'The Voice' Recap: Usher Gets Huffy - Rolling Stone
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‘The Voice’ Recap: Usher Gets Huffy

The battle rounds heat up as Adam Levine steals singer

Week one of The Voice battle rounds is over, and it seems like newbie coach Usher’s true colors are beginning to bleed through.

The R&B singer came across as uber-laid back and borderline cocky-cum-class clown during the blind auditions, spending a lot of time nodding his head with one leg up on his chair trying to look like Mr. Cool. During the battle rounds last night, though, he started to show a different side of himself: One that’s not quite as appealing to us.

‘The Voice’: Rolling Stone’s Complete Coverage

In a short but sweet episode, one of three featured battles belonged to Team Ursher, (as he sometimes pronounces his own name). He pitted Jeff Lewis against Josiah Hawley, two good-looking, confident guys. Baby-faced Lewis, who sang one of Usher’s songs during the blind auditions, is an artist looking for a second chance after being dropped from his Interscope Records deal; while Hawley is a chiseled-jaw model who sang a Maroon 5 track. In a nutshell, neither of them lacks confidence, leaving a lot of ego – including Usher’s – to squeeze into one rehearsal room.

From the get-go, Jeff seemed to rub his coach the wrong way by wearing a perpetual smirk while rehearsing “Roxanne” by the Police. When Jeff cracked a smile and laughed after flubbing a line, Usher had had enough, sternly asking, “Is this funny to you? You gotta take this serious.” And he wasn’t joking. He seemed genuinely pissed that this guy wasn’t laser-focused and in awe of being in his mere presence.  

That disdain seemed to carry over onto the stage, as Usher gave some serious stink-eye as Jeff smiled his way through the song. It was an easy win for Josiah, who had a decent voice to go along with his Abercrombie & Fitch-like sex appeal – and the loss for Jeff quickly wiped the smirk right off his face for the first time. Mess with the bull, you get the boot.

In another slight outburst, though not as apparent, Usher got a little huffy when he had to go head-to-head with Adam Levine for a steal.

For some stupid reason, Blake Shelton paired two of his cutest contestants together – 18-year-old singer/songwriter Caroline Glaser and doe-eyed 16-year-old country girl Danielle Bradbery. The two girls don’t have as much experience as some of the other contestants in the competition, but you’d never know it.

Shakira called their duet of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” as “refreshing as tangerine ice cream” while Adam lamented that he couldn’t believe he didn’t turn his chair for Caroline’s “ethereal and magical voice” during the blinds.

But as soon as Blake crowned Danielle the victor, Adam got a chance to right his wrong by pushing his button to steal. Only thing is, Usher beat him by a millisecond. So, when host Carson Daly asked Adam to plead his case first, Usher wasn’t having it. “I hit my button first!” he protested while jumping out of his seat. In a desperate attempt to come out on top, Usher then stole Adam’s “I’ll set myself on fire if I don’t have you” line, which fell flat.

In the end, Adam indeed got the leg up as Caroline chose to be on his team. Backstage, Usher bristled by her as he stormed off to his room to drown himself in a pint of ice cream. (OK, we embellished that part. But you never know.)

Other artists making the cut were single dad and firefighter Warren Stone for Team Adam, country singer Grace Askew for Team Blake, North Carolina model Audrey Karrasch for Team Usher and Nashville artist Tawnya Reynolds for Team Shakira.

Next week, as the battle rounds continue, we’ll see how this whole new Attitude Usher unfolds. Maybe he was just having a bad day? 

Previously: Shakira Steals Two of Adam Levine’s Singers


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