The Voice Battle Rounds Recap: The ‘Wonder’ of It All

The Voice - Season 9

With each impending battle in the Battle Rounds, it gets harder and harder for the remaining competitors. Going into this night of The Voice Battle Rounds all four coaches had one steal left, but by the end of the night only one would have the chance to pick off a deserving vocalist on the final night of the Battle Rounds. So let’s see how the latest Battle Rounds played out.

First Battle – Team Blake: Blaine Mitchell vs. Blind Joe

The Prediction: Blaine wowed with a powerful version of Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” in the Blinds, while Blind Joe also had a solid Blind Audition, but Mitchell seems like the more seasoned performer going in. He would have to be the favorite.

The Battle: Blake chooses Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” as it fits both their styles. During the initial rehearsal, Blaine shows power, but Brad Paisley points out that he wasn’t hitting all his notes. During the final rehearsal, Blind Joe starts stepping on Blaine’s parts, which is a kink that needs fixing before the show. Blake feels it’s equal going into the battle night. Once they hit the stage, there’s some good interplay between Joe and Blaine, and both guys do an admirable job with the song.

The Decision: Pharrell loves one of Blaine’s high notes, but Blind Joe’s got soul. He gives the edge to Blind Joe. Gwen compliments Blaine’s showmanship onstage, but she compliments Joe’s gift of music. Adam loves Blind Joe, but found Blaine to be a revelation. In the end, Blake feels it’s a tie, but he chooses Blind Joe. Luckily Adam recognizes talent when he sees it and uses his final steal to snag Blaine for his team.

Second Battle – Team Adam: Cassandra Robertson vs. Viktor Kiraly

The Prediction: Cassandra powered her way through Ella Henderson’s “Ghost” during the blind audition, but the soulful Viktor Kiraly drew more raised eyebrows with his cover of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” during his blind audition, and having been a vocal talent winner in Hungary, he may have more of the pedigree to go further. Viktor is the pre-Battle guess.

The Battle: Given that both artists have soul, the angst-ridden Tony Rich Project hit “Nobody Knows” will give each a chance to show nuance. John Fogerty asks if their rendition needs the modulation. Adam calls out Viktor during the first rehearsal for not finishing his lines clearly. There’s tons of improvement in their second rehearsal with Fogerty quipping, “Did you guys just go out on the road for a week?” Adam’s primary critique is “less is more,” leaving the artists to keep it simple rather than trying for some fluctuating fill. In the actual battle, Viktor is smooth as can be and also has the stage presence to make it as though he feels the song. Cassandra plays along and hits some amazing notes along the way. As the song plays out, Viktor gives the more nuanced performance, but as a duo they make it one of the night’s better moments.

The Decision: Blake Shelton praises one of Cassandra’s runs, but Viktor gets his nod. Pharrell praises Viktor, but felt Cassandra’s performance was “magical and undeniable” and leans toward her in the battle. Gwen loves Cassandra’s power, but admired what Viktor did as well. Adam loved their ability to connect with passion to the song, but ultimately he chose Viktor to advance.

Third Battle – Team Gwen: Chase Kerby vs. Korin Bukowski

The Prediction: Chase Kerby won over Gwen with his cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and some candy from his family’s candy store. Korin was sweet in her own right, delivering a powerhouse performance of Andrew McMahon’s “Cecilia and the Satellite.” Going in, I’m not sure one would be favored over the other, but Bukowski might have more potential to go deeper in the competition.

The Battle: Given that both acts have more of an alternative bend, Gwen gives the pair the song “Samson” by Regina Spektor, which would seem to favor Korin. During the first rehearsal, both musicians show something not evident in their auditions, with Bukowski hitting some more delicate notes, while Kerby broke out a falsetto that really connected. The final rehearsal connects so much that both Gwen and Selena Gomez are completely moved by the performance. The breathy opening from Korin totally connects, but Chase seems to be straining to reach certain notes a bit. It’s a solid performance, but they may have performed better during the rehearsal.

The Decision: Adam loves Chase’s voice, but felt there were some difficult transitions. Adam says his vote would go to Korin, but feels there’s something special about both performances. Blake was moved by the emotion in Chase’s performance. Pharrell says he loves Chase’s voice, but didn’t think the song was in his wheelhouse. Gwen gets defensive about the critiques about both performers and loved the emotion both artists put in. She makes the difficult decision to advance Korin.

Fourth Battle – Team Pharrell: Evan McKeel vs. Riley Biederer

The Prediction: Evan McKeel showed surprising soul during his Blind Audition when he delivered an off-the-cuff rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed” at Pharrell’s insisting after his initial song. Riley Biederer delivered a powerful rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Invincible.” While it was good, McKeel was one of the Blind Audition standouts and would seemingly be favored in this matchup.

The Battle: Pharrell gives them Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” something that would seem to favor McKeel given his love of Wonder, but Biederer has that something in her voice that also is perfect for the funkiness of the song. Missy Elliott thinks Evan has an edge after the first rehearsal, but Pharrell wants Evan to turn it up. Riley has the sass to match Evan, making sure that this is going to be a killer matchup. When it comes to the battle, Evan is so close to Stevie Wonder’s vocals, it’s scary. Riley, meanwhile, manages to keep up with Evan and her voices shines through even though it’s clear that Evan is going to take this match.

The Decision: Gwen calls Evan’s performance magical, but loves Riley’s rich voice. Adam says Evan’s performance was upsetting because he did the song so well. Blake praises Evan, but says that Riley has the more unique voice. Pharrell heaps the praise on Riley, but it’s evident he’s going to pick Evan. However, Riley’s performance was enough to sway Gwen to use her final steal.

Fifth Battle – Team Gwen: Braiden Sunshine vs. Lyndsey Elm

The Prediction: Young rocker Braiden Sunshine caught Gwen’s ear in the Blind Auditions, but he did have some vocal issues that needed addressing. Meanwhile, Lyndsey Elm won over the coaches with a reworked version of Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Moving.” Based on the Blind Audition performances, Lyndsey would likely be the frontrunner going into this Battle.

The Battle: Gwen pulls out the sorrowful Howard Jones’ ’80s hit “No One Is to Blame” for the two young performers. During the initial audition, Selena Gomez asks Lyndsey to be more confident in her vocal. Meanwhile, the 15-year-old Braiden shows soul and power and more confidence than what he had during his Blind Audition. Gwen and Selena offer suggestions about how each artist can use the arrangement to their benefit and the final rehearsal Lyndsey appears to have taken the notes to heart. Gwen gets into Braiden about his stage presence and tries to get him to loosen up. Once they hit the stage, Lyndsey seems like the more natural performer, but Braiden’s voice is undeniable.

The Decision: Adam feels like the performance went like a tennis match, and feels like both had moments that showed greater promise. Blake feels Lyndsey had it won until Braiden hit one of his final notes. Pharrell feels that Braiden showed a little more than had previously been seen, while Lyndsey’s voice mesmerized him. Gwen loved Lyndsey’s performance, but she gets effusive in her praise of Braiden. She picks Braiden.

Sixth Battle – Team Adam: Andi & Alex vs. Chance Pena

The Prediction: The harmonies of sisters Andi & Alex won over the coaches during the blind auditions, but Chance Pena was also one of the early standouts as well. Given how hard it is to advance a duo, Pena might have the slight edge.

The Battle: Given the amazing harmonies of the twins and the register of Pena, Adam Levine gives them The Calling’s “Wherever You Will Go.” The opening rehearsal shows great promise as after some initial critiquing, Pena manages to match the harmonies of Andi & Alex. It’s a little different arrangement, but one that seems to fit. During the performance, Pena manages to keep up with Andi & Alex, but the best moments come when all three harmonize. There are moments in this performance that are as good as it gets, leading the coaches to stand after the completion.

The Decision: Blake is a fan of the girls, but admits that Chance snuck up on him. He reveals that he thought he would pick the twins going in, but liked Chance better. Pharrell calls the sisters “two unicorns,” and felt that Chance really led the performance. Gwen calls the performance “magic.” Adam admits that Chance had the bigger challenge and calls for the three of them to form a group. It’s a tough call, but Adam holds onto the twins. Luckily, Blake uses his final steal on Pena.

Rankings
9. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen)
8. Blind Joe (Team Blake)
7. Blaine Mitchell (Team Adam)
6. Riley Biederer (Team Gwen)
5. Viktor Kiraly (Team Adam)
4. Chance Pena (Team Blake)
3. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen)
2. Andi & Alex (Team Adam)
1. Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell)

For those keeping count, Pharrell Williams is the lone coach with a steal left as we head into the final night of the Battle Rounds. Who will he use it on? That remains to be seen. Tune in Tuesday night at 9PM ET/PT on NBC to find out which remaining vocalists advance to The Voice Knockout Round.

So which The Voice artists are you loving now that the Battle Rounds are almost done? Are you all about the standout soul stylings of Evan McKeel, or is Korin Bukowski’s delicate (yet effective) approach your particular favorite? Feel free to comment below!

THE VOICE -- "Battle Rounds" -- Pictured: Korin Bukowski -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
THE VOICE — “Battle Rounds” — Pictured: Korin Bukowski — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

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