March 13, 2012 1:14am PT by Jethro Nededog
'The Voice' Battle Round 2: Surprisingly, Cee Lo Green Plays It Safe
When The Voice coaches are truly able to risk losing a phenomenal singer in its battle round pairings, the series lives up to its promise of being the freshest singing competition on TV. That’s its pledge isn’t it?
The NBC show started its battle rounds last week with real energy and pairings that would seem wrong if one were trying to reserve its strongest singers for the live rounds. But, that's when the show is living up to its promise. The viewer wants to feel like he or she truly doesn't know which performer will go or even want either one to leave the competition. This week, it lost that momentum in several pairings, but definitely in both of Cee Lo Green’s matches.
He started the night with folksy Sarah Golden against raspy rocker Juliet Simms. It was an obvious mismatch from the beginning. Even Juliet’s most reserved take on Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me” relegated Sarah to something equivalent to a backup singer. That’s not to say that Sarah isn’t a fantastic singer when she’s given a song that works for her. This just wasn’t that song and this just wasn’t a match that gave Juliet’s talents a run for their money.
Later in the episode, we reach another of Cee Lo’s faulty pairings. He takes a very versatile singer, Jamar Rogers, whose voice and stage presence quite literally fill a room, with the more reserved Jamie Lono. When Jamie’s voice cracked at least a couple times during rehearsal, Jamar had won the battle before it even started. Even guest mentor Babyface couldn’t quite say that things looked very good for Jamie after working with the performer. The thing that seemed to save the round was that Jamar was a really giving competitor. He allowed Jamie the floor during his sections of the song, but really it was hard for him not to outshine his competition. At any rate, it was clear Cee Lo would pick Jamar.
Coach Christina Aguilera actually said during both rounds that the song didn’t complement the losing performer’s voice.
Sure, Cee Lo is allowed to play the game any way he wants. Clearly, the battle rounds are about bringing your best talent to the live shows. But that said, creating battle rounds that lack danger doesn’t make for good TV. I’m just short of calling Cee Lo’s rounds well-calculated setups. I guess I just said it. Let’s hope he steps it up in the remaining rounds.
Here’s how Monday’s battle rounds went down.
Kim Yarbrough beats Whitney Myer on Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama.”
A very aggressive (read: off-putting) Charlotte Sometimes beats Lex Land on Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”
Sera Hill beats Geoff McBride in a very exciting performance of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”
Lindsey Pavao beats Lee Koch on the worst rendition of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” that has ever been performed.
Team Cee Lo
Juliet Simms beats Sarah Golden on Rod Stewart’s “Stay With Me”
Jamar Rogers beats Jamie Lono on Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is”
What did you think of Monday's match ups? Do you agree with me on Cee Lo's rounds or are you wondering if we watched the same show? Tell us in the comments section below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro