As The Voice transitions from the Battles to the Knockouts, it’s time for celebration: get ready for a wardrobe change! Here’s hoping the coaches step it up in the ridiculous department, though, because this season’s fashion choices have been a little too safe. Sure, Adam Levine donned a bowling shirt, but his hair has stayed the same normal color, and there have been no Hawaiian shirts to speak of. Pharrell’s hat sizes have been beyond reasonable, and Gwen Stefani’s pilgrim socks from the Blind Auditions were nowhere near as ridiculous as the silk pajamas — or really anything — that Cee Lo wore on the show.
Come on, team; you can do better than this. A saucer fascinator topping Blake Shelton’s jeans-and-blazer uniform would do the trick, or even a wacky novelty tie with Carson Daly’s suit. Don’t make the audience wait until Christina Aguilera returns next season to bring out the outlandish.
On to the talent: Tuesday (October 21) night, The Voice wrapped up the Battle Round. Only Gwen entered the night with a steal remaining, but struggled with how to use it. The few televised Battles, after all, were surprisingly mellow — and that just ain’t her style.
Gwen did eventually dish it out, as she and her fellow coaches finalized their teams of eight. Here’s who made it through to next week’s Knockouts:
Team Pharrell: Brittany Butler vs. Ricky Manning
If you’re a fan of vintage adult contemporary, you’re going to love this first battle! Pharrell pairs jazz singer Brittany Butler and R&B musician Ricky Manning for an easy-listening cover of George Benson’s “On Broadway.” If anyone could produce this song into an interesting offering in 2014, it would be Pharrell…but even he doesn’t manage. Jazz it up all you want: it’s just bland.
“You guys both have such strong character and personalities on stage,” says Gwen, adding, “Brittany, I thought you were really good and you ramped up to the end.”
“I feel like this was definitely on par with what we heard before,” Adam tells Brittany. “Ricky, I think I saw a huge leap.”
Their coach is pleased with the performance. “Ricky, you definitely connected with yourself,” he says. “Brittany, I felt like you reserved it a little bit, but toward the end you decided to let it fly.”
Citing overall improvement, Pharrell chooses Ricky. Brittany lets out the first real devastated cry of the season, earning a group hug from Pharrell and Gwen.
Team Blake: Kensington Moore vs. Reagan James
This is it: the big controversial Battle teased as “startling!” Either Reagan James or Kensington Moore is going to miss a rehearsal — a first in Voice history, and it’s going to be a big deal. What could this “startling” missed rehearsal mean? Substance abuse? Prison? Defecting to Idol?
Not so much. Poor Kensington had a brutal case of kidney stones, which is actually a rather reasonable excuse for missing a rehearsal. But, you know — Voice history and all: big day.
Ironically, it’s Reagan who misses a few lyrics during the performance of Lorde’s “Team” (and she made it to all of the rehearsals), but she still stands out as the clear victor.
“Pharrell and I are still pissed that we don’t have you Reagan, and I think today your voice was even better,” says Gwen.
“Kensington, your voice really cut so well,” says Adam. “Reagan, you walked up here like a pop star, and you’re only 16.”
“You both have this hunger,” says Blake “Every note that I gave you came up here and you did it.”
Blake advances Reagan. Don’t worry, Kensington: like the kidney stones, this too shall pass.
Team Adam: Beth Spangler vs Mia Pfirrman
Closing out the Battles are two of Adam’s four-chair turners: Beth Spangler and Mia Pfirrman. The pair initially struggle in rehearsals to take the Christina Aguilera mimicry out of “I Turn to You,” and instead give it their own spin. “Less is definitely more here,” Adam tells them, urging them to avoid the trap of trying to live up to Xtina.
It’s a rough start, but both Beth and Mia hit the big notes the performance is intended to bring out.
“I can see so much potential in what both of you guys to do,” Pharrell says, but leans toward Beth.
“Mia, this song I felt was much more suited for your voice, and you sang it beautifully and confidently,” says Gwen. “Beth, you really surprised me.”
“You just really delivered,” says Adam. “Mia you had the most holy moly moment, but Beth, you were equally as great.”
Calling the decision a “coin flip” Adam advances Mia. Being the last coach with a steal, Gwen adds Beth to her team in a hug/button-press combo move that would earn bonus points should The Voice ever release a video game.
Just like Taylor Swift, the following folks won’t make their appearances until the Knockout Round: On Team Blake, Alison Bray defeats Fernanda Bosch, and on Team Gwen, Anita Antoinette defeats Mayra Alvarez, and Bryana Salaz defeats Gianna Salvato.
With the Battles completed, it’s now time to unleash Taylor Swift on the remaining contestants. It’s fair to say her mentoring approach might be a bit less-chill than former Knockout mentor Chris Martin, but it will certainly be a lot more gif-worthy. Shoes will be removed. Hugs will be given with reckless abandon. Bangs will be flipped. Dance moves will be attempted.
The Voice gets Swifted next week!
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