Michael Sanchez The Voice

The Voice Recap: One's Not the Loneliest Number

Midway through its eleventh season, there are certain things we’ve come to expect from The Voice.

Carson Daly will spoil any “Steal” at least 14 minutes before it happens. Adam and Blake will engage in some insults that resemble my morning coffee — light and sweet — before eventually hugging it out. And a four-chair turn will always crush a one-chair turn in the Battle Rounds.

OH BUT SLOW YOUR ROLL, MR. DALY! Newbie coach Alicia Keys apparently never got the memo about that last Voice cliché.

And that’s why Tuesday’s showdown between unheralded challenger Michael Sanchez and heavy favorite Dave Moisan — both of whom absolutely, 100 percent deserved to advance to the Knockouts — ended with an upset that most viewers, not to mention Alicia’s fellow coaches, never saw coming.

Can we pause to slow clap for the “Empire State of Mind” vocalist? Yes we can! (Or at least we should.)

While you keep the Standing O going — for Michael and Dave, for Alicia, for the hope that Mark Burnett will invite Tessane Chin or Sawyer Fredericks or Amber Carrington back to perform new music this season — let me break down tonight’s trio of Battle Rounds from least- to most-promising winner — bearing in mind I’ll be updating this URL with more detailed performance reviews (one at a time) overnight. Update: This recap his been updated with full performance reviews.

3. Team Miley: Sophia Urista defeats Lane Mack on “Money” | There were moments in Lane’s performance where I wasn’t sure he’d have been able hit the note cleanly if it had been strung up like a piñata. Those gaps in technique by the howling bluesman left the door wide open for Sophia, who threw in a few killer ad-libs during Lane’s verse — and sealed the win with a killer glory note on the phrase “Lear jet.” Still, she’ll need to bring more oomph to the party if she expects to have any shot in the voting rounds.

2. Team Blake: Courtney Harrell defeats Ethan Tucker on John Mayer’s “Gravity” | Courtney may have delivered the showier vocal, but Ethan’s was markedly more pleasing to my ear, if I’m being completely honest. Not only was his gravelly tone and languid phrasing a welcome retreat in a genre that typically rewards bombast, but he was also more consistently in tune than Courntey. Sure, there were flashes of glory as her voice swooped over and under Ethan’s vocal like a great bird of prey, but there was also troubling turbulence in her upper register.

1. Team Alicia: Michael Sanchez defeats Dave Moisan on The Zutons’ “Valerie” (Dave stolen by Adam) | Dave’s rendition of “Valerie” — which benefitted greatly from Alicia’s slowed-down arrangement, if not so much from her insistence that the guys swap positions behind the keyboards — was an airy and ethereal thing, part Justin Timberlake, part John Mayer, with accurate falsettos and an undeniable sense of rhythm. Michael’s counterpoint, though, was so raw and muscular — and imbued with such a distinctive tone — that Alicia was left with no choice but to declare him the winner, thus redefining the one-chair turn as a legit contender for the Season 11 crown. Call him Rick Moranis-esque all you want. But if his fashion upgrade in the Battles is matched by a less-dated pair of glasses for the Knockouts, dude coud be a household name by the time you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner.

Individual Rankings Based on Battle Round Performances
4. Sophia Urista
3. Courtney Harrell
Ethan Tucker (oh wait, he didn’t advance!)
2. Dave Moisan
1. Michael Sanchez

What did you think of Night 2 of The Voice Season 11 Battles? Who did you like best? 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. LADY_in_MD says:

    How could Ethan go!!! That voice 😍😍 even though I know the steal always comes at the end i was hoping he would have gotten it

    • JMark (formerly JM) says:

      I’m with you, Lady. Maybe there wasn’t a steal available? Singers in the last battles are always at an unfair disadvantage, because the steals are usually all gone by then.

    • Cldahlman says:

      I’m with you too – and apparently there was no steal left because he did NOT get stolen. His voice is so remarkable – he’s someone I would listen to often – so sad.

    • Timmah says:

      I don’t get it either. Courtney’s got great chops, but there’s really nothing interesting or original about her voice that I haven’t heard before. Ethan on the other hand has star potential.

      • LIzzie says:

        Ethan’s voice was captivating. I also wondered if this battle round took place late in the game and no steals remained. I’d buy Ethan’s music over Courtney, much as I like her.

  2. Mge says:

    This night was fairly surprising for me. I thought that Michael destroyed Dave, but I wasn’t expecting him to beat a four chair turn- then he did. I expected Courtney to destroy Ethan, but I think that she did too much and didn’t let Ethan shine enough. Despite that, I thought that she was clearly more deserving of the win. Finally, I thought Lane’s blind was super forgettable and I thought that his battle with Sophia actually went pretty well! I still agree with the choice of Sophia, but it was much more evenly matched than I expected it to be.

    • davmon says:

      Speaks well of Alicia to realize her 4-chair was not as bankable as this 1-chair. Surprised us all. Both were good, but she seemed to make the right choice.

  3. dj says:

    I hate when they spoil the steals. I am glad Alicia follows her own instincts and doesn’t do the expected. I like Miley, but I wish she wouldn’t stand up and sing during her battles because the cameras focus on her and it’s distracting. I thought last night’s battles were a little better than tonight’s. I feel sorry for the contestants whose battles aren’t shown. Especially the losers of those battles, because they get no exposure from being on the show. Are those battles available to watch online? I will have to check. They should be if they aren’t.

    • Jim says:

      Re Miley. Amen to that. Hate how they focus on her singing along and standing–as usual stealing all the attention. It is not cute. The show is supposed to be about the contestants. She is suuuuuch an ahole.

      • Leigh says:

        Miley is excited for her contestants and wants to show her support. It’s not her fault the producers choose to periodically use footage of her instead of her singers. I actually like seeing her enthusiasm.

      • LIzzie says:

        Miley was an incredibly odd choice for a coach. No idea why any contestant chose her when there were other options for them. Her standing up and singing and swaying during the contestants performances, as well as her shout-outs in all sorts of odd places, is just annoying as can be. Girl can’t actually sing very well, and her acting all experienced and qualified is just ridiculous. Just because you’ve got some years in with making records, it doesn’t mean you’re good.

    • Cldahlman says:

      I agree about Miley standing and singing along – it’s very distracting to me. And it takes away from the performance in my opinion when they pan her instead of staying on the contestants. It’s kind of jarring and unfair to the performers.

    • Allie says:

      I love it when the judges show genuine enthusiasm. Pharrell was the best with that and Alicia and Miley also love to get into the moment. Doesn’t bother me one bit. And I am SO happy that Miley and Alica are picking new songs for their teams. I do think they let the contestants down with the mentors. Pretty sure Sammy hasn’t said anything useful and Bette and Joan aren’t that much better. Charlie Puth is ok but I do miss some of the great one’s they’ve had in past seasons.

      • Lee says:

        Agree. Charlie seems to be the best mentor so far which is surprising to me because I have never heard of him before. Have no idea why Adam would pick the frontman for Van Halen to be his mentor. There are so many talented rock artists–why Sammy Hagar?! Couldn’t he get Paul Simon, Michael Stipe, Sting, Bono, Billie Joe Armstrong–or mane even Bruce Springsteen. He may want the TV exposure, considering he’s out promoting his new book.

      • davmon says:

        Turns out, Alicia and Miley are a breath of fresh air. Suddenly Blake and Adam seem old and tired; and their old schtick seems passe’….Love the infusion of new songs, esp from Miley….Righto, these mentors just act like has-beens begging for a plug, except Puth; none have added much so far.

        • LIzzie says:

          Alicia is being the eternal earth mother of music, with her respectful ways. Miley is likely the energizer bunny on drugs, and it’s not a good thing.

    • GregK says:

      Ditto, exactly what I planned to comment, especially about Miley “the distractor” Cyrus.

  4. Me says:

    Woo! Sanchez might just be my favourite this season.

    Is this the first time in Voice history that a one chair turn beat a four chair? If anyone knows, I’d love to hear the answer!

  5. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    Michael Sanchez, Sophia, and Courtney easily won the night!!! Especially Michael damn!!! He’s a massive contender for the win!!! Highly underrated!!! Sophia SLAYED too, and Courtney even thou not her absolute best, we all know that she can go beyond this competition. She’s simply far more talented and will continue to surprise us. ❤️👏🏽🙌🏽

  6. JMark (formerly JM) says:

    Go, Alicia!!!! I said before that I couldn’t believe she was the only one who turned for Michael, and I’m so glad she did. And now she stood by him and picked him for the win. Yes!! Love Alicia and Michael.

  7. MamaLis says:

    Michael: Awesome! But WHAT-up with Ethan? I love Courtney and I love her story, but Ethan was buttery deliciousness. They always talk about voices you can identify when you hear them. He’s totally got a voice like that! It was SO warm and sexy! And then no one stole him! I was just really bummed for him.

  8. newsdee says:

    I felt the same way about Ethan. I hope that they will bring him back.

  9. Trent says:

    I will always appreciate a shout out to the extremely robbed Amber Carrington (still very bitter…)

  10. burnscindy says:

    Are the performances available to watch (free) online? For a variety of reasons, I’m unable to watch live or record the show.

  11. Ami says:

    Two from Alicia’s team (Jason and now Dave) are “stolen” meaning they’re still on the show. I think she has good strategy then :D

  12. Lee says:

    I sincerely hope Ethan returns! His voice is radio ready and easily distinguishable from the cookie cutter sounds on the radio and streaming channels.

  13. LIzzie says:

    Bette Midler – thank you indeed. A real star, records, movies, stage. I loved Blake hanging on her every word, and being all southern boy worshipful of her presence.