Try as he might, Usher wasn't able to steal the spotlight this time around on The Voice. As the battle rounds wrapped up, Shakira came out on top the final night – at least in terms of who got the most airtime.
The Latin pop star coached two of the three highlighted battles that went down last night, one of which took up most of the second half of the hour-long episode.
The main event was a Latina face-off featuring 19-year-old Cathia from the Bronx, N.Y., and 17-year-old Cuban Mary Miranda, who performed Shakira's own Spanish-language song "Antes de las Seis." The move – the first of its kind this season – was labeled "narcissistic" by Usher. (This from the guy who uses every opportunity he can get to remind everyone he helped make Justin Bieber a star.)
As a contestant, one thing you don't want to do is flub your lines – especially ones so close to your coach's heart. But that's exactly what Mary did during rehearsals. With Shakira sitting right there, Mary admitted she'd never even heard the song after forgetting lyrics and losing the melody.
Later, despite having learned the song, she often sang over Cathia's parts when she wasn't supposed to, upsetting her rival. Cathia called her out in front of Shakira, blaming Mary for the fact that she sounded pitchy. "Just focus on your part" and forget about her, was Shakira's suggestion.
OK, time for a tangent. Is it just us or has the show become unbearably sexist since swapping out Christina Aguilera for Shakira? Twice so far, including last night, battle rounds between women have been referred to as "cat fights," and every episode we're expected to enjoy all the sexual innuendo being thrown around regarding Shakira – both from the male judges (the exception being Usher, for the most part) and the singer herself. We get it, she's "hot," her "hips don't lie" and most guys wouldn't kick her out of bed, but, seriously, it's time to move on. We're looking at you, Shakira: Shut it down.
Anyway, back to the battle. Cathia and Mary both did very well in the ring. But Shakira ultimately picked Mary to stay on her team, repeatedly pointing to how "charismatic" she is. "You're so sweet, you're like cotton candy," Shakira quipped.
As he did the previous night, Usher waited till the last minute to push his button for his final steal, weirdly smiling and laughing as Cathia stood onstage crying when she thought she was leaving a loser. As she walked off stage with her head hung low, he finally pressed his button and turned tears of sadness into tears of joy. And with that, all the coaches' teams are complete.
Team Shakira's other battle was between 19-year-old long-haired rocker Brandon Roush and 45-year-old seasoned pro Shawna P. During her blind audition, Shawna gave off a Janis Joplin vibe, with her hippie chick look and raspy voice. So, shocker, Shakira chose Joplin's signature song "Piece of My Heart" for the two to perform.
It was clear it was an unfair fight. Brandon immediately knew he was screwed: "My heart sank, Shawna is a lot like Janis, so that freaked me out." And Shawna wasn't pulling any punches, admitting flat out: "It would be very frustrating to lose to a 19-year-old. That would suck." Tell us what you really think, Shawna.
In the ring, she mopped the floor with him and Shakira went with the obvious choice, Shawna stayed and Brandon walked. Didn't see that one coming.
Also sticking around are vocal powerhouse Sarah Simmons and Amy Whitcomb on Adam Levine's team, introverted indie rocker Michelle Chamuel for Team Ursher and Justin Rivers for Blake Shelton.
Still, they can only breathe a sigh of relief till next week, when the knockout rounds come a-knockin'. With those, half the 32 hopefuls will be cut. And that's when things really start to get interesting.
Previously: Usher Makes Surprising Last-Second Steal