11:53pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'The Voice' Battle Round 1: Blake Shelton Uses His Disappointed Face (Video)
NBC’s The Voice took the gloves off for the first battle round. It heavily featured its bigger voices of the competition which led to several very heated sing offs. The coaches’ goal is to whittle their teams from a talented dozen to its strongest six singers for the live shows.
To do that, it has invited their industry friends to guest mentor: Christina Aguilera teams up with Lionel Richie and Jewel; Cee Lo Green with Ne-Yo and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds; Adam Levine with Alanis Morissette and Robin Thicke; and Blake Shelton with Kelly Clarkson and his wife, Miranda Lambert.
The series ended Monday’s episode with probably the toughest competition. It pitted Christina’s team members preacher’s son Anthony Evans and single dad Jesse Campbell, against each other.
They sang Alicia Keyes’ “If I Ain’t Got You” and both had different ways of attacking the song. Jesse is either very confident or he’s good at faking swagger. Either way, his voice control is excellent. On the other hand, Anthony has the kind of voice that sounds best when it’s slipping into a note rather than projecting it like Jesse tends to do. My natural inclination is to root against the person who’s puffing up for battle. So, I was going for Anthony. But, the coaches were more drawn to Jesse’s aggressive style and Christina ended up picking him to move forward.
In contrast, we had a match like Blake’s battle between Adley Stump and RaeLynn. It seemed an odd pairing from the beginning. Adley’s in your face vocals versus RaeLynn’s more stylish folk-country. As they rehearsed and then met with coaches Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson, it became clear why Blake made the pairing. Adley had to learn to rein in her energy and RaeLynn had to stop trying to match Adley’s power and be confident in her own voice.
Again, I rooted for RaeLynn even as I came to terms with the fact that Adley stole the show each time she opened her mouth while her opponent didn’t quite get over her nerves. Christina and Cee Lo voted for Adley while Adam said he liked RaeLynn’s unique style. In the end, Blake was more impressed with RaeLynn’s ability to tell a story and sent Adley packing – a decision that both surprised me and then didn’t. This is the guy who championed Xenia and Dia Frampton in Season 1, after all.
The lowlight (or highlight depending on how you see it) was when Blake seemed embarrassed by the battle between Jordis Unga and Brian Fuente. The judges felt they were pitchy throughout the performance and Blake didn’t feel they did their best. In fact, he said it sucked. I was in Jordis’ corner, because it never seemed like Brian got over his discomfort with a song written for a female artist. There was also a point where the music slowed and he sort of lumbered back and forth stiffly in a failed attempt to groove with the music. I didn’t need to see that ever again and was glad to see Jordis advance. It seemed as if Blake wanted to eliminate both of them for a second there, though.
Here are Round 1’s matches at a glance.
Tony Lucca beats Chris Cauley on U2’s “Beautiful Day”
RaeLynn beats Adley Stump on Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin”
Jordis Unga beats Brian Fuente on Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”
Team Cee Lo
Cheesa beats Angie Johnson on Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”
Chris Mann beats Monique Benabou on Celine Dion’s “The Power Of Love”
Jesse Campbell beats Anthony Evans on Alicia Keyes’ “If I Ain’t Got You”
Watch the Jordis-Brian battle that had Blake using his disappointed face again below.
Did you disagree with any of the coaches' decisions? Tell us in the comments section below.
Note: Anthony and Dia's names have been corrected.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro