7:15pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Third Night of Battles Brings Steals and Tough Decisions
“It’s the most intense part of the competition,” said Carson Daly of the Battle Round, which continued on The Voice last night.
The first battle of the night pitted Pharrell’s Briar Jonnee against Caitlin Caporale, who battled it out with their versions of Alicia Keys’s “Fallin." Jonnee showed some nerves in her blind audition, so she had to step it up for the battle. In their initial rehearsal, she let her nerves get the best of her again, but Pharrell continued to push her. Mentor Lionel Richie told her to use her fears to her advantage by channeling them into an emotional performance. Caporale showed more confidence than Jonee, but she had some pitch problems — even in the final rehearsal. During the battle, both women showed a lot of improvement, hitting huge notes with their powerful voices. Jonnee connected with the audience on a level we hadn’t seen from yet. Caporale managed to hit all the right notes this time around; in fact, Adam Levine said she had the potential win the whole thing with her voice. Ultimately, Pharrell chose Caporale as the champion.
Next up, Team Adam’s Barry Minniefield and Jack Gregori faced off with “Feeling Alright” by Joe Cocker. They both have rich, low voices, making it challenging for either performer to stand out against the other. In their final rehearsal, their advisor Ellie Goulding warned them about rushing when they got nervous. They definitely took her notes into their battle, which showcased the strengths of both artists. Minniefield worked the low notes, and Gregori finally let loose and had some fun on stage. It was a close match, but Levine picked Minniefield as the winner.
Christina Aguilera matched Katelyn Read and Treeva Gibson for the next battle, asking them to sing “Addicted To Love” by Florence + The Machine, in the hopes that the girls would bring their own touch to the song instead of just copying Welch's version. Gibson has a more powerful voice, but Read has more experience, and the latter showed in the unique inflections she brought to the song. In the final rehearsal, Aguilera asked Read and Gibson to bring more of an edge to their performance, wanting them to dig beneath their typical sweetness and into the dark lyrics. Advisor Nick Jonas asked them to try to tap into experiences from their lives to reach that intensity. Aguilera went so far as to ask the girls to actually scream at the top of their lungs. It took them both a second to reach a true, unrestrained scream, but they finally got there, reaching the passion the song demands. In the battle, they were a little bit overshadowed by the stylization of the song, and they didn’t quite show off their true potential. Read demonstrated more control over her voice, but Gibson is a more versatile artist overall. Aguilera crowned Gibson the winner.
Team Pharrell’s Kimberly Nichole and Lowell Oakley battled next, and the biggest challenge for both of them was upping their stage presence and striking chemistry with each other, while still fighting to stand out respectively. Oakley tapped into a bluesier side of his voice, and both brought dynamism to their battle, which was one of the best of the night. “I’m looking at the toughest decision ever,” said Pharrell before the matchup had even begun. It turned out to be one of the toughest battle decisions in The Voice history, and Pharrell took his time with the deliberation. He finally chose Oakley, but Aguilera made a smart choice by stealing the very talented Nichole. “The steals change everything,” Aguilera said.
Brenna Yaeger and Kelsie May competed in Blake Shelton’s first battle of the night, singing “Fancy” by Reba McEntire. May knew the song better than Yaeger, who had been really rattled by nerves in the first rehearsal. Advisor Meghan Trainor pushed her to get more comfortable on stage, and Yaeger loosened up in the final rehearsal, even though she still ran into still some bumps with the harmony. In their battle, the two country artists appeared confident and experienced. They didn’t make use of the stage as much as they could have, but it was a solid battle, with both girls playing to their strengths. In the end, Shelton chose May as the winner.
Team Christina’s Clinton Washington and India Carney prepared for their battle next, singing Rihanna’s “Stay.” Carney had earned a four-chair turn back in the Blind Auditions, so Washington had clearly felt intimidated by her in their first rehearsal. But the two played off each other very well, bringing lots of emotion to their performance; they managed to make the song truly feel like a cohesive duet. Washington and Carney offered the best battle of the episode, both embodying the passion of the song in their voices. Aguilera selected Carney as the battle’s winner, but both Levine and Pharrell went in for the steal with Washington, who eventually picked Team Adam, feeling he is a better fit for her style.
The final part of the Battle Round goes down tonight, as the coaches face more difficult cuts to their teams and use the last of their steals. Did you agree with the decisions last night?