Home / TV / 11 Best and Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Battle Rounds Week 1 (Guest Blog)

11 Best and Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Battle Rounds Week 1 (Guest Blog)

A Season 2 semifinalist, I blog about the NBC competition for TheWrap

After some fast and furious Blind Auditions, we've now moved on to Battle Rounds. It's one song plus two people fighting for a chance not to be sent back to the “horrors” of working a day job or living with parents who support them financially (based on the editing, you would think this was a fate worse than death?!). Gentle sarcasm aside, let's chat my highlights from this week's “The Voice” on NBC.

1. Staying alive
In our biggest age gap this week, coach Usher paired Biff Gore with T.J. Wilkins, a singer 21 years his junior. This match-up was highly entertaining. Biff's more lived-in voice provided a good counterpoint to T.J.'s smooth dexterity. And T.J.s surprising dance moves inspired Biff to crouch and kick his way through the song with an enthusiasm that was contagious. While T.J. won this round, Biff was stolen by Blake, giving everyone happy endings!

2. Let me dry your tears
It's always hard to watch teenagers compete on this show when it's clear they're not emotionally prepared for the intensity of the competition. Viewing Team Blake's gentle comeback kid Jake Worthington duet with the terrified Lexi Luca, all I wanted to do was give the girl a hug. The cut-throat premise of Battle Rounds can be difficult for an adult psyche, so I can't imagine handling it at 17. Lexi pulled it together, but Jake still won the round with his steady Southern charm. Dear Lexi, you're adorable, talented, and you'll be just fine.

Also read: Coldplay's Chris Martin Named ‘The Voice’ Guest Mentor

3. Hair so healthy it shines!
I don't know which member of The Band Perry has the most luxurious hair, but every time they were on camera I kept thinking I'd stumbled upon a Pantene commercial. Do you think they use the same hairstylist? Do they do group hair masks during rehearsals? So. Many. Questions.

4. Let's talk about that note!
When coach Blake Shelton pitted 24-year-old Paula Deanda against 44-year-old Sisaundra Lewis, I was concerned. While Sisaundra had four chair turns versus Paula's one, women of a certain age don't always fare well in Battle Rounds. The rapid fire “Do What You Want” seemed more geared towards Paula's strengths, but Sisaundra blew through the song with a passionate fervor, hitting a crazy note in the last half that made everyone's hair stand on end. Naturally, Blake couldn't deny the power of Sisaundra and the mother of three stayed.

Watch the battle again above.

5. Best mentor sound bytes
Team Usher mentor Jill Scott gave us some of the best lines this week. First, during Biff Gore and T.J. Wilkins's rehearsal, she noted “Biff, when you beg, BEG.” Then, she encouraged Stevie Jo and Jake Barker by saying “You can save the world with this song.” OK, all the other mentors can go home now.

Also read: 11 Best and Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Final Blind Auditions (Guest Blog)

6. Katrick?
I have a bright idea. Let's have Kat Perkins and Patrick Thompson form a duo and call it a day! When coach Adam Levine paired them on the classic “Whenever I Call You Friend,” I was surprised by how much I loved their voices together. Instead of an “awkward duet,” we were treated to a truly great collaboration. Both contestants won (Kat via Adam and Patrick via an 11th hour steal by Shakira), and everyone won when mentor Aloe Blacc creatively noted Patrick's voice was “meaty like a bear.”

7. My '80s jam!
First, “The Voice” gave me Kenny Loggins this week… then they took it up a notch with Steve Winwood during Jake Barker and Stevie Jo's battle pairing. “Higher Love” was a brilliant idea on Usher's part, giving both guys a chance to showcase their particular talents. Usher gave it to Stevie for his range and flexibility, but Jake also stayed thanks to a pre-announced steal by Adam.

8. Why so serious, Aloe Blacc??
You're singer/co-writer of a monster hit, you're being worshipped by Adam Levine on national TV and you're named after a healing plant everyone knows and loves. Smile! Your life is awesome.

Also read: 11 Best and Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions Week 2 (Guest Blog)

9. Vocal doppelgangers
While Team Shakira's pairings weren't as compelling this week (No tears! No melodrama!), they did reveal that coach Shakira has a bit of a vocal doppelganger in Clarissa Serna. During Clarissa's run-through with her battle partner Jeremy Briggs, the ladies’ tones sounded eerily similar as they ran lines. It was uncanny. Clarissa ultimately won the battle with her charismatic performance.

10. The donut king & the singing barista
My first reaction to Adam's pairing of Caleb Elder and Delvin Choice was “Why???” Their blind auditions were unusually joyful and I thought both were strong contenders. However, their duet of mentor Aloe Blacc's “The Man” was less evenly matched than it appeared. Delvin shined, while Caleb clearly struggled (no longer powered by donuts). This round went to Delvin. Caleb, you'll be missed.

11. Battle of the cheekbones
The last battle of the week was Team Usher's Brittnee Camelle versus Melissa Jimenez. Yes, both girls worked through various issues to give strong performances, but all I could think was “My God, they're pretty!” Usher was not as blinded by their beauty and made the hard decision to keep Melissa. But Brittnee won a steal via Adam, who was impressed by her scrappiness.

Also read: 10 Best & Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions Week 1 (Guest Blog)

If you're in the L.A. area, join for a show at The Hotel Café Thursday, April 10th (tickets available here!). And don't forget to check out my album “In & Out of the Dark,” which is available on iTunes NOW. For more updates, follow me on Twitter at @katrinapmusic and visit my website, katrinaparker.com.

  • wat

    So underwhelming all around. I wonder if next week will be any better with like 80% of Adam's team battling.

    Also bleh at the Knockout Round being replaced with yet another round of Battles.

    • Katrina Parker

      Oh yes, the new battle round part 2…while I love the addition of Chris Martin, I am not a fan of extending the battle rounds premise (although it will split the amount of songs the show needs to clear, which they probably appreciate?).

      I wasn't underwhelmed this week, but no one rocked my world (except Sisaundra with her big old note). However, there were also very few trainwreck moments, and most pairs seem evenly matched. I liked that.

      • wat

        The only good thing I see coming from a second round of battles in a more competitive edge, since duets make the artists want to outdo each other. Plus the weaker links have been weeded out in the first round of Battles so the duets should be stronger. And then the inclusion of Chris Martin is good too.

        My favorite battle was Stevie Jo vs. Jake Barker. That's about as even of a match that you're gonna get. Although I didn't like the battle itself, I liked Delvin singing Aloe Blacc's song. It suited his voice perfectly.

        Also, WTF, battle round montages?!

  • David Perkins

    As I understand it, there's now a second set of battle rounds (Battle Rounds, Part B-613) in which Chris Martin conducts the interrogations (er, mentoring) and we are happily forced to watch only 12.5 minutes of singing per 180 minutes of weekly airtime. Please. Help. Me.

    • wat

      lol. We'll see how it works out. It seems like most people aren't a fan of the change.

      • David Perkins

        It's not the format change that bugs me. It's the conversation. It's ALL about Martin, and decades of Coldplay success, and even about Blythe Danner's daughter. Blah, blah. But, nary a word about the artists. I was under the impression that The Voice was a show about the aspiring contestants, and NOT about musicians who are already famous. I'd rather know how the format change effects the number of artists who'll more forward next week, and in the weeks thereafter. I haven't seen a reliable discussion of these points, and it remains something of a mystery. Even the official NBC website for the show has a section on the now-defunct Knockout Rounds. They're so excited about big names, they forgot to fully explain how the rebooted show will actually work.

        • Diane

          So true! I've been getting so frustrated with The Voice the last couple of seasons because they only focus on the coaches or big names and less on the contestants. There used to be more posts and pictures of the artists and I miss that. We already know about the famous people. It's getting old.

          • Katrina Parker

            True, the facebook posts have been kind of telling…

        • wat

          I don't think the number of artists will be affected, just the fact that they're doing duets again instead of solo songs. Pretty sure it'll remain 8 matchups an episode for two episodes like the Knockouts were. We'll see, though.

          • David Perkins

            Do we know for certain if the number of artists to reach the live shows will be 20 (as in Season 5) or 16 (as in S4)?

        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          Sounds like Rush Week on American Idol.

        • Katrina Parker

          Truth – but beyond the hook of the blind audition premise, this show has really has been about the coaches and their dynamic from the beginning, right? Although it has gotten more coach-centric as the seasons have gone on…

          • David Perkins

            Yeah, I understand the draw of big names. And, yeah, I get it — Coldplay has an album to sell. But, jeez, with every new level of mentoring, recaps, back stories, sob stories, and so on, we're seeing fewer and fewer minutes of the artists. I find it hard to believe that any devotees of the show are happy with this. Rant. Rant. On the positive, there's no Sprint Box. Yay! Progress!

    • Katrina Parker

      Haaa, God help us all.

  • David Perkins

    I wasn’t terribly impressed with this week’s Battle Rounds. Nor were the downloaders — none of the individual studio recordings made it to the iTunes Top 200 Singles chart. But I have higher hopes for next week. This week, we saw only four of the 11 artists who had four-chair turns in the Blinds. Further, we only saw three of eight artists whose Blind Audition songs made the chart. So there’s a wealth of powerhouse singers yet to come.

    • wat

      AKA Team Adam lol

      • David Perkins

        There's no question that Team Adam is loaded. It might also be locked. If the rules haven't been changed, Adam has used his two-steal limit. And, if we're really half way through Battle Rounds Part One, Team Adam will have eight members after next Tuesday night. If A and B are true, Team Adam will complete Part One with this team: Delvin Choice, Kat Perkins, Brittnee Camelle, Jake Barker, Christina Grimmie, Dawn & Hawkes, Josh Kaufman and Cary Laine.

        • wat

          Yup, my exact picks too. You never know how it'll turn out though. One thing's for sure, Usher will have so many potential frontrunners to choose from since he's cleverly reserving his steals for Adam's team.

          • David Perkins

            I don't see Adam giving away any of the artists on that eight-member list, unless somebody fails miserably. Projecting what Team Usher might look like next week is more challenging. He's got T.J. Wilkins, Melissa Jimenez, Morgan Wallen and Stevie Jo locked in. Bria Kelly is a near certainty, Madilyn Paige is a probable, and he has TWO steals.

          • wat

            He's required to have two steals. They all are.

          • David Perkins

            Correct. Each coach has two steals available, but there's no requirement that they use them.

          • wat

            I'm pretty sure there is, otherwise the required amount of contestants needed for the Live Shows wouldn't be met. For example, Usher uses two out of his three steals and there ends up being a top 19 instead of a top 20.

          • David Perkins

            Clearly, the math doesn't work without mandating the steals. But, NBC's website blurb on how the show works describes the steals as ‘available’ to the coaches, and that they have the ‘opportunity’ to use them. The ‘must use them’ language isn't there. It's one of those unwritten ‘rules’ that the producers have ‘available,’ along with the ‘opportunity’ to change those ‘rules’ as they go along. Most convenient.

          • wat

            Good point, although I firmly believe it's written in their contracts haha. For some reason I see Adam giving up a frontrunner. Possibly Cary Laine.

          • David Perkins

            Double secret contracts! Cary Laine is something of an oddity in the Team Adam mix. As a four-chair turner, she could have chosen Blake — who seemed a better fit. But, alas, Team Blake has Sisaundra, so discussions of who's a good fit for whom don't necessarily apply.

          • wat

            Yeah. Hopefully this next week goes by quickly so my curiosity can be satisfied.

          • David Perkins

            Is it possible for a coach to steal his (or her) own team member in a Battle round? That is, after a coach makes a choice following a Battle round, can that very same coach then push the steal button, thereby keeping both artists? Has it ever happened? Who knows what's ‘legal’ according to the mysterious rules, but do we think it's a possibility?

          • wat

            No, they can't do that. It would either be interesting or annoying. What they CAN do is steal an artist in Battles, Round 2 that they gave up in Battles, Round 1. Will Champlin and Stephanie Anne Johnson lost their respective Battle Round matchups and got stolen by another coach and then lost their Knockout Round matchups and got stolen back by their original coach.

          • David Perkins

            My question wasn't about the much-heralded additional steal in a subsequent round, which started with Season 5's Knockout Rounds. The question was about a coaches’ ability to steal their own artist in order to keep both performers on the team — and whether it was not allowed, or simply hadn't been done yet. Violation of ‘rules’ or uncharted territory?

          • wat

            Yeah I know, I said they can't. I don't know the rules but I'm 99.99% sure they can't.

    • Katrina Parker

      Yeah, it was a pretty subdued week, and the first night was better than the second.

  • David Perkins

    This just in from the Statistics Department! Artists who turned the most chairs in the Blind Auditions have a huge advantage. In the 12 pairings, eight featured a higher chair-turner versus a lower chair-turner. All of the higher chair-turners (100%) moved on. Six of the eight won their Battles outright, and the other two were stolen. As a result, all the ‘higher seeds’ are safe. (Hey, it’s March Madness!) It’ll be interesting to see if this trend holds next week.

    • wat

      They put Christina Grimmie against a montage singer hahaha

      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        It doesnt matter they put up against Grimmie. She's gonna win. And she's gonna have a “perfect season.” Meaning that she will always be safe, and never in danger of being in the bottom 3. I think All the females who have won, have also all had perfect seasons also.

        • wat

          Yup. I think Clarissa Serna has a chance to rival her (still futile, though). People seem to really like her.

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            Clarissa Serna is not going to beat Christina Grimmie. Not a chance. Clarissa Serna won't even make the finals.

          • wat

            Well of course she's not going to beat her. No one will. Was just pointing out that she seems to have the second strongest following for a single contestant.

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            The only person I can see actually rivaling Grimmie, and beating her, is Cassadee Pope. But obviously that's a ridiculous scenario, considering she already won in season 3.

            The producers invited Grimmie to audition knowing damn well that she was unbeatable. And they appear to be saving her battle for last.

          • wat

            That poor, poor montage guy she's battling…

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            Yeah, even thought American Idol sucks balls now. I always liked that they never had someone with a huge following like that on the show.
            And it's such a shame what happened to Idol, bc it was such an amazing show back in it's heyday.
            Idol looks like a copycat of The Voice. When in reality, Idol was the pioneer, and was around for 10 years prior to the Voice. And The Voice is actually the copycat.
            Basically the Voice is Oreo, and Idol is Hydrox.

          • wat

            NBC could surprise everyone and have her eliminated in one of the battle rounds like they did Holly Henry last season lol.

            …But we know that isn't happening.

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            No way. The producers have worked way too hard courting Grimmie to let her slip through the cracks. Apparently the producers have been trying to get Grimmie to audition since season 4. She finally agreed this season. Plus they've already exploited her for ratings.

          • wat

            Exploited her how? By showing her audition before the season premiered? Because they did that for Bria Kelly and Clarissa Serna too.

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            They pretty much exploit every contestant on the show, by making them tell their sob stories on camera *before* you even hear them sing. American Idol started this trend years ago.

            They've shown everything from a brain surgery patient, to a kid growing up in a dangerous ghetto. They could easily edit all of that out of the show, and just show their performance. That's the way you see it, when you're there at the live tapings.

            The producers decide who they will fly out to LA to audition, based on who they can exploit the most for ratings. I am so glad that I can now just DVR through all that exploitative BS.

            In Grimmie's case, they used her “my mom had cancer 3 times” story to tug at people's heartstrings.

          • wat

            True

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            Right? It is so true. We don't need to hear their whole life story. And the producers force the contestants to come up with sob stories, even when their life is perfect. Like Danielle Bradbury. She was a young, good looking teen from Texas, with rich parents. But she said her life was so hard, bc she got picked on for having “crooked teeth.” That's honestly the best she could come up with? That is still the most pathetic one I've ever heard. Not only did she not have crooked teeth anymore, she ended up winning.

            The show is called The Voice, that should be all that matters. I honestly wish they would get rid of all that BS, and just show them performing. Like what you see when go to a live taping. Thankfully I have a DVR, and can skip through all that crap.

          • Katrina Parker

            It's true – I don't know that I'd call it exploitative as every single one of us knew what we signed up for, but they value a good cry and are great at digging in and getting you to talk about things that will get you riled up emotionally. I just wanted to sing and make jokes rather than talk tearfully about the health issues that had plagued me for 3 years. It was a bit embarrassing.

            In their defense, they're crafting a TV show with story arcs and feel they need it…but I would love to see more of the contestant's personalities and less of “the struggle” (which are honestly sometimes a huge stretch).

          • wat

            VEDO's story was pretty sad because his mother got to see him audition but didn't make it long enough to see his Battle. :/

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            Yeah I remember Vedo and Danielle's auditions were played back-to-back on the show. And I remember thinking, this guy's mom is dying from a terrible, horrible illness, and she's crying about having crooked teeth?

            However I knew she was gonna win, bc it painfully obvious. That's the only thing I don't like about these shows. It is way to easy to predict the winner.

          • wat

            I watched Season 4 after it finished so I can't say I knew she'd win. Season 5 was a little harder to predict, though. At least until the end.

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            I have been able to predict the of winner of every season. Except for season 2 when I picked Juliet to win. I'm not even bragging. I'm just illustrating how ridiculously predictable these shows are. Which is a shame, bc the Voice really tried to be different.

          • wat

            If Grimmie wasn't there, who'd be your pick?

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            I would pick Bria Kelly.

            But when I make these predictions, they aren't necessarily “my picks.” I am picking who I think America will choose. My personal favorites always seem to get voted off in the first few weeks.

          • wat

            Yeah it'd be between Bria Kelly and Clarissa Serna. It may sound weird, but they have the type of names that sound “winnery” lol

          • Honey Badger Don't Care

            So they make sign a contract forcing you to tell your sob story, even if you don't want to? What would they do if you had refused? Disqualify you?

          • wat

            Yeah Danielle's backstory was pretty bad. Haha.

            At least they didn't try to force one for Tessanne. They kept it simple. She's a foreigner who wants to make it big internationally. And her friend committed suicide during the Semifinals and they didn't exploit that for ratings, surprisingly (besides showing her crying and Adam consoling her). Respectable of them, honestly.

          • David Perkins

            Don't forget the Dawn & Hawkes duet! America loves singing lovebirds. And, while iTunes downloads don't mean much yet, Dawn & Hawkes ‘I've Just Seen a Face’ performed 20+ points better on the chart than Grimmie's “Wrecking Ball.’ I fully expect The Grimmster to win. But, I'd bet that her closest competitor will be the Smoochie Duet.

          • Katrina Parker

            I am ok with this, because everyone knows how I feel about Dawn and Hawkes. I'm rooting for those crazy kids!

          • wat

            True. I guess I didn't consider who did well on iTunes. I named Clarissa because she was a popular name in comment sections for Voice articles.

          • David Perkins

            Yeah but there was a reason Clarissa got a ton of mentions. After Dawn & Hawkes and Christina Grimmie, Clarissa had the third best performing song on iTunes. In fact, they were the only three to make the Top 100. Bria Kelly was next at #119.

          • wat

            Let's see if Bria and D&H will hold the momentum next week. We all know Grimmie will. She'll be talked about regardless.

          • David Perkins

            I expect all three will stay where they are. Bria is the only four-chair artist who got an extended standing O from all four coaches. Usher won't let her get away. Adam went gaga over D&H, going on and on about their style, the song, and his musical roots. He was way more passionate than usual.

          • wat

            Yeah Usher would be a fool to let go of Bria.

    • Katrina Parker

      Haa, I love your statistics!

      • David Perkins

        They're fun to do, especially when they provide insight into what's coming next. Insofar as chair-turns go, next week's pairings apparently include Josh Kaufman vs Austin Ellis (a 4 versus a 1 who was montaged in the Blinds). Audra McLaughlin (4) versus Alaska & Madi (2). Emily B (3) versus Music Box (1, another montagee). And, most interesting, Kristen Merlin (2) vs Lindsay Bruce (2). Merlin was very strong in the premiere show. Bruce was in the last Blinds show. Bruce has a solid country voice, but she went to Team Shakira because Team Blake was full. I hope they actually show this battle. Based on the stats, it sets up as a great steal opportunity.

  • Joy Lynette Stahl

    Katrina, about “Katrick”, I often have the same thought about the battle pairings. Over the seasons there have been several contestants who I thought sounded better as a duo with their battle partner than solo.

    • Katrina Parker

      “Katrick” rocked my world! Battles are often times really awkward or combative in an unappealing way, but sometimes it creates something magical (as with Kat and Patrick).

  • Honey Badger Don't Care

    How boring are the battles that they have to montage them? There are some battles that were shown that were boring. So the montages must have SUPER boring.

    • wat

      Seriously. I watched last season but I don't remember them ever having montages for those battles. The producers must be serious displeased by Season 6's contestants.

      • Katrina Parker

        Oh, they've montaged battles before (definitely last season – possibly some previous seasons), so this isn't a new thing for Season 6. It bothered me last season also.

        • wat

          I guess I have a terrible memory lol

          • David Perkins

            The montages were troublesome in S5 when there were only a couple of performances per montage. So far in S6, the Battle montages have included up to three performance pairs. The editors have been increasing the number of montaged artists, thereby increasing the available time for ads, tearful sob stories, recaps, mentoring and so forth. Sad.

    • Katrina Parker

      Haa, good point! How boring were these battles that they were shuffled to the montage category? I don't see how they could be less compelling than some of the duets we actually watched?

      • David Perkins

        Actually, this week's Battle Round montage — exactly like the Blind Audition montages that preceded it — included ONLY those artists who turned one or two chairs. No threes. No fours. And, in the Battle montage, no steals. The duets could have been really boring as well, but the chair-turn criteria seems to fit.

        • wat

          Wow, so apparently in the Battles, Round 2, the contestants perform the same song….separately. Bleh.

          • David Perkins

            God, I hope not. I have no idea what the rules are from day to day, and certainly not from week to week. I was kinda hoping that the Battles Part B would be like the Battles Part One — duets again. The duet format uses up half the airtime of individual performances, and makes clearances easier. It also gives us little people (the viewers) the hope that more battles could be shown in full, rather than montaged. Perhaps I'm hoping for too much.

          • wat

            I thought it was going to just be the Battles, Part 1 again but according to an article on Billboard, the two matched-up singers sing the same song separately.

          • David Perkins

            I have no problem with Billboard as a source. (There's a lot of garbage in circulation out there.) Given the number of powerhouses yet to perform in Part One of the Battles, I'm starting think that some them may be montaged next week. Imagine that Grimmie and/or Bria Kelly and/or the Duet are paired with a montage (one-chair) artist. The result is a complete blowout. If I were in control of post-production (at the time the show was edited), I'd choose to montage that segment. Is it possible that we won't see Grimmie or Kelly or D&H at all next week?

          • wat

            We'll see them for sure. At least I know we'll see Grimmie since I saw her and the montage guy in a preview or two.

          • David Perkins

            I tend to miss previews. But, if you've seen a Grimmie teaser, it would have been versus Joshua Howard or Josh Murley — the only available fodder.. (One of those guys got Grimmie, the other got Dawn & Hawkes. Nobody else on Team Adam is available.)

          • wat

            I think it's Joshua Howard.

          • David Perkins

            Sad for him, unless he's stolen.

          • wat

            Doubtful.