Caila Ball Mar 25th, 2014
“Thank God for steals,” Shakira says going into The Voice Battle Round Monday night (March 24) and, likely, her nightly prayers. Indeed, another strong crop of performers that go head-to-head-to-head-to-head have coaches buzzing in, as single performers and duos alike are knocked out left and right. Going into the evening, Shakira, Usher and Blake Shelton hold some valuable steals, while Adam Levine sits helpless in his striped sweater. It’s a really cute striped sweater, though, so who’s really in the real power position?
Take a look at the fiery face-offs that have the coaches choosing and stealing as week two of the Battles heats up.
Team Adam: Austin Ellis vs. Josh Kaufman
Ol’ one-chair Austin Ellis goes up against #4chairs Josh Kaufman in a soul battle to see who can make the audience feel “Happy.” Although Josh goes in with the clear popularity advantage, they both excel in their performance of Pharrell‘s Despicable Me 2 hit.
Perhaps overcoming the worst superhero moniker of “smooth-singing SAT tutor” (thanks Carson Daly), Josh combines a strong soul voice with soaring falsettos to stand out as the victor of this battle, and a clear standout of the season. Against almost anyone else, Austin would have stood a chance, but Josh’s range just crushes him.
“Golly, I can’t keep up with all the tricks this guy has,” Blake says of Josh.
“Austin, although there were a few rhythmic issues I recognized, you’re like a caged beast,” says Usher, though he still favors Josh.
“I really don’t know what you’re going to do because these are two great singers,” says Shakira.
Although Adam recognizes Josh’s effort, he calls Josh’s talent, “miraculous.” Josh continues on to the Knockouts, sending Austin home.
Team Blake: Alaska & Madi vs. Audra McLaughlin
It’s two against one in the battle of BFFs Alaska & Madi against four-chair-turn Audra McLaughlin. The three country singers, mentored by The Band Perry, sing Linda Ronstadt‘s “When Will I Be Loved?” in the most country way possible. Alaska & Madi may want to consider opening up their duo to a third, because the threesome is a pure country hoedown. State fair quality, at the very least, and it’s too close to call. All of the coaches eat it up, and some even wish they had saved their steals for this rainy day
“Phenomenal,” says Usher, “Audra, you completely held your own against two incredible female singers.”
“I’m gonna be neutral,” says Shakira.
“I’m angry, because I can’t steal whoever he’s going to pick,” says Adam.
“You guys are so good and so on top of your game,” says Blake, struggling with a decision. He ultimately chooses Audra, sending the duo home.
Team Shakira: Deja Hall vs. Music Box
It’s a karaoke battle when Shakira puts Deja Hall and Music Box (the person) against each other singing The Bangles‘ “Eternal Flame.” With the help of coach Miranda Lambert, the two work through their early pitch issues to harmonize in the big battle. Looking past the confusion of two people taking the prom slow dance jam so seriously, it is a strong performance.
“I do believe that both of you guys have really special qualities,” says Adam.
“Deja, you have an amazing voice that must be like when Superman was first figuring out his powers,” says Blake. “Miss Box, you’ve already developed a unique sound,” he adds.
“I was able to appreciate your voice, Music Box, but I wish you would have connected to the song,” says her coach. “I feel that your voice is so angelic and it accompanies your persona,” Shakira tells Deja.
Shakira picks Deja, and Usher buzzes in quickly for the steal. “Your voice was incredible and you have the potential to go really, really far in this competition,” Usher tells his new team member, Music Box.
Team Usher Madilyn Paige vs. Tanner James
If The Voice were high school, Madilyn Paige and Tanner James would be prom queen and king. Not only are the star-crossed (probably soon) lovers both from the same town and school, but the Provo, Utah, natives are cute as can be singing Taylor Swift‘s “Everything Has Changed.” Naturally, they’re given the Ushersize of singing to one another across the rehearsal room, and both this and Jill Scott‘s coaching get so intense that Madilyn confesses that she’s never had a boyfriend. And that, How I Met Your Mother, is the beginning of a love story that doesn’t drag out over eight years. Even Carson Daly calls it “the most adorable Battle ever.”
Aside from their future marriage, they actually need to sing. It’s a Taylor Swift cover, and it’s definition fine, so can they both just move on and be a forever couple?
“That was like cute overload. So romantic and sweet,” says Adam. “Not only was it very sincere as a performance, but it was also very well done.”
“You’re both amazing, charismatic and have beautiful voices,” says Shakira.
“I know for a fact that Madilyn is adorable, but apparently Tanner is too,” says Blake. “I think I would go with Madilyn.”
“Tanner, you’re like a heartthrob right now,” says Usher. “Madilyn, I felt like you arrived.”
Usher advances Madilyn, and no one buzzes in for Tanner. This ending certainly rivals Romeo and Juliet in terms of tragedy levels.
Team Adam: Dawn & Hawkes vs. Josh Murley
More adorableness on the way, when lovers and bandmates Dawn & Hawkes go up against single father Josh Murley. Poor Josh is so the third wheel of The Voice’s Sonny & Cher, but with the help of mentor Aloe Blacc, the triad get through the mismatched romance to perform Stealers Wheel‘s “Stuck In The Middle With You.”
Sort of. Honestly, there’s just too much chemistry between Dawn & Hawkes to appear anything but an outsider when onstage with them. Josh’s voice sounds a bit thin against the duo’s perfect harmonies, but despite the “get a room” of it all, the three manage a fun campfire singalong feel that has the coaches praising.
“It was pitch perfect, and it was great,” says Blake, who is unable to call a victor.
“I would actually give this performance to Josh,” Usher says.
“I’ve never heard it in my life, but I enjoyed it,” Shakira says of the classic rock hit, which was totally befuddling.
“You guys did an excellent job,” says proud coach Adam. He finds the pairing evenly matched, but he advances Dawn & Hawkes, citing their connection together and vocal ability.
Shakira waits until the last moment, but eventually buzzes in for the steal(ers wheel). “He’s way too talented to walk away from this competition,” she explains.
Team Usher: Bria Kelly vs. Tess Boyer
Four-chair-turn earner Bria Kelly goes up against former cheerleader Tess Boyer in the final battle of the evening. Usher gives them Janis Joplin‘s “Piece Of My Heart,” hoping it will bring out vulnerability in both. Tess struggles with letting go of her cheerleader rigidity, but with the help of mentor Jill Scott, eventually lets go enough to have Usher struggling to declare a victor.
“That was awesome,” says Shakira. “I think that it was equally matched.”
“Bria, I have a soft spot for you,” says Adam. “Tess, I am now a fan.”
“Tess came out of nowhere on this thing,” says Blake.
Usher praises them both, but declares Bria the winner.
Adam gives an imaginary buzz of his red button, but as his team is full, only Blake has the opportunity to steal Tess. He jumps in and adds the aspiring pop singer to his team.
Let’s be real, the two-hour episode was nothing if not punctuations between promotions for Shakira’s new self-titled album, available now. So, if the message didn’t quite get through, get to downloading that now in preparation for the final night of the Battles, tonight!