The Voice recap: It's time to Battle
Let the stealing and the saving begin.
The Battle Rounds look a little different this year — and I don't just mean the eye patch Kelly Clarkson is wearing during rehearsals due to an eye infection (she says she looks like an assassin and honestly, she is pulling it off) — there are some changes made to help with social distancing: The contestants are separated while performing in rehearsals and for the actual performance, they'll each be kept in their own personal boxing-like ring. It doesn't feel very different! Plus, everything else remains the same: We have team advisors — Kelly is with Leon Bridges, Gwen with Julia Michaels, John with Miguel, and Blake with Kane Brown — and the same steal and save situation as before. Each coach has one of each and whoever they decide to save on their own team will automatically head into a four-way Knockout in the next round.
Now that we've gotten all the business out of the way, let's talk about performances.
Team Blake: Worth the Wait vs. Taryn Papa
“Little White Church” by Little Big Town
Blake admits to his team advisor Kane Brown that his team this year is even more country than usual and this first match up contains some of his best radio-ready female country vocalists. Family trio Worth the Wait was a four-chair turn and Blake had to use his block on Taryn Papa to keep Kelly from trying to pull her over to her team. He picks a Little Big Town song for this Battle since they’re a four-part harmony group and it’ll lend itself nicely to what Worth the Wait does best. It’s hard to turn away from a trio, but Taryn Papa doesn’t make the choice easy for Blake. She’s a great performer and Kelly notes her incredible range. On top of the control she has over her high notes, she has a lot of power. Still, the draw of a trio with family harmonies is enticing to all the coaches. Kelly tells Mia, the 15-year-old daughter who ends up singing lead here, that she needs to own the stage a little more, but that overall it’s impressive that Worth the Wait “sound[s] like one human.”
Winner: Worth the Wait
Steals and Saves: But he can’t quit on Taryn either and ends up saving her, sending her to the four-way knockout to represent Team Blake.
Team Legend: Tamara Jade vs. Olivia Reyes
“Hard Place” by H.E.R.
Tamara Jade came out and wowed the coaches in the Blinds by completely tearing up Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” and earning the first four-chair turn of the season. Olivia Reyes impressed coaches with her performance, especially after learning that her audition on The Voice was one of her first performances in front of an audience. This is a good match-up. In rehearsals, John and his team advisor Miguel realize that the two women have opposite things to work on: Tamara, who has a lot of vibrato and is classically trained, needs to tone it down a bit; Olivia needs to bump up her power and performance level. Both Tamara and Olivia pretty much get done what they need to — but it’s clear that Tamara Jade is a star. Blake thought that the Battle was “equal” but that Tamara has the “charisma” and is “not afraid to put it on full display.” Gwen tells Olivia she has a “beautiful tone” but that Tamara is “free” and “wild” and there’s something “intriguing” about that. Coach John Legend sees how different the two singers are, which makes his choice difficult.
Winner: Tamara Jade
Steals and Saves: n/a
Team Kelly: Madeline Consoer vs. Eli Zamora
“Nobody Wants to Be Lonely” by Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera
This song — much of which will be sung in Spanish — is very much outside of Madeline’s comfort zone, she says, but you really wouldn’t know it once she starts performing. Both Kelly and team mentor Leon Bridges are impressed with how much Madeline and Eli are working as a team to get this performance right, but Kelly has notes: She wants Madeline to work on making her vocals more dynamic and she wants Eli to turn up the energy and be more confident when moving into his falsetto. This is a pretty even Battle; Gwen calls Eli “effortless” and John tells Madeline that her voice “pierces through.” In the end, though, Coach Kelly loves that Madeline can handle any genre thrown at her and can’t say no to such a versatile performer.
Winner: Madeline Consoer
Steals and Saves: n/a
Team Gwen: Lauren Frihauf vs. Payge Turner
“If The World Was Ending” by JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels
This is a tough song choice for a few reasons: First, Lauren and Payge will be rehearsing it in front of the woman who wrote and sings on the song, Julia Michaels, who happens to be Team Gwen’s advisor. Second, the song is not a big showy song, but a more intimate number that relies on storytelling. This is a nice pairing since Payge has a strong lower register — she sings this in a man’s octave — and Lauren is more ethereal and comfortable up in the high notes. The actual performance is, as Kelly puts it, “so intense” and both ladies nail the storytelling and emotional aspect of the song. John is impressed with the “depth,” “character,” and “range” in Payge’s performance and the “maturity” that Lauren has even if she’s only 16. Coach Gwen is torn: She loves how artistic both of them are and how both seem to know who they are as performers, but she thinks Payge has some real untapped potential and that’s exciting to her.
Winner: Payge Turner
Steals and Saves: It’s a steal-off! Both Team Legend and Team Blake try to steal Lauren Frihauf, but Lauren goes with John, who also turned for her in the Blind Auditions.
Team Blake: Payton Lamar vs. Jus Jon
“Dancing With a Stranger” by Sam Smith and Normani
Payton Lamar and Jus Jon are the only two non-country vocalists Blake has on his team this season and both were, surprisingly, one-chair turns. In rehearsal, Blake and Kane advise Jus Jon to scale things back a little — he doesn’t need to “dress up” his vocals as much as he thinks. They tell Payton pretty much the opposite: She’s holding back on some of her notes — she needs to let go and soar. The coaches are surprised by how good this Battle turns out to be. John tells Payton that her range is “ridiculous” and he echoes Kane Brown’s compliment from rehearsal and compares Jus Jon to Usher. Gwen was “shocked” by Payton, especially in how great she sounded up in her higher register, and she thought Jus Jon was so “natural.” Kelly also comments on Payton’s huge range and tells Jus Jon that although he seemed nervous at the start, once he opened up, he “flourished.” Blake is proud that Payton worked so hard to improve, but from the beginning, he’s been obsessed with the natural reverb Jus Jon has in his voice. He’s excited to see what else he can do.
Winner: Jus Jon
Steals and Saves: n/a
Team Legend: Sid Kingsley vs. Bailey Rae
“Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
John Legend thinks Chris Stapleton is a great blend of Sid and Bailey’s genres: Sid is more of a bluesy-soul singer and Bailey Rae is, if you couldn’t tell by her intense twang, a country girl. It feels a little skewed in Sid’s direction, but Bailey and her classic country sound still shine through. Sid has a surprisingly big range and grit on his vocals for days and it has Kelly Clarkson wishing she could push her button for him within the first half of the song. Gwen tells Bailey that her voice, especially when she belts, is “so strong and beautiful.” They’re just two completely different types of singers. John seems to angst over this decision, but it’s hard to let go of your first country artist, especially when she’s “pure country” like Bailey.
Winner: Bailey Rae
Steals and Saves: Well, it turns out Kelly does get to press her button for Sid Kingsley and he promptly moves over to Team Kelly.
Team Kelly: Madeline Consoer, Sid Kingsley (steal)
Still to Battle: Joseph Soul, Marisa Corvo, Ryan Gallagher, Kelsie Watts, Desz, Tanner Gomes, Skylar Alyvia Mayton, Emmalee
Team Gwen: Payge Turner
Still to Battle: Liam St. John, Chloé Hogan, Ryan Berg, Carter Rubin, Larriah Jackson, Van Andrew, Lain Roy, Tori Miller
Team Legend: Tamara Jade, Lauren Frihauf (steal), Bailey Rae
Still to Battle: John Holiday, Cami Clune, Rio Souma, Casmè, Julia Cooper, James Pyle
Team Blake: Worth the Wait, Taryn Papa (save), Jus Jon
Still to Battle: Ian Flanigan, Jim Ranger, Aaron Scott, Ben Allen, Sam Stacy, John Sullivan