Monday night's episode of 'The Voice' was a little wonky for me. There weren't any standout singers, but I guess it's good to get some of the more mediocre contestants out of the now before we get to the Knock Out Rounds. There was two steals tonight, and at least one of them was worth it.
Blake put Mariachi singer Julio Cesar Castillo against diva Terisa Griffin. I remember Terisa's attitude more than I do her singing from the auditions and it almost got her into trouble here. Blake picks Gloria Estefan's "Congo" for them to sing, partly because he thought Julio would do great with it. Initially he was wrong, Julio got tongue-tied by the speed of it. Blake's mentor and friend Michael Buble assured that no one really knows the words so it's okay if they struggle with them at first. During her sit down with Shelton and Buble, Terisa questioned why she was paired with Julio. She even suggested that Blake was trying to get rid of her by picking that song. I'm sure there are a lot of contestants who have felt this way on the show, but they didn't have the nerve to actually say it.
Despite what Terisa thought, Blake was pulling for her because he said that Julio actually seemed too confident and should have been more intimidated by Terisa. On stage they get through the song without messing up and I actually thought Terisa came off as the better performer here. I especially liked her "owwww" before the end of the song. Blake wasn't sure who the winner was but he sticks with Julio because "he put the most work into it" when it came to his performance. I disagree, but that gave Cee Lo the chance to steal Terisa for his team.
Blake's second battle was a little more even, but also a little boring. Suzanna Choffel went up against Lelia Broussard with Florence & The Machine's "Dog Days Are Over." An obvious pairing with an obvious song. Neither had trouble during rehearsals but Blake worried Suzanna was getting caught up in some of the things she teaches her students. Lelia's falsetto impressed them though and gave her a slight edge over Suzanna. Honestly they both annoyed me during this performance, maybe I'm just tired of this song. Adam picks Suzanna, expressing that he was mad at himself for not fighting harder to have her on his team during the blind auditions. I guess Blake wanted to stick it to Adam so he keeps Suzanna.
Adam had former race car driver Benji sing against Sam James with "You Give Love A Bad Name." The song has some pretty big notes in the chorus and Sam struggled with them. He confessed to Adam and Mary J. Blige that the song was intimidating. Benji's problem was that he was screaming the song instead of singing it, but how can you not scream Bon Jovi songs? I think the two of them have similar performance and vocal styles but Benji was not letting go of those screams, letting out a big one right at the end of the song. Even though he told him to take his screams down from 11, Adam ended up praising them after the performance. He picks Sam though, it might have been Xtina saying that their voices sounded the same, and no one wants to steal Benji.
Team Cee Lo
It's always interesting to see who has made friends on the show and it always sucks for them when they have to go against someone they've gotten close to. That was the case with Nicholas David and Todd Kessler. Cee Lo gave them "She's Gone" by Hall & Oates because he thought it fit with their "Blue-Eyed Soul" voices. Mentor Rob Thomas compared David's voice to Bill Withers during their first meet with them, intimidating Todd. Nicholas told his coach and mentor that he didn't like having to compete against his friend and Cee Lo wondered if he was motivated enough to sing against anyone else in the competition. Sing-offs are hard, okay?! Especially when you don't hate the person you're singing against. In the ring, they both sounded really solid and seemed to know which parts of the song were right for each of them to sing. The other coaches really liked Nick during the performance, Xtina even said he had a certain "swag" about him. Cee Lo pick Nicholas, duh, and no steals for Todd.
Christina's first battle was between Dez Duron and Paulina who mysteriously goes by one name. She chooses Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" as their song, but with a slightly slowed down arrangement. Dez loves the song but wouldn't have picked it for himself because it's too high for his register. Sensing he was having trouble, Paulina goes all Xtina while singing the song, and Aguilera tells her to cut it out with the vocal acrobats. A surprising criticism coming from her. During the final rehearsals they still weren't clicking and Christina told them to not over think and just enjoy singing with each other on stage. I don't know if they enjoyed singing with each other but they sounded okay even though Paulina still threw out a couple of vocal runs. Adam thought they were inconsistent but Shelton noted that Dez has grown a lot as a performer since he auditioned last season. He had more to lose, and Christina picks him.
The final battle of the night had Joselyn Rivera singing Beyonce's "Best Thing I Never Had" with Sylvia Yacoub. Both are powerful singers and Billie Joe Armstrong had to tell Sylvia to not dominate the whole thing. Christina noticed Joselyn's volume problem--the girl is loud. Like, I'm sure she has sung a Christina song in a talent show loud. During the final rehearsals, Sylvia got a little miffed at how Joselyn kept overpowering her. I thought the two were singing all over each other, trying to fight for the biggest note.
The other coaches were split, Adam and Blake liked Joselyn while Cee Lo preferred Sylvia. Christina regrets pairing them together, but we don't learn her pick until after another commercial break. She chooses Sylvia leaving Joselyn to be stolen. Both Adam and Blake hit their buttons for her, with Adam saying that it just makes sense for her to be on his team even though he didn't turn for her during the blinds. Blake gives a simple "I love you" which gets awwwws from the audience, and neither of them did answer her question about what impressed them about her performance. The two of them just enjoy fighting. In the end, Joselyn picks Adam as her new coach.
Were these battles as lackluster for you as they were for me? Did you agree with the steals and choices? Let us know!
(Photos by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
Written by: Brittani