Welcome to The Voice battle rounds, where two acts from the same team go head-to-head in a sing-off, and only one can be victorious.
However, the losing artist still has a chance to stick around, as each of the four coaches gets two steals per season. To put it bluntly, one coach’s trash becomes another’s potential treasure.
Hands down, the battle of the night was between Judith Hill and Karina Iglesias from Adam Levine’s team. Why in the world he would pit his two best singers against each other is beyond us – except, of course, he probably doesn’t have as much say as the show claims. But we digress, and instead we’ll pretend to believe it was because he’s a “stupid person with bad ideas,” as he said.
A quick refresher: 28-year-old Hill is a former backup singer for Michael Jackson who got all four coaches to turn during the blind auditions, while 35-year-old Iglesias is a music teacher who had Adam and Blake Shelton playing a game of button-pushing chicken.
During their battle, Judith and Karina did a virtually seamless rendition of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” in which their voices aligned and sounded very similar. It was made clear, though, that Hill has a more seasoned, soulful sound compared to Iglesias’ rocker-chick grit.
In the end, Adam picked Judith, saying she “oozes charisma and confidence.” His choice wasn’t shocking, considering she has a better backstory and a more mainstream look than Iglesias. What was surprising was that Shakira was the only person interested in stealing Iglesias, who gave an amazing performance. But at this point the coaches are clearly factoring looks, personality and backstory into the equation, and Iglesias might be a hard sell to voters.
Shakira’s other steal also came from Team Adam, in the form of 30-year-old New Yorker Sasha Allen, who was a successful backup singer until she put her career on hold to start a family. In that round, Adam favored 19-year-old country girl Amber Carrington, who recently lost her mother to cancer. With Adam’s obsession with beating Blake at the country game, it seemed like a no-brainer for him to keep Amber. But it may not be the best move, as Blake is building one hell of a boot-scootin’ army.
Speaking of Blake, he didn’t even pretend to have much interest in creating a diverse team, choosing both of his acts based purely on the fact they classify themselves as “country.” After Texan Holly Tucker and New Yorker Michelle Raitzin duked it out on Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away,” Shelton said, “Feels like a dead-even tie, so I gotta go with what’s natural for me and what I’m good at, and that’s country.” Hey, Holly, that’s you.
And it was basically the same formula for his next battle, between geek-chic Christian Porter and country duo the Swon Brothers. After they all performed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” it seemed like a draw to Blake since “nobody crapped the bed,” as he so eloquently put it, adding, “It’s better for me to stick with what I know . . .” So, the Swon Brothers got an E-ZPass.
Back on Team Shakira, 17-year-old two-timer Garrett Gardner battled 26-year-old J’sun on “How You Like Me Now.” Despite having age and experience on his side, J’sun never stood a fighting chance, as the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer continuously oohed and aahed over Garrett during rehearsals. “I have a weakness for Garrett,” she admitted, after calling him a “young Jim Morrison.” Keep your hips in check, Shakira.
Meanwhile, Usher got his first taste of underhandedness when Blake swayed him to choose bluesy Jess Kellner over mousy gymnast-turned-singer Taylor Beckham after their version of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” Blake then stole Taylor, saying he had used reverse psychology to get what he wanted. Though, we’re not really sure why he wanted her so bad, since her voice sounded weak and her stage presence left much to be desired. But, hey, what do we know? He has won the competition twice. And, well, we haven’t.
Previously: Adam Levine Has Advantage as Blind Auditions End