The Battles Premiere, Part 2
Like Celine Dion's heart, the battle rounds go on! Five pairs of artists entered the battle ring tonight, and the quality performers are quickly showing through. Here is what you need to know about Tuesday night's melange of musical performances:
Is anyone from Team Usher ever going home?
Usher, in his quiet way, has assembled a team so loaded with talent that the other coaches keep stealing it. Last night, Blake jumped on high-kicking wonder Biff Gore, and Adam won the contest to convince Jake Barker to join his team after Usher let both singers go by picking their opponents. Tonight it is another powerhouse matchup when Team Usher's Melissa Jimenez takes on Brittnee Camelle. The two pop singers duet on Melanie Fiona's "Give It to Me Right," a song Usher chooses specifically because it's got an edge and an attitude and will showcase both Melissa and Brittnee's ability to be aggressive.
It's a rough rehearsal process as Melissa and Brittnee try to find the right balance of attitude and vulnerability to sell the song. Then they hit the stage and practically set it on fire with their performance. Afterwards Adam observes that Blake was probably having a heart attack by the end. "I needed a moment," Blake admits. It's a tough call for Usher, who admits he regrets pairing them together because he wants to keep both on his team. He picks Melissa, citing his belief that she brought just a little more to the performance. Adam and Shakira immediately push their buttons to steal. Adam wins the pitch, and Brittnee joins his team. It's tough, as Shakira observes, to win over female singers when her competition is the World's Sexiest Man. Hope your boyfriend doesn't watch The Voice, Shakira.
In a montage, we see Team Usher's Brothers Walker head home after losing their battle against Morgan Wallen in a duet of Avicii's "Hey Brother." So in two nights, eight of Usher's team members have performed and seven of them are still alive. Not a bad percentage.
Also in the montage, lounge singer Ddendyl of Team Shakira out-sultries pop singer Lindsay Pagano on Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move" and Team Blake's Nashville rocker Megan Ruger beats out Ria Eaton on Avril Lavigne's "My Happy Ending."
Speaking of rockers…
Shakira has two on her team, Clarissa Serna and Jeremy Briggs. She pairs them up to sing Foreigner's "Cold as Ice." Jeremy sings classic rock as a matter of course, which Clarissa finds intimidating. But there are some high notes to hit, which is not easy for a man. The rehearsal process is tough as the two singers try to find some chemistry and really give the song an edge. Then they get onstage and find their groove, belting out the song while getting in each other's grill. The other coaches are split on which singer Shakira should keep. As with Dani Moz on Monday night, Shakira feels she can do more with the female singer and picks Clarissa as the winner, sending a disappointed Jeremy home.
If you really want to put pressure on your artists, assign them an advisor's song.
Adam pairs up singing doughnut shop employee Caleb Elder and singing Starbucks barista Delvin Choice, assigning them Team Adam advisor Aloe Blacc's song "The Man." Continuing a theme of the night, the two struggle with the song in rehearsals, disappointing Adam and Aloe. They have a lot of work to do before taking the stage.
Delvin has gone home before, after not turning a chair in Season 5, and he knows what it feels like. He doesn't want to feel it again. He and Caleb take the stage and dig deep, finding the energy that had been lacking before. Still, the coaches note some technical problems, and it's not much of a surprise when Adam picks Delvin, who is the more polished and experienced performer. Caleb admits afterwards that his nerves had gotten the better of him and his throat dried up. Ah well. We'll see Delvin in the next round.
The battles are always tough on the coaches as well as the artists. As heavy as the crown may rest on the coaches' heads, Blake, Shakira, Adam and Usher know that their artists' trials by fire now will strengthen them for the pressure cooker known as the live shows. Look for more dramatic do-or-die duets over the next few weeks as the cream rises to the top.