The Voice 2013 Live Recap: The Battle Rounds Begin! (10/14/13)
The battle rounds are finally here! After a few relatively drama-free weeks of blind auditions, things are about to heat up on Season 5 of The Voice as contestants go head-to-head for a duet to the musical death. No pressure, right?
The battle rounds begin tonight with Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Blake Shelton, who are forced to make the difficult decision of eliminating one of their artists — but it's not necessarily the end of the road for the singer they send packing. One of the other coaches can jump in for the steal by pressing their big red button (or smashing it like a game of Whac-A-Mole, if you're Blake) and snatching up the artist about to exit stage left. If another coach also goes for the steal, the contestant is back in blind audition mode and gets to pick his or new new team.
So now that you're familiar with how the battle rounds work, let's get started! And don't forget to keep refreshing this page throughout the night for up-to-the-minute updates.
First up is Team Adam's Grey, who's ready to leave her job as a wedding singer and become a world famous recording artist, and Nic, the former theater kid with a crush on Adam. Yeah, join the club, dude.
Helping out Adam is advisor Ryan Tedder from One Republic, who tells Grey to be careful not to sound like a lounge singer while belting out the high notes. Ryan points out Nic's tendency to over-stylize and emphasizes his ability to change some minds with this performance. During their final rehearsal of "Domino" by Jessie J, Adam gives them some last-minute advice — just have fun with it.
And when they hit the stage, they do just that — except Nic may be having a little too much fun, while Grey, on the other hand, holds back ever so slightly. Unfortunately, Nic's theatrical antics overshadow the vocal and it's not possible to take him as seriously as Grey, who has her head in the game despite some obvious nerves.
Blake and Cee Lo are fans of Nic's showmanship, while Christina gives the win to Grey for her steady, consistent vocal. But in the end the decision is Adam's and he agrees with Christina (and us), and sends Grey to the next round.
And just when we think Nic had sung his swan song, Blake goes for the steal! "Why is Adam such an idiot?!" he asks as he snatches up the eclectic performer. Nic promises to teach the country crooner how to dance as tears well up in his eyes. Aww shucks!
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran joins Christina Aguilera to help out with Amber Nicole and Timyra-Joi, who are singing "Listen" from Dreamgirls. You know, the same song Beyonce made famous. No big deal.
But honestly, it's no big deal for these young girls (can you believe they're only teenagers?!) who are both natural powerhouse vocalists. Initially, Timyra struggles with her nerves, but after the final rehearsal it's clear this will be one of the most epic battles in Voice history.
Amber and Timyra take the stage like seasoned pros and bang out a nearly-perfect performance from start to finish. Despite the nerves that hindered her lower register in rehearsals, Timyra sounds strong and steady and mature beyond her years. And then Amber jumps in for some seriously impressive high notes that rival Queen Bey herself. No, really. How has this girl not been discovered yet?! But when they come together it's even more impressive, and for a second we wish they would have entered the competition as a girl group. We honestly have no idea how Christina is going to pick.
None of the coaches are able to help Xtina (sorry, girl), so the pop diva's left to make this decision on her own. After some tears, Christina followers her gut instinct and chooses Amber. Unfortunately (and shockingly) none of the other coaches snatch up Timyra, which makes us really start to question their sanity. Big mistake, Cee Lo.
First up from team Blake Shelton it’s former pageant queen Shelbie Z, who has long struggled with confidence and body image issues, and cowboy crooner Justin Chain who overcame a motorcycle accident in his youth. With Cher's help, Blake gives the singers "Don't You Wanna Stay" by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean, a perfect choice for their cool country twangs.
Unfortunately, things don't go so well in rehearsal. While Shelbie and Justin are both strong singers individually, they struggle to work together as a cohesive unit and can't seem to find the right pitch during the harmonies. Cher points out that Shelbie has a tendency to jump over Justin's melody, and Justin often holds back.
But the vocal harmonies finally come together when Shelbie and Justin hit the stage — however, their complete lack of stage presence and chemistry makes for a rather lackluster performance.
The coaches can't disagree with us more, however, complimenting the duo's "connection." Uh, are we watching the same show? While Cee Lo and Christina give the win to Shelbie, Adam gives it to Justin after pointing out Shelbie's pitch issues (she was sharp, in case you were wondering). In the end, Blake gives the win to Shelbie, likening her to OG singing competition winner and "Don't You Wannt Stay" singer Kelly Clarkson.
Unfortunately, no one jumps in to steal Justin, who we assume is humming "Since You've Been Gone" under his breath as he two-steps into the wings.
Former show choir boy Anthony Paul and shy, quirky teenager Caroline Pennell are first up for Team Cee Lo. With the help of Miguel, who promises to make their performance of “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber sound #beautiful, these youngsters hit all the right notes in their very first rehearsal. But is it just a bout of beginner's luck?
Miguel loves Caroline's instinct but cautions her not to get too complacent or introverted, while he encourages Anthony to connect more with his feelings. In the final rehearsal, Anthony pulls through with his stage presence, while Caroline freezes up. Cee Lo finds himself surprisingly worried about Caroline — and we're right there with him. Don't get us wrong, we totally dig the whole coffee house vibe, but does she have the chops to actually pull this off?
When they take the stage, it's clear who's stealing the show, and it's not Caroline. While her sound is beautiful and even haunting at times, it's Anthony's natural ease, effortlessness, and intensity that give him the edge. Oh yeah, also those smooth high notes. Dang, kid!
When it comes time for the coaches to weigh in, Adam goes with Caroline for pulling him into her "secret world" (uh, can we join?), Blake goes with Anthony for his versatility, and Christina's undecided.
Cee Lo calls Caroline's voice "surreal" and says it encourages him to "dream with his eyes open" (yes, that really came out of his mouth), while he recognizes Anthony for his natural-born talent. In the end, Cee Lo picks Caroline for her "ambiguity," and we're really kind of sad to see Anthony go. He could have been the next Vedo (baby)!
But wait! It's not over until Xtina says it's over, as the pop diva jumps in to steal Anthony, complimenting his exceptional vocal control. Atta girl!
Up next for Adam Levine with "Next to Me" by Emeli Sandé it's former Gloria Estefan backup singer Donna Allen and Reggae fusion artist Tessanne Chin — two exceptionally talented vocalists with strong, seasoned voices and very different styles.
We feel for Adam already, who'll soon be forced to make an impossible decision. However, there's definitely a standout in the rehearsals, and it's Jamaican-born Tessanne. Donna's unfortunately struggling to see herself as the star after years in the shadows, but that mindset is fleeting. During the final rehearsal, the 54-year-old Florida native busts out of her shell and leaves Adam's advisor Ryan Tedder scratching his head with no clear winner in mind. Nice work, ladies!
And, as expected, their battle doesn't disappoint in the least. Not only do they give a flawless vocal, but their showmanship is undeniable. These ladies are both stars in their own right, and while we're slightly partial to Donna for the Gloria connection (what? The Miami Sound Machine was our first concert!), we have to go with Tessanne for her unique edge.
The coaches are divided, with Christina going for Tessanne, Blake giving it to Donna, and Cee Lo naming Tess the winner. Adam is conflicted too, torn between the two artists and their unique qualities, calling them both "world class" singers. In the end, though, Adam agrees with us and names Tessanne the winner of the battle.
Unfortunately, nobody steals Donna and we find ourselves agreeing with Adam again when he shouts at his fellow coaches — "You guys are crazy!"
Up next, Christina Aguilera pairs Briana Cuoco, little sister to famous TV actress Kaley Cuoco, with aspiring R&B singer Jacquie Lee for a duet to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals — a great song choice to complement their edgy styles.
In rehearsal, Christina encourages Briana to explore her bluesy side while advisor Ed Sheeran encourages Jacquie to do something different and special with the song. Both ladies seem equally intimidated by each other — and we don't blame them one bit!
But when they hit the stage it's obvious that Jacquie's not quite ready for the spotlight. Her performance starts off super shaky, and despite some impressive moments, we just can't overlook her inexperience. Briana, on the other hand, finally shows us why she deserves to be in this competition after a lackluster blind audition with a raw, gritty, and honest performance. #TeamCuoco FTW!
Unfortunately, Christina doesn't quite agree with us and picks Jacquie for her potential and hard work ethic. But it's not over for baby Cuoco, who gets a last-minute button push from both Cee Lo and Blake. In the end, Briana joins the "Boys 'Round Here" singer because, well, he's won three times in a row. Hey, she makes a valid point!
What did you think of tonight's first round of battles? Did your favorite contestant advance to the knockouts? Weigh in below and don't forget to tune in tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15, at 8 p.m. ET for another night of awesome performances!