The Voice recap: 'I Can't Go Back to (Name of Town)!'
Three climactic battles showcase four great singers as the first round of battles finally comes to an end—just in time to do this all over again next week.
This just in, world: if you don’t make it on a reality show, you can return home to wherever it was you came from just a few short months before. Save for a Walking Dead-like apocalypse or you writing a book in which the unlikeable characters are thinly veiled incarnations of your closest friends and family, I assure you that life is indeed livable wherever it is you come from.
Tonight, Cary Laine had to go back to Wyoming and Noah Lis was forced to return to New England. I felt bad, I did, but at the end of the day
you’re another day older there is only one winner, so everyone has to go back home eventually. I encourage all of this season’s auditionees to have a back-up plan, but fortunately for one of them, he or she won’t have to because he or she will have won The Voice (which, as we know, is an achievement that will lead him or her to a truly intangible level of fame).
Could the winner have been featured on tonight’s episode? Maybe, maybe not (probably not). But let’s read on, shall we?
Cary Laine vs. Sam Behymer
“The stay-at-home mom with big country dreams” vs. “the singing nanny with the unique voice” (by far the weirdest intro so far)
The stakes are high for Cary “Mini Miranda Lambert” Laine and Sam “Sam” Behymer: The former doesn’t want to go back to Wyoming (um, to her CHILDREN??), while the latter doesn’t have a way to pay bills if she fails on The Voice.
Rehearsals are largely uneventful, and I’m not even sure I realized that Sam sounded so similar to country Cary (although you’d never know from Sam’s audition because she sang Lorde, who is by far the least country thing in the entire world). Both girls get advice that kind of sounds a little rude but actually isn’t. Adam is very impressed that Sam demonstrates self-awareness, as if she had previously only existed as a musical automaton unaware that she was singing “Royals” and would never be human (hu-man), while Aloe tells Cary he’s “getting a great performance from you, but I don’t get a great feeling from you,” which especially sucks to hear because he makes her sound like she’s leaving suspicious clues like a Scooby-Doo villain or something.
Ed Sheeran is the hot ticket on this season — this time around, his ballad “Give Me Love” is the song at hand. I prefer Sam on this one in basically every facet, although I prefer neither when the song gets super low and weird in the middle. Both fall a bit into the dull category for me, and the crazy thing is that the song could have been incredible with a different singer (Sisaundra, anyone?).
Blake says it comes down to “a matter of taste,” which means that both girls were pretty equally humdrum. Also, everyone keeps calling Sam “slightly left-of-center” which is just kind of not a nice thing to say if you repeat it enough times. After deliberation, Adam chooses Sam because there are more special moments ahead for her. Poor Cary is now forced to return home to Wyoming where her loving children await her.
Kaleigh Glanton vs. Noah Lis
“The classical guitarist” vs. “the music entrepreneur with an old soul”
A Buble song! I’m already into this. I also had to check my recap from the second episode of the season to see if I already made a joke about Noah’s 1999 bar mitzvah hair (spoiler: I did).
Rehearsal suggest that Noah has a pleasant voice but Kaleigh (who turned four chairs in her audition) already has this in the bag. Do I believe that Noah stands a chance in the battle? Not quite, especially when Blake says he’s doing “a completely different version” and singing “things that have no business being in this song.” Uh oh. They also think there’s a romantic spark between Noah and Kaleigh but after last night’s grand display of destiny, I’m not sure my heart is big enough to let another couple in (also, truthbomb: I don’t even see it).
But heeere’s the thiiiing…Noah is just a little bit too into the joke romance. During the song, he’s staring into her eyes and just ever so lightly touching Kaleigh’s arm like he wants to do the Dirty Dancing thing and I swear that at the end he leaned in for the kiss.
Vocally, Noah is very much at home singing Michael Buble, and in fact, there is no other artist who I’d equate him with (except maybe a young moderately attractive beardless Raffi). Noah also does this awful fake-drum thing that’s worth mentioning. Meanwhile, Kaleigh has that Anna Kendrick cool girl thing going on, and she’s got a really gorgeous voice. My vote is absolutely 100% for Kaleigh here (as is Blake’s), although Noah certainly has a bright future warming up crowds for Lance Burton shows.
NEXT: Unseen battles and a “Brave,” bold choice (not actually though)
Ah, and now for the unseen battles (you know how I feel about those…):
“Country legacy Cali Tucker vs. former garbageman turned Vegas rocker Ryan Whyte Maloney” (winner: Ryan)
“YouTube pop sensation Christina Grimmie with singer/songwriter Joshua Howard” (winner: Christina)
“Country battle between Kristen Merlin and Lindsay Bruce” (winner: Kristen)
Back to reality…
Cierra Mickens vs. Emily B.
“The Alaskan powerhouse” vs. “the survivor with the soulful voice”
Lest we forget, Usher has one more steal so the stakes could not be lower during the final battle. I remember really enjoying both of these singers, but Cierra especially stands out (possibly because I distinctly remember her Alaska backstory). Shakira explains that she paired both ladies together because of their “soulful voices and wide range,” and then gives them Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” which isn’t necessarily what I think of when I hear the words “soulful and wide range” but hey, I’ll take it.
The battle starts, and in my opinion, this is decidedly not an even match. Cierra is going to TOWN on the song (and not just town, but CITY) and doing basically what you hope every Voice singer will do during a battle: create an entirely new rendition that begs to be listened to again. Emily is great, but to me, Cierra’s much better. But of course, what do I possibly know? Shakira picks Emily and suddenly I am just thrilled that Usher has one steal left, which he uses to grab Cierra… in the cruelest way ever as she’s actually mid-exit. (I don’t know what’s up with Usher’s wait-until-the-last-minute crap but it is NOT cute.) And yes, there was no suspense because we knew Usher was going to use his steal, because television.
Next week, we’re apparently in for another round of battles…and then playoffs…and then live shows? I actually don’t even know what’s happening anymore, but all I know is that I will be here to snark it up during them.