Reality Rocks (New)

‘The Voice’ Battle Rounds, Pt. 2: Civil Servant Wars & Montages Gone Askew

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

The "Voice" Season 4 Battle Rounds continued this Tuesday, and while three of the night's Battles were frustratingly combined into a single montage, robbing three talented victors of the screentime they so deserved, overall I was okay with all six Battles' outcomes. So, without further ado, here's what went down during Tuesday's Battle Rounds:

TEAM ADAM: Michael Austin vs. Warren Stone
It was the "battle of the civil servants," the sheriff vs. the fireman, ironically doing an outlaw country song, Jason Aldean's "My Kind of Party." While Warren seemed like the total package from the start--which is my politically correct way of saying that he's hot, so women would vote for him--his smooth voice wasn't quite the right match for the party-hardy Aldean anthem. Michael, perhaps drawing on his Vegas-entertainer experience, definitely seemed like the one who was ready to party, and he attacked the song with much more intensity, despite having recently recovered from an operation to remove a tumor in his sinus canal. Michael simply stormed the Battle Rounds ring like he was entering a WWE ring (Blake Shelton later compared him to a pro wrestler), while Warren appeared a little uncomfortable and seemed to be holding back. So, if Adam Levine had been making his decision based on what "The Voice" is supposed to be all about, he probably would've gone with Michael. But Adam is a shrewd strategist who plays to win, so of course he went with Warren. Adam claimed his reason for choosing Warren was that Warren has more "diversity" to his voice, so let's hope Adam picks different types of songs for him in the future. Frat-dude country music really isn't Warren's thing.
WINNER: Warren

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TEAM USHER: Josiah Hawley vs. Jeff Lewis
Usher really gave these two a trial by fire by making them sing the Police's "Roxanne," not just because Sting always sings in the key of a eunuch, but because Juliet Simms set the "Voice" bar impossibly high for this song in Season 2. Rehearsals didn't go so well. Both contestants sounded like they were singing the lyrics off a teleprompter, with zero sense of longing and none of the "mystique" that Usher was hoping for; vocally, they were unimpressive; and when Jeff tried to laugh off his rehearsal struggles, he received a stern drill-sergeant lecture from Usher, who was not amused. When the guys finally got in the ring, Josiah stepped it up a notch; I suppose his broodingly handsome Dylan McKay-like looks made him seem a little more convincing, as he sang the song to the imaginary prostitute of his dreams. Jeff, in the meantime, was still about as emotive as, well, Carson Daly. (Not to be mean, but I was beginning to understand why none of the music he recorded while briefly signed to Interscope Records ever came out. He had no star quality.) Overall, this Battle was underwhelming, but Josiah definitely was the better of the two, so of course he prevailed. And of course, no one used a Steal on Jeff.
WINNER: Josiah

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TEAM BLAKE: Grace Askew vs. Trevor Davis
TEAM USHER: Audrey Karrasch vs. Jamila Thompson
TEAM SHAKIRA: Tawnya Reynolds vs. Mark Andrew
I HATE "VOICE" MONTAGES SO HARD. Hate! Granted, I still have no idea who Trevor and Jamila are, since their auditions were also cruelly "montaged." But Grace was one of the most memorable auditioners of Season 4, and my personal favorite. The tiny snippet NBC showed this Tuesday of Grace singing "Me & Bobby McGee" with Trevor seemed awesome, so why not show the whole thing? Boo. Ditto for Audrey and Tawnya, whose Blind Auditions were so enjoyable. (I especially would have liked to see more of Tawnya singing the Stevie Nicks bits in Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain.") The only good news here? Grace, Audrey, and Tawnya all won their Battles. So I guess I'll just have to wait until the Knockout Rounds to see these knockout ladies again.
WINNERS: Grace, Audrey, Tawnya

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TEAM BLAKE: Caroline Glaser vs. Danielle Bradbery
Blake pitted these two against each other due to their similar levels of experience: Caroline is a coffeehouse crooner who only played to audiences of about 30 people before going on "The Voice," and 16-year-old Danielle, the youngest contestant of Season 4, never played any sort of major gig before coming on the show. So this was a well-matched Battle, and Blake made another sound decision when he gave them a song that worked with both of their girly voices, Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On." Caroline sounded pretty here, but she had the sort of overly precious, cloying indie-girl voice that I'd heard many times (and heard done better) on "The Voice" before. Danielle possessed more vocal power, but she knew how to rein it in and not overpower the song; I was impressed with such skills for a girl her age. I wasn't surprised that Danielle won this Battle, but what was surprising was that two coaches, Usher and Adam, aggressively went in for the Steal. Caroline eventually went with Adam, after Blake basically threw Usher under the bus by stressing that Caroline needed to go with a coach that could nurture her "singer-songwriter" side. Maybe there's something about Caroline that I'm just not picking up on, because I don't quite get it yet. But I'll be curious to see what Adam can do with her.
WINNER: Danielle
STEAL: Caroline moves to Team Adam

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