The Voice Recap: It's Just a Noisy Hall, Where There's a Nightly Brawl

Heaven help me, I’ve taken to using lyrics from the Broadway musical Chicago in my recap headlines for The Voice. (Sample comment from my husband, reading over my shoulder, “I don’t get that reference. At all.” #GayCardRevoked)

But I swear, there’s good reason for my flight of fancy. After all, Season 7’s Blind Auditions yielded exactly one promising jazz vocalist — and yet after a Battle Rounds process that whittled the field from 48 down to 32 contestants, that chica is as extinct as the dodo emu, as defunct as the Walkman in your “shame-shame closet,” as mopped up as the half a bowl of Great Grains I spilled on the kitchen counter this morning.


No, I’m not shaking my fist at the sky over spilled milk and oats, but rather, I’m wondering how come Gwen Stefani didn’t use her final Steal on the sublime Brittany Butler?

I know, I know… I oughta realize by now that The Voice‘s Steals are sometimes used with the capriciousness of a Kardashian’s Twitter stream, and yet, it still stings to see someone with true Top 10 potential get swept into the dustpan like so many soggy raisins.

Also frustrating? Mark Burnett & Co.’s insistence on condensing a handful of Battles every season into blink-and-you-missed-’em montages. You cannot tell me there isn’t extra room in those bloated, two-hour Monday-night shows to give us a little more sense of how these overlooked head-to-head matchups played out. And if you try to, I’ll stick my fingers in my ears and caterwaul the chorus to “All That Jazz.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On that note, let’s get to the business of ranking tonight’s Battles in order from least- to most-promising winner.:

3. Team Adam: Mia Pfirrman defeats Beth Spangler on Christina Aguilera’s “I Turn to You” (Beth stolen by Gwen) | I recently started taking cardio kickboxing, but you’re not gonna see me throw a punch at Mike Tyson anytime soon. Alas, Mia and Beth trying to scale Mt. Xtina with their B/B- instruments was equally ridiculous. The range-y runs of the saccharine ballad exposed weaknesses in Beth’s technique — to my ears, the entire first verse was just a hair off pitch — while Mia failed to really infuse the tune with the kind of over-the-top passion needed to make lyrics like “For the strength to be strong/ For the will to carry on” sound convincing. Mia rightfully claimed the crown, I suppose, but I’m doubtful either one of these ladies has enough diva potential to make a Tessane-style run at the Season 7 title.

2. Team Blake: Reagan James defeats Kensington Moore on Lorde’s “Team” | Kensington — who missed a key rehearsal due to a kidney stone (talk about a failed attempt at trumped-up drama by the producers!) — showed more power but less personality in interpreting Lorde’s recent radio hit. Reagan, meanwhile, commanded the stage like a seasoned pro (as Adam noted, she came across like she had two decades of experience), and showcased a quirky-pretty tone that could make her a quiet force for Team Blake.

1. Team Pharrell: Ricky Manning defeats Brittany Butler on George Benson’s “On Broadway” | I’ll admit that based on their auditions, I expected Brittany to tear Ricky out of the competition and toss him in the recycling bin, as if he were a used page from an old notebook. But the college dropout showed huge improvement — with a limber vocal that contained both grit and soul. Still, despite his steps forwar, I ranked Ricky a few paces behind Brittany, whose full-on jazz stylings on both verse and chorus were not only perfectly executed, but tastefully restrained. Then again, how often does tasteful restraint get rewarded in a reality singing competition setting?

Reduced to the Dreaded Montage Treatment
Team Blake: Allison Bray defeats Fernanda Bosch
Team Gwen: Anita Antoinette defeats Mayra Alvarez
Team Gwen: Bryana Salaz defeats Gianna Salvato

I repeat: Montages…they’re the WORST!

On that note, it’s your turn. What did you think of Tuesday’s Battle Rounds? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

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. Adake says:

    Wow, I couldn’t disagree more with Michael on his posting. I thought Mia and Beth’s battle was by far the best of the night and Beth deserved the steal. Ricky did beat Brittany on their battle and agree with Adam, Blake and Pharrell. And while Reagen wasn’t perfect, she definitely won her battle. I think Adam has the strongest team, but all four teams have at least three great singers.

    • Adake says:

      Would have liked to see the other three montaged battles but was glad that Anita, Allison and Bryana made it thru. I think Mia may be one of the under rated stars this year.

      • Guest says:

        If I never have to hear Mia sing again, that would be fine by me. Same for Brittany Butler – really overdone and overworked while trying to seem easy.

    • Sharon says:

      I agree 100% with your analysis. I wish Brittany well and and glad not to have to hear her again on this show.

    • Tyler says:

      This is where I sorta agree with Slezak. I thought Ricky/Brittany had the best round of the night. However, I didn’t care much for Brittany’s voice. I sounded fake to me. On the other hand, Ricky’s voice sounded a lot more genuine and real. I wasn’t surprised that Brittany was sent packing. I preferred Mia’s voice over Beth. To me, Beth does not have a very pleasant tone to her voice. Mia’s voice had more character. I was pi$$ed that Anita was montaged.

  2. Natinthehat says:

    A shame to see Brittany go. She has such a soothing quality to her voice that the show needed amongst other tones consisting of twang and gospel-tinged vibrato.

    • Adake says:

      Brittany was a unique performer but that makes it tough for her to battle. They had to change her portion of “On Broadway” so much to accommodate her skills that it felt like two different performances from Ricky’s more traditional take. It seems that the traditional take almost always win.

  3. Gailer says:

    Is there any research on the montage participants? Are they usually eliminated in later rounds more quickly?

    • Adake says:

      Great question. My guess is that the montaged battles were really one sided but your right, a montaged contestant has less chance to build a fan base for the “live” rounds.

    • Chris says:

      Christina Grimmie, Cassadee Pope, and Michelle Chamuell all had their battle montoged and they all made the finale.

      • Gailer says:

        Thanks! Hmmmmm wonder if there’s any rhyme or reason to who they montage?

      • Sara says:

        Yes, but Christina Grimmie and Cassadee Pope both had large fan bases prior to the show. I am not 100% sure with Michelle Chamuell, but she had a lot of friends in the music business prior to the show (Tony Lucca for example). So they aren’t quite a good sample.

        • Kaba says:

          No, Chamuel was practically a fresh pick, having friends doesn’t means she had a fanbase. She just was simply a superior contestant

    • Meri says:

      Not always. In the 4 previous seasons that they had montaged battles, there were 3 cases where someone who suffered that fate still made the finale. It depends on the amount of momentum they built up going into it. I was pissed that Anita and Allison were montaged but I think it won’t affect them because they had a lot of support before (they are both comeback kids AND they had great blinds. Also, many fans liked their first blind and couldn’t understand why they weren’t chosen the first time).

  4. analythinker says:

    I’m actually glad Pharrell picked Ricky. I don’t know, maybe it’s the vocal acrobatics Brittany was doing… also, she wasn’t stolen because Gwen wouldn’t know what to do with that, heh.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      OMG! Brittany got cut!?! My love for the SF Giants supersedes my love for crappy reality tv, so I missed it tonight, but that is wonderful news indeed. Something about her tone made my skin crawl and I had this weird feeling she’d be around for a REALLY long time. So glad my premonition proved incorrect.

  5. Kaba says:

    So…I’m just gonna flat out say that Mia and Beth were pretty bad, neither have the chops for a Christina song (though, Adam ought to have realized this when she really wasn’t that hot singing a Beyoncé song) and that if I had to choose a best of the night it’d be the snippet we heard of Anita and Mayra.
    Also..Brittany was nice but I doubt she’d be going much of anywhere beyond the knockouts

    Like, compared to last nights battle of the divas this was 100% diva lite. If even.
    Reagan sounded like Lorde…I suppose that’s cool, meh.
    I preferred Ricky over Brittany, she just sounded weird…like she was over-jazzing the tone of her voice.

    • Tom22 says:

      Funny I liked these too far far better than the “caterwalling” my ear heard on “Halo” last night. Adam’s emphasis on “pocket” helped but even these two weren’t enough in the pocket for my taste.. at least they were closer to it , especially beth, sometimes. I would have picked Beth for sure and I think she has some real potential in the compeition. I wouldn’t be suprised to see Blake use a steal/save on her if she doesn’t make the coaches cut in the next round (I think there is one more chance) and give her a chance at country like Casadee pope who I ended up really liking along with Melanie Martinez and Nicholas David that great “season”.

  6. Christian says:

    So they montaged Bryana, Allison, amd Anita(3 people who can actually win), but showed the dreaded “Team” preformance and several forgettable preformances before.

  7. Cass says:

    Sorry for nitpicking, but emus are not extinct. I only wanted to clarify that because based on your comparison, I thought maybe the jazz vocalist was still in the game since I haven’t watched tonight’s battles yet.

  8. Kaba says:

    If they trimmed down all these coaching sessions by 2 minutes that would leave all the more room for more battles. Then if we trimmed down the jokes and b/s banter with Adam and Blake even more you could reduce the battles into a week long process really. Like holy crap, the coaching and commentary takes longer than the actual battle. Let’s not forget the useless moment right before they battle.

    • DJFL says:

      If they’d just cut out all of the background sob stories, they’d have plenty time to show people actually singing! I DVR the show so I can FF through all the extraneous crap.

    • Tom22 says:

      Exactly the problem.. the coaching sessions are the best part of the show.. equal to the performances themselves in interest to me. As much of the coaching session is the necessary politeness “hellos” (it would be jarring without the social niceties of introducing and respecting the mentors) all the actual coaching itself would be eliminated.
      Forget the competition element.. For me this is a show about what the challenges are to being a musician as much or more as it is about the mere contestants.. we’ve had decades of contestants competing and that drama on it’s own is stale… what sorts of things musicians do in preparation will never get stale for me. Oh, and the second part that won’t get old is strong musical performances. I like listening to live music and while I can’t always leave my living room these are taped live performances with the different sorts of emotions on display than you get on studio albums… different flavor, and armatures looking for a shot can have them instill a certain electricity occasionally that makes for really memorably fun things to watch.
      So.. I’m all for the montages.. pic the top 15 out of 20 battles and go into more depth on those and gloss over the ones that weren’t so good rather than give us more but shorter treatment of all of them.
      Why should these shows ever show us mediocre stuff if they can avoid it? Ideally that is accomplished by coaching and practice to make sure that none of the performances would be less than great but when you’re still making the cuts some of the unseasoned ones will inevitably slip.

  9. Ana Andrade says:

    I’d rather have seen the battles they montages than the ones they actually showed. They looked more entertaining.

    • analythinker says:

      Maybe it’s just a great editing job. I was very excited for the Yellow battle from watching the sneak peeks, but it actually wasn’t that great…

  10. Grampy McGrumperson says:

    That was… Well… A night. It was a night.

  11. Christian says:

    I Loved Reagan James!!!!! She is by far my favorite on team Blake, maybe even this season! I am going to miss Brittany though. Sidenote: Montages are THE WORST. UGH.

  12. Andres says:

    I really like Ricky and Reagan tonight. I would have given the win to Beth. I am excited to see what these people sing for the knockouts. Here are my personal rankings for the knowouts for each team.
    Team Adam.
    1.Toia Jones
    2.Matt Andrews
    3.Alessandra Castronovo
    5.Chris Jamison
    6.Mia Pfirrman
    7.Blessing Offor
    8.Rebekah Samarin

    Team Gwen
    1.Troy Ritchie
    2.Beth Spangler
    3.Anita Antoinette
    4.Craig Wayne Boyd
    5.Bryana Salaz
    6.Taylor John Williams
    7.Ryan Sill
    8.Sugar Jones

    Team Pharell
    1.Luke Wade
    2.DaNica Shirey
    3.Taylor Phelan
    4.Menlik Zergabachew
    5.Ricky Manning
    6.Elyjuh Rene
    7.Jean Kelly
    8.Katriz Trinidad

    Team Blake
    1.James David Carter
    3.Reagan James
    4.Allison Bray
    6.Jessie Pitts
    7.Grant Granzer
    8.Tanner Linford

    • Adake says:

      Overall, I agree with your listing Andres but with a few exceptions. Mia would be in my top 3 for Adam, Katriz would in the top 4 on Pharrell’s team, Bryana would be in my top 4 on Gwen’s team and I agree with your top four on Blake’s team. Great job!

  13. kevin says:

    Better to catch the battles on YouTube. I would like Blake and Adam to take a season off! Wonder if its in their contracts that we seen them every cycle. I would love to see Adam Lambert be a mentor along with some other country singer.

    • Kaba says:

      The shows ratings will be nonexistent if Blake and Adam leave. They need a coach who’s as funny as Blake. Really. Adam is replaceable imo, it’s just that Blake is his funniest toward Adam.

  14. Kim Moores says:

    Not gonna miss Brittany, we can keep waiting for a proper Jazz contestant if she’s the best that the show has had to offer.

    • There was a very good jazz singer on Season 2 of The Voice Australia named Emma Pask. She made it pretty far in the competition.
      And btw, if you every get a chance to watch seasons 1 and 2 of The Voice Australia I highly recommend it. Joel Madden makes that show.

  15. Timmah says:

    I don’t think Gwen had a steal left for Brittany. Carson never said she was available for one, and we know from the past that they don’t always show the battles in order.

  16. dan says:

    Brittany noooooooooo. I haven’t watched much this season, but she’s the only contestant I was excited about. Beth’s terrible execution of the xtina song were not worthy of a steal. Just because she hit a glory note doesn’t excuse all the other notes she missed. #BrittanyGate

  17. Tori says:

    I think of all the decisions since the battles…I’ve agreed with all of Pharrell’s.
    The guy has been very conscious of his members’ growth in regard to their auditions.
    His decisions have been a nice blend of technical, growth, and star quality consideration and his steals (in comparison to the other coaches) are much stronger.
    I suppose a good number of people would have preferred Brittany winning, but there’s something about her voice that makes me doubt she’d have anything else of substance to offer if you either take away the jazz, or don’t match the jazz styling with the right amount of current. I felt Ricky shined (and showed potential to shine more in the future) more than Brittany in the battle

  18. Tori says:

    I can’t get a comment to post no matter how hard I try. Second night in a row.

  19. Scott says:

    I definitely think Beth had some issues tonight and it wasn’t great (why the hell did Adam pick an Xtina song??!), but I do think she has a good voice, so I’m excited to see what she does in the knockouts.

  20. Timmah says:

    Reagan James ftw

  21. Timmah says:

    The only thing worse than montages would be if they made us actually sit through some more of these awful battle rounds.

  22. DJFL says:

    I wish they would stop calling it a STEAL. How do you steal something that has already been discarded? That’s not stealing, it’s recycling.

    • Timmah says:

      I agree. I think it would be more interesting if they could actually steal contestants that the other one wanted to keep.

      • DJFL says:

        Yeah, I don’t see why the “thief” acts like it’s some big victory for them when another judge threw that person away.

    • Sharon says:

      Hey, good point! It’s a save, not a steal. Though once we get into viewer voting, Carson will start talking about contestants “singing for their lives,” which is so over the top. It’s not the old Roman Coliseum — they will not be fed to the lions if they lose.

      • Tom22 says:

        Agree with all but.. come’on, it’s “show business”. We’d bound to hear other dramatic statements like “best evers” because that is the lingo of the business on and OFF the shows. Like the fashion industry “one day you’re in, next day you’re out” or Hollywood’s attitude of “what have you done for me lately” there is going to be some hyperbole…. at least the music industry likes to keep their Legends around and talks favorably of those that are no longer “in”.
        But yeah, I think “Steal” could be improved on. “save” and haha, “recycled” are flat because I think truly a bunch of these coaches really are excited about “snatching up” what they see as a “gem that fell into their pocket” or. “swooped in for the chance” or .. I don’t know.. give me some time and I’ could do better than “steal”.
        As for “singing for their lives” I do prefer other stuff they use like “singing for their dreams”, or Ryan Seacrests frequent “with their place in the competition on the line they must find the best peformance of their lives etc” They do need to mix it up and well, I could see how the exageration of “singing for their lives” will occasionally rear its stupid head.

  23. Jeff Marley says:

    I am so excited for the knockouts or battles or whatever they are called now! I really hope that Danica, Toia, Taylor P, Luke, and Sugar make it through to the playoffs!!! 😃😃😃

  24. TinLV says:

    I wasn’t impressed with either Beth or Mia in that battle. But the fault may lie with the song choice more than it does with them. That is the most boring song in the Xtina catalog even when Cristina sings it and neither of these girls has the range or power to overcome that. Gwen should have stolen Brittany.. way more talent and she was unique to the competition.

  25. DJFL says:

    Why is it that I can post a comment and it shows up immediately, but then I post another one and it doesn’t? So far, only one out of four has gone through.

    • Mytake says:

      I very rarely bother trying to post anymore. Carefully, excruciatingly pecking away on an iPhone to express an opinion only to have it disappear into oblivion wears thin. Fix the problem or lose all your commenters.

  26. Where the gin is cold and the piano’s hot!

    All day….in my head…..thanks a dang lot.

    I never agree with your assessments, but I enjoy your recaps. I look forward to seeing how much we disagree.

  27. Lloyd says:

    3. Beth started really weak. She got better later, but still…. ugh. The entire battle was hard to watch. If you are going to do an X-tina song, and not do a completely different arrangement, you’d better nail it, otherwise the comparison is not going to be flattering.
    2. Kensington has a kidney stone problem at 16? Poor girl. :/ As for Reagan, I don’t know if it’s the look, the way she moves or whatever, but she looks much older. Such a precocious child.
    It was a mostly enjoyable battle, but I didn’t strongly prefer one over the other.
    1. I think what some people dislike about Brittany’s tone is that it sounds masculine. I’d choose it any day over Ricky’s generic tone, though. Sad to see her go.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I can’t speak for everyone, but what I personally dislike about Brittney’s tone is that it’s unfinished and not pretty. I’m not certain that even if she polished it more that it would be much better because it’s simply not a beautiful voice, which no amount of training can fix. Subjective, I realize, but that’s my $0.02.

      • Lloyd says:

        It’s not conventionally pretty, indeed, but I don’t need a voice to be pretty to enjoy listening to it.

      • daezyg says:

        I felt the exact same way about Jacquie Lee in Season 5. I guess it’s just preference. I’d love Brittany’s voice on actual Broadway, but on the Voice? Nah. She wouldn’t have lasted past the Knockouts.

  28. Jenny says:

    I find this season to be incredibly boring. I feel like blake and Adam are holding back with their smart ass hilarious remarks. And Gwen gah she’s a terrible coach and as interesting as my wall. I love pharell.

    The talent is ok.. I can’t believe most of you enjoyed Brittany, couldn’t stand her voice.

  29. Chaya says:

    I wish the voting had a “none of the above” option.

  30. Hiiiiii, guys! :) It’s Brittany. I just wanted to chime in and say thank you to those that enjoyed me during my time on the show. And, those of you who didn’t.. well, you can’t please everyone! I mean, Amy Winehouse is one of my biggest inspirations as far as modern day r&b/jazz artists go.. and people either loved her voice or absolutely hated it. So, I understand that it happens. One thing I’d just like to say.. Is that I’m upset I didn’t get to really showcase all that I’m capable of. I’m not “just” a Jazz vocalist.. although, I do try to infuse that style and technique into all that I do. Pharrell really seemed to like that side of me, and I was all for embracing it because I hoped it would make me a little unique in the competition. All I really wanted to say here is that I would love for you to check me out on YouTube to get a better feel of the type of artist I am, and what kind of stuff I would’ve performed on the show if I had gotten the chance. :) I hope it changes some of your opinions of me.

    • Timmah says:

      Sorry that you didn’t make it further. I thought you added a unique and interesting voice to the show.

    • MC says:

      People make snap judgments based on a couple of performances, but many times the artist is just trying to fill an unoccupied genre on their coach’s team. It’s obvious to me that Brittany is very well trained and has a great musicality about her. I think she was one of the more interesting talents from this season. Best of luck with your career, Brittany!

    • Jill Moy says:


      Don’t want to hurt your feelings but please get a different career. You have a strange voice that’s very unattractive AT BEST.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Gross, dude. It’s one thing to state your opinion of someone on a board, and another thing to flat out attack the singer who posted here. Learn some manners.
        But since you opened Pandora’s box, allow me to state that everyone on this board who posts regularly and has an IQ above 70 realizes your “conversations” with your “friends” are all you talking to yourself. Don’t want to hurt your feelings, but please find a different social outlet. You’re certifiably nuts.

        • Jill Moy says:

          First of all A O, I don’t watch this. Second of all, I don’t lie. I don’t talk to myself. You don’t know me so stop using your ridiculous imagination and stop your OVERRATED comments (perfect name for you). You think you know it all when you know nothing! Stop taking this show so seriously and stop your foolish comments towards me because you, again, DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING

        • Angie O Hi I really want you to know that i am an individual and not Jill. We are 2 different people! I live in Oregon, I have 2 Sharpei dogs, (huge animal lover), have one son! I love The Walking Dead and American Horror Story! I just met Jill On the American Idol sight and thought she was hilarious, because we were ALL fighting over contestants. It was so ridiculously evil at that time with the contestants not being “all that up to par”. If I could prove this to you I would. I like all different kinds of people and I find Jill someone who has always been funny and nice to me. I am a real person!IM probably the only one who liked Caleb! LOL Ask Michael Slezak to see if we have different computer addresses in different states and he will tell you we are 2 different people! This isnt the first time that people have said me and Jill are the same person.

      • Tee Hee Hi Jill its Becca, How are you? Didnt care much for Brittney either. I like Taylor Brashears on team blake. Im not even a huge country fan but her voice does sound just like the old “Loretta Lynn” tunes and she has attitude!

      • Hey Jill Its Becca. I guess I am a figment of your imagination and I am the “other personality”! Sounds like “sybil”. Sybil had 16 personalities though! HAHAHAHA

        • Jill Moy says:


          I think Angie is MOMMY DEAREST! Great to see you out here! I agreewith your singers 100%! I will never like this show. My fav is the country guy with the long hair!

          • Jill Moy says:


            Meant I will never watch this show!

          • Hey Jill!I was hoping you would get back to me! You still watching x factor UK? I love Jay James and Fleur! What do you think? Yah and the country guy gwen stole from blake! He has to battle against the raggae girl so I dont know what will happen!

  31. Kelly says:

    So, apparently Beth had a vocal cord injury, which they left out of her package.

  32. Eidi says:

    I think there are the following knockouts:

    Team Adam.
    1.Toia Jones X Alessandra Castronovo
    2.Matt Andrews X Chris Jamison
    3.Mia Pfirrman X Rebekah Samarin
    4.Blessing Offor X Damien

    Team Gwen
    1.Troy Ritchie X Taylor John Williams
    2.Beth Spangler X Anita Antoinette
    3.Craig Wayne Boyd X Ryan Sill
    4.Bryana Salaz X Sugar Jones

    Team Pharell
    1.Luke Wade X Menlik Zergabachew
    2.DaNica Shirey X Elyjuh Rene
    3.Taylor Phelan X Ricky Manning
    4.Katriz Trinidad X Jean Kelly

    Team Blake
    1.James David Carter X Allison Bray
    2.Taylor Brashears X Reagan James
    3.Griffin X Grant Granzer
    4.Jessie Pitts X Tanner Linford

  33. Don V says:

    I wasn’t all that impressed by any of the three battles and I really disagree with Michael over his ranking of the most promising winner. I would have put Reagan, Mia and Ricky in that order. I doubt any of the three are going to get anywhere near the final, but if any of them has a chance, its Reagan.