The Voice Recap: Before They Can Read 'Em, They've Got to Turn Chairs and See 'Em [Updated]

nicole nelson brandon mahone the voiceMillions in ad dollars have been spent. We’ve witnessed a mix of life-affirming moments and seriously off-key notes. And now, the American people sit in their living rooms, polarized, shouting their loyalties from their couches, via Twitter and Facebook, at home and school and family events. No, this isn’t an intro to a recap of the last debate of the 2012 Presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Free your minds, and the rest will follow, reality TV junkies. I’m talking about the fifth night of Battle Rounds on NBC’s The Voice.

It was an evening where Christina Aguilera released two wild-eyed divas into “a playground of activity to really roar.” (Thankfully, this didn’t involve either vocalist leaving her pants in the dressing room.) It was an episode where Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong encouraged folks to spit in his face. And it was an hour where Blake Shelton once again saved the day with a plainspoken compliment and the tap of a button.

Let’s break down each individual battle — ranked from least- to most-promising winner:

Team Cee Lo: Daniel Rosa defeats Alexis Marceaux | I could watch this battle 100 times and still not understand how Cee Lo didn’t give the win to Alexis, and yet at the same time, the pre-performance editing made it clear there was no way Daniel could lose. He’s a second-chance contestant! He’s afraid of the high notes on Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me” — even the ones that aren’t all that high! He says adorable things like “I just don’t wanna sound bad!” Uff da. To my ears, Daniel’s delivery seemed less emotional than it did slurry, the grit in his voice seemed forced more than passionate. Yeah, Alexis hit a couple of flat notes early in the song, but she hers was the far more solid performance, and her vamps on the final chorus blew Daniel out of the water like a stick of dynamite in a koi pond. But if Daniel hadn’t won, Adam wouldn’t have been able to deliver this adorbs bon mot: “He’s so sweet. I think he’s gonna go pass out.” Ah well. What did the Rolling Stones

Team Xtina: Devyn Deloera defeats Marissaann (Marissaann stolen by Blake Shelton) | Hands down the night’s funniest line was Billie Joe standing across the piano from Devyn and the awkwardly named Marissaann and telling them that En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” is a rock song; “It’s okay if you spit on us.” (Runner up? Marissaann’s “I am 15. But I have emotions.” I should hope so!) As it turns out, both ladies took the Green Day lead singer’s advice, roaring and growling their way through the number, but to my ears Marissaann was the clear winner, as she backed up her convictions with an impressive physicality, and more importantly, knew how much was too much when it came to ad-libbing. Devyn, on the other hand, tried so hard to bury her younger rival with glory notes and riffs that, at times, it seemed like she wasn’t so much singing a song as shoveling notes onto the grave she’d dug for her rival. In other words, things got a little messy. And when Xtina shot herself in the Manolo by rewarding Devyn’s melisma-fest, Blake wisely gave a three word reply — “I like Marissaann!” — hit his “Steal” button, and turned an infuriating result into a thrilling one. The country coach really does know what he’s doing, doesn’t he?

Team Adam: Nicole Nelson defeats Brandon Mahone | In one of the season’s more frustrating pairings, Adam pitted the contestants I had ranked at No. 1 and No. 15 (or two of his five best vocalists) in my post-Blind Audition rankings to go head-to-head on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” And while the far more experienced Nicole dominated Brandon in terms of vocal precision and stage presence — even Brandon admitted he saw no weaknesses in his rival — wouldn’t it have been better to pit the teenager against someone lower down the food chain? Who knows, maybe a Battle Round win for Brandon would’ve raised his confidence level and turned him into a true contender? As it was, though, Adam had no choice but to reward Nicole with the win. Where Brandon’s solo verse was very good, hers was great. And her holleration on the final chorus was enough to knock askew Mary J. Blige’s horned-rim glasses. Here’s hoping Adam doesn’t do anything boneheaded and cut the “free spirit” “Vermont hippie” before the voting rounds begin.

Monday’s episode also featured three “blink and you missed ’em” Battle Round updates that could’ve been expanded if NBC hadn’t spent the first three minutes of the show recapping what any loyal Voice fan had seen last week. On Team Adam, “wedding singer Loren Allred” (who also got shafted on screen time in the Blind Auditions) defeated Brian Scartocci, while rocker dude Joe Kirkland trumped reggae dude Samuel Mouton; and on Team Blake, the much-hyped Cassadee Pope beat Ryan Jirovec (who was also reduced to a snippet on his audition — poor guy!).

And with that, let me turn things over to you:

Who were your favorites from The Voice‘s fifth Battle Round episode of Season 5? Were there any decisions you found upsetting? 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. AnaB says:

    Well, I was robbed of 2 of my favorites tonight, which are Cassedee Pope and Joe Kirkland… so I didn’t mind much of the rest actually… but I kinda liked Nicole Nelson!

  2. linda says:

    I wish they would let us hear everyone sing. I think the way they have proceeded is gimiky.

  3. Samantha says:

    Devyn was not that great. I’m not a big fan of a lot of these women so far!

  4. dj says:

    I wish the show was longer so we could see all the battles including rehearsal clips. It’s frustrating when you don’t get to see people you liked in the audition phase, and then they are just gone.

    I felt like Devyn won because she dressed more like Christina.

  5. Canadian-JBS says:

    Didn’t watch. Dancing With The Stars was on & it has ALWAYS been better than this trainwreck of a show.

  6. Rain says:

    That was the worst hour of The Voice possible. Not only did I have to sit through Daniel butcher a song I really love (and then be chosen to continue on) but they didn’t let us hear a bunch of the singers I had been looking forward to. So annoyed right now. Can someone please explain to me what CeeLo hears when Daniel sings, because I just don’t get it! I’m also annoyed that no one stole Brandon, I thought he was fantastic. I understood why Adam chose Nicole, but why no steal?

  7. BTM says:

    Nicole. My favorite has been Nicole since we first met her.

  8. Aria says:

    Daniel was terrible. Alexis clearly beat him, but it was obvious from Cee Lo’s yapping that he would go through regardless of how he did. Poor Alexis.
    Adam was a moron for pitting Brandon against Nicole (loved them both from the start) while guaranteeing a spot for Joe Kirkland and Sam whatshisface when neither is remotely good enough to win.
    Marissaann outperformed Devyn, so I’m glad she was stolen, but, man, sometimes it’s so obvious from a matchup who will be picked, regardless of how the performance goes.

  9. teatime says:

    Daniel was my favorite of the night. His vocals are interesting.

  10. Toia says:

    I don’t understand the way they use there time on this show. We had like a month of auditions and 30 seconds of battle rounds. To me the battle rounds are more important 75% of the people who audition aren’t matter at all to the audience or the show. The battle rounds are the place that we get to see and know who the singers are that we should know and care about and half of the battles are done in voice over. It boggles my mind. This season the show has like all the hours and they waste them with too much back story on every other auditioner.

    As far as tonight’s show some bad choices where made Cee Lo may have wanted to spare the kids feelings or he may want cannon fodder for the knock out rounds but someone should have used their save cuz that girl was hella good. The last two girls to my ear didn’t sound great. To much to much. I will admit I have the original CD floating around somewhere and those 2 girls sounded messy the woman of En Vogue where tight and that was more than 2 voices, in just saying.

    And as far as the saves go I think some coaches are going to regreat that their choices.

  11. Marianne says:

    I didn’t like either one of Xtina’s caterwauling baby-divas. Screech-fest.

  12. Jamey says:

    After last night, if I was a teen or younger person, I wouldn’t pick Adam as a coach. He made in plain, verbally and with his own choices, that he will take older people over younger better ones. I think Adam is awesome but if I were to be picked by more than one coach, in future auditions, and I was young I would chose others.

    I so agree on Cee Lo’s pick but this isn’t the first one he had me scratching my head over.

    I agree with Tola, the usage of time on the show is ridiculous. I’d rather see al the battle rounds then all the practicing.

  13. Snsetblaze says:

    I thought both of Xtina’s contestants were screechy. And most of her female teams sound alike in general. I thought both Brandon and Nicole were good and would have loved to see both move on (Brandon is one who should have been stolen). On the other hand, while I liked Daniel’s voice initially, his nervousness/personality is getting annoying. Buck up! I agree with Slezak in that Alexis was just better. But Cee-Lo was the only judge to turn for her while the others were second chances.

  14. Ethel says:

    Someone should have saved Brandon. He has more talent than most of the other performers we saw or didn’t see tonight. Hate the way this show focuses on some singers and glosses over the others. Aren’t they are important? Nice way to lessen the fan base and free up time for who the producers want to win

  15. dan says:

    I hate the battle rounds that are given the quick edit. At least put the full version on Hulu, the fans of the show want to see it. How many of those people will make the next cut? It would almost be stupid to put any of them through, because they won’t get votes later on.

  16. wilogden says:

    I’m of the opinion that they give the quick-edit versions for the battle rounds that have the most distinct winners. Battle rounds where one singer is clearly mopping the floor with the other are just painful to watch and even more painful to watch the judges try to find something nice to say about outclassed performers. I was looking forward to seeing Cassadee Pope, but from just the little snippet they showed, she was the clear winner.

  17. kcostell says:

    I assume the next “voters have no voice” elimination round has already been filmed? If so, I guess you can already tell who’s going to be eliminated by who gets the montage edit this time around.

  18. Eva Jaber says:

    Cee-Lo was so wrong!!!!! Alexis was the definite winner in the battle rounds. The plus is that she got the exposure she deserves. You don’t need the Voice Alexis, reach for the stars. We love you!!!

  19. Brittany says:

    Alexis deserved to beat Daniel! Don’t know what Ceelo was thinking picking Daniel

  20. TheBeach says:

    I could barely understand a word Daniel Rosa sang.

  21. Kristen says:

    Joe is by far my favorite. If he doesn’t make it through knockout rounds (which I know he will) then I pray he makes some solo CD’s so I can buy them! Hebis worth every second of my time. And, although Daniel may have been a sad story that’s why they have blind auditions, they went by his voice to choose him. I have to say that he has a voice that nobody else can have, probably not enough to win the competition, but enough to make it through battle rounds. I also wish that Brandon would have made it. Young raw talent, amazingly good! Although not my taste. Im also very upset jordan didn’t make it through.

  22. ColoradoGirl57 says:

    Nicole Nelson is an outstanding artist! She is my favorite! Has been from the start. Ceelo made a bad decision. Blake made a great steal. I really want to see Nicole Nelson win this!

  23. Susan Knight says:

    Nicole Nelson leaves every one else in the dust.