The Voice recap: 'The Battles Premiere, Part 2'
At least one coach is playing favorites tonight
The Voice‘s battle rounds are always pretty intense because these performers have gotten their hopes sky high after making it through the blinds, and yet only a little more than half will actually find themselves in the knockouts.
Sometimes, this round is all about picking off low-hanging fruit, but in other cases, it’s just plain unfair. Tonight, we get a little of both. Let’s take a look at who did and did not make it through tonight’s new battle series.
Team Jennifer: Davon Fleming vs. Maharasyi
“I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston
Some battles are built to be won by the preferred party, and that certainly seems to be the case with this showdown. Considering Jennifer Hudson actually did a duet with Davon Fleming to a Whitney Houston song and then the two waxed poetic about their shared love of her legacy, yeah, this song selection is obviously very intentional. And the fact that Maharasyi has struggled with the high notes, even in the blinds, makes this staccato-heavy number that much less of a match for her own skill set.
Nevertheless, Jennifer does make good on her promise to coach her recruit as well as she can, and throughout the rehearsals, she goes back to fundamentals — even distinguishing between a head voice and use of the diaphragm — to eke out the best performance possible. But despite a knockout dress and a lot of effort, the result makes Jennifer’s decision a lot easier than she lets on. But given how preferential she was in the song selection, she probably had time to practice her gracious letdown speech for Maharasyi before the battle even began.
Winner: Davon Fleming
Team Adam: Brandon Showell vs. Hannah Mrozak
“Cold Water” by Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber
Now, this one’s a little bit of a shocker. Brandon Showell has that full-package appeal — he’s got great instincts with his ad-libbed notes and his enthusiasm is infectious, so you just know he’d be a fan fave during the live series. Plus, he’s a lovely singer who’s full of surprises.
But Hannah Mrozak came to battle tonight. As the coaches deftly observe, every time Brandon starts to break away with the apparent lead, Hannah steps forward with a ridiculous note or a clean new run, so it’s like a seesaw of singing. In the end, it’s probably the fact that Hannah gets the last word — er, power note — that earns her the W over the more-than-competent Brandon, but the fact that he doesn’t even get a steal from someone else is a total surprise after what he throws down on the stage tonight. Pity, that.
Winner: Hannah Mrozak
Team Blake: Dennis Drummond vs. Mitchell Lee
“Mr. Jones” by the Counting Crows
Although these two do a swell job of harmonizing during the showcase, and Blake Shelton would label them both “East Nashville” singers for their non-country persuasions, they have very different approaches to this battle tonight.
Mitchell Lee’s coming in as a grinning crowd-pleaser who’s more concerned with hitting an accurate note than wowing Miley Cyrus with his footwork, but Dennis Drummond is pretty much freewheeling on the stage. The thing is, neither of these methods is bad, although Mitchell does skip out on some opportunities to show off his range, while Dennis tries to reach some difficult notes and flounders on a few. In the end, Mitchell is the more technically accurate singer and wins the bout, while Dennis has enough of that texture and artistry to earn a steal from Adam Levine.
Winner: Mitchell Lee
Steal: Dennis Drummond to Team Adam
Like the blinds, there are a few battles that get the montage treatment tonight. For Team Adam, it’s Dylan Gerard who emerges victorious over Dave Crosby after they sing Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes,” with Adam citing his future interest in exploring Dylan’s potential as the reason for his decision. For Team Blake, our ex-NFL star Esera Tuaolo takes out Rebecca Brunner with his more vocally astute part in their rendition of *NSYNC’s “This I Promise You” (although in the brief audio we get of their collaboration, it’s hard to discern whether either one of them was good there). And on Team Miley, Illaina Viramontes goes home after Chloe Kohanski bests her on their version of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.”
- Team Adam: Dylan Gerard, Hannah Mrozak, Adam Pearce, Anthony Alexander, Emily Luther, Brandon Brown, Jon Mero, Michael Kight, Gary Carpenter, Dennis Drummond
- Team Miley: Janice Freeman, Brooke Simpson, Ashland Craft, Addison Agen, Moriah Formica, Karli Webster, Chloe Kohanski, Katrina Rose, Megan Rose, Whitney Fenimore
- Team Jennifer: Chris Weaver, Shi-Ann Jones, Lucas Holliday, Maharasyi, Davon Fleming, Alexandra Joyce, Eric Lyn, Stephan Marcellus, Ignatius Carmouche, Jeremiah Miller, Noah Mac
- Team Blake: Mitchell Lee, Esera Tuaolo, Keisha Renee, Red Marlow, Adam Cunningham, Anna Catherine DeHart, Natalie Stovall, Ryan Scripps, Kristi Hoopes, Kathrina Feigh