7:25pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': The Heat Turns Up as the Battles Continue
Celebrity advisors Ellie Goulding, Lionel Richie, Meghan Trainor, and Nick Jonas return to The Voice tonight, as the Battle Round gathers momentum.
Team Pharrell is up first, pairing Philadelphia street performer Anthony Riley and soul artist Travis Ewing from Louisiana, who battle with the song "Get Ready" by The Temptations. Riley already knows the song and feels pretty comfortable with it in rehearsals. The key is a little high for Ewing — right in the top of his range. Pharrell and Richie tell him to loosen up, while Riley needs to make sure he doesn't get too comfortable. "If you're coachable, you'll go a long way," Richie says. They both bring it in the battle with a high-energy performance, but even though Ewing puts up a good fight, Riley stands out on stage. Pharrell chooses Riley as the winner, but Ewing impresses Shelton, who goes in for the steal.
Christina Aguilera has her first battle, pitting insurance underwriter Ameera Delandro against jewelry designer Sonic. She has them sing "Masterpiece" by Jessie J, which plays to the strengths of both artists. "I've never sang with anyone before," says Sonic, who doesn't have any experience with duets. She's also completely deaf in her right ear, which makes the harmonies challenging for her. Aguilera and Jonas push her, as well as Ameera, who struggles with nerves in the first rehearsal. In the final rehearsal, Jonas encourages them to play to the empowerment and dynamism of the song, which both ladies definitely do when it comes time for the battle. They have powerhouse voices, and their stage presence is just as strong. They blow all of the coaches away, making the choice tough for Aguilera. "The potential is, I think, equal in both of you," Adam Levine says. Aguilera picks Sonic as the winner, and a tearful Delandro says farewell.
On Team Christina, Joe Tolo also wins out over Gabriel Wolfchild. Over on Team Adam, Deanna Johnson beats Nicolette Maré, and Nathan Hermida beats Josh Batstone.
Blake Shelton has the next battle. He asks Hannah Kirby and Sarah Potenza to sing "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones. The song choice definitely favors Potenza, who has a huge rocker voice. But as Trainor points out, Kirby's strength is her range. In their final rehearsal, Kirby steps up her energy and emotion to try to match Potenza's powerful stage presence. Going into the battle, it's all about who can show the most control. Their face-off is the best of the episode, with both artists proving they have what it takes to be true rock stars. It's a battle in every sense of the word, and Kirby doesn't let Potenza overpower her for a second. Shelton, ultimately, picks Potenza. "There's just something so different about her," he says. Pharrell and Levine both attempt to steal Kirby, and she selects Pharrell as her new coach.
Team Adam's first matchup of the night is Blaze Johnson vs. Michael Leier, who Levine has sing "Rude" by Magic! Johnson is happy with the song choice, which he feels plays to the versatility of his sound. Levine and Goulding tell Leier to work on his control. In their rehearsal with the band, both guys rush a bit, and it still feels more like an audition than a performance. But in their battle, they both fix their problems, showing a lot of improvement. Levine declares Johnson the winner.
Cody Wickline and Matt Snook from Team Blake face each other next. Their battle song is "How Country Feels" by Randy Houser. Right off the bat, Snook shows a lot of improvement from his blind audition. In their final rehearsal, Trainor suggests that the guys put down their guitars to try to connect a little more with the music. They end up doing the battle guitarless, and it's the right choice, as the men are able to tap into the emotion of the song and focus on controlling their vocals. According to Levine, Snook has the stronger vocals. Shelton praises both men, but he picks Wickline as the winner.
In the final battle of the night, Team Pharrell's Meghan Linsey and Paul Pfau sing "Don't Let Me Down" by The Beatles. "This is a classic song, and a lot of people know it, but they have to make it their own," Pharrell says. Richie tells them to think about the story when coming up with their interpretation of the song. In rehearsal, Pfau asks to bring the key down, and it makes the song much easier for him. Richie encourages Linsey to really engage with the song and make eye contact with Pfau. She takes the notes with stride, giving a truly emotional performance in the battle. Pharrell crowns Pfau as the winner, but Linsey causes the second three-way steal of the season. Despite the fact that he didn't turn for her in the Blind Auditions, her past working relationship with Shelton leads her to pick him as her new coach.
Most of the battles were very close tonight. Do you think the coaches made the right choices?