Oh The Voice, how we’ve missed thee. The over-the-top sob stories, the unnecessary dramatic rehearsals where something always goes oh so wrong, and Carson Daly’s cardboard delivery of lines like “epic performance” and “powerhouse vocals!”
And tonight’s battle rounds were back with a vengeance serving up a healthy dose of singing, sassing, and “steal” button pressing.
So without further ado, here we go!
Julio Cesar Castillo vs. Terisa Griffin
First up were two memorable contestants, mariachi singer Julio Cesar Castillo and the absolute handful that is Terisa Griffin. Taking their two personalities into account, coach Blake Shelton managed to meld their strengths together, choosing the Spanish infused upbeat anthem, “Conga” by the glorious Gloria Estefan.
Feeling like it was more in line with Julio’s Latin roots, Terisa revealed a rare flicker of insecurity, as she questioned Blake’s judgment (once again) to pair the two together. Now remind us, who’s the coach here Terisa?
In the ring, both brought their best body shaking groove thangs, and were wailing so hard that they got a few jealous glares from the original wailer-in-chief Christina Aguilera.
And even though Terisa shook it so hard we were afraid she might break it, it was Julio who walked away with the win. But then, we forgot about that pesky steal button. And just like that Cee Lo Green made the move and saved Terisa, who responded, well, exactly as we thought she would. Looks like she’s Cee Lo’s handful now.
Dez Duron vs. Paulina
Next up was some of the young talent we’ve been hyping up all season, Dez Duron and Paulina. Coach Christina, pulling double duty as a matchmaker for this adorable pair, chose Bruno Mars’s sappy, sweet love song, “Just the Way You Are,” which made the whole process seem like a terribly awkward rom com, complete with accompanying soundtrack and mood lighting.
But in rehearsals, Christina wasn’t quite as sweet, telling them both to really just stop trying so hard, which may be hard for the over-the-top performers. Surely not helping were her own obviously flawless riffs that reminded the youngsters that in the end it was still the Christina show, lest any of us could ever forget.
Under the lights, the two youngsters were clearly more than a little nervous, and honestly, we just really weren’t feeling the chemistry between the two. In the end, Christina fell for Dez’s dimples (and who wouldn’t?) sending the adorable lady in red Paulina home.
Benji vs. Sam James
Then we had two of the sweetest guys in the competition, bartender Sam James and former racecar driver Benji. Though they gave us the warm fuzzies, both were more than ready to take on the sharp ‘80s rock tune “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi.
Benji’s signature wail and Sam’s smoky quality were well suited to the song, which means it was anyone’s game as they took that final walk down the fake red carpet to the stage.
And what a game it was. The two went head to head, literally in each other’s faces, having no trouble lending their best screams to the song we’ve all taken turns yelling across the bar more than a few times.
The coaches clearly loved the high-octane match up, with Christina noting that she was “down for some yelling and screaming.” Hmm, we can always count on some double entendres from the “Dirrty” songstress. While the rest of the coaches went with Benji, the coach that counted, Adam Levine, went with Sam James, pumping the brakes on Benji’s trek to stardom.
Nicholas David vs. Todd Kessler
Up at bat next were the bearded boys Nicholas David and Todd Kessler. Both were fathers with babies on the way and both were almost too nice to really get into the battle. Nicholas even started to feel bad about going against his new BFF, to which coach Cee Lo basically said man up.
The two stepped on stage rocking a hobo chic that somehow worked with the tone of the despondent Hall & Oates song, “She’s Gone.” And if the two had any trouble putting away their budding bromance, they sure didn’t show it, because both really brought out their best in front of the coaches.
But, in the end, Cee Lo went with old St. Nick, who really is just an odd bird, in the absolute best possible way, sending Todd back home to his growing family. So really it’s not like he’s going home empty handed, or at least that’s what he’s telling himself.
Lelia Broussard vs. Suzanna Choffel
Going from playing for no one to approximately playing for millions of viewers was a big change for both Lelia Broussard and Suzanna Choffel, two indie artists with a “mad rock” edge.
Taking on Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over” seemed like a no brainer for the two earthy singers, but alas, nothing is ever easy for these contestants, and of course there’s “no forgiveness in television” as coach Blake Shelton so tenderly reminded his young charges. Walking into the battle, Suzanna certainly dressed the part, rocking a floor-length gown that gave off a distinctly Florence Welch/sassy colonial woman vibe.
And both managed to channel the original songstress, so much so that we had a hard time telling the two voices apart, which was both kind of beautiful and limiting. All the coaches loved the performance, but Blake went with Suzanna, leading us to believe that it was the Florence-y style outfit (and thigh high slit) that put her over the edge.
And because network television can never have enough awkward sexual tension, we were treated to a random, yet thankfully short interlude between Christina Aguilera and Billie Joe Armstrong that had us all too ready for the next battle.
Joselyn Rivera v. Sylvia Yacoub
Clearly seeing a bit of herself in both Joselyn Rivera and Sylvia Yacoub, coach Christina Aguilera choose the power ballad, “Best Thing I Never Had” by Beyonce for the next battle, hoping to showcase the young stars’ ridiculous talent.
In the ring, the two clearly did their homework and watched a few Beyonce music videos before their performance, because they both managed to bring their best Sasha Fierce alter egos, complete with intense hip popping and curled lip snarls. With that kind of talent, it’s no wonder that Christina could barely decide. But somehow she made the choice, going with Sylvia, essentially leaving Joselyn wide open for the steal. And oh look, after some peer pressure from the audience, both Adam Levine and Blake Shelton pressed their buttons!
The two pleaded their case, with Blake laying it all on the line, telling Joselyn plain and simple that he loved her (she’s 17, Blake). Unfortunately, his semi-creepy declaration of love didn’t sway the gal, who scooted on over to Team Adam, clearly purely for the congratulatory hug. Do you blame her?
Tomorrow, we’re back with another bout of battle rounds! What did you guys think about tonight’s performances?