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‘The Voice’ Review: Second Battle Rounds Lead to a Night of Firsts

THE VOICE -- "Battle Round 2" Episode 612 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sisaundra Lewis, Biff Gore -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

During last week’s first bout of battle competitions, it was revealed to the audience and viewers that The Voice would for the first time, conduct a second dose of battles, leading up to the remaining twenty competitors to advance into the first time ever ‘Play-offs’.

The second night of battle rounds wasn’t the only change that was seen on Monday and Tuesday night episodes.  The change of the advisors was also seen.  No longer would the coaches have their chosen advisor to help out with pointers for the battles.  Instead, there would only be one advisor: that’s right, just one advisor.  The chosen advisor that would be meeting each of the coach’s competitors was none other than Cold Play’s lead singer, Chris Martin.

During the two nights of battles, the team members are unaware of who they would be paired up with until they come together during the first day of rehearsals.  It is there that they are given three songs to choose from.  The pair must come to the agreement of the song and from there, the battle is on.  As for the coaches, during this second time battles, they get one last chance to steal an artist to their team.

Monday Night Battles of the Night

On Monday night’s show, the show started off with Blake Shelton’s team.  He paired Audra McLaughlin and Megan Ruger together.  It as country song bird up against the rock n roll songstress.  When they were given their list of songs to choose from, Megan was very hesitant of doing a country song, therefore, they chose  what I call a ‘happy medium’ by picking Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb”.  I personally felt that they should have chosen one of the country songs.  It would have gotten Megan out of her comfort zone a bit.  It was Audra that did it for me.  She just showed so much emotion on the stage when performing.  Blake made the best call in keeping Audra to remain on his team.

Usher, last week, stole Cierra Mickens from Shakira’s team, and he quickly paired her up with TJ Wilkins.  I loved their paring because together, they had a great connection vocally.  They picked the song “Get Here” by Oleta Adams.  During their first time in rehearsals, the emotional connection didn’t exist for either of them.  Chris pointed out that with the emotional connection, they couldn’t show the connection together as a duo.  When they performed the song, however, they got the job done.  I think Cierra Is so used to singing flowy ballads, but for T.J., there was so much growth on stage for him.  Because of that continuous growth, it was the best decision for Usher to hold on to T.J.

For Blake’s second battle, he paired up Jake Worthington and Tess Boyer.  I’m just going to say it, Jake is all kinds of cute when he is talking to Blake. I am very glad he got a second chance in returning to compete.  Jake and Tess chose the song “Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt. It was such a romantic song for the two of them and they just shined together on the stage.  They gave Blake a hard choice to make because the two of them just worked so well together.  Jake has really grown as vocalist.  While Jake was kept by Blake, I was so happy that Tess was grabbed by Shakira.

Can I just say that Adam Levine’s team member, Christine Grimmie looks so much like one of my favorite actresses/singer, Katie Voegle (many of you who watched “One Tree Hill” will know who I am talking about)? Okay, going back to the battles.  Adam paired Christine with Sam Behymer.  They chose the song “Counting Stars” by One Republic.  In rehearsals both were very off with their vocals.  Sam had a tendency to lose control of the song, while Christine was giving us a rapid fire with the lyrics, which made it sound a bit muddled.  During the start of the song, Sam gave a beautifully unique entrance with the song.  I just love how fluid Christine’s voice became after taking the notes Adam gave to her on making that emotional connection.  I loved them both but Adam’s choice to keep Christina was very good.

Shakira’s first battle of Monday night was between Josh Murley and Patrick Thomas. Both men are great singers, however, I am very partial and love the vocals of Josh.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Patrick is a great singer, however, I just think he tends to overdo the songs that he performs.  That is the case with their song selection, “Run to You” by Bryan Adams.  When Josh started the song off during their battle, I heard traces of Bryan’s vocals in his tone.  The minute Patrick sang, I could see that Josh was trying to stay right in there with him; perhaps because Patrick’s vocals pretty much dominate and take over.  I was disappointed that Shakira kept Patrick.  I just felt that Josh may have had a better chance in the play-offs.

The final battle of Monday was that of Delvin Choice and Josh Kaufman from Adam’s team.  This right here is the battle that clearly would be the hardest for Adam to decide on.  I love both of these guys.  They are two of Adam’s strongest in guys on the team, so I knew it was going to be hard on Adam, let alone hard on both of the artists.  They chose the song, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder. Delvin, who is the comeback kid, just has a presence that when he steps on stage, all eyes are on him.  That can be said of Josh, too, because I was mesmerized by him during the blind auditions. Although I loved Delvin’s performance, I was hoping that Josh would have been the one Adam picked to go to the play-offs.

On Tuesday night’s episode, the show started off with Usher’s strongest performers; Sisaundra Lewis and Biff Gore.  These two are very polished and very seasoned, so their pairing was pretty great. They took on the James Brown classic, “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.  Biff really gets into the song.  You can see it all over his face when he is performing.  As for Sisaundra, there is that “It” factor that she has when she sings.  She took that song and just gave such raw emotion and power to it.  Biff, just like Sisaundra, is old school, therefore he had no problems at all connecting with the song.  He, unlike, Sisaundra, however, is more of a showman on stage.  I think because of that, Usher kept the person that could continue to set the bar, and that was Sisaundra.

I just think Deja Hall is the cutest young lady in the competition.  She has such a sweetness to her, yet you can tell that she’s very shy when it comes to performing.  Ddendyl, on the other hand, wows the crowd with the unique tone of her voice.  Shakira paired these two up to perform the song “Say Something” by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera.  In rehearsals, you can automatically see that Deja was scared to perform the song.  I agreed with Shakira in thinking it was out of fear of messing up.  She has so much to learn in terms of connecting with the song that she is singing.  That is her obstacle.  As for Ddendyl, she lacks the ability to have stage presence.  She, like Deja, gets nervous on stage. After seeing the rehearsals, I was floored at how amazing both of these ladies did.  Deja broke out of her shell and showed that emotion as she sang.  Overall, I could understand why Shakira kept Deja.

With the show only being a mere hour, this battle round closed out with Usher’s two performers: Stevie Jo and Morgan Wallen. Each men had some improvements to make when they met with Usher and Chris with their song selection of One Direction’s “Story of My Life”. Morgan admitted that his first battle round could have been more polished.  He had a tendency to go sharp in his vocals.  Stevie Jo, on the other hand, tends to lose his focus when he’s performing.  After taking the notes that both Chris and Usher gave them, they came back to the stage to make Usher decide who to keep.  Morgan improved so much in such a short period of time, and Stevie Jo just stepped it up a notch to make get chosen by Usher.  It was good that Adam kept Morgan on.  I think he still has so much to learn going forward.

Next week Monday is the last night of the second battle rounds.  After that, it’s on to the Play-offs, where twenty contestants fight to stay in the competition.  Make sure to tune in or set your DVRs next Monday on NBC.