A Season 2 alum, I'm weighing in weekly on the show for TheWrap
Let me begin by saying I love battle rounds. While they're usually less like “battles” and more like awkward duets, this uncomfortable dynamic often makes for entertaining TV. Now let's grab a cup of hot chocolate and talk about this week's “The Voice.”
1.) Bring on the unicorns.
Ed Sheeran has a lot in common with the unicorn. He's magical, gentle and a little disheveled. In this week's battle prep, he always seemed to know how to put contestants at ease (telling Timyra Joi that they could be nervous together and sending Jacquie Lee into fits of adolescent joy). Everyone — including Christina Aguilera — seemed to be in awe of him, and I GET IT.
2.) Everyone loves a happy ending.
The steals are back! Thank God, because I like to have my cake and eat it, too. I want my cut-throat competition paired with happy endings, and this week I got both with multiple steals.
3.) The odd couple.
Nic Hawk was probably the sauciest person in blinds, flirting with Adam Levine and charming the hell out of me, so I was worried when Adam pitted him against Grey on “Domino.” Grey's assured pop vocals were a much better fit for the song, but losing Nic would have made the show 50 percent less interesting. Thankfully, white knight Blake Shelton swooped in to steal Nic when Adam selected Grey as his winner, giving everyone warm and fuzzy feelings (and leaving me delighted with the new “odd couple” Blake and Nic).
4.) The love boat.
Can we talk about the questionable Hawaiian shirt Adam wore for the final battle rehearsals? Between that and his “Mumford and Sons” facial hair, I have to wonder if he was stranded on a tropical island (or a cruise ship??) before filming those segments.
5.) Justin Bieber‘s monkey.
Remember when Bieber left his monkey in Germany and abandoned it, breaking that monkey's heart? Yeah, it was cold. I didn't think I could love the Bieber again, but then Anthony Paul and Caroline Pennell came along, turning his “As Long As You Love Me” from a cliché pop hit into quiet poetry. The minute Caroline opened her mouth, I expected woodland creatures and singing birds to join her onstage, and Anthony's approach was also lovely, making for a subtle, moving performance. It was my favorite battle so far, so I was happy to see Caroline's win via Cee Lo and Anthony's steal via Christina. I was cheering. Bieber's monkey was cheering. All was well.
I think we need a new show called “Tough Love With Cher” because she kind of stole Blake's thunder this week. She was focused, on point and sometimes brutally honest in her critiques, which made for some interesting moments with contestants. She also sent a lot of witty barbs Blake's way, teasing him for his cushy job of “pushing a button” all day and saying what a fan she was of Adam. Oh, Cher – you're all I hoped for and MORE!
7.) Cutest cheering section.
Ray Boudreaux was one of my favorites coming out of blinds, and his battle with Monika Leigh on “Some Kind of Wonderful” did not disappoint. Monika's voice is fantastic, but Ray's relentless cool, undeniable tone and consistent vocal gave him an edge. He also had a secret weapon – the cutest cheering section of the week with his tiny daughter screaming “Ray!” to the coaches during deliberations. Blake listened to this adorable recommendation, calling Ray out as the winner, while Monika was snapped up by a sympathetic Cee Lo. Win-win.
8.) The longest minute.
While I love the thrill of the Steal option, it does create one agonizing moment that feels like an eternity – the 30-60 seconds when the losing contestant gives a goodbye speech, looking out tearfully at the coaches in the hope of a reprieve. When the reprieve comes, it's amazing! When it doesn't, it gives everyone a sad moment.
9.) Best song choice.
This would have to go to Christina's choice of “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” for Jacob Poole and Matthew Schuler. This song inspired a passionate, fiery performance showcasing the strengths of both contestants. While Matthew was deemed the winner, Jacob should go home proud of this performance.
10.) The dynamo.
The last battle of this week was one of the most exciting — Kat Robichaud and R. Anthony's duet of “I Don't Want to Miss a Thing.” R. has a gorgeous voice, but he was no match for Kat's sheer intensity onstage. She is no doubt one of the most charismatic performers we've seen on “The Voice” in a while.
Next week: Is “The Voice” going to keep breaking my heart by sending home personal favorites like Donna Allen? Tune in again for more battles, more drama and, most importantly – more CHER! What were your favorite (or least favorite) moments this week? Tell me in the comments, and I'll see you next Wednesday!
Don't forget to check out my new album “In & Out of the Dark,” which is available on iTunes NOW: https://itun.es/us/2BjbP. For more updates, follow me on Twitter: @katrinapmusic and visit my website, www.katrinaparker.com.