Was it hot on The Voice, or was it just Camila Cabello’s reaction to a certain contestant’s Battle? As you can see in the above photo, the NBC sing-off’s newest coach was left a bit flustered by a performance from the contender she’s jokingly taken to calling her boyfriend. But did Jaeden Luke win over his own coach, Blake Shelton, or need a Save by Camila, John Legend or Gwen Stefan? Read on, and we’ll recap his and all of Tuesday’s Battles.
Team Camila: Orlando Mendez (Grade: B) defeated Ava Lynn Thuresson (Grade: C+) on “Rocket Man” | Before the twosome had ever sung a note of their countrified Elton John cover, I reckoned that this Battle was Orlando’s to lose. Though the self-proclaimed Cuban cowboy’s not the strongest singer ever, he’s got charm for days and that “it” factor for weeks. Here, while the duet never really came together, he lassoed a note that was long enough to take us all the way home on the range. Ava, in turn, impressed with the versatility of her pipes, but the poor kid wore her nerves like they were perfume.
Team Gwen: Cara Brindisi (Grade: A) defeated Jay Allen (Grade: A) on “Leather and Lace” — Jay stolen by Blake | As beautiful as Cara’s voice is — and it is flat-out gorgeous! — I was sure that there was just no way she was going to beat Jay, not after his coach advised him to lean into his softer side. Holding back a little bit at first made it all the more stunning when he went full-throated later in the song. As John put it, Cara was “perfect,” and Jay, simply more “compelling.” Goes to show (again) what I know. Ha.
Team Legend: Emma Brooke (Grade: C) defeated Nia Skyfer (Grade: B) on “She’s All I Wanna Be” | In rehearsal, it sure seemed like Emma’s stiffness was going to be an issue; even if she stood still, advisor Jazmine Sullivan encouraged her to put some intensity in her eyes. Instead, Emma spent a lot of the Battle looking sunny and sounding like she’d been plunked into absolutely the wrong genre. Technically, she’s almost surely the better singer, but this angsty Tate McRae number worked a lot better for Nia, who rocked out and served attitude on a silver platter.
Team Blake: bodie (Grade: B+) defeated Jaeden Luke (Grade: B) on “As Long as You Love Me” — Jaeden stolen by Camila | Gotta admit, this duet snuck up on me. At first, the stripped-down Bieber redo felt like sorta a snoozefest. But then bodie let loose with his full voice, as bold and clear as a red stripe on a beige wall, and I was like, “OK, over. Done. He’s got this in the bag.” He didn’t, though, because Jaeden soon proved that he was more than just a breathy vocalist and Camila flirt. His coach likened his approach to Chris Isaak’s on “Wicked Game” — never a bad thing — and his falsetto made even me think, “All right, then, he’s more than just a memorable look.”
Team Camila: Reina Ley (Grade: A) defeated Grace Bello (Grade: B-) on “Time After Time” | From what we heard of the kids in rehearsal, Reina had a bigger edge than you’d find on a hatchet. For one thing, Grace struggled. For another, she seemed more nervous than you’d imagine she would be after her memorable Blind. And in the moment of truth, she delivered a performance that was pretty… and pretty boring. Reina, however… wow. The 13-year-old looked and sounded like she was born to be on that stage. Both in vocal and presence, she owned their Cyndi Lauper cover.
Team Gwen: Justin Aaron (Grade: A) defeated Destiny Leigh (Grade: A+) on “No More Drama” — Destiny saved by Gwen | You can usually guess the direction in which a Battle is gonna go when in rehearsal words like “blew us away” are applied to one contestant (Jay) and, eh, “pretty tone” are applied to the other (Destiny). Here, however, holy crap! Destiny didn’t just rise to the occasion, she leapt clear over it. Her long notes were so long, they should’ve come with rest stops! And there was a fantastic roughness to her vocal that really sold the Mary J. Blige hit’s emotion. Justin was, predictably, amazing — an absolute powerhouse. But Destiny… jeez. Total revelation.