After week one of the Battle Rounds, I can already tell that this season's competition is more fierce than any of the previous seasons. And Christina's eye makeup? Extra fierce. This week, the Battles continue with still a few steals left in play. As an aside, I love the idea of the Steals; already I've seen singers that I love get another chance in the game.
First up is Team Blake's
Julio and Terisa. Julio is memorable for his mariachi performance during the Blind Auditions, while Terisa was the showstopper with the huge voice and attitude. The two singers head to their rehearsal with Blake and of course, Michael Buble, where their song "Conga" wins the award for the weirdest match-up ever. Terisa then accuses Blake of trying to get rid of her with his song and Battle choice. During the Battle, it's Julio who has the smoothest execution – without the conspiracy theories. Blake puts Julio through to the Knockout Round. Lucky for Terisa, CeeLo steals her for his own team.
The next battle is Dez versus Paulina for Team XTina. Billie Joe and Christina tell the two they'll be singing Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are." Dez struggles a bit with the range and Paulina has a strange tone that Christina worries over. Billie Joe tells her to ease up on the showboating and just sing the melody. At the last rehearsal, XTina comes down hard on Paulina for going off-tone and Dez for testing out his higher tones and neither is very confident heading onstage. After a super-shaky performance, Christina lets Dez through to the next round and no one wants to steal Paulina for their team.
When Adam and Mary J. meet up with Benji and Sam, they assign the song "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi for both of the rockers. It's a screaming contest between the two huge voices and it's more or less a toss-up to whoever wears the most plaid and ripped jeans. Adam even needs to tell Benji to quit screaming throughout the song and take it down a notch. During the Battle, he still lets a few of his major roars fly. After all of the judges put themselves on Team Benji, Adam bucks the trend and chooses Sam to go through.
Blake and Buble bring Lelia and Suzanna together to sing "Dog Days are Over" by Florence and the Machine. It's pretty predictable, since they're both indie-type artists who know how to belt it out when they have to. Suzanna – the singing teacher – has some issues letting go of her technique to just sing the song. On stage, it's Suzanna who starts strong, but Lelia's quirky style starts to show through as well. Still, if I were a coach (and I can only assume the show would love to have me) I'd put Suzanna through. Of course, it's up to Blake to decide the fate of the singers and after a few minutes of deliberation he puts Suzanna through. See? I knew I'd be a good coach.
During the second night of Battle Rounds (or is it the fourth? I've lost track) both Blake and Buble continue their reign of screen time when they pit Liz against Nicole. Since both are country crooners, it makes sense that he'd have them battle it out over "Baggage Claim," sung by none other than Blake's wife, Miranda Lambert. My favorite part is when Michael Buble refers to Nicole as "just a little kid." Wow, condescending much? They all bond over moving to Nashville before getting down to business and cranking out the song. During the Battle, the girls sound surprisingly the same so it's obvious that Blake has a hard decision to make. He finally goes with Liz, sending Nicole packing in sobs.
Adam's performances are usually the most inventive, so I'm excited to see him match Alessandra with Kayla. Both girls are completely starstruck as they test out their song, "Wide Awake." He wants them to connect with each other and the song simultaneously. Out of the gate, Kayla sounds better than the classically-trained Alessandra; Mary J. calls her "imprisoned" by her perfection and over-thinking. Can I also just point out that she looks exactly like Lea Michele from "Glee?" During the Battle, the first line is shaky and you can tell the difference between Kayla's natural talent and Alessandra's taught voice. Adam picks Kayla and Christina steals Alessandra for herself to bolster A's confidence.
CeeLo is up with his pairing of cutie Mackenzie with subway performer Emily. It's kind of an odd matchup, but both are determined to make it work as they practice "Good Time," which has a ton of potential with the guy/girl duo. Mackenzie swoons over Rob Thomas as they pair test their chops on the pop song. Unfortunately, the onstage chemistry is lacking and the performance gets a little teeny-bopper and awkward during the Battle. None of the judges are completely wowed and CeeLo ends up going with Mackenzie.
After another week of Battles, the coaches are really paring down their teams by separating the pros from the amateurs. While not of all of the performances have been great, it's the act of decreasing the teams from 16 to 8 that's the main show. With the final Battles coming up, I'm hoping they saved some of the best for the last and next week is slightly more impressive. Or at the very least, less awkward.
Stephanie writes on behalf of CableTV.com. She typically writes about entertainment and Hollywood. When she’s not writing, she’s an avid hiker. You can follow her on Twitter @CableTV.