The bar has been set by Night 1 of The Voice Battle Rounds, with several of the coaches’ steals already being dished out, making the decisions that much harder for the remaining contestants. Are there a few that never should slip through that will — I’m looking at you Night 1’s Celeste Betton. Let’s see what tonight’s competitors provide in this abbreviated one hour episode.
First Battle – Team Adam: Keith Semple vs. Manny Cabo
The Prediction: Keith Semple had a solid showing on a Bon Jovi classic in his Blind Audition, but could have shown more, while Manny Cabo wowed with his Whitesnake rendition of “Here I Go Again.” It’s no surprise that these two rockers, who both went with classic hard rock songs early on, are paired up by Adam. Cabo would likely be the favorite going in based on what he did earlier.
The Battle: Adam chooses The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” and this should be right in both of their wheelhouses. During the initial rehearsal, Keith nails it, while Manny appears to be straining to hit some of the higher notes. Manny appears to have more energy during the final rehearsal, but still has a little issue hitting one of the early notes. Once they hit the stage, Manny hits the note he was having issues with, but Keith’s stage presence and command of the song earns a “wow” during the performance from Gwen Stefani. Simply put, both singers are on top of their game in terms of stage presence and vocals and both leave the stage to play up to the coaches. It’s a great start to the night as they both nail it.
The Decision: Blake jokes about Keith pointing at him and wondering how they knew he was wasted. Then unleashes another bald joke, telling Manny that Adam tried to steal his look. All kidding aside, Blake calls it one of the best battles they’ve ever had on the show. Pharrell says Keith went above and beyond his expectations and it’s a definite he improved upon his blind audition. Gwen says Manny just seems so natural, but Keith had moments where her breath was taken away. She’s the only who actually picks and chooses Keith. As for Adam, he agonizes over the decision, but ultimately chooses Keith. However, in a bit of a shocker, Manny was passed over for a steal.
Second Battle – Team Blake: Chris Crump vs. Krista Hughes
The Prediction: Krista Hughes was tops on her night during the Blind Auditions and had all the coaches fighting for her, while Chris Crump, who has one of the more unique voices in the competition, was also a four-chair turn in the Blind Auditions. Without knowing the song choice, Krista has to be the favorite as she was considered one of the top contenders out of the opening round.
The Battle: Blake keeps it on the country side and gives the pair the duet “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton, and it helps that Paisley is the mentor for the duo. Paisley helps the pair get in touch with the feeling as he reveals he had just lost his aunt when writing the song. Chris feels the pressure as Krista is pure country, but the pop vocalist holds his own during the rehearsals and earns a “wow” from Paisley. Chris reveals he too lost someone and fears he’s getting too emotional, and Paisley lightens the room by telling him to think about a shark attack. During the performance itself, Krista is perfectly in the moment in the song, but it’s Chris who appears to nail the notes that gain the coaches’ attention. Once again, this is a better than expected pairing where Blake will have a tough decision to make.
The Decision: Pharrell is wowed by Chris’ range and how he went from a soft opening to being a truly powerful singer by the end. While he thinks Krista has something special, in this battle he chooses Chris. Gwen loves the blend of their two voices, but she too throws her support to Chris. Adam, like Pharrell, mentions that Krista hit a few sour notes. It appears clear that Blake expected Krista to win, but with Chris’ strong performance he now has a dilemma. Based on what he saw, Chris wins and one of the early frontrunners gets bounced.
Third Battle – Team Pharrell: Ivonne Acero vs. Siahna Im
The Prediction: Ivonne Acero is the feel good returning Voice contestant who this time got two chairs to turn, while Siahna Im provides one of the more unique voices in the competition, sounding way beyond her years. Both have their solid qualities, but neither was likely considered a front-runner going in. Just because of the possibilities with Siahna’s voice, the prediction here goes to the adorable teen.
The Battle: Pharrell gives the pair a Motown classic, the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On,” feeling it will bring out the character in both of them. Pharrell calls out Siahna’s power but wants more vibrato during the initial rehearsal, while Missy Elliott points out that she needs to make eye contact. Missy also calls out Ivonne for holding back and tries to get her to loosen up. By the second rehearsal, both are a little more animated, but Siahna is still having vibrato issues. Meanwhile, Ivonne loses track in the song and needs a pep talk from Pharrell. As for the performance, Siahna has the sass and stage presence, while Ivonne still seems a little timid and has some odd phrasing. However, she does hit some notes that do register with the coaches. It was not the best pairing ever, but someone has to move forward.
The Decision: Gwen loves Siahna’s attitude, while she praises Ivonne’s strong voice, admitting she doesn’t know who she’d pick. Adam feels they both need some work. And Blake offers more praise than either of the other coaches, feeling they both are just reaching their potential. In the end, Siahna gets the nod from Coach Pharrell, advancing to the Knockout Round. The bigger surprise though came when Gwen decided to try to use her final steal on Ivonne. Meanwhile, Blake spoils Gwen’s gesture and also tries to steal. Gwen gives the hard sell and a few zings are thrown Blake’s way. He has some fun with it, but doesn’t really offer as compelling an argument. While Gwen might seem the better fit, it’s not her night, as Ivonne chooses Blake.
Sadly, the producers of the show continue to make cuts offering us montage segments for a few of the battles. In tonight’s abbreviated performances, Team Gwen advanced Jeffery Austin over Noah Jackson and Kota Wade over Alex Kandel, while Team Pharrell’s Madi Davis moves on after besting Sydney Rhame. Watch those performances below.
Rankings (of non-montaged winners):
4. Ivonne Acero (Team Blake)
3. Siahna Im (Team Pharrell)
2. Chris Crump (Team Blake)
1.Keith Semple (Team Adam)
Come back next Monday night at 8PM ET/PT on NBC for the next group of The Voice Battle Rounds.
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