'The Voice' Season 8 Recap & Review: Battle Rounds Kick Into Gear as Hannah Kirby Blows Us Away
The Voice continued to just dive right into the battle rounds tonight (March 10), escalating the talent and keeping season eight on a roll. Just half an episode away from the audition rounds, everything on this show still feels fresh, from the banter between coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Pharrell to all of the contestants themselves.
Tonight, there was a mix of pure fire collaborations and some that fell a little flat. Though the show opened and closed strong, with a major powerful nugget in the middle, it's becoming clear who the frontrunners are and who's just still lucky to be on the show.
Check out a rundown of the aired battles below, seeing who should have and who did win each battle.
Anthony Riley vs. Travis Ewing, "Get Ready": Travis Ewing was far and away the underdog of this battle - the infectious performer Anthony Riley has this song in his regular performance rotation. So, it really was an uphill battle for Travis. And, surprisingly, he brought it. The white dude doing soul lived next to the more seasoned performer, with his smooth mid-range. But, well, Anthony is just really good at what he does. He swayed with the movement, moved with the music and was all about the performance, all while doing a perfect vocal.
Who technically won the battle? Anthony Riley. There was just no denying that he was the better performer, really selling every moment.
Who should have won the battle? This one is a little more difficult to call. Though Anthony was flawless and easy, Travis had an uphill battle and more than held his own and he gave 110 percent. That should be held up and rewarded. And, luckily, that's what Blake did by stealing him.
Ameera Delandro vs. Sonic, "Masterpiece": It's not easy to tackle a Jessie J song, and one of these girls did it. Sonic and Ameera Delandro battled it our on J's "Bang Bang" follow-up "Masterpiece" due to their raw potential. At first, their line by line trade off seemed like a fair battle, but soon... Ameera just lost the melody, dropping notes left and right like it was her job (hint: it wasn't). And despite her hearing loss, which Sonic struggled with during the rehearsals, she sang circles around Ameera, proving that she could be a frontrunner on this show.
Who technically won the battle? Sonic. Did I really need to say? She almost had no competition.
Who should have won the battle? Sonic. Ameera's flawed notes really just ruined everything else she did.
Hannah Kirby vs. Sarah Potenza, "Gimme Shelter": Like, damn. This was one powerhouse battle. Sure, The Voice calls what it does during this round a battle, but rarely does it feel like the singers are individually fighting for their art - until now. Sarah Potenza, the powerhouse, major loud blues rocker was a clear favorite for this battle. She's just so LOUD... how can you sing against that? Enter in: 21-year-old Hannah Kirby, who secured the final spot on this season of The Voice. During her audition, she showed off her unique tone, but it was yet to be seen what sort of power she had. Until this. Each line of "Gimme Shelter" was filled with more power than the last, as both Hannah and Sarah sang louder, prouder and stronger, building to some insane notes. We all won here.
Who technically won the battle? Sarah was chosen as the winner by Blake Shelton. She did sing her heart out, but that was to be expected. Her rasp and passion was there.
Who should have won the battle? Though this one was amazing all around and hard to call, it probably should have gone to Hannah. She injected in more performance and passion. She wasn't expected to hold her own in this battle, but she easily did. Part of me thinks that Blake chose Sarah as the winner so both girls could reamin on the show, a valiant effort. Hannah was eventually stolen by Adam and Pharrell, and she now has a spot with P.
Blaze Johnson vs. Michael Leier, "Rude": Michael Leier had one of the most wooden auditions of this season, giving a very blank performance of Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss," while Blaze stunned with his take on The Fray. When it came to their battle, everything about this song choice made it seem like Adam Levine wanted to keep Blaze around - this is a reggae pop song and Blaze was born in the Carribbean, after all. This battle round was pretty meh overall, with Michael dropping notes on the ground and Blaze trying just a little harder than he had to. Even the judges were underwhelmed...
Who technically won the battle? Blaze Johnson. This song was more in his wheelhouse, so he had a natural advantage. He also had a more silky performance and stayed consistent.
Who should have won the battle? This one went to the right man. Michael just straight up missed some notes. And even though he improved his stage presence from his audition, there was still little here to really grab on to or connect with him.
Cody Wickline vs. Matt Snook, "How Country Feels": Though the back stories and ages of Cody Wickline and Matt Snook differ quite a bit, it's shocking just how similar their voices are. And that came though during their duet/battle of "How Country Feels." Really, at times, they felt indistinguishable, though Cody was able to demonstrate that he has a bit more range and charisma than Matt.
Who technically won the battle? And that gave Chris the edge over Matt. He won the battle, though really, this seemed like one of the most equal battles of the show.
Who should have won the battle? The talent level of this performance was so balanced, but it still feels like Blake made the right choice. Maybe it's mean to say, but Cody is younger and more attractive and he just has a better chance of stardom than Matt, despite both being talented men.
Paul Pfau vs. Meghan Linsey, "Don't Let Me Down": Both Paul Pfau and Meghan Linsey share a bluesy tone to their voice, which made this Beatles classic a perfect song choice. Though the tempo dragged a bit, they both sold the emotion of this track and it was powerful as they traded off lines perfectly. Meghan led this song easily, with Paul following her and always attempting to keep up with her, though that may have been just a marker of her experience and not so much of his lack of talent. However, Paul brought his beautiful rootsy tone and held his own.
Who technically won the battle? Paul managed to remain on Team Pharrell.
Who should have won the battle? Meghan, duh. She was a more powerful presence on the stage, likely attributed to her past successes as a performer. But, it really seems like Pharrell chose to keep Paul around so both singers could stick on the show, and that's really a win for everyone.