Last night on The Voice, it was the start of the Battle Rounds, and for returning coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, it was familiar territory in coaching their singing hopefuls to earn a spot for the live rounds. As for newcomers, Usher and Shakira, it may have been their first time training and mentoring their team, but from the looks of tonight’s episode, it was game on, especially considering that the ‘Steal’ is back.
Here are some highlights from each coach that stood out:
Adam, who was backed with mentor Hilary Scott, from country music group, Lady Antebellum, never missed a beat in sharing how the music he selected needs to not only be fluid but for also have their singer connect to what they are singing. Case in point, his song choice of Pink’s, Try, for singer’s Amber Carrington and Sasha Allen, had even Adam in awe at how stellar their performance of the song was, making it difficult in who he wanted to stay. I personally was hoping Adam would have selected Sasha, but his decision of keeping Amber was still a win for her the moment Usher and Shakira slammed their hands on the ‘Steal’ button. Sasha swiftly moved from being sent home to being on Shakira’s team.
While many are familiar with the coaching techniques of Adam and Blake, new coach Usher, is a man all his own, with his very own spin on coaching style. He displays this in rehearsals with Jess Kellner and Taylor Beckham, selecting the late songstress, Amy Winehouse’s hit You Know I’m No Good. After their initial run through of the song, Usher pointed out that it wasn’t just about singing a song it was more about being able to use that song to captivate their audience. Taking to the back of the rehearsal room, Usher encouraged both Jess and Taylor to use their energy to drawn him physically over to them. And while the coaching tips paid off for Jess, who was chosen by Usher, Taylor was snatched up by Blake, who insisted he ‘pushed’ Usher to choose Jess in order for him to steal away the former gymnast.
Blake, working with mentor Sheryl Crow, put himself in a bit of a predicament when putting his duo act, The Swon Brothers up against Christian Porter. Taking on Tom Petty’s classic song, I Won’t Back Down, in the initial rehearsal, it was Christian who needed to work on hitting the key high note from the song, while the Swon Brothers struggled with fully connecting with landing their notes as a whole. The minute the battle began, however, both Christian and The Swon Brothers did the ultimate; making it tough for Blake to choose who stayed and who would be out. Christian, not only hit every high note within the song, but he, along with the brother duo, meshed superbly together throughout the entire performance. Although Blake said it was difficult for him to choose, he ultimately chose what he knows best, and with that, chose The Swon Brothers to stay in the competition.
While the whole show within itself was great, the biggest moment was the closing battle round of Adam’s; putting Judith Hill against Karina Iglesias. Knowing that each are powerhouse singers, Adam wanted to test the waters and what way other than choosing It’s a Man’s World, by James Brown, to put both women to the test, yet make it hard for Adam to choose.
In rehearsal it was clear that Judith had a struggle with fitting into the song, while Karina, who pointed out loving James Brown’s music, took it on right away in rehearsal. However, Adam pointed out that in order for their battle performance to work, Karina would need to work on her dynamics when signing the song, while Judith needed to hone in on the emotions of the song. It was in the second rehearsal that both took Adam’s advice and displayed to him just how hard of a decision it was about to be for him the minute they took to the stage in the battle round. As Karina said, their performance, as she saw it, would be epic; and it was. Receiving a standing ovation, the coaches pointed out that it was the battles of all battles. When it was all said and done, Adam made the difficult decision and chose Judith. The minute he did, after Karina’s parting words, Shakira, who regretted not turning her chair for Karina, redeemed herself by hitting the steal button, keeping Karina in the game.
Tonight’s battle rounds looks to be just as good as Monday’s episode was and while it is way too early to predict, the new additions to The Voice could very well possibly make things hard for two-time winner Blake Shelton or for that matter a possible second win for Adam Levine.