7:46pm PT by Ashley Lee
'The Voice' Recap: Battle Rounds Wrap Up
The final night of the battles showed how far a singer’s natural grit – and fun gimmicks – will bring them on The Voice. Coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton paired off their remaining contestants for the final battle rounds of season five.
With Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, Miguel and Cher joining in as guest mentors, see who emerged victorious in the last night of the battles:
Green’s Jonny Gray vs. Shawn Smith: “Refugee”
The two military veterans faced off with the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song that perfectly blended their rock and country aesthetics, but challenged their abilities with rhythm and phrasing. Nevertheless, both championed their selected genre and natural sound onstage, making the choice one purely of taste – the pop-minded Levine and Aguilera preferred Gray, while country coach Shelton praised Smith. Green moved Gray forward.
Levine’s Barry Black and Preston Pohl: “I Wish It Would Rain”
Both in black-framed glasses, the creative musician (remember his gimmicky instrumentless flugelhorn imitation?) and the Christian rock band singer channeled soul with The Temptations song. Levine cautioned that Black tended to hide behind too many runs, while Pohl had to learn to control his rasp and improve his falsettos. Black pulled out his gimmick in the battle anyway, but Aguilera and Green commended Pohl’s soulful timbre. Levine too opted for Pohl.
The episode also quickly ran though battles between:
Shelton’s Holly Henry vs. Cilla Chan: Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.” Henry wins.
Shelton’s Emily Randolph vs. Brandon Chase: Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” Chase wins. (Such a shame not to see Cher’s invaluable critiques on these two matches though.)
Green’s Tamara Chauniece vs. Keaira LaShae: Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Chauniece wins.
Aguilera’s Olivia Henken vs. Stephanie Anne Johnson: “Done”
The country singer felt she had an initial advantage on The Band Perry’s wordy track, but the seasoned cruise ship performer quickly acclimated to the genre. Aguilera tried to evoke more sassy riffs and attitudes out of the contestants, and thankfully, the two brought it to the battle. Green and Levine praised Johnson’s grit, while Shelton opted for Henken for staying in the pocket of the country song. Aguilera awarded Henken for her consistency, immediately allowing Green to steal Johnson.
The knockout rounds – a sudden-death matchup where contestants choose their own songs – begin Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC. Thankfully, the show has introduced yet another twist: each coach has one more steal for the upcoming round.