The Voice Recap: They Don't Really Want to Go, Oh [Updated]

adriana louiseThe early bird gets the worm, but on The Voice, he also uses up his Battle Round steals so early, he’s left going “D’oh!” when a talented vocalist gets rejected without a lifeline late in the game. The not-so-early bird, however, who’s not opposed to wearing terrifying Bret Michaels drag to rehearsals, takes the last wriggling straggler left in the competition — in this case a former backup singer for Lady Gaga whose melody choices were occasionally as scary as a week-old “meat dress.”

And thus, while The Steal provided a huge upgrade to The Voice‘s third season, I can’t help but wonder if for Season 4, all Battle Round rejects should be placed in a holding pen backstage, only to get brought out for the coaches’ selection after the final duet showdown. Sure, such a move would take away some of the post-performance suspense from individual Battle Rounds telecasts, but it would also help ensure the 20 best vocalists advance to the live shows. And if that happens, doesn’t everyone (especially the viewing audience) win?

While you ponder that question, let’s break down each individual battle — ranked from least- to most-promising winner:

Team Cee Lo: Avery Wilson defeats Chevonne (Chevonne stolen by Christina Aguilera) | Don’t get me wrong: I understand intellectually that Avery has a big, powerful voice and plenty of charisma, but the kid uses a sledgehammer when all that’s required is a nail file. There were six or seven instances on “Titanium” where Avery began to soar on a glory note, only to muddy it up with excessive vibrato. If he’s going to be a real contender in the competition, Cee Lo needs to teach him to choose his spots a lot more judiciously. (The pirouette, meanwhile, was totally random, but pretty great. It was like Avery suddenly was overcome by the involuntary need to spin!) Chevonne, for her part, seemed to know she was outclassed vocally, and tried to compensate with bizarre tweaks to the melody and aggressive body language. Watching Xtina attempt to drum up enthusiasm as she was forced to use her “Steal” on the season’s final Battle Round evictee was about as comfortable as a Real Housewives reunion special.

Team Blake: Michaela Paige defeats Kelly Crapa | Blake said he was planning to give the win to whichever of his teen phenoms looked and sounded the most ready for primetime, and the second Michaela strutted over to her rival and cut her down with a well-placed side-eye, it was clear the Mohawk-sporting rocker chick would win the duet on “I Hate Myself for Loving You.” Michaela also seemed to heed more closely to Blake’s advice to respect the original melody, whereas Kelly (and her insane crimped hair) kept sliding into notes in ways that bordered on strident.

Team Xtina: Adriana Louise defeats Jordan Pruitt | I’m all for singers putting their own spin on a melody, but as with morning butter and late-night carbs, everything in moderation, right? But while Adriana and Jordan may have slightly overbaked Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold,” it was at the instruction of their mentor, who spent the rehearsals demanding more ad libs and runs. Adriana, with her hot purple dress and robust growl, took more risks than the airier-voiced Jordan, and generally nailed ’em, too. She’s got scads of raw talent, and paired with the right material and a little bit of restraint, she could turn out to be most likely to succeed on Team Xtina.

And with that, let me turn things over to you:

Who were your favorites from The Voice‘s sixth Battle Round episode of Season 3? Were there any decisions you found upsetting? Hit the comments with your thoughts!