About 30 minutes into Tuesday night's hour-long "Voice" Battle Rounds episode, only one actual Battle had aired. So as NBC cut to yet another commercial just before the second battling duo was about to hit the ring, I experienced that old familiar feeling of dread. I knew what was about to go down. Some poor singers were going to get…gulp…MONTAGED.
Six Battles took place on Tuesday's show, but in actuality, only three of those Battles were shown in full, complete with mentoring by guest advisors Cher, Ed Sheeran, and Miguel. The other three Battles — Team Blake's Pee-wee Herman actress E.G Daily vs. wedding-band geek Sam Cerniglia, Team Adam's diva Ashley DuBose vs. country dude Justin Blake, and Team CeeLo's "Jeffersons" enthusiast Cole Vosbury vs. flower-delivery guy Lupe Carroll — were just blink-and-you'll-miss-'em affairs, smashed together into a medley that literally lasted less than 90 seconds. Talk about a Lupe fiasco! (Sorry.)
Incidentally, the respective winners of these Battles were E.G., Ashley, and Cole. These were the outcomes I would have expected (and wanted), based on all six contestants' first auditions, so maybe NBC didn't show these Battles because they just weren't particularly suspenseful. But still. I was really looking forward to seeing all of these contestants perform again. I mean, Cole was singing Toto's "Africa"! TOTO! "AFRICA"! Do you know how AWESOME that would have been? But there's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do, because we didn't get to see that. Boooo.
Oh well. Here are the Battles we did get to see Tuesday, which, I must admit, were pretty awesome, suspenseful television in their own right:
TEAM XTINA: Jacob Poole vs. Matthew Schuler
At first, this actually seemed destined to be one of the least suspenseful Battles in "Voice" history. Rocker Jacob was a mere footnote in the Blind Auditions; he was only shown as part of a montage himself back then, and only Christina turned her chair. Meanwhile, Matthew was positioned as a Season 5 frontrunner; his audition inspired a four-chair turnaround of whiplash-inducing speed, and he was even featured in NBC's pre-season promos. However, both singers had a challenge with their Battle song, Fall Out Boy's "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light 'Em Up)." Christina Aguilera was not playing here; this song is NOT easy to sing. I wouldn't attempt it in karaoke myself, unless I'd had at least two Shelton-strength drinks. But these boys didn’t need any liquid courage. They got in the ring and they Lit. It. Up. They were on fiiii-yaaah! I thought the FOB song better suited Jacob, but both singers totally slayed it. CeeLo Green said it was one of the best Battles he'd ever witnessed. Adam Levine called it a "musical ass-whupping." And Blake said, "I was waiting for noses to start bleeding." This was another toughie for Christina. But of course, she went for the sure thing, Matthew. I was kind of hoping that Adam or CeeLo would steal Jacob, but they didn't. Well, at least Jacob finally received his much-deserved screentime…which is more than what some contestants got this evening.
TEAM CEELO: Kat Robichaud vs. R. Anthony
Gee, this was an odd pairing: the glam-rock theater girl and the gospel-belting family man. Why, CeeLo, why? CeeLo conceded that these two were total opposites, but explained that he thought they'd both have an emotional connection to the Aerosmith power ballad "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." (Kat was inspired by her recently departed father, R. by his loving wife of 12 years.) Well, maybe this could work after all. Both singers gave stellar performances, and R. impressed me in this genre much more than I thought he would. However, it was Kat who was the real rock star here. That high note in the middle? Holy moly. Amazing. CeeLo called Kat a "natural disaster, a storm" (this was a compliment, by the way), and he chose her. There was no Steal with R.'s initial on it. I guess he is going to miss a thing.
TEAM BLAKE: Monika Leigh vs. Ray Boudreaux
Monika's laid-back brand of sexycool made an impression a couple weeks ago at the Blind Auditions. However, in rehearsals this week, she was a little TOO laid-back. She floundered during "Some Kind of Wonderful," seeming insecure and hesitant and letting herself be overwhelmed by soulman Ray's big, booming, bluesy voice. Was she about to get clobbered in the ring? Apparently not. The pep talk that wise, worldly guest advisor Cher gave her did the trick, and Monika finally brought the fire. She and Ray sounded some kind of wonderful together, indeed. Blake looked like he really needed a drink as he agonized over this decision, but in the end, he was smart to pick Ray, who I truly think could win this show...and CeeLo was smart to steal Monika. "Everybody wins!" shouted Christina. Well, everyone, that is, besides those aforementioned hapless montaged contestants…
STEAL: Monika moves to Team CeeLo
Of course, all is not lost for those montage victims; remember, Cassadee Pope's Battle was not entirely shown in Season 3, and she went on to win the whole thing. We'll just have to wait and see how Cole, E.G., and Ashley fare in the Knockout Rounds. But before then, tune in next Monday for yet more Battles…and hopefully fewer montages.
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