Christina Aguilera is bound and determined that season 10 will be the one in which The Voice finally breaks its “girl curse” — that is, that no female coach has guided a contestant to victory — but Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, and Blake Shelton aren’t going down easily.
The third battle round continues to prove that every team but Blake’s has strong pop, rock, and soul artists on tap, and even Blakeville manages to snag a new team resident that might just give him the edge he’s been looking for.
Coming into the night there are actually three steals still on the table, and two of them will go to good use since, as has been mentioned a time or two, the talent pool on tap for the 10th go at this show really is intense.
Let’s take it from the top.
Battle No. 1 (Team Blake): Adam Wakefield vs. Jared Harder
Song: “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band
Jared, the singer who put his career on hold to do tornado relief after his hometown was ravaged a few years back, has a lot of talent and drive. But he’s absolutely blown away (pardon the terrible pun) when he goes up against Adam Wakefield. Blake considers them both to be his “two big voice dudes,” hence the pairing here, but they’re anything but equal on-stage. As “The Great Gwen Stefani” (hey, that’s Blake’s moniker for her, not ours) notes during the practice sessions, Adam’s got a lot of natural groove to his performance, while Jared’s still got a lot to learn about stage presence.
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Adam handily wins over all four coaches — the most important of course being Blake, who believes that his soulful voice can be stretched outside of his country comfort zone in the coming weeks (um, yes please).
NEXT: Dammmmn Daniel …
Battle No. 2 (Team Pharrell): Emily Keener vs. Jonathan Bach
Song: “Explosions” by Ellie Goulding
At just 17 years young, Emily Keener — the “effervescent” vocal dead ringer for Amy Lee from Evanescence — has got her coach Pharrell wrapped around her pinky finger. So, it’s no surprise that even though her performance isn’t nearly as good as when she brought it to the blinds, he gives her a pass anyway.
Judging by this performance alone, Jonathan arguably wins the battle due to her unevenness and discomfort with the song (which is exactly why Christina pegs him as the night’s winner). Even Emily is surprised when she’s won. But Jonathan had to accept a lot of preparatory instruction from “The Pioneer” Diddy to rep the song’s emotion on the stage, and Pharrell can’t help but remind himself and his adviser of his gut feeling that Em is something special all the while. He chooses Emily not because she’s the strongest of the night but because he thinks she has the biggest long-term potential for the rest of the competition. Tough break for JB.
Battle No. 3 (Team Christina): Daniel Passino vs. Kristen Marie
Song: “Turning Tables” by Adele
Kristen’s got a gorgeous and nuanced voice, there’s no doubt about that. She even draws comparisons to some of today’s most iconic female artists, like Sia, Adele, and Lana Del Rey. But Daniel’s a born performer who has aspirations for the biggest of the big times (like being a student of the school of Michael Jackson, he hopes).
When they take the stage together, Kristen follows the instruction of her coach and adviser Patti LaBelle and tries to introduce a few new octave arrangements throughout the emotional number (many clap hand emojis for the effort, gal), but Daniel’s way too polished to beat. All four coaches pick him as their winner, albeit for different reasons — for Blake, for example, it’s his enunciation that wins the day, whereas Pharrell likes his note choices. Christina says Daniel gets to stay on her team because he’s who she feels is more in tuned to season- (and perhaps career-) long goals. Co-signed.
Battle No. 4 (Team Pharrell): Abby Celso vs. Brian Nhira
Song: “Sugar” by Maroon 5
Brian, the mission trip-frequenting saint who spends his life outside of The Voice inspiring youths across the world, earns himself quite a few nicknames throughout the duration of this battle round. Diddy dubs him “Glasses and Swag” while Christina calls him the “Smooth Operator,” and smooth swagger is exactly how he operates when he comes out tonight. The subdued arrangement he and Abby have put together for Adam Levine’s higher-than-high-noted song just so happens to compliment his ease of range, and he has the other coaches singing his praises after the performance is done.
Of course, Abby’s no slouch, and her tones are as solid as anyone of the night. But it still comes as something of a surprise when Pharrell, acting on “faith,” decides to keep Abby on his team. He seems to make the decision knowing it’s Brian who’ll get the steal bid out of the pair (indeed he gets two and ultimately chooses Adam, who delights in his “sweet, beautiful human being”-ness as well as his potential to be a “game-changer” for Team Adam). Pharrell pegs his choice on Abby’s range and the fact that she’s come out “swinging for the fence,” but the fact that he keeps insisting they both need to remain on the show suggests … otherwise.
Steal: Brian to Team Adam
NEXT: Is she *really* “unbeatable”? …
Battle No. 5 (Team Adam): Caroline Burns vs. Mike Schiavo
Song: “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor (ft. John Legend)
Caroline, the Emma Roberts look-alike who barely clears five feet and has an elegant little voice, is continuing to make the season 9 coaching squad look bad with her reign of awesome. Mike gets points for keeping his co-performance measured and duet-friendly (or, as Adam puts it, not “squashing Caroline into oblivion” with might) and even earns Christina’s nod for the win. But when these two take the stage, where everyone else is concerned, it’s pretty much the Caroline Burns show all day.
She’s got control, sweetness, and a surprising amount of power all wrapped into one steady little bundle, and she positively floats around the stage during the battle. It’s not even close. Adam picks her to win for two reasons: (1) She’s got more to show us all yet, and (2) He knows America’s gonna eat this little lady up (although maybe not as condescendingly as Blake does, with that “yes you are” goo goo gaga baby talk business).
Battle No. 6 (Team Christina) Alisan Porter vs. Lacy Mandigo
Song: “California Dreamin’” by Sia (orig. The Mamas and The Papas)
Lucy Mandigo, the daughter of a heavy metal singer who Patti LaBelle considers a “hot mama” with all her funky tones, does her best to transform the dreamy (and for her, unfamiliar) classic into something from her bluesy-soul background. And she proves that she’s not intimidated by her competitor’s experience — or her Wikipedia page, for that matter. The second
Curly Sue Alisan Porter jumps in, though, she auto-escalates the decibels, power, and crowd enthusiasm from the first verse.
You might recall Alisan was a coach fave during the blinds, earning all four chair turns, but there were a lot of viewers who had vocal reservations about all the clamoring the coaching quartet did for her. But the back-and-forth hand-off between Alisan and Lacy tonight — the most duel-ish duet of the evening — allows her to emerge victorious. Christina feels confident that she’s got the “unbeatable” contestant of the season on her side here.
But it’s not all she wrote for Lacy, the 18-year-old rocker-in-the-making. Her gruff texture is enough to get Blake’s attention, and he uses his precious steal to save her from the exit sign, convinced that a better song choice will show them all something they haven’t gotten to see tonight. (Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Lacy says she’s once again had a dream premonition which proves spookily true by Blake’s decision.)
Steal: Lacy to Team Blake
The Other Battles: Jonathan Hutcherson and Moushumi from Team Pharrell face off with Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph,” and her “twinkly runs” impress Pharrell enough to keep the single-monikered artist on his roster for another round. Meanwhile, Katherine Ho and Lily Green invoked “Lovefool” for Team Adam, earning Katherine the night’s win. Finally, Team Blake’s Angie Keilhauer and Teresa Guidry took the “Backseat of Greyhound Bus” to victoryland for Angie.
- Team Adam: Brian Nhira, John Gilman, Caroline Burns, Laith Al-Saadi, Katherine Ho, Nate Butler, Jessica Crosbie, Ryan Quinn, Owen Danoff, and Matt Tedder
- Team Pharrell: Caity Peters, Nick Hagelin, Abby Celso, Joe Vivona, Emily Keener, Hannah Huston, Moushumi, Shalyah Fearing, and Malik Heard
- Team Christina: Bryan Bautista, Alisan Porter, Kata Hay, Támar Davis, Daniel Passino, Joe Maye, Maya Smith, and Ayanna Jahneé
- Team Blake: Lacy Mandigo, Paxton Ingram, Mary Sarah, Adam Wakefield, Angie Keilhauer, Brittany Kennell, Peyton Parker, Gina Castanzo, Trey O’Dell, and Katie Basden