On a busy night of reality tv finales – Hines Ward was winning mirror balls, losers were determining who was bigger and Idols were singing countless rounds of country music, The Voice conducted its third set of Battle Rounds. Each coach continued to pick off their valued team members as they determine the four each of them will push into the live performance round. I have been pretty critical of this show in recent weeks for numerous reasons: the contestants appear secondary to the coaches, the insistence that the coaches aren’t judges, the lack of any coaching actually making it to the screen and the counterproductive ‘Battle Round’format itself. While each of those criticisms stand, this week, however, at least some coaching was evident, although the input of the coaches and their trusted (and largely useless advisors) resulted in the worst battle performance to date and three mediocre ones. Let’s take a look at each one:
Raquel vs. Julia — Christina chose Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl in the World‘for her ‘˜female dynamos’. Christina actually seemed to have a plan in how this song was going to work for both performers, and even had suggestions in how to address the dreaded pitch problems she was hearing during rehearsal. Of course, she also felt it necessary to comment on how her nerves sometimes make her want to ‘throw up or pee her pants.’Nice. The performance itself wasn’t anything special and only noteworthy in how loud the band played, drowning out the voices of both performers. Unless this show changes its name to ‘The Craptastic Background Band’, I would think the producers might want to address that. Christina chooses Raquel, seemingly because she had more of a swagger rather than her actual singing ability. I also have to take a moment here to comment on Christina’s appearance, which to me, has become the biggest story coming out of this show. I realize she isn’t a teenager anymore, has had children and recently went through a divorce, but when exactly did she become a marionette?
Dia vs. Serabee — Blake sure seemed proud of himself for making these two polar opposites sing ‘You Can’t Hurry Love‘. Of course he took credit for this marvelous choice before he saw how it all ended up, otherwise, he never would have opened his mouth. Reba actually chimed in to craft how the song would start for each of the women, which would represent her greatest contribution to the show to date. Blake’s coaching consisted of telling Dia to control her nerves and instructed Serabee not to over-sing, advice that both of them seemingly ignored on what turned out to be the worst of the ‘battles’televised thus far. Dia seemed sheepish throughout, almost whispering at times, while Serabee vocally stepped all over Dia during the last half of the song and jammed a few runs in that Blake clearly wasn’t happy with. While far from distinguishing herself, Dia was the easy selection as Serabee was unbearable.
Rebecca vs. Devon — Out of the four judges, I appreciate how Adam Levine is approaching this show and the battle rounds, in particular. His song selections are relevant and timely (as opposed to Blake’s, which are dated and tedious), and while ‘Creep‘isn’t a song covered often, there isn’t much dust on it. Adam also seems to actually have a plan in his head as to who he matches up and how the songs themselves will be performed. Although his advice to ‘access your inner freak’may not have been the most insightful of comments, it nevertheless seemed to work as the low-key Devon rose to the occasion in performing a song he was previously unfamiliar with. Rebecca, who stated she loved both the song and the original artist, Radiohead, didn’t do much at all with her time on the microphone. Adam sided with Devon, so Rebecca returns to sleeping in her car.
Tori & Taylor Thompson vs. Kelsey — I suppose Monica singing a little bit of the chosen song qualifies as contributing. Cee-Lo didn’t add much himself, but did approve of the impromptu choreography, and suggested Kelsey tap one of the not-Thompson twins to get it going. In the end, singing ‘Unwritten‘resulted in a performance that made the entire television audience diabetic with the icky sweetness of all three performers. Even Adam Levine felt it necessary to comment that it was ‘Too cute’and didn’t’even bother to state who he felt won the battle. The Thompsons move on to justify the producers allowing duos into the competition.
So with 75% of the Battle Rounds complete, I’m still as underwhelmed as ever but will keep watching to see what else Christina might transform into next.