by Lyn Jensen
Musical March madness continues on The Voice as Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and Alicia Keys are putting their vocalists through tournament-style brackets. Who advanced and who went home in last night’s battle rounds?
1. Team Blake, TSoul vs. Josh Hoyer: Blake says these two male vocalists are cut from the same cloth musically. I say, You Tube star TSoul is contemporary R&B with a touch of Alicia Keys, Hoyer’s more straight-up barroom blues. The song assignment is the sixties’ R&B hit, “The Midnight Hour.” Blake says, the battle is “literally two peas in a pod.” I say, not literally, Blake, but it’s a tough battle to call. If Blake cuts TSoul, he’ll probably get stolen, but the same could be said for Hoyer. Blake says, “The winner is TSoul.”
Nobody steals Hoyer. In a post-battle interview, Adam explains he’s short on female vocalists and he’s holding a slot open for one.
2. Team Alicia, Autumn Turner vs. Vanessa Ferguson: These two female vocalists have some vocal resemblance to Keys. They sing the plaintive seventies’ ballad, “Killing me Softly with his Song.” Blake says the battle is about as equal as it can be. Alicia keeps Ferguson.
Adam and Gwen both talked about a steal during their comments, so it’s not a surprise when both hit their buttons for Turner. Despite Blake taking Gwen’s side, Autumn Turner moves to Team Adam. So Levine’s added the female vocalist he wanted.
3. Team Adam, Johnny Hayes vs. Julien Martinez: The lady judges appear to be enjoying two of Adam’s rockers battling on “So Hard to Handle” (a hit in different genres and decades for Otis Redding and the Black Crowes). Hayes appears to be the hardcore rocker here, Martinez–he’s admittedly more theatrical. Adam admits, “There’s no good decision here” but keeps Hayes.
Nobody steals Martinez, even though Blake and Gwen appear to still have slots open.
4. Team Gwen, Caroline Skye vs. Stephanie Rice: The song assignment is “The First Cut is the Deepest.” Skye shows she’s young and pure and pretty, but Rice sounds older and wiser, with more color and grit. She’d appear to be the clear favorite here. Gwen says, “The winner is Stephanie,” and explains later, “She’s all heart.”
Blake uses the steal for Skye that he didn’t use for Martinez. He’s now out of steals.
5. Team Adam, Kawan DeBose vs. Malik Devage: Adam’s R&B vocalists are assigned John Legend’s “Love Me Now.” BTW Legend is acting as Team Adam’s celebrity guest adviser, so he knows the song well. Legend and Levine get after both singers for not being adequately prepared during rehearsal. The shakiness continues into the performance, but DeBose is the more experienced singer. So Adam’s choice of Devage as the winner is unexpected.
Nobody steals DeBose.
6. through 8. Montage time!
6. Team Blake, Enid Ortiz defeats Valerie Ponzio, and nobody steals Valerie.
7. Team Adam, Hannah Erye defeats Sheena Brook, and nobody steals Sheena. (I thought either vocalist was a prime candidate for a steal.)
8. Team Gwen, Troy Ramey defeats–check it online–Jozy Bernadette. Nobody steals Jozy.
9. Back to featured duets–Team Alicia, Jack Cassidy vs. Hunter Plake: Alicia says Cassidy has the stronger vocals, but Hunter puts more emotion into his singing. As they duet “Dancing on my Own,” they both sound shaky to me. The judges are divided. Gwen thinks Jack has some “beautiful spots.” Adam thinks Hunter should be the winner. Blake has mixed feelings, “Jack’s gonna win–then I’m back on Hunter’s train!” Alicia pronounces Cassidy the winner. She says, “I want to un-tame you!”
Adam very much wanted Cassidy during the auditions but now he wants to steal Plake. The problem is, so does Gwen. Despite Plake admitting he’s an Adam Levine fan, he picks Gwen.
That means, though, Adam is the only judge/coach left with a slot to fill. He’ll get his chance tonight, and it will have to come from Team Gwen or Team Alicia.