The Voice Recap

The Voice Battle Rounds Recap: How I Met Your Marmalaaaaade

Not all of The Voice‘s Battle Rounds are created equal.

Inevitably, coaches wind up pairing off two perfect apples — in the hopes that one gets stolen for a competing team — and then cooking up showdowns between two tangerines who’ve already passed their competitive expiration date.

It’s enough to make a singing-competition junkie like myself wish that exec producer Mark Burnett would borrow a construct from NCAA’s March Madness and seed the coaches teams 1-12 (based on their Blind Auditions), then force the lowest rated singers to work doubly hard to upend their more heralded rivals in 1-vs-12, 2-vs-11, 3-vs-10 matchups.

Yes, I know, nobody really wants their music bogged down by numbers — and maybe there’s a magic in the process of watching tw early front-runners emote and hollerate and still be a Knockout away from the public’s vote. That certainly seemed the case on Tuesday’s Tamar/Shalyah ad Hannah/Maya matchups.

While you ponder that thought, let me rate the Battles:

BATTLE ROUNDS (Rated Least- to Most-Promising Winner)
6. Team Xtina: Kata Hay defeats Chelsea Gann on Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One” | Sure, the ladies delivered this one with enthusiasm, but there was so much off-pitch screaming, it conjured up images of Melissa Etheridge’s hand getting stuck in a blender.

5. Team Adam: Nate Butler defeats Natalie Yacovazzi on Tori Kelly’s “Hollow” | There’s no other way to say it: I’m simply not going to remember this performance by the time the Knockouts begin — which probably means Nate will be used as montage fertilizer to help grow the dreams of one of Adam’s more hyped contestants.

4. Team Pharrell: Nick Hagelin defeats Jessica Crosbie on MGMT’s “Electric Feel” (Jessica stolen by Adam) | Nick’s got a lovely tone, but his heavy reliance on his not-quite-perfect falsetto made him the clear loser of this battle against Jessica’s supple, groovy delivery and physical connectedness. Was this one of the many documented cases of Pharrell choosing his lesser team member in the hopes that the superior one might get stolen? That’s the only way I can make sense of the unjust result — which Adam thankfully helped to remedy.

3. Team Blake: Mary Sarah defeats Justin Whisnant on Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty’s “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” | This was a fairly mismatched duo, with Justin’s workmanlike effort eventually getting swallowed by Mary’s showy upper register. It’s clear from the way she works the stage without every sacrificing breath control that Mary’s a real pro, but she’ll need to dig deeper than a surface-level lyric reading if she wants to survive the deep Season 10 bench.

2. Team Pharrell: Hannah Huston defeats Maya Smith on Sia’s “Elastic Heart” (Maya stolen by Xtina) | Slow clap for both Hannah and Maya for managing to sound terrific on perhaps the most difficult ditty tackled by a contestant in Voice history. The shifting tempos and tricky wordplay of Sia’s jam might’ve tripped up a lesser vocalist — if not technically, then at least emotionally. But Hannah actually seemed to thrive on the challenge, using her versatile instrument to nail the lilting high notes, then swooping down into her lower range to complete a mesmerizing performance. Maya may have been a tiny bit less accurate, but her muscular growl made her rendition slightly more distinctive from Sia’s original — and made her a most worthy candidate for Pharrell’s Steal (one that Carson repeatedly telegraphed (because The Voice hates suspense).

1. Team Xtina: Tamar Davis defeats Shalyah Fearing on LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” (Shalyah stolen by Pharrell) | I’ll admit, I didn’t really understand the Shalyah hype during the Blinds, but she brought so much grit to this week’s show I felt like I’d fallen face first into a New Orleans gutter (and I mean that as a compliment). Tamar, though, exhibited such exquisite control of such a rangey, lyrically specific jam, I actually felt she earned the right to grab the mic alongside Xtina and advisor Patti LaBelle (who’s a really astute instructor, I might add).

What did you think of The Voice‘s second set of Season 10 Battles? Any potential winners in the mix? Take our poll, 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. JM says:

    It’s funny how Christina and Pharrell swapped powerhouse singers. Some great battles. The women definitely won the night!

  2. mamamitzvah says:

    Terrific re-cap, Michael. Thank you.

  3. OhMy says:

    Definitely a step down from last night. Way too much over singing.

  4. eidi says:

    Is it just coincidence or when Xtina is on the show more black singers are chosen, like season 8 with Kimberly Nichole and India Carney? I hope this season finally she wins with a black woman singer for the very first time. Tamar, Maya and Ayanna rule!

  5. Kim Moores says:

    Not even gonna hide it. I love me some Kata

  6. Omarr says:

    I really love Hannah Huston! Also, Maya Smith looks SOOOOOOO much like Brandy! Especially from her Moesha days. I loved Tamar and Shalyah. Nate and Nick’s voices are starting to annoy me.

  7. davmon says:

    A bookend show: First, Shalyah & Tamar were equally Very Good. Given her youth, I favored Shalyah. So glad she was saved by Pharrell. And lastly, Hannah vs Maya? Both Very Good. Maya has superb pocket, Hannah has a lovely quirkiness. But Maya is unpredictable with nerves; Hannah has more chance to go deep. Glad both advance….The rest was forgettable.

  8. davmon says:

    As for the Mediocre Middle….Well, Mary Sarah and Nick were Very Good in Blinds, but were bested by Justin and Jessica in the Battles–perhaps the fault of coaches or song choices. Blake chose Mary anyway, so go figure. Tonight, Nick was lost at times; Jessica had lovely warm tones. Yet Nick won. Glad she was saved; she deserved to win….Next, Chelsea did not stand out in Blinds; but she was clearly better than Kata tonight, who is a fun performer but is too amped and lacking control vocally….A pattern emerged with the mediocre talent: go with most telegenic, not best vocals: Mary & Nick & Kata had better physiques….Then, Adam snapped the trend. Natalie & Nate were both duds, so a nice surprise when Adam chose frumpy Nate over lovely Natalie (His pitch really was a bit better.).

    • OhMy says:

      Well, we will see about Kata, but she was nothing short of awful tonight.

      • MC says:

        It was definitely one of the worst winning performances in a battle that I can remember seeing on this show. The odd thing is Xtina knows that was a crummy vocal. How does she know? Xtina articulated the difficulty of the song in the pre-taped package. I often use Melissa’s songs when I want to work on expanding my range as a singer (although I am only an amateur). Please watch Melissa’s original and then watch Kata sing the song.

      • The Beach says:

        I was surprised when she got a chair to turn during the blinds. Last night just reaffirmed that…ugh. What was Christina thinking?

        • Ron says:

          My opinion: Christina has a pretty strong team this season. She needed *some* cannon fodder to use during her battle/knockout rounds (especially the latter). So, enter Kata…

    • CMG says:

      For me, Mary Sarah clearly and overwhelmingly topped Justin. Justin was OK, but just very, very bland. I actually thought Mary Sarah was one of the best of the night.

      • Timmah says:

        I thought Mary Sarah was clearly better too, though I don’t think that song really suited her.

      • I also thought Mary Sarah shone. I like many different genres of music, including country, and I grew up listening to classic country because my father, uncle and grandfather loved it. But this song was a terrible choice, sounding kind of silly and dated, and not giving either singer a chance for standout moments. There is no point talking about Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn did with this song–they weren’t singing it.

  9. danin says:

    I love Hannah..but man, I want to hear her sing more soul,not Sia! Maya was better than she has been.Hannah better be careful generously coaching Maya. I have seen performers being unselfish w/other performers & shooting themselves in the foot. I love Electric Feel,loved the kid,Preston who slayed it in his season. Too bad Nate didn’t sing that cause I like him better than Nick& I thought Nick and Jessie were just OK on it.I think Shalyah wasn’t as good as the first time we heard her. Tamar was. Mary has a beautiful tone to her voice,but their song really didn’t go anywhere special same w/Nick&Jessie. Kata..just no unless they want their show to descend into AI @it’s worst.

  10. Morisot says:

    My favorite was Sean Puffy Combs ! — His perceptions and suggestions were spot-on.

  11. christopher bee says:

    First of all, i like Michael´s Idea of the march madness, maybe it could be the cornerstone of a post Idol Format.

    I can´t stand Diddy, never did.

    I adore Patty LaBelle, but the Melissa Etheridge Tune was a bloody Mess of screechiness.

    And what was that horrible Soundmix on “Elastic Heart”? That sequenzed Voicesample ruined 90% of the act.

    Overall an enjoyable show…. mmhh but can somebody please fire the scriptwriters for Carsons blubberblips, can´t tolerate that dull blandness no more, it´s too much stupendous waste of time.

  12. Kris says:

    I loved Hannah and Tamar. I think they’ll both go far in the competition!

  13. analythinker says:

    Seriously, who to write to keep the suspense of Steals alive??

  14. A.R. Vega says:

    The hate for Nate is strong with this one. He actually sings really well and I think you are being biased based on his looks. Too bad you are so shallow Michael.

  15. Scott Brown says:

    Looking throughout the seasons, I actually do think Blake does do the March Madness seeding to his Battle (and Knockout) pairings where the other coaches instead pair like singers. This is probably why Blake’s Battles get montaged more than any other coach because they are either so obvious or such a disaster because he does not do his pairing based on similar styles. Just look at this season, is there any question which six will win their Battle? The other coaches have two or three that could go either way, but Blake is always so obvious.

  16. Irisblue says:

    Do not fret, the spoilers of who made the Top 15 this “Voice” season are on the internet.

    They include the favorite who sang a song whose title began with “Blue,” someone whose last name begins with “Qu,” a one named wonder, and a contestant with only a first and middle name. And two returnees from last season and a montaged contestant, too.

    One contestant whose last name is a synonym for scared and one contestant whose last name is a misspelled city for you.

  17. Rainbownite says:

    If it’s spoilers you seek, don’t feel meek.

    Do not fret, the spoilers of who made the Top 15 this “Voice” season are on the internet.

    They include the favorite who sang a song whose title began with “Blue,” someone whose last name begins with “Qu,” a one named wonder, and a contestant with only a first and middle name. And two returnees from last season and a montaged contestant, too.

    One contestant whose last name is a synonym for scared and one contestant whose last name is a misspelled city for you.

    • MamaLis says:

      To go through the trouble of deciphering this nonsense, one would have to a) really, really be on pins & needles as to who makes the top 15 and b) have no access to internet, where it would be but a click-away, rather than a bad puzzle. Yeesh.

  18. Michael H. says:

    Hey, Michael, we’ve got some not-so-nice spoilers down here in our lovely comments.

  19. John Anthony says:

    The Voice keeps bringing in professionals older and older! I liked the show but I’m almost ready to trash it. Who wants to see Porter’s third or forth attempt at another career!!!!!