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


Song: "As Long As You Love Me" by Justin Bieber
Mentor: Miguel
Battle: CeeLo basically makes this a battle between the extrovert (Anthony Paul) and the introvert (Caroline). Even Carson can't stop pigeonholing Caroline's shyness, constantly announcing her as "shy high school student," which I find irritating. During rehearsal, Anthony Paul shows his show choir experience by dipping his vocals in all kinds of soupy toppings, making the song all about style and performance. Caroline's gravelly sweetness is a nice counterpoint, but she's told she needs to sing like she means it. Onstage, Anthony Paul looked like he had the lead by using less of the fancy vocal runs and exhibiting more restraint. At times he looked like a tiger stalking his prey, when circling around Caroline's more subdued stage stance. But while Caroline starts off quietly, her rendition has pockets of surprise, which I thought were more interesting to listen to than Anthony's almost perfect poise.
Verdict: "That was my favorite battle of the whole day," said Christina. But Adam leaned towards Caroline's Ellie Goulding-like voice, "it was its own interesting world that we were brought to," he said. With the best metaphor of the night, CeeLo said of Caroline, "it encourages me to dream with my eyes open." Le sigh. Coach CeeLo chooses Caroline. But wait just one second, because a nervous CeeLo looks left and right, begging someone to take him. Christina steals Anthony, citing how impressed she was with his "vocal control."

Song: "Next to Me" by Emeli Sandé
Mentor: Ryan Tedder
Battle: This is the elder diva version of Amber Nicole vs. Timyra-Joi. In rehearsal, Donna Allen's Tina-Turner-like voice overpowers even Tessanne. You literally can't even hear the butterscotch smoothness of Tessanne whenever Donna breaks into her rasp-a-thon runs. Coach Adam advises Tessanne to really go for her it while he tells Donna to dial her execution back. In battle, it was sad to watch because we know these two top-notch singers both can't advance. While both sang like two dueling tornadoes, I preferred the subtlety of Tessanne's performance.
Verdict: "Now that's a battle," proclaimed Carson. "It was epic," said Blake, praising the raspy quality of Donna's voice. Christina was partial to Tessanne's range. Coach Adam chooses Tessanne. Post battle, Tessanne wins for most gracious winner, as she sweetly hugs Donna and thanks her, "she made me a better singer," she said. No steals for Donna.

Now for our last battle, which the ever thesaurus-using Carson calls, "the most epic battle of the night."

Song: "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals
Mentor: Ed Sheeran
Battle: These are probably my least favorite voices in the competition. I think both are pretty generic. Briana, little sis of Kaley Cuoco, has power, but during quieter moments in songs, I think her voice isn't that unique. Jacquie also has diva-range, and though she has more character in her delivery, she's also not a standout for me. Christina pairs them because "they're inspired by rock and soul." Onstage, Briana has better stage presence and brings a more bluesy quality. Jacquie's verses were more memorable.
Verdict: CeeLo favored Jacquie's "more youthful spin." Adam is torn between the two. Coach Christina chooses Jacquie, citing her growth from rehearsal to battle. But before Kaley can start crying in the stands, there are not one, but two steals for the younger Cuoco. CeeLo and Blake push their buttons, and I don't really see what all the hullabaloo is over Briana, when no one else moved for Timyra-Joi. CeeLo tells Briana, he likes her "weathered but durable quality," and adds, "I believe there's a story in your voice." Blake praises the songwriter-ly quality of Briana's emotional delivery. Briana chooses Blake.

Parting Thoughts: Do you guys think Briana deserved a steal? Do you think the judges made a big mistake in letting Timyra go? (I know I do.) Who surprised you tonight? Did you think the pairings were fair? Sound off in the comments.

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