'The Voice' Season 9 Recap, Review: Beautiful Battle Rounds Make Hard Coaching Choices
The Voice's season 9 battle rounds continued with its third episode on Monday night (Oct. 19) and just because we're 75 percent of the way through this round, don't think that the momentum was going to slow down.
We actually got some of the prettiest showings of season 9 yet on Monday, with stunning showings from Andi & Alex, Korin Bukowski and Viktor Kiraly. Every year, The Voice uses the same phrases with "best battles ever" and "greatest singers yet," but something about those generic runarounds felt genuine tonight...
See how it all played out.
Blaine Mitchell vs. Blind Joe, "Old Time Rock and Roll": Blind Joe never really gave Blaine Mitchell a second to himself in this battle; he kept interjecting during the slight pauses in Blaine's solos. And though Blaine was jumping around the stage and working the area like a madman, he just always felt like he was playing second fiddle. The singing, as Blake said, was a "dead tie." Blind Joe's rasp and guitar playing were texturally interesting, but Blaine had the range. So, how to go?
Who technically won the battle? Blind Joe's microphone-hogging fared him well; he was picked to stay on Team Blake.
Who should have won the battle? It's hard to say that Blake didn't make the right choice, because even though he had no advantages when it came to looks or stage presence, Blind Joe totally stole the spotlight. But, Blaine will still be OK. His high pitched vocals just begged for a spot on Team Adam, so he got a steal.
Viktor Kiraly vs. Cassandra Robertson "Nobody Knows": First of all, to Adam Levine, way to have a really boring song choice. To Viktor Kiraly and Cassandra Roberts, there really is a special quality to both your voices. For this song, this boy-girl pairing got a little romantic, entangling arms and working the emotions more than anything else. When it came to the actual vocals, they were pretty evenly matched. So, to stay on the stacked Team Adam, it just came down to a matter of preference.
Who technically won the battle? Viktor Kiraly took the win for this one. He is more polished from his time as a Hungarian pop star, and that's not just easier to coach but it's easier to win with.
Who should have won the battle? Adam Levine made the right choice, not just for himself (he gels better with this type of singer) but for the betterment of the competition.
Chase Kerby vs. Korin Bukowski, "Samson": Both Chase Kerby and Korin Bukowski tried out with emotionally-charged songs, so Gwen Stefani gave them this "emo" performance of this stunning Regina Spektor number. This isn't necessarily the most obvious choice for showing, like, a big bombastic range but it can show a different side of a performer. There was a pretty element to both of these people, but as Adam Levine pointed out, there were a few technical flaws in Chase's performance while Korin stayed in her wheelhouse and delivered on it.
Who technically won the battle? The breaks in Chase's voice may have read as emotional to Blake, but it signaled control to Gwen (and me), so Korin got the easy win.
Who should have won the battle? Korin rightly won this battle thanks to her vulnerability.
Evan McKeel vs. Riley Biederer, "Higher Ground": Oh, how weird. Once again, Pharrell picks a 40-something year old song. HOW WEIRD. When it came to Evan McKeel and Riley Biederer, both of these pop singers are generic as heck. When it came to this classic soul song, neither had quite the attitude to make this their own. But, their vocals were solid. Riley's range is impressive and Evan held his own with a certain je ne sais quoi,
Who technically won the battle? Evan McKeel with that je ne sais quoi. Of course Pharrell picked the man with an interesting texture to his voice - he LIVES for that kind of thing.
Who should have won the battle? Evan rightly won, and not only did he win this battle but he won my heart later. After Riley was stolen for Team Gwen, he omitted a Shia LaBeouf-style "DOOO IT!" #BLESS
Braiden Sunshine vs. Lyndsey Elm, "No One Else to Blame": It seemed as though Lyndsey Elm was working at a major disadvantage in this battle. Braiden Sunshine is not only a unique performer, but he is also the kind of guy that you just root for. He's a 15-year-old scrappy, curly-haired baby. Who doesn't want to keep that around? In the second Team Gwen battle of the night, these two tackled the Howard Jones track "No One Else to Blame." Both of these singers were evenly matched; Braiden has a huge voice but at 15 years old, he could be a wildcard against the consistent Lyndsey.
Who technically won the battle? Gwen went all in for Braiden. Do you really think she could have turned down someone that adorable and talented?
Who should have won the battle? This one was hard to call but Braiden will be more interesting to watch throughout the season, so Gwen made the right call.
Andi & Alex vs. Chance Pena, "Wherever You Will Go": Who would have thought that this The Calling track would be one of the big highlights of season 9's battles? But at the end of episode three, this is what we got courtesy of twin superstars Andi & Alex and 15-year-old pop singer Chance Pena. Three part harmonies, especially in country, are some of the most beautiful sounds out there (think Lady Antebellum, as Adam said in rehearsals), and that came through here. Andi & Alex slightly overpowered Chace, but he definitely held his own with a strong, beautiful showing.
Who technically won the battle?The "ethereal" (as Adam said) nature of Andi & Alex is magnetizing and couldn't be competed with, and they slaughtered Chance.
Who should have won the battle? But not too much. His beautiful yet manly tone won over Blake Shelton. And though Andi & Alex rightfully won, it's good that Chance is still around.