Night three of The Voice season 12 battle rounds gave viewers an insight that might surprise some. Talent isn’t the number one factor in making it to the top. We all hear the stories about Hollywood stars that are “difficult” to work with. Maybe so, but it’s unlikely they started out that way. The truth is there’s little in the entertainment industry that doesn’t require the ability to get along with others and collaborate. One of tonight’s battles really brings this point home!
Battle 1. Team Blake: T-Soul vs. Josh Hoyer
The first thing we hear from T-Soul is how he knows that country and soul music have a connection that goes “way back.” It’s true, but wow, he sounds just like coach Alicia Keys – but he’s with coach Blake Shelton! …Actually, this proves the point, doesn’t it?
Blake’s song choice is perfect for these two. “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett “In the Midnight Hour” is a classic soul piece. During rehearsal Blake has T-Soul cut down on his runs, which Josh doesn’t have the range to really do. However, he also tells T-Soul to not stay in his falsetto voice, because Josh’s robust soul voice tends to drown that out. In other words, the soul-brother and blue-eyed soul singer are pretty evenly matched! The result is a great battle. Honestly, best parts are when they harmonize. Their voices blend really well together!
No one stole Josh, but the chatter after was that they all really liked him. Blake said he hopes the two keep working together. Knowing Blake, after the show he will probably make that happen!
Battle 2. Team Alicia: Autumn Turner vs. Vanessa Ferguson
Both at the end of Blake’s battle and before Alicia’s starts, coach Adam Levine makes the point that he’s really needs another female singer. …I know: if he hadn’t paired Gaby Borromeo with Mark Isaiah he wouldn’t have a problem. Gaby was great! Honestly she seemed like someone who could have won. The thing is, there are but so many slots on the show.
Sometimes I think some choices on The Voice are made based on who needs the exposure more. Being on team Adam got Gaby reacquainted with John Legend – whom she’d worked with when she was sixteen. Maybe that’s just what she needed. Don’t be surprised if we hear more about her when this season is over!
In any event, it was obvious from Adam’s comments that we were being set up for a steal! Sure enough, Adam pitched for Autumn before Alicia even decided which artist she wanted to keep. That had to help because she had a tough choice!
Musically, this performance of “Killing Me Softly With His Song” was my favorite battle of the night.
Alicia described Autumn as r&b pop and Vanessa as r&b soul, which worked well for this song done by both Roberta Flack and Lauren Hill. Of course, we all know Alicia loves soul music, so that was an early clue of where she would lean. Then after the battle she said Vanessa has the New York thing. Knowing that Adam wanted Autumn was the finally point that probably sealed the deal of who Alicia chose.
It wasn’t a simple steal segment though. Gwen also tried to get Autumn, and Blake tried to help her.
Blake: If you want to go to drive-ins. diners and dives, you should go with guy Fieri down there. If you want a great, powerful female coach to help you win The Voice, maybe you should go with Gwen.
As the audience is going crazy yelling out whom Autumn should pick as her coach, Blake yells to her, “Cheeseburgers! French fries!” …That, totally backfired – and spectacularly!
Autumn: I like diners and french fries, I pick Adam.
Smart woman! Gwen’s critique of the battle was a lot of style over substance – literally. She was more interested in the clothes than the singing. Her first comment to Autumn was that she should have won because of her hair! Then her pitch to Autumn was that she could help with bringing out Autumn’s style and personality? Look, style and presentation is absolutely important to performance, but this is The Voice, not Project Runway!
Battle 3. Team Adam: Johnny Hayes vs. Julian Martinez
Adam gave these guys “Hard to Handle” by Otis Redding. It’s the first clue about the direction of this battle. Johnny did an Otis Redding sound for his blind audition.
Still, despite being comfortable with the artist’s music during the rehearsal Johnny was having a technical issue. The melody of the song is heavily syncopated, which is why Adam told Johnny to imagine singing, “way behind the beat.” Usually when we hear someone needs to stay in the pocket it’s about staying on the rhythm, but here it actually wasn’t. (I love how precise Adam gets with his notes!) Meanwhile, Julian was having a problem with being too technical with pronunciation and needed to loosen up. It’s a great example of how different these singers are!
In a little skit where Adam and John Legend were talking about what goes into making music, John said this:
We have to prepare, so that it sounds effortless.
That’s really what comes out in this battle. Johnny really just let loose, while Julian still seemed a bit too self-aware for most of it. Even his dance breaks felt studied to me. Vocally he also didn’t vary in tone much and that great rock-n-roll growl became more a imitative trick than coming from out of the music. Julian did a decent job, but this win wasn’t close.
Battle 4. Team Gwen: Caroline Sky vs. Stephanie Rice
Having a musical giant like Celine Dion as an advisor is a really good thing for team Gwen because she really talks about heart and soul of doing music. She’s also got so experience working with all types of music that she’s an excellent producer. For Stephanie it’s extra huge because Ms. Dion is the singer that inspired her to want to become a singer!
There was never any doubt about who would win this battle – even before it started. Vocally and emotionally Stephanie is an emotional powerhouse. She’s been a favorite of mine possibly win the entire thing.
At the same time, Caroline having to work with Stephanie really pushed Caroline and made her show more power in her vocals. During her blind audition Caroline reminded me of Carol King. Here, I thought the purity of her tone had a touch of Dolly Parton. It’s no wonder Blake stole her!
Battle 5. Team Adam: Kawan DeBose vs. Malik Davage
This was the battle that taught why attitude is everything. Kwan and Malik had messed up their rehearsal both days. Adam and John both noted that neither was prepared. They were not getting the harmonies at at. Kwan is 30 while Malik is 24, so both should know better. Kwan is definitely the more experienced of the two – and not just because he’s older.
However, Kwan said something that was a bit off-putting.
I’m a solo singer. I’m not used to having anybody hitting notes over me.
Maybe Kwan was being defensive because he couldn’t get the harmonies, but it sounded arrogant. He certainly looked angry at Adam’s notes about the two of them needing to blend. In contrast, Malik looked seriously concerned.
Before the battle the final words of both men conveyed a similar feel. Kwan talked about how hard he’d worked and studied all of his life. Malik said he wanted do a good job for: his daughter, the people that supported him in his pursuing music, and for Adam. For Adam he wanted to show that he did take those criticisms to heart and had gone back and prepared.
Watching the battle, there’s no doubt that Kwan was the better vocalist. All the coaches commented about him being stronger there. Then Adam started talking. First he mentioned about how hard getting the song together was, then about the importance of collaboration. At that point, you knew Kwan was going to be out. You could just feel it!
This one is going to boil down to the person I think I can work best with moving forward.
Talk about a life lesson!
Battle 6. Team Alicia: Hunter Plake vs. Jack Cassidy
These two are an interesting pairing because they two sides of the same coin. Hunter lost everything in the recent Louisiana floods. Jack is a part of the Cassidy clan – his uncles and grandmother were all a part of The Partridge Family. Vocally Alicia says Jack is more powerful, while Hunter is emotional. However, what these men do have in common is that they are worship leaders at their churches. “Dancing on My Own ” – most recently done by Calum Scot, but originally released by the Swedish singer Robyn isn’t a gospel song. It does have those kind of soaring emotional moments though. During rehearsal when Alicia said she could tell Jack was holding back, DJ Kalin, tells Jack to “go to church.” They certainly do!
Honestly, this could have been either guy. Alicia is right though, Hunter’s voice does pull at heartstrings. while Jack’s huge sound can be overwhelming. The word to describe them both is spiritual – that’s the link that made them such a good pairing.
Once again Adam and Gwen battled for the steal. This time Gwen won. For Hunter, he based his decision on the fact that Gwen turned around for him in the blinds and Adam didn’t. It’s a logical thought. Still, with Hunter’s falsetto, he might get better vocal insights from Adam. Oh well! Maybe Adam will get to steal Hunter in the knockouts.
Night Three of The Voice Season 12 Battle Rounds: Wrap Up
That’s it for all the full battles shown. However, night three of The Voice season 12 battle rounds also had a montage section. First on that was Blake with Enid Ortiz vs. Valerie Ponzio: winner – Enid. Next came Team Adam. Hanna Eyre and Sheena Brook battled. Adam chose Hanna. Finally, Gwen had Jozy Bernadette vs. Troy Ramey and ended up choosing Troy.
The best line of the night goes to Adam. After losing Hunterto Gwen, he said he couldn’t be too mad. Here’s why.
Adam: It’s hard to lose to Gwen, but at the same time it’s like losing to…uh…like losing to Rainbow Brite.
Yes, Adam. Yes it is.
We’ve got one more nights of battles left! Check back in with TVoverMind for more reviews of The Voice season 12!
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