The Voice recap: Off to the Races

The battle rounds begin. The judges make some interesting choices for steals.
Ep. 07 | Aired Oct 14, 2013

PRIMA DONNAS Diva Alert! Power-belters Donna Allen and Tessanne Chin went head-to-head in one of the most intense battles of the night

NBC

Finally, the battle rounds begin! We see some battles where there are clear winners, some where it's too cruel to even choose, and one final battle, though billed as "epic," which left me underwhelmed. And don't forget, the judges can steal, so that element injects this part of the competition with some much-needed elements of surprise.

Best line of the night: "Do not make eye contact with the dimples," said Adam, when persuading a contestant to not choose Blake.

Semi-famous face: Briana Cuoco, personal assistant, sometime singer, and Lizzie Bennet Diaries alum, takes the stage.

Outfit Shoutout: How glam-tastic did Christina look tonight? Lovin' that Marilyn Monroe look. Also, does CeeLo regularly Febreeze that Thriller jacket?

TEAM ADAM: GREY VS. NIC HAWK
Song: "Domino" by Jessie J
Mentor: Ryan Tedder
Battle: Adam's reasons for pairing the technically gifted Grey versus the sassy and spirited Nic Hawk? Because they're "the two most opposite people I can imagine.” A wedding singer with weekly experience singing the Jessie J tune, Grey is more comfortable during rehearsal. "I'm a little bit scared of her," said Nic. But Nic's intonation, equal parts raspy, cabaret-y, and just plain different, is enough to perk up Adam and Ryan's ears, despite the range challenge, "this is a tough song for him," said Adam. He warns them that their energy onstage is a crucial part of the performance, "you need to be smiling and having the time of your lives out there." Indeed, during the battle Grey's slinky-smooth vocals were a pleasure to listen to, while Nic's fire-crackin' presence was fun to watch.
Verdict: Though Grey has the better voice, Nic kept things interesting, was the verdict of most of the judges. "I'm partial to what Nic is bringing on the stage," said CeeLo. Coach Adam chooses Grey, "she's one to watch out for." But before he can say his goodbyes, Blake swoops in to steal Nic, "Oh Adam you screwed up so bad!" Blake thinks Nic is a great singer and that he can coach him to the top, "If there ever was an odd couple, it’s me and Nic," he said.

TEAM CHRISTINA: AMBER NICOLE VS. TIMYRA-JOI
Song: "Listen" by Beyoncé
Mentor: Ed Sheeran
Battle: Christina decides to pair her two littlest divas, Amber Nicole, 17, and Timyra-Joi, 15, for "not only their youthfulness, but the potential that these girls have." In other words, because there isn't room on this musical island for two virtually identical voices. During rehearsals, both Coach Christina had quibbles with both. Amber Nicole was nervous, though adorable Ed Sheeran said "“We’ll be nervous together." And Christina felt that Timyra-Joi was only giving "fifty percent" on some vocal runs. I thought this was a cruel lineup to pit these two Christina-wannabes against each other.
Verdict: I would hate to judge this one. Onstage, both singers really delivered in the powerhouse department. Though Amber Nicole had a slight edge when Timyra-Joi started off a bit weak. But “every single second after that is incredible,” said Adam, “when Timyra caught up with you [Amber Nicole], it was a real legit battle.” CeeLo goes with "Joi," while Blake and Adam are stumped. A tearful Christina chooses Amber, "just because I felt that she was a little bit older and a little bit developed." Cue angry mob. I thought Timyra-Joi had a more distinct quality about her voice so I'm sad to see her go. No steals for Joi, which was the night's first shocker for me.

TEAM ADAM: JUSTIN CHAIN VS. SHELBIE Z.
Song: "Don't You Wanna Stay" by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson
Mentor: Cher, who reasons why she agreed to help Blake, "You're a good boy and I wanna give you a hand." But then has no qualms wasting rehearsal time by professing her love for Adam.
Battle: Blake pairs his singers with heavy twang - "You guys are both those outlaw country artists," he said. Though the song is a duet that clearly makes Clarkson and therefore Shelbie, the shooting star, Blake thinks it "pushes both of them to the peak of their range." During rehearsal, the two have trouble with harmony. Even Cher, a.k.a. that lady with the technicolor dreamwig, declares that harmonizing is hard for her too.
Verdict: Song choice totally benefited Shelbie's performance. Though Justin went in with a chin-stroke in the opening verse, his attempts at emoting weren't enough to outshine Shelbie's bulldozing vocals. Which in a way, makes sense since it's a duet. "I couldn't focus on the separation because you guys were such a great unit," said Adam, who would go with Justin. Though Blake notices both struggled with pitch, he chooses Shelbie Z.

NEXT: What's your personality type?

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