The Voice Recap: Battle On, Xtina! [Updated]

kayla nevarezMost reality singing competitions are structured in a way that, by the time the audition rounds are reaching completion, they’ve been relegated to background noise while you fold two weeks’ worth of clean laundry. Or they leave you longing for a grizzly bear to bust through your front door and consume you whole, just so you don’t have to listen to ’em anymore.

But The Voice — with its jaunty judges’ camaraderie, its international good vibrations (even when singers get rejected), and the fascinating ebb and flow of Christina Aguilera’s cleavage — provides the polar opposite experience. As the four mentors each finished filling out their 16-member teams tonight, the soothing strains of Gloria Estefan’s “Don’t Let This Moment End” began to fill my brain. (And no, it’s not every day I involuntarily travel back the dance club in my mind, circa 1998.)

Okay, okay, enough about my rich inner fantasy land! Let’s rank the eight singers who broke on through to the other side (AKA the Battle Rounds) during the final Blind Auditions episode of Season 3. Yeahm my brain is already starting to fret about the Battles — if every contestant from the 25-and-up group gets bumped off by a teenager, I assure you I’ll be sending a strongly worded Tweet to @NBCTheVoice! — but let’s try to stay focused on the task at hand:

8) Nathalie Hernandez’s “White Horse” (Team Xtina) | This 15-year-old definitely has some talent, but as the song progressed, she hit some notes so flat (especially on the phrase “rear-view mirror”) they could’ve used ’em to adjust a bubble level.

7) Nicole Johnson’s “Mr. Know It All” (Team Blake) | I liked the huskier, mature part of her voice, and the fact that she put a country spin on Kelly Clarkson — but there were parts of the song where Nicole’s ambition exceeded her skill set. Could this teenager who moved to Nashville and got home-schooled in pursuit of her dreams need a little more experience before she’s ready to tackle Mount Kelly? (Side note: I did love Blake’s zinger about Nicole’s countrified pronunciation of “thing” — “You had me at thang.”)

6) Rudy Parris’ “Every Breath You Take” (Team Blake) | I wasn’t expecting the gentle dad to take a Police ballad and give it a small infusion of twang — not after he discussed his early love of Kiss — but once I adjusted my preconceptions, I heard a guy with a pleasing, round tone and a solid grasp on pitch, even if he wasn’t exactly bubbling over with personal magnetism.

5) Caitlin Michele’s “Cosmic Love” (Team Adam) | It was going to take a big voice to steal the spotlight from Caitlin’s friend’s crazy twirly moustache and her own turquoise-soaked locks, and the good news is that indeed she did. Now, though, Adam needs to make Caitlin prove she’s a relevant artist in her own right, not just a good Florence + the Machine mimic.

4) Celica Westbrook’s “A Thousand Years” (Team Xtina) | Xtina was right that Celica has a radio-ready voice, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have preferred something a little more lively and youthful for this already industry vet to make her grand entrance. As Blake noted when Cecilia revealed she was 16, “What are they giving these kids?!”

3) Chevonne’s “Brass in Pocket” (Team Cee Lo) | Lady Gaga’s former backup singer proved her good taste by choosing a most excellent Pretenders’ ditty, then proved her talent with what Cee Lo called a perfect vocal. So how come it took Mr. Green and Mr. Shelton so long to turn around? Was there a producer screaming into their earpieces, “Wait! Wait! We’re getting an awesome anxiety attack/mental meltdown from Chevonne’s pure Jersey mama!”? (“YEAH GIRL! WE LOVE YOU!”)

2) Cody Belew’s “Hard to Handle” (Team Cee Lo) | Okay, so I’m not sure if “Hard to Handle” did a lot to show off the chops of this flamboyant son of a rodeo rider, but there’s no denying he worked the stage with an Elvis-ian swagger. Unfortunately for Cody, though, he had his back turned to the judges at the end of his number, so he didn’t witness Cee Lo spinning his chair and inviting him to the Battle Rounds. When he finally realized what was happening, Cody gave us this expletive-laced tirade of joy: “Shut your f——mouth! You hit it! You hit it!” And even though Cee Lo was the only judge left with an open spot on his team, I think this match might be the start of a beautiful Voice trajectory. After all, both guys are both good at “bam-bam.”

1) Kayla Nevarez’s “American Boy” (Team Adam) | Yowza, Kayla’s got a mesmerizing way with how she navigates her voice from her lower register to an ethereal falsetto. She might be the most commercial contestant we’ve seen thus far in Season 3, and she’s got a sense of humor, too, as evidenced by telling Adam “we’d better win, then,” after she chose him over Xtina. Still, does it make me an Oldie McPrudeypants that I got a little skittish hearing a 17-year-old sing the line “Don’t like his baggy jeans but I might like what’s underneath them”?

[SIDE NOTE: I’m not the only one who thought the judges were absolutely daft for not turning around during Kameron Corvet’s “Crazy,” am I? Cee Lo yapped something about wanting to hear something differnet, not just a cover of somebody else’s song, but different is exactly what the middle-school French teacher delivered. Heck, if we could download it on iTunes right now, I’d be tempted to part with my hard-earned $1.29!]

50) Casey Muessigman’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (Team Blake)
49) Joe Kirkland’s “Gives You Hell” (Team Adam)
48) Daniel Rosa’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Team Cee Lo)
47) Julio Caesar Castillo’s “La Bamba” (Team Blake)
46) JR Aquino’s “Just the Way You Are” (Team Cee Lo)
45) Samuel Mouton’s “Redemption Song” (Team Adam)
44) 2Steel Girls’ “Before He Cheats” (Team Blake)
43) Devyn Deloera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” (Team Xtina)
42) Nelly’s Echo’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Team Xtina)
41) Joselyn Rivera’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (Team Xtina)
40) Sylvia Yacoub’s “Only Girl in the World” (Team Xtina)
39) Alessandra Guerico’s “The Climb” (Team Adam)
38) Dez Duron’s “Sara Smiles” (Team Xtina)
37) Beat Frequency’s “E.T.” (Team Xtina)
36) Nathalie Hernandez’s “White Horse”
35) Jordan Pruitt’s “The One That Got Away” (Team Xtina)
34) Collin McLoughlin’s “Wild World” (Team Adam)
33) Aquile’s “Your Song (Team Xtina)
32) Nicole Johnson’s “Mr. Know It All”
31) Amanda Brown’s “Valerie” (Team Cee Lo)
30) Rudy Parris’ “Every Breath You Take” (Team Blake)
29) Diego Val’s “Animal” (Team Cee Lo)
28) Brian Scartocci’s “Isn’t She Lovely” (Team Adam)
27) Mackenzie Bourg’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (Team Cee Lo)
26) Cassadee Pope’s “Torn” (Team Blake)
25) Charlie Rey’s “Home” (Team Blake)
24) Caitlin Michele’s “Cosmic Love” (Team Adam)
23) Celica Westbrook’s “A Thousand Years” (Team Xtina)
22) Trevin Hunte’s “Listen” (Team Cee Lo)
21) Avery Wilson’s “Without You” (Team Cee Lo)
20) Nicholas David’s “Stand By Me” (Team Cee Lo)
19) Benji’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Team Adam)
18) Liz Davis’ “Here for the Party” (Team Blake)
17) Alexis Marceaux’s “Go Your Own Way” (Team Cee Lo)
16) Michelle Brooks-Thompson’s “Proud Mary” (Team Adam)
15) Brandon Mahone’s “I Wish It Would Rain” (Team Adam)
14) Mycle Wastman’s “Let’s Stay Together” (Team Cee Lo)
13) Adriana Louise’s “Domino” (Team Xtina)
12) Terry McDermott’s “Baba O’Riley” (Team Blake)
11) DOMO’s “Don’t Cha” (Team Cee Lo)
10) Chevonne’s “Brass in Pocket” (Team Cee Lo)
9) Cody Belew’s “Hard to Handle” (Team Cee Lo)
8) Suzanna Choffel’s “Landslide” (Team Blake)
7) Terisa Griffin’s “Someone Like You” (Team Blake)
6) Gracia Harrison’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” (Team Blake)
5) Kayla Nevarez’s “American Boy” (Team Adam)
4) Melanie Martinez’s “Toxic” (Team Adam)
3) Bryan Keith’s “It Will Rain” (Team Adam)
2) De’Borah’s “Hey Soul Sister” (Team Xtina)
1) Nicole Nelson’s “Hallelujah” (Team Adam)

*Does not include singers whose auditions were shown only as brief snippets, as well as Yolanda Barber

Now it’s time for you to tackle that question, and more. Who were your favorites from The Voice‘s eighth episode of Season 3? Were there any moments that made you want to pelt the judges with killer tomatoes? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. They all were mediocre at BEST and the sob stories were even worse. I Bieber-Barfed through the whole thing.

  2. *lg* says:

    I used to LOVE The Voice, but this season I’m extremely underwhelmed. It’s disappointing to see how many Under 18 year old contestants there are this year. The Voice always had more credibility, more artistry. Now it’s starting to feel like American Idol 2.0. We’ll see what happens in the battle rounds, but if I hear one more 17 year old who “has been waiting for this moment my whole life” i’m going to puke.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I have to agree. While the show makes me smile overall, I realize that its because the coaches mostly. I like listening to the different voices but I hate their sob stories. I tivo right through them and get up to the point where they are walking on stage. Its the only way I can watch this show.

      Also, I do definately see ageism this year. Yes, there are one or two singers over 40 and a few over 30 but Yolanda was amazing and did not make it. I also loved the French teacher.

      Overall,, I think Christina again has the weakest team because the girls she chose are all very similar. Unlike the other coaches, she doesn’t look for anything different at all. I think Adam might have the strongest team this year in general just based on auditions. Blake has a lot of country acts that are going to cancel each other out.

      • TheBeach says:

        Same here. I always DVR this show so I can fast forward through the commercials and all the backstories and start watching when they hit the stage. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

        • Ian S. says:

          Same. And on Idol last season I only watched the Iovine “mentoring” and the performances. No Randy Jackson ever. Made it tolerable.

    • courtney says:

      i’m really glad someone else is saying this, because i thought it was just me. i just find myself fast forwarding through more and more every episode, and i’m really considering not watching it anymore. i just feel like the ‘sob’ stories are getting more and more out of hand, the talent is mediocre, and even the judges are getting a little boring. and it’s absurd how many teenagers have made it through this season. i swear, 1/3 of the contestants are 18 and under. i especially loved how the one girl was like, ‘this is the biggest moment of my career!’, and she’s 17 years old. i don’t know, i guess i’ll continue to record it and fast forward to get to the better parts.

  3. Andre says:

    I don’t like this show anymore. It got boring too fast,

  4. brandon says:

    Weirdly enough, I think that the talent this season far surpasses the last two. Still love X Factor/Idol more though.

  5. JudyVee says:

    Loved Kameron Corvet. Was really disappointed no one turned around. Better song next time – and I do hope there’s a next time – with that “punch” all the judges always look for. Au revoir, Kameron!

    • TheBeach says:

      Yep, Kameron was much better than a number of the ones that got through. Too bad.

    • cagney says:

      Corvet was close to my favorite contestant of the evening. I loved, loved the tone of his voice. Very disappointed (and surprised)that no one turned around.

  6. Aiden says:

    “As well as Yolanda Barber” – Gosh, I love you, Slezak. Will never let that go. As awesome as these blind auditions are, that one was a travesty.

  7. I was extremely nervous & it showed! lol, hope you like me more during battles (: xo

  8. Lois Benton says:

    This is a fantastic group. I’ve never watched a singing competition where I had 16 favorites at this point, and at least another ten that I might not like as much as the others because something, maybe just the song or the style, didn’t do it for me, even if the voice was excellent. And you should listen to some of the previous released music from some of the artists. Mycle Wastman, one I liked, but maybe not one of my very favorites, has a song I just LOVE on itunes, Smokin’ Gun. I liked Rudy Parris best tonight, but the itunes version annoyingly produces the interesting quality out of his voice. What’s wrong with those engineers? I hate ripping songs off the internet, but those engineers have blown it at least three times. My Top 16, for right now, and I can hardly order them, though I’ll try, are: Gracia Harrison, Suzanna Shoffel, Bryan Keith, Terisa Griffin, Melanie Martinez, Michelle Brooks-Thompson, Mackenzie Bourg, Brian Scartocci, Terry McDermott, De’Borah, Mycle Wastman, Aquile, Benji, Rudy Parris, Beat Frequency, and Nicholas David.

  9. Yo' says:

    I didn’t do laundry; I read Gail collins’ As Texas Goes, instead. These shows are beginning to wear a little thin. Thanks for the ratings; it will help in selecting videos to watch.

  10. Ehyeh says:

    in terms of sheer amount of contestants with potential to do well on the show, i actually think there’s enough contestants from this season to actually fill the next season.

    in this saturated age of singing contests, if there’s at least 5 people that i like, i think the show’s on the right track

  11. Roger says:

    The blind auditions part on The Voice is the only good thing of this show (and I skip all the drama presentation), the duo battle are always very bad, maybe I will come back when the public vote on solo performance…. maybe.

  12. teatime says:

    Right now, I am not hopeful for this season at all. There are 64 contestants at this point. There are only a handful that I remember in a good way. In no time there will only be a small number left and I can’t be sure my favorites will still be there. I think it was a mistake for them to schedule 2 seasons a year. It is too much when so much of this show is focused on the judges. They can be funny, but it is not that funny.

  13. T.Hapner says:

    I think Adam has some serous issues! I really liked him until I realized what he did to a young man for singing a Chris Brown song. I bet if he sang “payphone” he would have turned every chair! What a joke! Grow up and if you are gonna be a judge, judge talent. That young man is NOT Chris Brown! It is your loss of extreme talent! I will never support this television program nor Adam again! Very dissapointed.

  14. Craig says:

    I’m also still very upset over Yolanda not making it. And I won’t let the Voice coaches forget it… on Twitter.

  15. Rain says:

    So far I think the talent this season has been great. I do agree that there are far too many teenagers that have been chosen, but the singers that aren’t teens that have made it to the battle rounds were mostly great! Now I just wish during the battle rounds they wouldn’t pair up the best singers forcing us to lose some of the best talent on the show. Adam’s team is by far my favorite, it’s going to hurt to lose quite a few of his group.

    I have to respectfully disagree about all the “Yolanda should have been chosen, it was ageism comments” She sounded exactly like the cruise ship singer she was. She was talented, and if I was on vacation and she was singing at a piano bar or something I might take a minute or two to listen to her, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted a cd of hers.

    Really disliked Nathalie and was shocked she got put through. I don’t understand the Taylor Swift popularity and without even knowing that was one of her songs I thought to myself “this girl sounds as untalented as Taylor Swift”.

    Loved Rudy and really hope he does well. Caitlin, Cody & Kayla were all pretty good as well, I’m interested in what they do next.

    As a Jersey girl myself it hurts me to say this, but I have no clue how Chevonne got anyone to turn around. I thought she was horrible.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      I agree with you about Cheyvonne…she did a Chrissie Hynde copycat karoake performance that at times she amped up to near-screeching levels…and now the bloodbath battle rounds begin and doesn’t each judge have to whittle each “team” of 16 to 5??? As I remember from last year the rest of the season is streamlined to lose more contestants faster with few getting enough time or exposure to really make a proper impression (but does wonders for the judges’ fan bases) plus the judges themselves making odd picks and getting rid of favorites right and left.

      • Rain says:

        I’m not sure what’s going to happen next. I know they they’re changing up the battle round format a bit so I’m hoping they won’t get rid of so many truly great talents as fast as they have in the past seasons.

  16. I do agree Cameron’s french was bad he made several mistakes but he should have being picked up, l did like his Police cover!

  17. Coryrox says:

    It was definitely an egregious error on the part of the judges not to pick Kameron.

  18. Lois Benton says:

    I compared my sort-of rankings with yours, Michael, because if I didn’t, I might have to do some work (but I’m on my own schedule, so that’s okay), and the only thing we are in rock-solid agreement about is that Bryan Keith gave the third best blind audition. We are furthest apart on Mackenzie Bourg and Brian Scartocci, whom I rank at 7 and 8 and you rank at 27 and 28. This should be of particular interest to you because I am the self-proclaimed voice of everywoman, particularly those watching this show.

  19. TheBeach says:

    Has anything been announced about how this new “steal” aspect is going to work? At what point will a judge be allowed to steal a contestant?

  20. Sean D says:

    Michael I’ve been a loyal obsessive fan of yours ever since Idolatry and now reading you writing about Caitlin Michele, who I was friendly with in high school….it’s just so surreal. I never thought I’d know personally one of the people you write about!

  21. Amerika says:

    Was De’Borah REALLY that good? I feel like she’s the token “she doesn’t look the part, but she can sing,” except she’s not a particularly exceptional singer. Kayla from tonight beats her in my book.

    My guess is that the steal will happen if someone is eliminated in the Battle Rounds.

  22. Susan says:

    I think the coaches have loosened up this season and are much more entertaining…and the ebb and flow…what can I say… Does anyone know how many performers they heard in all to form the teams.

  23. Lois Benton says:

    So, Michael, right before the battle rounds, I’ve listened to a number of artists again and some have grown on me and some seem so much better or not-as-good with repeat listenings. I can understand, listening to the studio version, anyway, why you love Nicole Nelson, but I am sick to death of Hallelujah and anyone who sings it now could never impress me in the slightest. I am struck by how thoroughly EXQUISITE Suzanna Choffel’s version of Landslide is, both the live and studio versions. BEst verison of that song ever. Gracia Harrison and De’borah are totally fun and joyful. I hope they can keep that up. Terisa Griffin and Michelle Brooks-Thompson have kick-ass voices. And Diego Val’s studio version of Animal is really, really good. Really good voice. I’d put him above some of my earlier favorites now; I enjoy his voice more and more with each listen. He certainly is better than Nicholas David and Beat Frequency, and perhaps Brian Scartocci as well. Bryan Keith and Terry McDermott hold up under repeat listenings.