You know what they say about one man’s trash? It was a big night for The Steal on Monday’s “The Voice.” Half of all featured battles ended with a steal, and only one such wildcard remains heading into the final Battle Round night on Tuesday. Shakira already used both of her steals last week, but Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Usher each took another judge’s leftovers.
As the teams become more formed during Battles, we’ve been getting some insight into the judges’ coaching styles. Shakira, for instance, gives very specific notes to her charges, down to a tiny vocal crackle on a note. Usher plays an emotional card with his mentees, last week berating one for laughing, this week bringing another to tears. Blake continues to push non-country singers to employ country habits, usually with good results. And Adam is truly inventive, rearranging songs on the spot to better showcase his team.
Another couple things we got to learn about our coaches: Blake can’t dance, no matter how hard Usher tries to teach him. Shakira, however, dances all the time, with lots of long shots of her wiggling in her seat during performances.
The first battle pitted Jessica Childress, who left her job in PR to sing, against Vedo, whose mom recently died from lung cancer. Their coach Usher gave them Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” which came across as super upbeat and fun, largely due to Jessica’s positive attitude. Shakira told her she can tell Jessica has tons of friends. But Vedo found some sort of emotional tap in the song, and Usher chose him to move on.
Shakira’s first battle was Luke Edgemon against Latina child star Monique Abbadie. They sang “You and I” and bright redhead Monique revealed her huge pipes. But all the judges focused on what a revelation Luke was. “Where in the hell did Luke come from?” Blake asked. Adam: “He came from heaven.” But Shakira felt like Monique gave the performance “the perfect amount of Tabasco,” which I’m thinking is the perfect complement to Nicki Minaj’s waffles and syrup commentary over on “American Idol.” So Shakira continues with Monique. She says the decision is strategic, since she knows how much the others all like Luke. And she’s right. Blake pushes his button immediately. But then so does Usher. Blake goes on about Luke being “pitch perfect,” but when it’s Usher’s turn to speak, he’s silent. “Well that’s a good point,” Blake says. And Usher can’t recover. So Blake uses his last save on Luke.
On Blake’s team, former ballerina Jacqui Sandell went against Savannah Berry. Now, during Blind Auditions, Blake offered to adopt Savannah Berry as his own child. So when he gives the pair a country song to sing (Jacqui is NOT country), it’s pretty obvious who he favors. They get “Little White Church,” and though Jacqui gives it her all, it’s just not up her alley. Savannah slays her on the low notes and stage presence and just about everything else. She’s such a stage pro, that it’s a little too precocious. Anyway, once again, Blake sticks to his comfort zone, choosing the country singer to move on.
Shakira’s second battle is with C. Perkins and Kris Thomas. C. works at a grocery store and that’s about all we know about him. Kris was the guy everyone thought was a woman. Both of them only got Shakira to spin around her chair. They sing Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain,” and it seems like a much shorter cut than usual for the battles. Adam says it was all over the place. Shakira tells them they did better in rehearsals. Truthfully, C.’s voice just had no power compared to Kris’s. So of course, Shakira takes Kris. But then as C. is saying goodbye to the panel, Usher slams his button in a last-second save. It was baffling, to say the least. He says he wanted C. because he has talent we have yet to see. That couldn’t be more correct. He also says he waited to the last second because he wanted C. to think he was eliminated, so he won’t take anything for granted. And there goes Usher playing his emotional mind games.
Team Adam represented with folk duo Midas Whale vs. Beale St. blues singer Patrick Dodd. He gives them Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love,” and by his second rehearsal with them, decides he doesn’t like it. On the spot, he makes a new bluegrass arrangement, having a guy play harmonica and all. It was like watching wizardry. They both sound great, and Midas Whale definitely has some cool spark, but Patrick really impressed all the coaches with his voice that sounds, as Blake put it, like he’s been gargling broken glass. Adam picks Midas Whale, based on the charisma factor, and shockingly, no one steps in to keep Patrick.
Finally, Usher’s team is back with Orlando Dixon vs. Ryan Innes. Ryan’s the “soulful lounge singer” from Utah. Orlando wants to buy his mom a house. Orlando’s a pretty emotional guy, crying alone with Usher. They sing “Ain’t No Sunshine,” though, which is meant for Ryan’s voice. Usher told Orlando that his voice moves him, but he chose Ryan because he’s a man’s man. “I believe you,” he says. “Women believe you.” But Adam believes in Orlando, and he uses his last steal saving him from elimination.
Blake: Savannah Berry, Luke Edgemon, 1 spot left
Adam: Midas Whale, Orlando Dixon, 2 spots left
Shakira: Monique Abbadie, Kris Thomas, 2 spots left
Usher: Vedo, Ryan Innes, C. Perkins, 1 spot and 1 steal left