TEAM USHER: JEFF LEWIS VS. JOSIAH HAWLEY
With Pharrell by his side, it’s time for Usher to pit two of his fresher-faced male contestants against each other. Why? Because both Jeff and Josiah have confidence — but the singer who can maintain that confidence on stage is the real star. Naturally, he’s chooses The Police’s “Roxanne.” Josiah sounds not-good in the first session, and Usher is quick to point out that though he’s confident with his body (former male model, lest we forget), Josiah may have problems selling a song that requires some mystique. Jeff comes off much better, and Usher tells him just to let the notes ring.
In the pre-performance performance, things take a more serious turn when Jeff and Josiah crack themselves up after a very not-good run-through of “Roxanne.” This is the moment! The one we’ve been teased with for days! Usher frowns slightly. “What’s funny? Why are you smiling? This is funny to you?” They wilt. And then he makes them fight over a single mic while he circles and kind of half-shouts things. Josiah takes off his jacket because this is serious business.
On-stage, and labeled as a “smooth voice” by Daly, Josiah is all swiveled knees. Jeff, on the other hand, is louder by half a notch but sharp in a nettlesome way and his power faces are off. Josiah’s eyebrows are nice, but he too should avoid making a power-O. Also they’re not really harmonizing? Adam and Blake nod along but the judges are ultimately less-than-kind, saying that it “fell flat” and that though there is“undeniable talent” among the pair, the song choice was probably ill-fated. Usher applauds both Jeff and Josiah by saying that he “applauds” them — and that although the song probably required more mystique than big smiles, he chooses Josiah, who we later see tilting his stupid head and saying how “stoked” he is. Your voice is good! Stop titling your head that way!
Next, we see three battle rounds in round-up: Grace Askew vs. Trevor Davis on “Me and Bobby McGee” (Blake picks Grace); Audrey Karrasch vs. Jamila Thompson on “If I Were a Boy” (Usher picks Audrey); and Tawnya Reynolds vs. Mark Andrew on “The Chain” (Shakira picks Tawnya).
NEXT: The best battle round of the night!