the voice battle rounds recap johnny hayes julien martinez

The Voice Recap: Thinning of the Heard

A blazing Black Crowes redo. An overnight transformation. Rehearsal-room drama. Robyn unplugged. Hmm. Night 3 of The Voice’s Battle Rounds must’ve been pretty decent, especially for what you’ve mentioned is a subpar Season 12, because by the end of it, even Adam Levine’s Gwen Stefani-blond ‘do was starting to grow on me. Let’s review Monday’s performances, shall we, then you can play favorites in the comments.

Team Adam: Johnny Hayes defeated Julien Martinez on “Hard to Handle” | In rehearsal, Johnny seemed to own the song from the word “go,” while Julien, coming from a theater background, stumbled slightly, as he was focused too much on enunciating the lyrics. Come battle time, Julien, nervous as he looked, came out growling. But still, Johnny appeared to have swallowed the song whole and was then spitting it back out like a fire-breathing dragon. His vocal was scorching. He also looked so natural working the stage, it could have been his living room.

Team Blake: TSoul defeated Josh Hoyer on “In the Midnight Hour” | As comfy as the guys’ coach hoped to make them by choosing the Wilson Pickett classic, they struggled with harmonies in rehearsal. Come showtime, however, the self-proclaimed soul brothers had their s— together. Josh sang from the gut, exuberantly smacking an exclamation point on every note. But TSoul’s runs were locomotives in motion — absolutely unstoppable. Moreover, his voice is unique. As well as Josh did, you’ve heard other singers like him (even this season, on this show). On the other hand, his teammate is, as has been said over and over, one of a kind.

the voice recap battle rounds autumn turnerTeam Alicia: Vanessa Ferguson defeated Autumn Turner on “Killing Me Softly” (Autumn stolen by Adam) | The challenge for Alicia’s R&B-pop and R&B-soul songstresses in rehearsals was to adhere to the oh-so-familiar melody yet still find a way to sound different, like themselves. Neat trick. But they seemed up to the task, especially Vanessa, who even got smiley while practicing with the band. On stage, Autumn at first danced more than was perhaps advisable to nail a solid vocal, and Vanessa gradually pulled ahead — to me and Alicia, anyway — delivering stronger long notes than her teammate and, ultimately, the more memorable performance.

Team Adam: Malik Davage defeated Kawan DeBose on “Love Me Now” | In the gents’ first rehearsal, mentor John Legend suggested that Malik take the runs down a smidgen, and Kawan, turn up the volume a bit. (Oh, and mind the lyrics. This wasn’t “Hard to Handle.”) At Kawan and Malik’s second rehearsal, Adam called them out for being unprepared. (Yikes!) On stage, they seemed to have finally worked on their harmonies. And, though Malik did fine, he just did fine. And once Kawan unleashed that falsetto of his, it was all over. Or so I thought. Not only did Adam stick with Malik, no one stole Kawan. (Wha?)

the voice recap battle rounds hunter plake jack cassidyTeam Alicia: Jack Cassidy defeated Hunter Plake on “Dancing On My Own” (Hunter stolen by Gwen) | Nice that, as Jack offered up during his and Hunter’s critique, they’re besties, since they often looked right at each other while singing this bare-bones, ballad version of Robyn’s synth-pop hit. Otherwise, it could have been as awkward as a full-grown woman dueting on a mature song with a kid (a la Felicia Temple/Quizz Swanigan). As for the performance, the fellas scored anytime they got to howl in romantic angst, Hunter’s Nate Ruess impression continued to, well, impress, and when Jack let loose, he won even me over.

Team Gwen: Stephanie Rice defeated Caroline Sky on “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (Caroline stolen by Blake) | Coach Stefani seemed to be stacking the deck in Stephanie’s favor by assigning her and Caroline a song previously sung by Sheryl Crow — that was going to come about as naturally to the poised, polished teen as wearing denim would have to Lady Mary Crawley. But, during the battle, Caroline pulled a full-on Sandy-in-Grease transformation, uglying up her voice just enough to be serious competition for Stephanie, whose visceral vocals predictably slayed.

Via the dreaded montage treatment, we also learned that Enid Ortiz had defeated Valerie Ponzio on “Love Triangle” to stay on Team Blake, Hanna Eyre had outsung Sheena Brook on “Try” to remain part of Team Adam, and Troy Ramey bested Jozy Bernadette on “Angel Eyes” to retain his spot on Team Gwen.

So, who do you think gave the night’s best performance? (For me, Stephanie.) Which coach’s decision was the biggest head-scratcher? (Malik over Kawan? No steal for Kawan?) Hit 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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53 Comments
  1. Sam says:

    Look, I’m not offended by it necessarily, but I do think it’s funny that you compared two men singing a love song to each other to a grown-up singing to a kid. I know that’s not what you meant, but that’s kind of the way it sounds.

    • Charlie Mason says:

      I’m glad you understood. I just meant that it might have been awkward to sing such vulnerable lyrics to someone with whom you weren’t comfortable, regardless of their gender.

  2. JK3 says:

    I never thought that I would be rooting for Team Blake or Team Gwen or Team Shefani, but Adam and (especially) Alicia kind of deserve to lose.

    • loisbea says:

      I think Adam just lost his best chance at winning by dumping Kawan. Chosing Malik over Kawan, and no one stealing Kawan, was actually upsetting to me. At least Autumn was stolen, but that was a stupid choice.

      • Hi Lois, I respect your opinion but think Blake is the most guilty of dumping contestants the most after fighting for them. Kawan won but behind the scenes there was a suggestion that Kawan was difficult, or had an attitude problem. Blake dumped my favorite from the blinds Valerie Ponzio and it was shown in a montage. Yikes. I’m depressed. She was so good

        • Normandy says:

          Well if you want to be technical, every coach proceeds to cut their team in half in the battle rounds. =P

          Plus everything the coaches say in the blinds gets cut down from 20 minutes to 3 for TV, so there’s no way of knowing what all was said unless you were there.

        • Eurydice says:

          They’ve posted the full battles this morning on YouTube. I’ve only seen the Troy/Jozy one so far, but it was an obviously one-sided battle, not to mention a boring song. I can understand why they montaged it.

        • davmon says:

          Glad u mentioned Val P. The most dastardly aspect was that she turned FOUR CHAIRS in the Blinds. And now in the second round, she was MONTAGED!!! That is lunacy. Viewers develop a connection with these singers. And care about them. Especially when late in the Blinds someone comes along and gets 4 turns….I don’t care if she fell off a riser or had laryngitis or was discovered an addict or lost her mind, the audience would like some closure as to what happened….Other than the producers driving for younger demographics–and seeming to push coaches toward the younger talent.

          • Normandy says:

            The number of chair turns means nothing.

          • Thank you Davmon, That was a stupid move on Blake’s part. Why did he fight for her just to dump her like that? I actually thought she had a chance to win and one of the judges said that as well. And she was gorgeous if not fifteen. Aloha

  3. John Anthony says:

    I didn’t see a contender for the top 10 finals tonight, sorry. Worst final battle rounds were saved for the final two hour night.

  4. when adam corrected blake on malik’s name he got bleeped out by a local weather update
    wasn’t watching the tv so at first i thought he cussed blake out lol

  5. JMark (formerly JM) says:

    Not impressed, really. First, I preferred Julien over Johnny. Johnny dropped out of the first chorus and then just tried too hard. I kind of respected that Julien didn’t go apes*** like Johnny all over the place. His vocals were just better. Also preferred Josh, but TSoul does have charm. Is it me or does it seem like the coaches and/or producers aren’t working as hard with the singers to create battles like they used to. Or maybe it’s just that the performers aren’t that good, but the battles this season have been really disappointing.

    • JMark (formerly JM) says:

      Oh year, forgot to mention that I really liked Kawan’s audition, but his attitude did him in. As Adam clearly stated that he liked Malik’s attitude. I got the impression that the lack of practice and taking the process seriously lay squarely on Kawan’s shoulders.

      • analythinker says:

        That’s kind of how I feel too. Just like last season’s when Adam picked Brendan over Nolan. I think it’s mainly about the attitude. However, I would say that Kawan did better (albeit slightly) than Malik, but I would’ve chosen one I can work on/with and groom more.

    • Lizzie says:

      I kept getting distracted by Johnny wandering all over the stage, it didn’t seem to have any purpose. I also preferred Julien to Johnny. The battles for the most part this season have been fairly boring.

  6. OhMy says:

    Oh my. We are rapidly getting to (my) season finale.

  7. Diane Raetz says:

    I absolutely hated Singing Me Softly. I would have sent both women home and kept a contestant from another team instead. Respect the music. Don’t turn it into a vocal exercise

    • Smokey says:

      I agree, that was not a great rendition of the song, the way it was arranged by the coach and the Band…………… Surprisingly, it has hit itunes in the R&B category at ..#49 —“Killing Me Softly With His Song” (The Voice Performance)…..Artist: Autumn Turner & Vanessa Ferguson. But some liked it, perhaps some that never heard much of the original, or fans of Autumn &/or Vannesa that immediately downloaded the song.

    • Voice Fan says:

      I agree. Roberta Flack’s “Singing me Softly” is one of my favorite songs. It was a beautiful passionate ballad. I didn’t even recognize the song tonight. I think this is going to be the season an African American woman or man wins. They seem to be dominating this competition.

      • LC says:

        More than one person thinks the title of the song is “Singing Me Softly.” It’s “Killing Me Softly.”

        • Voice Fan says:

          We had the title wrong. But we were thinking of the same song. Robert Flack sang, “Killing me Softly with his song” and I loved it and hated this season’s Voice cover.

    • Fugees4Eva says:

      I’m curious, do you (and the two replies under you) realize that they covered Lauryn Hill’s version? Because your comments seem to imply that you don’t and that might explain why you think the song was unrecognizable.

      • OhMy says:

        I like her fine, but she did a bad job on that song. So choosing her version was kind of silly.

      • dlraetz says:

        I didn’t know and I suspect I’d hate the Lauryn Hill version too. I hate when runs are thrown in to show off the singers voice instead of to tell the story the song is conveying.

    • Lizzie says:

      Stephanie and her backstory are really grating on my nerves. When she was down near the ground for emphasis or whatever, I thought she looked like the Wicked Witch of the East with that hat and her weird gyrations, and I kept waiting for her to screech out “I’m melting.”

  8. OhMy says:

    (Otis Redding)

  9. Israel Moore says:

    Seeing the blind Auditions I expected so much more coming from these contestants during these battle rounds, but I don’t think these coaches have any idea about song choice or what to do with there contestants voices yet this season. I have not seen a Courtnie vs. Ali “Hit or Miss”Battle Round that just had me so freaking shook” and screaming at my TV, and its really sad cause the talent this year is really dynamic and versatile.., 2 things have been annoying me 1. does any else see them just using certain contestant as Cannon Fodder so there “favorite” can win? and 2. The steals have been questionable as heck like what are y’all doing? no one stole Gaby or Kawan What!? Kawan blind audition spoke for itself.. I’m going to pray and hope tomorrow Alicia pretends like she knows what she doing and Lilli Passero snatches my edges cause I can’t take any more of this heartache and mediocrity from these coaches who at most times seem to be more interested in there on and off commentary and PDA with each other, than the actual contestants

    • River City says:

      No doubt the show is more about the coaches than it is about the contestants. Always has been. All one can do is pick your singer and vote, when time comes,

    • Normandy says:

      If Carson doesn’t say, “Let me remind you ___ is available to steal,” then there are no more steals. He’s required to say that every time there’s still a steal available (he replied to a tweet a couple seasons back about why he keeps saying it). The blinds, battles and knockouts are all edited out of order.

      For example, there were no more steals for the Josh/TSoul battle, so the bit where Adam talks directly to the camera about why he didn’t save Josh — those talking head bits all filmed long after the fact to make the editing of the show flow better — he couldn’t have even if he wanted to.

  10. Smokey says:

    I was not at all surprised by the eliminations or the saves — so far……………….. I like both Stephanie Rice and Caroline Sky, so was glad to see Caroline saved to sing again. It was a good song choice for them as well. I thought both Caroline and Hunter Plake stepped-up a bit tonight, to show a little more dimension to their capabilities. …. so will be glad to hear what they can do in the next round……. also was glad to see Malik continue.

  11. danin says:

    Thought the Jack& Hunter duet was magical. I do not like Johnny. Kawan got ripped off by not being stolen.

    • Kelly says:

      From what Adam said and the footage of rehersals and Kawan talking about being a solo artist, I think he might have been difficult to work with, resulting in the loss of the battle and the lack of a steal. That’s the only reason I can think of that they’d let a popular 4 chair turn go…

  12. Smokey says:

    Just the latest check on itunes, one of the battleround/duets has hit the regular top 100 ……. ……..The Voice in The iTunes Top 100 …. #61 ….Dancing On My Own (The Voice Performance) Artist: Hunter Plake & Jack Cassidy ————– others have hit a number in a genre, but not the reguar tiop 100 yet ………………………

    ROCK Category Top 100 #31 ….The First Cut Is the Deepest ….Artist: Caroline Sky & Stephanie Rice ——————–
    R&B Category Top 100
    #30 …Killing Me Softly With His Song (The Voice Performance)
    Artist: Autumn Turner & Vanessa Ferguson

    #95 In the Midnight Hour (The Voice Performance)
    Artist: Josh Hoyer & TSoul

  13. Voice Fan says:

    On the top 100 I-Tunes chart, Dancing on My Own featuring Jack Cassidy and Hunter Plake is 47. I think that’s higher than any Voice contestants have ranked this season.

    • Smokey says:

      In my opinion, song choice is more important than vocal histrionics, all the swoops and jumping around. It sells better to a live audience than it does to the viewer at home, once the live voting starts. Several of these singers have the vocal ability, they just need to have songs matched properly to their wheelhouse. For what it’s worth, J Chosen has the most youtube views on his audition song, of the all contestants this year so far.

  14. loisbea says:

    Why anyone would pick Adam’s team is a mystery. He’ll tell someone, for instance, Kawan, “You’re my number one priority,” to win a four-chair turn. And then dump him immediately. Bait and switch. When Kawan chose Adam, I thought, “Wow, now Adam’s won, after having such a hard time getting people to pick him” (which is understandable, for auditioners who have watched this show). People, do yourself a favor and just don’t pick Adam if you have a choice. True, the top seven singers this season are all African American, and five of those are men. But Malik, however good and nice, is not one of them. From what I’ve seen in the past, Adam dumps people who rub him the wrong way. And the other judges probably didn’t steal Kawan because there are so many outstanding African American singers this season. And Autumn is one, but Samantha is probably half as good. Maybe Alicia picked Samantha because Adam said he would steal Autumn, but I feel sorry for anyone on Adam’s team. Bizarre choices.

  15. I can’t believe my fave from the blinds, Valerie Ponzio lost in the dreaded montage. How did this travesty happen? She gave me goose bumps. And I’ll never know now. Ugh

    • Normandy says:

      This season’s blinds and battles are shown in full on The Voice YouTube channel.

    • Voice Fan says:

      I agree. I liked Ponzio too and was disappointed I didn’t get to hear her and she didn’t go further. But she was a country singer and Blake already has two female country singers he loves: Cassie Jo and Lauren and he needs a singer that won’t challenge them to put against them in the knockouts. He’ll pit Erin against one of them and the singer they montaged last week against the other.

      • Voice Fan says:

        I just watched the battle between Valerie Ponzio and Erin and I liked Ponzio better but she sounded just like Rae Lynn’s version. The coaches always wants someone different on his team. Ponzio is a country singer. Erin is more of a pop powerhouse singer so Blake had the excuse of choosing her. Erin is not country and Blake doesn’t want three country singers competing against each other in the live shows so he had to dump Ponzio.

  16. jeauxjeaux720 says:

    I thought the Jack/Hunter round was the best. They both were great IMHO. Regarding Malik/Kawan, I thought Kawan was better but maybe there was more going on behind the scenes given apparent difficulties in rehearsals. The Sheryl Crow song choice clearly favored Stephanie who nailed it. Glad Blake stole the 16 year old.

  17. MLO says:

    Unless it was an intentional play on words, which is doesn’t seem to be by the article, you misspelled ‘herd’ in the title.

  18. gospotlights says:

    Has the second night of the blinds and these battle rounds, or knockouts, or whatever they are always been only 1 hour and not 2 like the first night?
    Seems like an awful lot of montages going on.
    Although it also seems like in the past they’ve started this 2nd round on the 2nd half of a blind audition show, as well as used a 3rd night sporadically too. But this season has been all Mon-Tue for new shows and always 2hr and then 1hr.
    I hate the “montaging” so I’m just curious why there seems more of it this season.

    • Voice Fan says:

      When they montage singers, it’s usually the singers who don’t win the knockouts and go to the live shows. I don’t think they are montaging any more than any other season.

      • Lizzie says:

        I would rather see and hear all of the performances, than listen to more of the nonsense backstories repeated, or to see some of the aspects of the mentoring blab-along parts. It really isn’t at all fair for some contestants to get so much screen time, and others just a small blip.

  19. margaret johnson says:

    Adam made a comment during rehearsal about the willingness to take direction and I think that influences a choice he made during the battlerounds.

  20. loisbea says:

    Letting a singer like Kawan go at this stage is just wrong, and a cheat to viewers who want to hear more. So, Adam thinks Kawan doesn’t play well with others. Well, from watching most of the past seasons, Adam isn’t nurturing his talent as he should. He is the boss and any attitude will get you dropped. He’ll tell you anything to get you on his team and then drop you if you irritate him, or just for his strategic purposes. Adam often has kept people because they’re “nice.” But is this show really about Adam’s comfort level in dealing with people? Anyway, Adam just lost his best chance to win, unless he does something with Autumn, who is, far and away, twice as better a singer than Samantha and a fine performer too. Sure, Samantha is good, mostly a triumph of desire and hard work over obvious talent. Autumn’s voice, though, is full and rich with a great tonal quality. Samantha’s voice is none of those things. But sometimes a singer’s musicality, musical interpretation, emotion and style can be very compelling and carry her past more beautiful voices, like Stephanie Rice. And Blake is messed up to pair two of his best singers against each other. After the blinds, I ranked his top three singers as Tsoul, Valerie and Enid, in that order.

  21. Lizzie says:

    John Legend was an ass during the mentoring sessions. Reports are that Celine Dionne was quite the prima dona on The Voice set, making everyone’s life hell, even worse than Gwen’s reported behavior this season;