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The Voice: “The Battles, Week 2”

Illustration for article titled iThe Voice/i: “The Battles, Week 2”
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I quite enjoy the battle episodes of The Voice: They’re like a boiled-down, more mature, less-made-up-drama-filled version of Group Night on American Idol. I, like Blake and Adam, was rubbing my hands together in anticipation.

For tonight’s first battle, Christina pairs up veteran Geoff McBride with Sera Hill on “Chain Of Fools,” a good song choice for their loud, authoritative voices. I had a difficult time picking a favorite between these two. I figured I slightly preferred Sera because I thought it was mildly rude of Geoff to wear sunglasses when he met with adviser Lionel Richie, but that was the best reason I could come up with to pick one over the other. When they sing, you cam tell that only one of them belongs in the competition: Occasionally the strength of either of their voices overcomes perfect pitch and they both try to sing over each other a little toward the end. I wasn’t sure because I didn’t get a wide shot, but I think Geoff performs the splits at the end of the song, which would mean he would win if he were lipsynching for his life on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The judges also have a hard time picking a favorite, but in the end, Sera edges out Geoff.


Perhaps matched well vocally but completely mismatched in personality are Charlotte Sometimes and Lex Land from Blake’s team. He has them sing “Pumped Up Kicks,” which I think is something of a mystifying choice: Why pick a song where the verses are so muddied? I saw Lex’s blind audition and tend to root for an underdog type: She’s shy whereas Charlotte seems to prod Lex a bit, making comments about Lex’s boobs and going on about how she’s a Jersey Girl. (Jersey girls: You don’t own obnoxiousness. Get over it.) For the performance itself, Lex is out of tune at the beginning but finds more personality as she goes along with the song (even though she’s wearing orthopedic nun shoes). Despite what the judges say, I loathed Charlotte’s weird pronunciation of the lyrics. By the end of the song, Lex has lipstick on her face (which just made me like her more) and the two really seem to loathe each other (Charlotte professes, prior to the competition, a desire to “destroy” Lex.) So to me, it was a bit of a battle between the nice girl and the loud bully, but unfortunately, in this case, nice girls finish last: Blake keeps Charlotte. The girls don’t acknowledge each other at all after the decision is made.

Next up, Cee Lo pits Sarah Golden and Juliet Simms against each other on “Stay With Me,” a song that fits Juliet better since she definitely sounds like a female Rod Stewart, but I think Cee-Lo wanted to give Sarah the benefit of a challenge. To me, theirs is the most enjoyable duet of the night—thanks to differing styles and good harmonies—not to mention the fact that they actually share the stage well. It was a matter of taste: I liked Sarah’s singing and personal style more than Juliet’s (apparently I like the quieter gals) but Juliet was no slouch in her performance. Cee Lo is torn but ultimately picks the rocker (Juliet) over the country girl.

I didn’t see Whitney or Kim’s auditions so I’ll just have to take Adam’s word that the two are both powerhouse singers, but on “No More Drama,” 50-year-old Kim owns the stage. Whitney works her butt off to keep up, but it feels like Kim wasn’t even competing—She’s just singing her song as this little person runs around her. For the first time tonight the choice of who should win based on talent (Kim) seems quite obvious, and the judges agreed with me.

Christina then asked Lee Koch (whose hair is approaching Bob Ross territory) to sing “Heart-Shaped Box” with Lindsey Pavao. Lee is insecure about performing the song and even Jewel chides him a little bit for being a wimp (actually, she tells him to enunciate better.) The actual performance has a few moments that are beautiful and elegantly creepy, but it’s a bit of a snooze as well. I liked Lindsey’s vocal turns but she also sounds out of tune at times. I had no true favorite in this battle unless we were going by hair: in that case, my favorite (Lindsey) won.


The final battle was the sweetest, as Cee Lo pits buddies Jamar Roger and Jamie Lono against each other for “I Want To Know What Love Is.” I was rooting for Jamie on account of the fact that he’ss a Chicagoan who makes sandwiches (two of my favorite things), but it’s clear early on that he feels out of his depth on the song and that it is a bit of a fait accompli that Jamar will win. In the performance itself (I liked the arrangement, which was light on the cheese), Jamie holds his own and does better than in rehearsal, but like with Kim and Whitney, it’s very clear who the winner will be. Jamie is emotional after the performance, partially for losing but also just being happy for his friend, which is sweet.

Not everyone I was pulling for makes it through tonight, but I haven’t become seriously invested in this show enough yet to have serious favorites. I was glad to have a reason to check out The Voice, which, who knows, I may switch over to after this season of Idol is over, depending on how much it ends up enraging me.


Stray observations:

  • Oh hello! Typically I review another singing-based reality competition, but tonight Emily is checking to see what happens on The Bachelor, a.k.a. “ Will That Long-Haired Guy Pick That One Girl Everyone Hates?”, so I’m filling in.
  • Charlotte Sometimes’ real name (Jessica Poland) is so much better than her stage name.
  • I wonder if Charlotte would have flirted with Blake had Miranda been her adviser.
  • Was Whitney making a fat joke talking about how much bigger Kim’s “powerhouse” was than hers?
  • Do the judges really pick the songs? Just wondering if Xtina actually chose “Heart-Shaped Box.”
  • The Voice loves that Lee Koch is a baker. It’s mentioned like 20 times.
  • Blake on the selection of “Heart-Shaped Box:” “I would have picked ‘Monster Mash’ if I was going for creepy.”
  • Jamie Lomo looks like a cross between Mike White and very early-era Elton John.

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