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'The Voice' Season 8 Recap & Review: Battle Rounds Wrap Up as Jacob Rimmel & Sawyer Fredericks Shine

by Carolyn Menyes   Mar 17, 2015 21:25 PM EDT

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The battle rounds are always the least intriguing part of The Voice, but we're done! YAY! Tonight (March 17), the final 12 contestants took to the stage to get a spot with either Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera or Pharrell. But, we only got to hear six singers in full.

Tonight's battles were all solid, but none were quite as engaging as we heard in previous episodes. The highlight was, well, something we'd heard before.

But, as the pack was narrowed down, let's see how it all played out...

Jeremy Gaynor vs. Rob Taylor, "Animals": During their auditions, the judges all went nuts for both Jeremy Gaynor and Rob Taylor. I didn't quite follow the hype of Jeremy, but Rob was one of my favorite auditions of this season. His use of falsetto was so pretty and carried him through a song that otherwise could have been very difficult to sing, and that was pretty much the story for this performance too. It felt like Jeremy was just trying to keep up with Rob, whose voice just soared during the parts that even Adam admitted was hard to sing. Both men are clearly talented. But one was just more effortless...
Who technically won the battle? Rob Taylor took this away. He could nail the lows and high of this song, expanding on what an R&B artist could do. But, it just felt like Jeremy was keeping up.
Who should have won the battle? I've been a fan of Rob's since the beginning, and obviously he nailed this. Jeremy was very good, but he wasn't amazing like Rob was.

Noelle Bybee vs. Sawyer Fredericks, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain": The Voice actually released/teased this battle earlier in the day, teasing it as the "cutest battle of all time." And, man, they weren't wrong. It's a little tiring to constantly hear Pharrell's song choices. They're so OLD. Like, Creedance Clearwater Revival are classic, but SO OLD. That being said, this was a tender and sweet performance and a true duet. While both these teens are young, humble and quiet, Sawyer Fredericks is clearly the man with more artistry behind him. He played his guitar humbly, helping to accompany the song. And it helped Noelle Bybee to shine during a performance where he really could have eclipsed her.
Who technically won the battle? Sawyer Fredericks. This was basically always going to happen - Sawyer got an extended biography during his audition, and I think Noelle was montaged. And while both singers are ~other~ enough for Team Pharrell, there's just something undeniably special about this kid.
Who should have won the battle? It's a shame there were no saves left, because Noelle really does have a very soft, controlled and unique voice. Despite her own merits, Pharrell chose correctly by going with Sawyer.

Corey Kent White vs. Jacob Rimmel, "I Want Crazy": This could have been a very uncomfortable song choice for Jacob Rimmel, who is very much not a country artist. Compared to Corey Kent White, who lays in country, Jacob should have been terrified. But, he pulled it out. While Corey was comfortable and brought his slight accent and sweet sensibility, Jacob was able to maintain his own originality in a song that may have otherwise been difficult for him to do so.
Who technically won the battle? Well, Blake Shelton is a country guy, so this one went to Corey. And I don't mean to dog on him. Both Corey and Jacob were able to maintain their sweetness and unique vocals. But, for Team Blake, there's only one right move.
Who should have won the battle? For as decent as Corey was, Jacob is clearly the more interesting artist. He has better range and a tone that we have yet to really hear on The Voice. PLUS, he's proved he can sing both R&B and country... what else could he do? Luckily, we get to find out, while Jacob got the final steal on Team Pharrell.

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