Contestants duke it out during more battle rounds; defensive dancing might actually be a thing
If there was a theme for Monday night’s battle, it’s that a good performance is always pretty to listen to. If there was a theme for Tuesday night’s battles, it’s that a good performance can be ugly to watch. Singing is first and foremost a physical action, and sometimes, it just ain’t pretty to look at.
Tuesday’s three performances (the other three were skipped over) feature our fair singers in full-on attack mode — attacking high notes, attacking each others’ stage presence, attacking the judges preconceived notions — defensive singing at its televised best. No wonder the whole show is set on a virtual boxing ring. Ladies and gents, let’s get ready to rumbleeee!
Semi-famous face: E.G. Daily makes it through, though NBC didn’t air her battle.
Best quote: “I don’t just sit on my ass and punch little buttons.” –Cher to Blake, on why she hasn’t been around to mentor more often
And the battles go on…
TEAM CHRISTINA: JACOB POOLE VS. MATTHEW SCHULER
Song: “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ’em Up)” by Fall Out Boy
Mentor: Ed Sheeran
Battle: Coach Christina pits the preachers’ sons against each other, picking a physically demanding song that mimics the call-and-response format of church music. Though both singers are steeped in rock, Schuler (who had the fastest four-chair turn) boasts infectious giddy energy to Poole’s brooding intensity. During rehearsal, Christina notes how much the Fall Out Boy song fits Poole’s voice. Schuler initially has trouble with some inflections, but by show time, there isn’t a trace of hesitation. Onstage, it actually did look like a battle, with their voices as sonic swords, and their heavy pouncing and pacing around each other. I half-expected a referee to interject, deducting points for foot faults and excessive glaring. The song calls for vocal intensity, but the boys also added a very physical performance that made me nervous someone would pop a blood vessel. Interesting to listen to, but a bit jarring to watch!
Verdict: Nonetheless, it pumped up the crowd, with CeeLo praising their choreography and audience participation, “I’ve never seen that before.” Adam called it a “musical ass-whooping.” Blake said he was waiting for “someone’s nose to start bleeding.” Coach Christina chooses Matthew. No steals for Jacob.
TEAM CEELO: KAT ROBICHAUD VS. R. ANTHONY
Song: “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith
Battle: CeeLo pairs these two, a glam-rock-goddess and a gospel singer, because “they’re total opposites.” Indeed, during rehearsal it’s a battle of Kat’s rasps vs. R.’s runs. Even Miguel calls R. out on his excessive use of styling. But Kat has her faults, too — hesitating on the big chorus. Miguel urged her to go all out when necessary. I thought CeeLo did a good job with this match-up because the song allows their respective strengths to shine at different parts of the song, without forcing them to rip their throats apart during the same verse, as in the previous battle. And as is expected, R. sings pretty and Kat sings like she’s possessed (in a good way). Though I’ll admit, there were points where R. did surprise me with his raw powerful delivery, rather than his usual silky-smooth vocals. Kat, with her pulsating limbs, and half-snarl, is just a whole other earth-quaking entity on stage, and I like it. This was one of my favorite battles to watch.
Verdict: Adam says his biggest regret of the blind auditions was not turning his chair for Kat. Blake praises R.’s spontaneous bouts of rock combustion, but fancies Kat’s rendition more. Coach CeeLo calls her a “dynamo,” a “natural disaster,” and no need for a third metaphor, he chooses Kat.
NEXT: Who will save your soul(ful singer)?
In the interest of — we’re not sure whom — NBC decides to fast-forward through these battles:
1. TEAM CEELO: COLE VOSBURY VS. LUPE CARROLL (Winner: Cole)
2. TEAM BLAKE: E.G. DAILY VS. SAM CERNIGLIA (Winner: E.G.)
* I would have loved to watch this battle. It’s basically Tommy Pickles vs. Michael Bublé! What an interesting pairing, what with E.G.’s hoarseness and Sam’s throwback style.
3. TEAM ADAM: ASHLEY DUBOSE VS. JUSTIN BLAKE (Winner: Ashley)
And now our final battle of the week:
TEAM BLAKE: MONIKA LEIGH VS. RAY BOUDREAUX
Song: “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad
Battle: If the Blues genre had a prom and only attendees with Sequoia height and symmetrical faces were allowed in, Monika and Ray would be prom king and queen. “I just thought it’d make for a badass battle,” said Blake. Yes, a very beautiful and chemistry-filled one it was! But you wouldn’t think that based off their rehearsals. It was interesting to watch some of the singers actually struggle, or even clash with their mentors. Ray had trouble hitting the high notes, while Monika couldn’t sing the same way twice, with Cher chastising her inconsistency. “Be secure before you go there,” Cher warned. (And she should know; it takes maximum self-security to don body fishnet stockings and showgirl headpieces past
20 any age.) Battle-wise, this was my favorite because it actually looked and sounded like a sweet duet. Ray sang loud and hit his high notes and Monika surprised us with some seriously smoky runs. Also, can we talk about their chemistry? Yes, this is a singing competition, but they need to date, stat.
Verdict: The judges all praised the pairing, and in particular lauded Ray’s talents. “You can sang, Ray,” said CeeLo. “Sky’s the limit for you,” said Adam. Coach Blake chose Ray. But just as Monika was giving her suspiciously slow final words, CeeLo swoops in for the save. “You definitely got good taste in soul music, c’mon we can do it!” he said.
Favorite Moment: While Blake was contemplating his choice, a tiny voice broke the crowd silence with what sounded like “Blakeee!” It was Ray’s adorable 3-year-old daughter. Also, now we can see where she gets those pipes.
-I’m still not over the loss of Timyra-Joi from Monday night, are you?
-Not being a singer myself, I never realized the potential for intense displays of physicality these performances require (barring highly choreographed dance routines).
-This Ray-Monika synergy! Yowza!
-I chuckled to myself several times whenever Carson casually delivered the contestants’ life stories as infomercial taglines: The single dad with the smooth voice! The preacher’s son who works at a bagel shop! The hotel worker…. I wonder if they ever thought their lives would be boiled down to an NBC-approved synopsis generically delivered by the Total Request Live host?
-What did you think of the judges’ choices? Did Jacob or R. Anthony deserve a steal? What are the best battles so far? Sound off in the comments.