBC to watch the Final Battle Rounds.

My favorite (and top) pick for last night was tough to choose, but I have to go with Madilyn Paige.

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