'The Voice' Recap: The Battle Rounds End In A Kiss - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice’ Recap: The Battle Rounds End In A Kiss

The final eliminations include a few surprises and iffy wardrobe choices

Curtis Grimes and Emily Valentine

Lewis Jacobs/NBC

The battle is over! After four weeks of separating the wheat from the people who sing like witches, The Voice‘s judges finally narrowed down the last of their troops. Here’s how it went:

Jeff Jenkins vs. Casey Desmond
There wasn’t ever much hope for Casey in this match-up, though the talking heads who led us into her sing-off would have had us believe otherwise. “Casey is interesting because I was the only one who picked Casey,” Adam said, using the opposite of logic. In fact, Casey’s history at the judges’ table made her more “doomed” than “interesting,” especially in the face of her inverse, Jeff, a big, cuddly Texan who’d sparked a bidding war between all four judges back when he sang at the blind auditions. Poor interesting Casey gave Elvis‘ “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” her best shot, singing it like a Springsteen ballad. But this time went almost exactly like the last time, except even Adam didn’t pick her.

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Xenia Martinez vs. Sarah Oromchi
Blake saved the youngest pairing as his last, 16-year-old Xenia against 18-year-old Sarah, in the most awkwardly shy duet so far, with “I’ll Stand By You.” Sarah’s voice hit a wider range than Xenia’s, but she shook off-pitch with almost all the notes. Xenia meanwhile did a great impression of a library voice. In the end, Blake went with tone over range, crowning the adorable, possibly problematically-shy Xenia, a Starbucks CD in the making.

Lily Elise vs. Cherie Oakley
Christina pitted pop against country with Avrilesque rocker Lily versus unfamous country star Cherie. Cherie’s professional successes include penning a radio hit for The Voice‘s own guest mentor, Reba McEntire, and singing backup for Carrie Underwood. She seemed poised to beat Lily, whose stage decisions involved wearing a hoodie that attached to her satin shorts by suspenders. Then, in a last-minute upset, Lily attacked “Since You’ve Been Gone” with serious stage presence, stalking the ring and hitting a very, very high note (maybe too high?). Christina praised Lily’s outfit and moved her to the finals.

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Emily Valentine vs. Curtis Grimes
Blonde bombshell Emily and cowboy-hat-bombshell Curtis made good on some latent sexual tension with a kiss at the end of their performance, a “shocking ending” that wasn’t nearly as shocking as Carson kept saying it was. Blake coined a “duet/do it” joke and Cee Lo let his jaw gently drop. As for the singers, Emily seemed way more into Curtis than he was into her. He showed zero hesitation when a cameraman asked if he’d choose singing over Emily. “I already gave up baseball for a girl, so I’m not going to lose this,” he said firmly, before showing Emily up with a stronger performance and planting a mixed-message kiss in the spirit of their song, Lady Antebellum’s soulful drunk-dialing anthem, “Need You Now.” Ten to one those two’ll be back in touch sometime around a quarter after one.

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