The Voice Recap: The Blondes Leading the Battle Rounds

Carson Daly will never cop to it in one of his ALL CAPS introductions, but it’s got to sting everybody at The Voice — at least just a little — that despite its monster ratings, the show has never produced an artist who’s gone on to achieve household-name status.

It’s not exactly rocket science, topping the charts nowadays. J.Lo’s done it with a voice thinner than a Pepperidge Farm “Brussels” cookie. Silentio has pulled it off with lyrics so juvenile — “Watch me whip/Watch me nae nae” — even my four-year-old twins have to throw the occasional “is this all there is?” side-eye. Justin Bieber’s managed it, too — despite the fact that Kate McKinnon’s SNL parody of him contains five times the natural swagger.

Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time — and timing — before The House That the Blake-Adam Bromance Built launches a contestant into Kelly Clarkson-, Carrie Underwood- or even Daughtry-level fame. And during Tuesday’s final set of Season 9 Battle Rounds, several hopefuls proved they’ve got the chops that kind of breakout status. Now, all they need is a little cross-promotional love from the Peacock Net, Mark Burnett and anyone who’s ever held court in one of those spinning red chairs.

But seeing how the Season 9 coronation is still a good two months away, let me not get too bogged down in building a post-competition wish list. Instead, let me get to ranking tonight’s Battle Rounds in order from least- to most-promising winner:

3. Team Pharrell: Amy Vachal defeats Jubal & Amanda on “To Love Somebody” | I said it last night, and I’ll say it again: I hate judging Battles that pit solo artists against duos — mainly because it gets too hard to unwind a single strand that’s all intertwined with two others. To be certain, Amy’s Susanna Hoffs-y delicacy proved vastly more interesting than Jubal & Amanda’s solid-but-unspectacular belting, but I’m not sure the Bee-Gees’ most done-to-death reality-show cover gave The Artist Gwen Keeps Describing as Pocahontas a real chance to break free, either.

2. Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts defeats Morgan Frazier on “I’m That Kind of Girl” (Morgan stolen by Pharrell) | If Morgan had rightfully been declared the winner of this Battle, I’d have ranked her No. 1 by a slight margin over Shelby. I mean, the girl has such a rich and gritty tone — and such a devastating mastery of the big notes — that Blake Shelton’s Carrie Underwood comparison seemed apt. Emily Ann is no slouch, either — her upper register appears to have no kind of reasonable limit — and she’s got enough more charisma than the Republican Party has presidential candidates. To be honest, it wouldn’t be a shock to see one or both of these country blondes last all the way to December.

1. Team Adam: Shelby Brown defeats Amanda Ayala on “Edge of Seventeen” | I wish Adam hadn’t been so insistent on Shelby and Amanda singing in unison — which, while aurally pleasing, kinda defeated the purpose of their Battle. Still, even saddled with the Stevie Nicks I’d Least Envision Her Nailing — please, next time choose “Gold Dust Woman,” Mr. Levine! — Shelby’s chill-inducing tone managed to cut through the clutter and remind us of her specialness. She put a little stank on it, too, with the rocker head-bob and the sassy stage strut. Amanda certainly hit most of her notes and showed some vocal horsepower, too, but this turned out to be the night’s biggest mismatch despite her best efforts.

OK, your turn. What did you think of Night 4 of The Voice’s Season 9 Battle Rounds? Who were your faves? 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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55 Comments
  1. Adake says:

    Shelby was my favorite of tonight, followed by Amy and then Blake’s country girl Emily. I actually liked Morgan better so good for Pharrell. Sure would have liked to see Darius who looked great in the montage they showed. Ugh. Adam and Pharrell really have good teams. Should be terrific Knockout rounds. Read somewhere that Adam steals Amy in the Knockouts. If so, that is an amazing top four of Shelby, Jordan, Amy and Keith. As always, thanks Michael for posting your comments so quickly to stimulate a conversation.

    • davmon says:

      Amy has a special sound; she will go far on show–and after. There’s a strong cache of country gals from tonight in Shelby (probably can sing anything), Emily Ann (good persona), and Morgan (lotsa color in vocals)….Did you notice, once again, Gwen was only coach with no pair represented in the 3 battles shown in the hour-long show!? So nice to get that special “montage” treatment, I’m sure–thrice this round. Such respect.

    • Scott says:

      Really? Rumor is Pharrell lets Amy go?? Dang why would he do that, wonder who she is paired against.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      WHy would you mention that you read Adam stole so and so. This is not a place for comments, not information that most who watch television, would not want to know.

    • Tyler says:

      My favorite tonight was Amy. She should sing anything by Norah Jones.

    • Simon says:

      You’re forgetting Andi and Alex :)

  2. Christian says:

    Emily was probably the standout of the night. I loved her voice and her stage presence. I actually hated the Edge of Seventeen battle.

    • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

      I agree that it wasn’t the best, but I feel like shelby is going to blow your mind in the latter rounds. I think it’s just confidence, and Rihanna could do wonders with that to help her

      • Christian says:

        The thing is Shelby already blew my mind when she did Stars. Maybe my expectations for the battle was a bit too high.

        • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

          To be fair, that song was not the perfect choice for both of them. I would’ve probably liked some avril lavigne or some jesse ware. But trust me, I’ve seen her videos, it will only get better

      • Timmah says:

        I think Shelby’s best hope is be stolen away from Adam and get a coach who knows what to do with her (probably Blake but maybe even Pharrell). But yes, I think she will benefit some from being under Rihanna’s umbrella (see what I did there).

  3. Andres says:

    So the so the battle rounds end. Shelby was the amazing as always. I feel like Morgan won her battle, but I am happy both her and Emily are moving on.
    I am excited for the knock outs as long as braiden is our by then.

  4. Enzo says:

    I’m shocked that you put Edge Of Seventeen on first place, it was such a bad songchoice for Shelby lol

    • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

      It was not a good choice for both of them. I think that for example, jesse wares say you love me, or a rock ballad like everybody hurts. But shelby will keep on getting better

    • Adake says:

      Respect your opinion but couldn’t disagree more on the song choice. I see Shelby’s powerful, growly voice a perfect fit for this Stevie Nicks classic. She brought some real sass to it. She’s definitely one of the favorites moving forward.

      • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

        I agree that shelby brought some life into that song. But I think there were better song choices, it don’t matter, she will go far

        • MamaLis says:

          See, I don’t get the Shelby love at all. I think she will be gone – if not by Adam via the first round of voting.

    • Timmah says:

      Typical terrible song choice by Adam. And the staging was bad as well.

  5. JM says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I really didn’t see (or hear) anything special about Emily. Shelby and Morgan were the standouts for me. Amy was good, too, but will need to improve her stage performance. Looks like there will be some stellar knockout performances from the previews. Can’t wait.

  6. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

    Shelby was my favorite, even if it wasn’t her best. I still feel a connection from her, and with the right song and confidence, she could make the finals

    • Adake says:

      Curious why you didn’t think this was Shelby’s best. I think this proves how versatile of a singer she is. I agree with an earlier comment, she probably could sing about anything.

      • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

        It had nothing to do with her, it was just that there could be better song choices, but this one was Adams decision. However, shelby is one of the few that could sing anything

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        She looked greener than Elpheba on that stage. Shelby’s a talented girl, but I think she would have greatly benefited from waiting a bit longer to learn more about music and learn how to perform on a stage.

  7. Ginger Snap says:

    The singers sound good . But I’m still bored with this show .
    Next week , I’ll catch The Flash .

  8. Riana says:

    The show doesn’t care about the contestants. The difference is Simon generally cares about people’s careers. Mark Burnett doesn’t give a damn as long as he gets good ratings.

  9. Carrie says:

    Have them do site Jude that would be the ultimate test

  10. kevstar says:

    Shelby was so clearly the winner, it was inevitable she would win, from the beginning. I’m not even a country fan, but even I couldn’t deny that.

  11. Scott says:

    Amy didn’t get the song choice she deserved, didn’t really matter though as I’m sure that Pharrell knew he wasnt letting her go from the beginning. Can’t wait to see her solo again and picking her own song in the knockouts, she is my favorite I think overall, though I really liked Shelby tonight and both country girls were pretty good too.

  12. Timmah says:

    So disappointed Cole Criske didn’t make it through! And got montaged to boot.

  13. S. Davis says:

    Why isn’t anyone talking about what an absolutely TERRIBLE job of editing NBC is doing presenting The Voice this year. With all the time wasted on promoting “what’s coming up next,” Christina Grimmie’s totally boring fashion pitches, and “sneak previews” about Rihanna, we could have seen another Battle Round or two instead of the montages. Plus, why limit Tuesday nights to 1 hour during the Battle Rounds – possibly the best music of the whole season. The Voice has turned to crap solely because of the lousy editing that totally destroys the fantastic musical experience.

    • analythinker says:

      I’ll add to this Carson’s “possible steal coming up” which totally kills the suspense. I believe people would love to be in for a great surprise, NBC.

      Maybe WE (everyone here and Slezak, of course) should write to them.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      Agree. I hate the coming soon. The point of television or any kind of entertainment is the surprise. The sad thing is like you said, they have ample material where they should not have to use filler to kill time. Just let the people sing and let the judges make their inane comments. At least let us be surprised by a steal or the rare clever dialogue. Truly annoying.

    • I find that if I read, cook or knit, and just pay attention to the singing and the coaches’ commentary (which is less and less useful as well), I need to pay attention to about 1 minute in 10 of the show…maybe not even that much.

  14. analythinker says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Pharrell’s song choices do not bring out any excitement from me at all. Only one current song from 6 battles and even that was montaged. It’s not a crime to want to revive classic songs or educate young people about them, but it feels like he neglected to consider the contestants’ voices just for those purposes (of reviving songs). Adam has lots of flaws as a coach, but at least he knows what songs suit his (favorite) contestants. Of all the coaches, I liked Gwen’s choices best, although the execution wasn’t always great.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      Agree. Although Gwen does do some bizarre things, one of them is not song choice. She finds some very interesting, outside the box music that generally is good for both of her performers.

      • Timmah says:

        I agree that Gwen is killing it with song selection. But I think Pharrell is doing some really good staging and arrangements, though it didn’t necessarily show last night. Adam on the other hand, just terrible by having two girls with similar voices sing in unison so you couldn’t even pick them out. And the logic of having them sing that song because they’re 17 was just dumb. It was totally unsuitable to their styles.

  15. Karen says:

    I think the montage may be when the one of the singers just tanks, or it is very lopsided.performance. Darius’ just showed him singing.

  16. Caitlyn says:

    I guess it’s all perspective and taste. I liked both girls, but thought Emile was a lot better than Morgan. Morgan was clearly stronger and more powerful, but it’s called The Voice, not The Volume. I thought Emily had a cleaner tone and has a lot more to work with, long term. I think Blake made his choice based on potential, and I think it was a good choice. All that said, Morgan going to Team Pharrell is a win/win for everyone. What we ended up with is the coach that seems to steer people towards classic country, keeping the girl that wants to do classic country, and the girl that seems to want to do things out-of-the-box, going to the coach that seems to favor that.

  17. jefrank4 says:

    You have four-year-old twins?!

  18. MamaLis says:

    Clearly Amy has a gorgeous voice. But I found myself wanting to slap the girl for other reasons. Seriously, open your eyes, Amy! If you can’t manage the lashes, don’t wear them!!! Furthermore, she seems like one of these girls that’s been getting “Brilliant Pocahontas angel” her whole life, therefore, her energy/exertion level is like… 23%. I don’t know… Lovely voice though.

  19. Don says:

    I thought this was the first night of the battles where everyone who got through deserved to do so. My favorite of the night was Amy. Her solos gave me the chills. I would rank Morgan in second place, but mainly because I do not think Edge of Seventeen was a good song choice for Shelby.

    I agree with those complaining about Pharrell’s incredibly lame song choices.

  20. claire says:

    I believe Shelby is so extraordinary. I hope Adam does not mess it up for her.

  21. Dave McDonald says:

    I vote Morgan Frazer she is so natural.