Upon looking at tonight’s set list earlier today, I knew my heart would get broken tonight based on some of the Battle pairings, with only 3 steals left. Once again, there were a number of weird decisions throughout the night’s episode. Yikes!
Let’s get recapping!
Team Jessie: The Koi Boys vs. Ilisavani Cava (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk*) | The Koi Boys declared was winner
* Check out Chris Jamison’s cover from The Voice U.S. Season 7
With two pimp slot Blind Auditions, I went into this Battle being prepared for a showstopping Battle. Watching the rehearsal footage, I was very optimistic, if purely just because of Jessie J’s great actionable feedback for the 4 singers. Ilisavani seemed like he was going to be a more cooling presence in the performance UNTIL the actual Battle happened. There was just too, too, too, too much going on. Ilisavani has a great growl and an incredible range but he was just oversinging. The Koi Boys seemed much more centered in their approach to the song and focused on delivering their signature pitch perfect harmonies and synchronized dance moves, so Jessie definitely made the right decision.
Team Ronan: Kayleigh Killick vs. Astrid Ripepi (Zara Larsson’s Never Forget You) | Kayleigh declared as winner; NO STEAL FOR ASTRID WTF???
Two of my favourite voices from the Blind Auditions, I knew the one who wasn’t declared the winner would be eliminated. In the Battle, both of the girls looked beautiful. I wished they had stuck with the stripped back arrangement they had at the start – I just found that the heavy electronics of the arrangement drowned out their stunning tones. I personally would have given the win to Astrid, who demonstrated power and commanded the stage. That’s not to say that Kayleigh was bad – she nailed the syncopation of the song with throwing in some crazy runs that highlighted the agility of her voice, but came off a little stiff and standoffish. Still though, why didn’t Astrid get a steal? Especially when certain underbaked teen pop divas and Disney Princesses got stolen yesterday…
Team Delta: Kim Sheehy vs. Maxon (Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) | Kim declared as winner
I agreed with Jessie J on this one – the key they picked was definitely too low for both of the girls. They both suffered from some enunciation and pitch issues in their lower registers, while frequently dropping out of sound. Had they raised the key, it would’ve been too high for Kim (not too say that it wasn’t already). The two girls both have great tones in the middle of their ranges, so they’re both even on that front. In terms of their belting, Kim showcased less control and a thinner, reedy tone that wasn’t particularly pleasant (again, it was just too high for her), whereas Maxon had a nice fuller tone. It would have been an easy decision for me – Maxon all the way. Wait, what?! Delta picked Kim?
Team Madden: Andrew Loadsman vs. Nathan Lamont (Mumford & Sons’ I Will Wait) | Andrew declared as winner
Okay I’m not gonna pretend that Andrew’s audition ranks as one of my least favourite of the season. However, the Maddens stuck to their guns and definitely favoured Andrew over Nathan. There’s just something unpleasant about the weird accent he adopts (and his baffling asymmetrical longline t-shirt) when he’s singing, so I definitely enjoyed Nathan’s more sincere approach. The first half of the Battle seemed too low for both of their comfort zones, but definitely hit their stride in the octave jump, with Nathan belting out some impressive glory notes. Yet another poor decision on the coaches’ part.
Team Ronan: Emad Younan vs. Sarah Browne (Brunce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark*) | Emad declared as winner
* Check out Dalton Rapattoni’s cover from Season 15 of American Idol
I was very upset to learn that two of my favourite Blind Auditioners would be going head to head in a Battle, especially because I knew that there probably wouldn’t be a Save until the end of the episode. However, I did know that the two amazing singers would create a beautiful moment together on the stage. I don’t think I personally would have been able to choose between the two – they both were so evenly matched in terms of the beautiful clarity in their tones, their emotional connectivity and conversational quality to the performance they both captured perfectly. I’m very sad to see Sarah go.
Team Madden: Nazzereene Taleb vs. Maddison McNamara (Kygo feat. Parson James’ Stole The Show) | Nazzereene declared as winner; Maddison stolen by Jessie
Just because they come off a little more mature than the other teen pop divas, they don’t have star quality, Ronan? And Jessie, are we suddenly calling out peoples’ pitch? Hmm… This Battle really lived up to be the big diva-off that the intro package said it was gonna be. Both girls did some beautiful things with their voices, with both girls belting out power note after power note, while never compromising their great tones. Personally, I would gave given the win to Nazzereene as well, who showcased some amazing runs and crazy whistle notes. I was extremely glad that Maddison was stolen by Jessie. This is how you use a Steal, coaches!
Team Delta: Marcia Howard vs. Crissy Ashcroft (Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game*) | Marcia declared as winner
* Check out covers from The Voice U.S. contestants Emily B (Season 6) and Moushumi (Season 10)
Another blatant instance of the producers trying to get rid of older contestants that pose a threat to their golden children. These two lovely ladies both have stunning voices and had their smeyesing down pat. Additionally, the two really worked up to the song’s powerful climax. I think I would have given Marcia the win as well, seeing as she exercised more control over her voice and unleashed a pure blast of blues on “No I don’t want to fall in love with you” that sent a shiver up my spine. I was so happy to see Crissy being so elated for Marcia in their adorable post-Battle chat: “I’ll vote for you!”, she exclaimed. You and me both, Crissy!
Team Jessie: Nada-Leigh Nasser vs. Jasmin Jade Nasser (Prince’s How Come You Don’t Call Me) | declared as winner
I thought both girls made a HUGE improvement from their Blind Auditions, both of which I didn’t particularly enjoy. This time, I thought they really got into the groove and vibe of the song. They both had some great moments throughout the performance, but I think I slightly preferred Jasmin Jade – I really dug her cool, bluesy delivery, especially when she stooped down low on “Now you’re gone”. Nada-Leigh’s more aggressive take saw her attacking the melody and throwing in some crazy runs and belts though. I could have taken a slight reduction in the (probably rehearsed) stage movements though. HOWEVER I don’t think it’s particularly fair that the two were allowed to progress further into the show as a duo, especially for the contestants who have been unjustly eliminated. It’s almost as if Jessie stole her own contestant. The show’s producers would prefer to allow the coaches to keep their Steals for more suspense, I guess. They really love to make up their own crazy rules this season – first splitting a duo up in the Blind Auditions and now creating a duo in the Battles…
Ranking of contestants who made it through based on their performances (and my taste!):
- Nazzereene Taleb
- Marcia Howard/Emad Younan
- Nada-Leigh and Jasmine Jade Nasser (yes, I’m counting them as a duo now)
- Maddison McNamara
- The Koi Boys
- Kayleigh Killick
- Kim Sheehy
- Andrew Loadsman