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The Voice: Final Night of Battle Round, Night 4, Season 6, 3/25/14

March 27th, 2014 · No Comments

Just as I was wondering when The Voice might shake up its format, it did.  Usually after the battle round comes a knockout round, when singers perform a song of their choice, but the judges match the performances against each other and cut the field in half. Last night’s big announcement was that this season will have a second battle round, with a twist. The judges will again pair up duos, but instead of assigning them a song, the contestants will have to pick a song they can agree on.  Chris Martin of Coldplay will be guest advisor for the entire field.

Last night crammed the final group of seven battles into one hour, which I think is unfair to the singers. The show is currently edited to feature only three battles per hour, when it could easily handle four, and give the audience a better sampling of the talent. Fourteen singers competed for seven shots plus one open spot on Team Usher:

1. Adam pairs two country-flavored women, Sam Behymer and Cary Laine.  It’s church singer Behymer against bar singer Laine. Levine could have assigned them any number of fine country classics by female vocalists but he gives them “Give Me Love.” He says he wants to break them out of country, put them in a neutral zone. Advisor Aloe Blacc and all the judges complain about both women having pitch problems. Laine’s the more experienced performer and probably would have a better chance to win. Behymer handles the song better, however, and Adam picks her. Usher’s the only judge who can take Cary, and he doesn’t.

2.  Blake matches this season’s only jazz vocalist, Noah Lis (I first thought his last name was Us) against one of his country girls, Kayleigh Glanton.  It’s an odd pairing and he gives them an odd choice, a Michael Buble song. The performance allows Lis a better chance to show us what he can do.  (A better song choice might have been a country-pop song, like one of Glen Campbell’s classics, or one of Elvis’ ballads.) Usher likes Noah, Adam likes the girl (he liked her very much in the audition) and Blake picks Kayleigh. I wasn’t overly impressed with either singer but I would have liked to see the jazzman stick around for the sake of diversity.  This season’s already overstocked on female country vocalists but now lacks a jazz artist.

Next we see a montage of three battles:  First Blake matches country against rock and picks rock. Callie Tucker, Tanya Tucker’s niece, got a bad deal from this season–her audition was a mere soundbyte, and now she looses in a soundbyte of a duo against one of this season’s falsetto-range male vocalists. Ryan White Maloney. Tucker got all of about five seconds of face time, so the public still has no idea about her ability.

Next Adam pits one of his favorite girl singers, Christina Grimmie, against Joshua Howard, who we only saw briefly during auditions. He also gets a grand total of about five seconds of face time this season, because Adam lets him go and picks Grimmie, who he thinks can win the show, although I’m not convinced.

For the last bit of montage we see about five seconds of Shakira matching her two country female vocalists, traditional Lindsay Bruce against masculine-looking cowpunk Kristen Merlin. So much for Shakira wanting to work with an old-school country girl, and so much for Lindsay choosing to be on Shakira’s “girl power” team, because Shakira promptly dumps her for Kristen. Frankly, I think Bruce had a much better chance of winning the season than Merlin does, but since we didn’t see the battle, we lack the ability to judge Shakira’s decision.

3.  Finally we see one last entire performance (about five minutes of the song and the judges’ comments, plus about 12 min. of backstory and fluff). It’s Shakira and her two remaining female vocalists, Emily B and Cierra Pickens. She assigns them “Brave.” Blake wanted to steal Emily if he got the chance but he won’t get it this round.  Not only is he out of steals, Shakira keeps Emily. The show’s always edited so we see the last steal on the last performance, so it comes as no surprise that Usher picks up Cierra, the African-American singer from Alaska who’s debating between a music career and law school.

Here’s how the teams now stand, going into the next battle round:

Team Adam: Jake Barker, Sam Behymer, Brittnee Camelle, Delvin Choice, Christina Grimmie, Dawn & Hawkes, Josh Kaufman, Kat Perkins

Team Usher: Music Box, Melissa Jiménez, Stevie Joe, Bria Kelly, Madilyn Paige, Morgan Wallen, T.J. Wilkins, Cierra Mickens

Team Blake: Tess Boyer, Kaleigh Glanton, Biff Gore, Sisaundra Lewis, Ryan Whyte Maloney, Audra McLaughlin, Megan Rüger, Jake Worthington

Team Shakira: Ddendyl, Emily B., Deja Hall, Kristen Merlin, Dani Moz, Josh Murley, Clarissa Serna, Patrick Thomson

Tags: The Voice