After the lengthy auditions, it's time for the Battle Rounds where the coaches put two of their 16 team members in the ring for a sing-off. We were also introduced to the all-star mentors they'll be working with this season and the coaches got to exercise the new "Steal Rule" where they push their buttons to try to steal the winner of the battle. The new steal thing, although a bit confusing, makes the show more exciting and the coaches knew when to use it and not abuse it.
Blake had the first match of the night with Country dude Casey Muessigman and Irish rocker Terry McDermott. Blake chose Kansas' "Carry On My Wayward Son" for them, which Casey took to faster than Terry. Blake's team mentor and friend Michael Buble thought that Terry had an 80's quality to his voice, and I thought it fit the song better than Casey's did. Some interesting advice from Blake before they hit the stage,"stay focused because sometimes the underdog wins." I'm not sure who he was aiming that at because both of the guys sounded great onstage together and individually. There is something so crisp about Casey's voice, Cee Lo noted that he liked his "control" and "assertiveness." It obviously would have been easier for Blake to work with Casey, but I guess he likes a challenge and went with Terry. He won because "he knows what his voice is."
His second battle was between the mom and daughter duo 2 Steel Girls and Gracia Harrison. The three ladies kind of struggled with "Sin Wagon," one of my favorite Dixie Chicks songs, with Allison the mom of the group thinking her voice was too soulful. They also had trouble keeping up with the fast pace of the song, and during rehearsals Gracia came down with a case of the nerves so I didn't have high hopes for this one. The harmonies weren't quite there but they all got through the song okay, it just needed more umph. Even though Cee Lo thought it was evenly matched, Blake went with Gracia.
Adam put Bryan Keith against Colkin McLoughlin with them singing Sublime's "Santeria." This song was made for Bryan's voice, and I'm sure he thought he had this battle already won, but he struggled with some of the more elongated notes. Collin took the opportunity to show off his voice and surprised mentor Mary J. Blige who thought he was good, but needed a bit more pain in his voice. If there is anyone that knows about voice pain, it's MJB.
On stage they both sounded great but Adam picked Bryan. While he was saying his goodbyes, Blake and Cee Lo hit their buttons for the first steal of the season. Cee thought he was better than that performance and wanted to work with him, but he chooses Blake.
Xtina put two of her most unique contestants together for The Police's "Message In A Bottle" I felt like this was De'borah's battle to lose, and Nelly's Echo was going to put up one hell of a fight. Even though he had never sung it before, Nelly really identified with the story of the song and I swear he sounded a bit like Sting during the final rehearsals. De'borah was having trouble making the song her own and was getting thrown off by the the lyrics. Christina's mentor Billie Joe Armstrong didn't offer much in advice, and he and Xtina make an odd pair but it'll be interesting to see how they work together.
During the performance I thought De'borah sounded better and she took on the lower parts of the song. Nelly dominated it and I think he tried to upstage her a bit. Ultimately, Christina liked De'borah more and even compared her to Lauryn Hill. She was brought to tears backstage as her family congratulated her and I think Xtina made the right choice.
Team Cee Lo
Okay, I think I've been a little hard on Cee Lo this season. Maybe it's because he's leaving us after this season and taking all his pets with him. I did say he was being lazy about pushing his button, but being picky worked for him because he had the best battle of the night. His first was hottie Diego Val vs "YouTube Sensation" JR Aquino singing "Jessie's Girl." I think this was a bad song choice for them, Diego didn't even know it, and JR used that to his advantage. Rob Thomas, Cee Lo's mentor, said the two needed to "buckle down" and get their ish together. Diego got better during rehearsals and on stage, starting off the song showcasing his high and low registers. The two didn't really click on stage, and mostly did their own thing during the performance. Blake and Adam thought JR was the winner, but Christina sided with Diego. Cee Lo agreed and kept him on his team.
The show saved the best for last with the battle between powerhouses Trevin Hunte and Amanda Brown. I thought Mariah's "Vision Of Love" was going to be a mistake but it ended up being the perfect song for them. I love how excited Amanda was to see Rob Thomas, and during rehearsals he was pretty impressed with her. It was then that Cee Lo realized that he probably shouldn't have put his two best singers against each other. When I say that this was one of the most incredible performances on not just 'The Voice' but any of these shows, well, just watch.
After the coaches and the audience settled down, and Adam finally sat back down in his chair it was time for Cee Lo to make a tough decision. "Why did you put these two together?" asked Carson. "Because he's a stupid idiot!" Adam joked. I think Cee Lo really felt that way too, but he chooses Trevin as the winner, allowing Amanda to be swooped up by one of the other coaches. They were all ready to push their buttons and mashed them at the same time. Ironically, these were the same three coaches that didn't bother to turn around for Amanda during the auditions. Like Cee Lo, they didn't realize how accomplished she was. She chooses Adam, and gets a kiss (jealous!) leaving Cee a little mad because he has the other best member from his team.
So what do you think of the new steal rule? Does it make the competition more exciting? The Battle Rounds continue on Tuesday night!
Written by: Brittani