Cee Lo Green Makes Final Steal on 'The Voice' - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice’ Recap: Final Steal by Cee Lo Green Ends Battle Rounds

Mixed-bag teams prepare to move on to knockout rounds

It was the final night of the battle rounds on The Voice, and Cee Lo Green was the lone coach left with a steal. 

Producers of the show must have been thrilled that the big climax coincided with Cee Lo’s arrest for allegedly drugging a woman before having sex with her, turning his creepy-cool vibe into just plain creepy. Now when he says things like, “I will put you in some different positions – professional positions” to a female contestant while peering over his dark sunglasses, it carries a more ominous tone.

Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage of ‘The Voice’ 

But, luckily, the truncated one-hour episode featured mostly male pairings, kicking off with Cee Lo pitting Iraq war veterans Johnny Gray against Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith, proving that these battle rounds have an underlying purpose: to eliminate redundancies when it comes to contestants’ looks and backstory. There is room for only one war vet on the show, and that distinguishment went to Johnny.

Singing “Refugee” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – you know, because they’re war vets, in case you didn’t catch that – long-haired Johnny had a smoother, if not nasally, voice and a subtler command of the stage, whereas bouncer-esque Big Sexy stomped around sounding strained. “Tom Petty songs are deceptively hard to sing,” Adam Levine noted. “I hear the soldier in the song,” Cee Lo said before picking Johnny, because “he cuts through, is clearer and I see more of a path with him.”

With that, Big Sexy was sent packing since none of the other coaches had a steal to use.

Next up were Barry Black and Preston Pohl from Team Adam. And, again, it was obvious why they were put together – they looked exactly alike. We’re talking twinsies, right down to the dark hair, glasses and goatees. Of course, Adam glossed over their striking similarities, saying he paired the two on the Temptations‘ “I Wish It Would Rain” because they “both love soul music.”

Adam warned Samoan mouth-trumpeter Barry about getting too gimmicky with his unusual talent. And, indeed, when Barry busted out “his thing,” Adam cautioned it could be seen as “humorous” and trivialize his performance, but he still did it anyway.

During the battle, Preston’s soulful, gravelly voice overpowered Barry’s smoother vocals, and the mouth-trumpet made everyone laugh but didn’t seem to help Barry’s cause. “The horn sounded very natural, and I encourage you to do something different,” Adam said before giving Barry the boot in favor of Preston, who gave him “goosebumps.”

Despite Barry and Cee Lo seeming like they might make a good team – and Blake Shelton egging him on to steal – Cee Lo passed on the mouth-trumpeter.

In the end, it took cruise ship singer Stephanie Anne Johnson to make Cee Lo part with his steal.

Christina had paired Stephanie with country girl Olivia Henken, seemingly lobbing the stereotypically pretty blonde a homerun by picking the Band Perry’s “Done” as the battle song. In fact, Stephanie had never even heard the song before. Still, she powered through. But she was no match for Olivia’s Carrie Underwood-like looks, and Christina went with the safe choice, calling Olivia consistent, charismatic and spunky.

But before host Carson Daly could even say Stephanie was up for grabs, Cee Lo hit his button because he was impressed with what she did with a song that was so far out of her wheelhouse. And with that, not only was the last steal gone, but the last spot on any team was taken. (Also making it through were Holly Henry and Brandon Chase from Team Blake and Tamara Chauniece from Team Cee Lo.)  

But the fight has only just begun, as the knockout rounds start next week. Better rest up!

Previous recap: Adam Levine Makes Surprise Steals


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