Tonight's battle rounds forced the coaches to make hard choices and send a few favorites home.

By Esther Zuckerman
Updated July 30, 2020 at 08:04 AM EDT
The Voice Recap
Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC
S7 E9

The competitions in this third night of battle rounds often left me feeling frustrated. In some cases the coaches’ choice of song seemed tailor-made for one contestant over the other, like in the case of Adam picking “Yellow” for Matt McAndrew and Ethan Butler. In others it seemed that a more unique voice was getting passed over for a more widely appealing sound. Take, for instance, the battle between Ryan Sill and Jessie Pitts, though Jessie was ultimately saved by Blake. Perhaps it’s just that I generally liked this batch of contestants, but this night left me wishing that nearly everyone could get another chance.

Best Performance

Yes, I’ve said this before, but it’s easy to pick the last performance of the night as the best. The show is edited so as to blow a viewer away in that way. Not only that, but DaNica Shirey and Toia Jones had an emotional build-up in the footage of their rehearsals, as they bonded over the loss of their fathers. The women ultimately delivered on their performance of Beyoncé’s “Halo.” Both DaNica and Toia belted fiercely, but seemed to be in sync, not trying to over-sing each other. As Adam remarked so eloquently they “slayed the dragon” that is the song and then “slapped it in the face to know it was dead.” Pharrell’s pick of DaNica ultimately seemed arbitrary. Plus, it was obvious that Toia was going to get snapped up by another coach anyway, and she did, choosing Adam—who went over and hung with her family—over Gwen.


I’m pretty sure Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has made Coldplay’s “Yellow” trendy again, but that’s not to discredit the fact that Matt McAndrew and Ethan Butler’s rendition was lovely. Even though their voices were somewhat mismatched—McAndrew certainly had the advantage when it came to that specific song—they made it sound effortless and thrilling. (That jump McAndrew did!) “You guys approached this like your own concert and you could be a duo,” Blake said, speaking the truth. Ultimately, Adam picked Matt, which was right in context, though he could have picked a song that more equally suited Ethan.

Best case of coach deception

During rehearsals Jessie Pitts and Ryan Sill, for a moment, convinced their coach Gwen Stefani that they were either best friends or in love. Stefani had the two sing Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding’s “I Need Your Love,” and explained, “it’s awkward you don’t even know each other.” At which point Jessie grabbed Ryan’s arm, and he said they were in love. The look on her face when she thought for a second that she wasn’t only a coach, but also a matchmaker was priceless. “Oh my God, I was like I called it,” Stefani said. After their performance Pharrell thought they were going to make out. Gwen, for what it’s worth, ended up picking Ryan, while Blake stole Jessie after some disagreement as to whom the song was better suited. Jessie’s breathy vocals more closely matched Goulding’s.

Best attempt to get cast in Pitch Perfect 2

Gavin Rossdale pointed out Ryan’s boy band tendencies, specifically rendered in the grabbing of the chest. Ryan, a veteran of a college a cappella group called it “aca-bopping.” Aca-cuse me?

Oddest song choice

Pharrell had Blessing Offor and Katriz Trinidad sing Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do.” Now, this was a strange song choice for both artists. Blessing naturally draws comparisons to Stevie Wonder as an artist, and not only is Blessing blind like Wonder, he also has a similarly soulful voice. So, that meant that Blessing had to live up to a legend for both realistic and superficial reasons. On the other hand, Katriz came in with a disadvantage. Whereas Blessing seemed like a natural fit for the choice of song, Katriz was tasked with taking on a genre of song with which she wasn’t as comfortable. Ultimately, they were both winners: Pharrell chose Katriz to win the battle and Adam and Gwen duked it out to steal Blessing, who chose Adam after he mentioned that his wife’s name meant “blessing.” Still, it was a song choice that seemed to put both contestants at a disadvantage.

Biggest disappointment

Perhaps this is simply a matter of personal taste, but I was frustrated that no one stepped up to steal Kelli Douglas, after Adam chose Damien to win their “Knock on Wood” battle over her. Once again, this seemed like a case where she was failed by her coach’s song choice. The exuberance in Damien’s voice was an easier fit for the song. Points go to Stevie Nicks for saying that she “will personally come back and steal them,” if they go. (Points detracted from Gwen Stefani who made her post performance comments about Kelli primarily about her body.)

Please visit the EW Community to read season 2 semifinalist Katrina Parker’s take on last night’s episode of The Voice.

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The Voice - Season 14

The Voice

A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.

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