VOICE OVER: The Battle Rages on The Voice Stage!
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by Sally Henry
The second night of the battle rounds on The Voice was just as intense as ever, though the talent did not seem quite as overpoweringly awesome as last night, but the singers definitely brought everything they had to this competition today.
The first pair to battle was Team CeeLo’s soulful Cody Belew vs. Domo the hip hop dancer. With instruction from both CeeLo Green and Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas, they sang Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” Domo, extremely confident about her ability to both sing and dance, compared the strength of her voice to Mariah Carrey. But during the rehearsal, she seemed to be focusing more on her choreography ideas than the song itself. Cody was excited about singing with Domo because he wanted to finally embrace his inner dancer. Cody said, “Rob gave me some pretty good help on this song… Domo has all she needs to make this song successful, but I’m going to bring it.” Rob said of this guy, “All Cody has to do is surprise people.” CeeLo merely described this song as, “A battle between the singer who can dance and the dancer who can sing,” saying that winner would be whoever could prove to do both. Prior to the performance, Cody voiced what every contestant feels throughout show, “This really is life or death for a singer like me.” Unfortunately, this arrangement seemed like a very odd song choice because it did not let either singer really show off their full potential very well. Both singers pitch issues multiple times, which seemed mostly due to the fact that they were thinking about the dancing. After the performance, their coach had these same ideas, “You were a little too concentrated on the choreography… Neither of you seemed to really fight for it vocally. So now it comes down to personal preference. I’m gonna go with Cody.” Sadly for Domo, none of the judges wanted to steal her, bringing her journey to an end.
With the help of coach Christina Aguilera and Billie Joe Armstrong, Aquile faced Natalie Hernandez when they sang, James Morrison's “You Give Me Something." Christina said, “You come from two different worlds in terms of music styles… It’s up to you as an artist to make it work.” In rehearsals, the Green Day singer told Aquile, “You killed it. I think it was better than the original.” Christina told sweet, timid, 15-year-old Natalie to be fearless. On stage, they both brought everything they had beyond the shadow of a doubt. Aquile seemed really comfortable and confident, delivering a strong, soulful performance. Natalie did not carry such a self-assured air like her opponent at first, but as it went on, she got more relaxed on the stage and started to have fun with it. The coaches heaped on the praise for this pair. CeeLo said, “I loved it. Natalie, I think there’s something precious about you. Aquile, your voice is so commanding, I think you did a perfect performance all the way through.” Christina said, "You both have such a sweet tenderness. Aquile, I’m a big fan; you complemented this song so perfectly. Natalie, there’s something so good about your raw voice. But… The winner is Aquile.” Natalie gave a classy closing remark to her coach, “I’ve learned so much and it’s just been amazing.” You’re right it’s amazing! This girl is barely in high school, and she’s already been on The Voice? Really? None of the coaches seemed to think this would be the end of her career, and I absolutely have to concur.
Though NBC did not air the full performances, it quickly updated us on a couple other battles. For Team Christina, Celica Westbrook prevailed when she sang Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life would Suck Without You” against Lisa Scinta. Also, Blake’s Rudy Parris beat Charlie Rey with “Had a Bad Day.” In neither case did the judges use one of the two steals they are allowed.
The final battle of the night was between Caitlin Michele and Melanie Martinez who sang Ellie Gouldin’s “Lights” with guidance from Adam Levine and Mary J. Blige. Melanie said of being paired with Caitlin, “Even though me and Caitlin have very different voices, we have a very similar style.” Mary J. Blige commented, “Melanie Martinez looks like a little girl, but she has so much depth to her.” Unfortunately, during their rehearsals, these girls just seemed inexplicably average and not special at all. Adam put it best, “Caitlin and Melanie had an off-day in the final rehearsal, and we all do, but the best way to excel is to give it 200%. You have to get up there knowing that you’re gonna blow everyone’s minds with this.” Despite that, he still had confidence in them, “Melanie and Caitlin are equally capable of winning this; it just comes down to who wants it more.” But to everyone’s relief, they came to the performance with so much passion and showed their true talent when it really counted. Having two girls with nearly unique voices was an interesting combination, but they made it work. So when Carson Daly asked the coaches whom they favored, it was very clear that they really just wanted whoever Adam let go. A noticeably torn Adam said, “The last day of rehearsal it felt like you weren’t really there. But today, you couldn’t have impressed me more... I want them both on my team. I don’t want anyone stolen from my team... Well, my initial gut and the person that moved me the most from the beginning was Melanie.” This opened the floor for the coaches to steal Caitlin, and sure enough, Blake and CeeLo each pushed their red button. Blake and Adam reminded Caitlin that not CeeLo, but Blake turned around for her at the blind auditions. But this unique singer was swayed by CeeLo who said, “Unique is my real first name! I think you should be on Team CeeLo.” So fortunately, both of these girls got to stay with the show for a little while longer.
That’s all for the first week of the battles! Next Monday, the battle rounds continue on NBC at 8/7c with even more suspence, steals, and absolutely crazy coaches.
So what did everyone think of tonight and this week overall? The steal option certainly throws a new, needed dimension into everything, making the performances even more important, and causing the coaches to really pay attention constantly.
Need a refresher on the performances this season? Click here for in-depth recaps from each episode this season.
Visit www.nbc.com/the-voice/artists/ to view the full list of mentees, plus their stories, videos, and more. You can download your favorites from tonight’s performances at www.iTunes.com/thevoice, or watch them on The Voice's YouTube channel: www.Youtube.com/NBCthevoice. Keep up with The Voice through the week and while the show on Twitter: @NBCTheVoice, #TheVoice.