On night two of The Voice Battle Round, coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Usher and Shakira had the opportunity yet again to send home contestants who, just one round ago, they vowed to fight for to the end. First lesson of the music industry, kids: if it’s not in a contract, it’s definitely not gonna happen.
The option to steal came out in a big way again. It’s hard to imagine this round without it. The steal really is a game changer on The Voice, which has become Carson Daly’s sole duty to remind us of, on loop, every episode. If nothing else, it gives the battle loser that one shiny glimmer of hope that they could still pursue their dreams — a glimmer that, mostly, fades into tears upon effectively receiving a double-rejection.
Excited yet? Let’s see whose hopes were shattered, and who’s lived to see another day during Tuesday’s Battle Round.
Team Adam: Michael Austin vs. Warren Stone
Like a game of pickup ball, it’s a showdown between cops and firefighters in the Team Adam battle. The country singers, Sheriff Michael Austin and firefighter Warren Stone, duke it out with a performance of Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party.”
During rehearsals, Michael struggles with a few of the higher notes, but with good reason: between the Blind Auditions and the Battle Round, the hardcore country singer had a tumor removed from his sinus cavity. “It will be a challenge for him to relearn how to sing,” says his coach.
Mentor Hillary Scott advises the dueling country crooners to work together. “When you hop up on that harmony, it just lifts it.”
Indeed, Michael and Warren’s harmonies are the highlight of the performance. Warren has a smooth quality in his tone, but his voice is not quite as strong as Michael’s. Nasal surgery be damned, Michael obviously relearned how to sing! Beyond that, his
style is surely…something. “It’s almost like Stone Cold Michael Austin,” says Blake of Michael’s intimidation factor and black ten-gallon cowboy hat. “Michael, you seem like you captured the essence of that outlaw Aldean thing,” Blake continued, handing his vote of confidence to the cop.
Usher, on the other hand, says Warren gives country “swag.” Come on, Usher, Warren doesn’t even have a hat!
Swag is apparently what coach Adam was looking for, because he advances Warren to the Knockout Round. “I’m bummed just to go home and say I was beaten by a firefighter,” Michael laments offstage.
Team Usher: Jeff Lewis vs. Josiah Hawley
Brace yourself: Scary Usher is coming! The coach pairs former Capitol Records singer Jeff Lewis against former model Josiah Hawley. It’s a total battle of the team hotties, but that doesn’t mean Scary Usher will go easy on them.
The “Climax” crooner selects The Police’s “Roxanne,” and damn if that’s not the wrong song for anyone other than Sting to sing. Perhaps related to the song choice, the rehearsal run-throughs do not go well. When Jeff laughs nervously after butchering the song, Scary Usher comes out. “What’s funny? Why are you smiling? Is this funny to you?” he demands, stopping any laughter or smiles from any future contestant ever. “This is a battle. You have to take it seriously, man!’
After this, he has the two duke it out over the mic in another performance, but stops short at having them fight to the death over it. Terrified and not really ready, Jeff and Josiah take the stage.
It is not good. Every time the name “Roxanne” is sung, someone winces. (If you’re keeping track, “Roxanne” is sung 27 times during the original song.)
“The audience loves it. But I wasn’t impressed,” says Shakira.
“It did fall flat a little bit,” says Adam.
The most soaring praise they get is from Blake, who tells them “I didn’t think it was too bad.”
Usher gives them a consolation non-complimentary compliment, “I first want to applaud both of you for the hard work you put into the preparation for this.” That’s the equivalent of the “also ran” ribbon. In choosing between who sounded the least bad, Usher advances Josiah. Unsurprisingly, no one steals Jeff.
Team Usher: Audrey Karrasch vs. Jamila Thompson
Team Usher’s un-televised battle of the evening pits former model/aspiring pop singer Audrey Karrasch against R&B singer Jamila Thompson. Ursh chooses the model, and Audrey Karrasch advances to the Knockout Round.
Team Blake: Caroline Glaser vs. Danielle Bradbery
Caroline Glaser and Danielle Bradbery represent the 18-and-under crowd tonight. Blake pairs his two youngest team members — 18 and 16, respectively — and magic ensues!
Blake selects Corinne Bailey Rae’s lighthearted “Put Your Records On,” and it fits the two perfectly. Mentor Sheryl Crow notes, “[Caroline] has a very unique voice. That really sets you apart in this contest.” Caroline also responds immediately to Blake’s guidance, which always scores bonus points with this crew!
Danielle, however, is the powerhouse of the team. Every note she sings seems effortless, and she seamlessly transitions between forceful notes and sweet falsetto.
Both ladies heed their coach’s advice to “practice the crap out of it” (so eloquent), and are ready to go on the big night.
Their performance is fun and flawless. Caroline and Danielle earn big compliments from all of the judges, who are poised with their hands over their steal buttons, awaiting Blake’s decision. “Your performance was as refreshing as tangerine ice cream!” Shakira says. Nom nom, indeed.
“Danielle’s performance was more perfect, but there’s something more ethereal and magical about your voice,” Adam tells Caroline, hedging his bets for whoever is in the steal position.
Blake struggles to decide between the evenly-matched pair. Ultimately, he picks perfection over quirk, and selects Danielle. “I don’t know what your parents are feeding you, but I want a big loaf of that. Your natural singing ability blows my mind,” he tells Caroline.
Instantly, Adam and Usher jump in for the steal. “Caroline, what you do astonishes me. I don’t know why I didn’t hop to it earlier,” Adam says.
“Gushing! I’m Gusher!” says Usher, who is mighty proud of himself for the new moniker. “I’m willing to set myself on fire,” he continues, admittedly stealing a line from Adam’s grovel script.
Caroline picks Adam, possibly because choosing both a gusher that is a potential fire hazard sounds more like a natural disaster than a coach. Zero for 2 on the steal attempts for Ursh.
Team Blake: Grace Askew vs. Trevor Davis
On the un-televised front, Team Blake pairs “bluntry” singer Grace Askew with country singer Trevor Davis. Unfortunately for Trevor, whose Blind Auditions were also un-televised, Grace makes it to the Knockout Round. We barely-slash-not-at-all knew thee, Trevor.
Team Shakira: Mark Andrew vs. Tawnya Reynolds
Though Shakira does not have a Battle explosive enough to make the episode, she does fill one more of her Knockout round slots. Rock singer Mark Andrew battles with country singer Tawnya Reynolds. The country crooner comes out victorious, advancing to the Knockouts.
Up next week, Carson Daly promises a steal that challenges the rules of the competition! It’s never been seen before! What could it be!?
Let’s think about it, folks. Unless Shakira jumps out of her chair, hijacks Usher’s steal button and tries to claim a third steal (she’s feisty; it’s possible), one of the coaches clearly must try to steal their own contestant. The fact that no one thought of this until
this season is the only real surprise here. Who will pitch the biggest fit about a fellow judge outsmarting the rules?