The Voice's most confusing and least engaging section is very clearly the battle rounds. HEY YEAH, let's take two totally different artists and make them do the same thing? Even now, in its eighth season, the show insists on keeping this format, and it just makes too many good people go home thanks to match ups that don't make a lot of sense.
Thankfully, tonight, that wasn't so much the case. The matches were a little uneven. YEAH, let's put an old-timey guy versus a rocker or a country dude versus a soulful crooner. Fine. Whatever, The Voice.
Despite not making much sense, tonight (March 16), the pack was narrowed further down. So, let's see how it all played out...
Briar Jonnee vs. Caitlin Caporale, "Fallin': In the rehearsals, Caitlin Caporale was so out of tune that it was really, truly hard for me to get over. But, once it came to the actual performance, it was clear that she has that little something-something that helps to make her a star. This performance was not perfect for either Briar Jonnee or Caitlin Caporale by any means, and it's a wonder why they put it first. Briar kept dropping notes despite her sweet, soulful tone and Caitlin did lose the melody on occasion. And their end harmonizing note on the end was really just a battle to see who could wail louder and louder.
Who technically won the battle? Caitlin took this home, thanks to her control. Briar was able to exude her richness and soulfulness, but this song was really just in Caitlin's wheelhouse and Pharrell kept her along.
Who should have won the battle? This one was hard, because though she was in control during the performance, Caitlin really can go off the rails, and that's unappealing. Briar has a more interesting tone, and I think that maybe she would have been more interesting to watch than just another white girl with a big ol' voice.
Barry Minniefield vs. Jack Gregori, "Feeling Alright": Two of the oldest contestants on this show just so happen to have landed on Team Adam and he just so happened to put them together for this classic Joe Cocker song, which helps to blend together Barry Minniefield's deep soul roots and Jack Gregori's country age. Though, I can't help but to think that such a dated song choice just ages these men even more. This battle round performance really, truly felt like a battle, with Barry adding in screams while Jack was on the lead vocal and Jack singing some loud and proud notes as Barry was on lead. In the end, as Blake pointed out, Jack felt a little more like a comfortable, natural performer on this battle while Barry was more in tune with the spirit of it all.
Who technically won the battle? Barry actually took this home, in what felt like a bit of a twist. Though both men clearly had a good time in this performance, the thing about "Feeling Alright" is that it's all about the soul, and that's something that Barry just had more of at the end of the day.
Who should have won the battle? A lot of times, the coaches on The Voice are a little *too* nice, and they'll be all like, "Oh man, this was such an even match!" But, really, this was an even match. Barry and Jack were a little like apples and oranges, so it did just come down to preference. Personally, I prefer Jack's tone to Barry's, but I'm more of a country fan than soul. I also just feel like (sorry to say) Barry's age may work against him on this show. Is he up for all the sleepless nights, the twists, the new songs every week? I'm sorry, but I'm not so sure... This maybe should have gone to Jack.
Katelyn Read vs. Treeva Gibson, "Addicted to Love": WOAH. Two girls covering a cover. T-R-I-P-P-Y. Yes, this is somehow the Florence + The Machine version of Robert Palmer's classic, even though the arrangement was basically the same once The Voice touched it. Both these chicks are young, as Team Christina advisor Nick Jonas pointed out, so they had trouble connecting with the lyrical content or really emitting any true emotion, and that carried through a bit into the actual battle round performances, too. The sang the song, but did they really sing it? Treeva Gibson has more range, a better backstory (which helps on The Voice) and a powerhouse voice. Meanwhile, Katelyn just has a really bizarre tone to her voice. Like, she can't cut through a note to save her life, and she's way too throaty. Blech.
Who technically won the battle? Treeva Gibson. Her voice was just stronger. Though the two girls felt toe-to-toe throughout like 70 percent of this battle, Treeva pulled away with some crazy runs, giving her the edge that kept her on Team Christina.
Who should have won the battle? Treeva, for all the reasons mentioned and more.
Kimberly Nichole vs. Lowell Oakley, "Hounddog": This was just a weird matchup, courtesy of Team Pharrell. You have the soulful, genre bending rocker Kimberly Nichole and the old school, mini-Michael Buble Lowell Oakley. And, I don't know, Pharrell did what he does and gave them an ancient song. Despite the so dated song choice, Kimberly and Lowell were able to milk what they could out of this, shaking their "tails" and winding around the beat. This song was way more in Kimberly's wheelhouse, as she snarled and rocked her way with her raspy voice. For Lowell, he had to match that, and he only kind of pulled it off. He brought in his own swagger, but he was overpowered.
Who technically won the battle? Pharrell likes people who are a little "other," so he decided to go with Lowell. His charisma was infectious, even if he did end up looking a little but creepy. His voice was okay, but I think P was playing the strategy here, trying to keep both singers around and snatch up Lowell later.
Who should have won the battle? Oh, Kimberly for sure. Pharrell kept Lowell around because there's more work that needs to be done? How is that even logical? If he's in it to #winit, Kimberly was "the voice" to go with.
Brenna Yaeger vs. Kelsie May, "Fancy": There are few country songs out there that are more difficult to sing than Reba McEntire's "Fancy," so of course he gave it to his two young, brunette country female singers. Both Brenna Yaeger and Kelsie May are so incredibly similar both in looks and ability that Blake Shelton just had to put them together. Their inexperience (and thus their need to be on The Voice) was the star of the entire segment. They were nervous to meet Meghan Trainor, nervous to take on Reba and, of course, nervous to sing on stage in front of a live audience and millions of viewers at home. When it came to the actual performance, it was just very clear that Kelsie's voice was stronger. One, she just sang *louder*, which is not the same thing as being stronger all of the time, but it helped out this time. Her range was better, her power was better and her nerves showed through less. That's not to say that Brenna didn't hold her own; her performance felt ore natural. It just wasn't quite as dynamic as her competitor.
Who technically won the battle? This one went to Kelsie May. Maybe her volume just made it easier for her to cut through the nerves, but she went louder, higher and stronger, but she stood out.
Who should have won the battle? I don't know if louder always equals better, but it worked in Kelsie May's favor in this battle, and Blake made the right choice.
Clinton Washington vs. India Carney, "Stay": This was, like, the big performance of the night. All of the teasers gave a preview of Clinton Washington and India Carney performing Rihanna's "Stay," and that was for good reason. Most of the battles tonight were good but none were really, truly GREAT like some that we saw last week. Luckily, the crazy chemistry of this performance helped to make it something that was actually worth all of NBC's hype. India was a clear frontrunner on this season of The Voice, with her audition being one of this year's clear best. But Clinton was more of a mystery, and that put him in danger. Luckily, he was able to stand up to India's crazy range and signature soulful tone