It has become something of a tradition on The Voice that the last performance of the night is usually the best performance of the night. On last night’s show, this was once again the case, as India Carney and Clinton Washington battled to a virtual draw singing Rihanna and Mikky Ekko’s “Stay.” Of course, the crack editing team gave away the ending by letting the viewing audience know beforehand that one of the two artists would be stolen. Nothing like giving the game away, NBC. Anyway, both singers were awesome together, and Christina Aguilera had a very tough decision on her hands when they finished. The battle winner was India, with Clinton being stolen by Adam, after he chose him over Pharrell.
If the opening paragraph of this blog gives you the impression that there is nowhere for the show to go but downhill after that, you would be right. But rather than a steep decline, it was just a gradual drop. For me, the second best battle of the night was the first one, pitting small-town Mississippi girl Briar Jonnee against Caitlin Caporale for Team Pharrell. The ladies sang Alicia Keys’ debut hit, “Fallin’.” Both women did an excellent job, and during the battle, I gave a slight edge to Caitlin, as I thought she was just a bit smoother than Briar. Turns out I chose correctly: Caitlin got the win, though Briar was not stolen, it wasn’t as though her performance was poor. Winner: Caitlin
An intriguing battle of two mature-voiced, older gentlemen was next up on the show. Team Adam’s pairing of Barry Minniefield against Jack Gregrori led to the two dapper guys singing “Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker. I sat with the old-school head nod during this performance, as both men gave very soulful performances. I felt it was another tough call, but in the end, Adam gave his vote to Barry.
Team Christina’s first battle of the night paired Katelyn Read against Treeva Gibson. Katelyn must have been in one of the montages; I didn’t remember hearing her at all. Treeva Gibson I did remember, mostly for her backstory of being from Frederick, Maryland and having two deaf parents. They were given “Addicted To Love”, originally performed by Robert Palmer, but using Florence And The Machine’s more recent arrangement. To me, the arrangement just drained the energy out of the performers; but I don’t think that if they used Palmer’s arrangement it would not have been much better. Katelyn’s voice mannerisms may have been an effort to try to sound more like Florence, but I’m not that familiar with that version so I can’t really say. Treeva was solid, but not spectacularly so. Christina’s final vote went for Treeva.
Team Pharrell’s next battle pairing had Kimberly Nichole taking on Lowell Oakley. These were two very distinct singers in this round. Kimberly Nichole performed “Nutbush City Limits” in the blind auditions while Lowell did “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” Pharrell had them meet in the middle by performing “Hound Dog”, made famous by Elvis Presley but first done by Big Mama Thornton. The arrangement was closer to Big Mama than Elvis, which made it a tad more bluesy. The singers gave it their all, but I couldn’t for the life of me pick a winner. As a performance, the staging was great. The singing left me feeling some kind of way-mostly meh. Apparently, Pharrell couldn’t pick a winner either, as he hemmed and hawed and had enough time to sing “Mind Blowing Decisions” by Heatwave while he figured out who the winner was. Finally, he made a choice: Lowell, with Kimberly stolen by Christina.
The last battle to recap pitted young country singers Breanna Yaeger against Kelsie May for Team Blake. This was a stylistic divide between current country and classic country. In the blind auditions, Breanna sang a Miranda Lambert song, while Kelsie did a Loretta Lynn classic. Blake, like Pharrell in the previous battle, chose a song in the middle for the battle performance: “Fancy” by Reba McEntire. This battle was one of nerves to me; while both girls performed okay, there wasn’t anything earth-shattering in either performance. Blake decided to keep Kelsie on his team into the knockout round.
Tonight’s show is only one hour, though it was hinted in the fadeout that the final battles are coming up. Will the show get through them all in one hour? With all those commercials? Will there be a battle montage? Stay tuned.