We're about half done with the battle rounds on NBC's "The Voice," and coaches have been making some tough decisions in whittling down their teams. But for every few cuts they make, an addition happens with a steal.
Interesting thing to note: After tonight, Adam Levine and Cee Lo Green have used up both their "steals" while Christina Aguilera has yet to use a single one. Watch out for Christina, I feel like wily-ness will soon follow with her.
Blake Shelton paired up mariachi singer Julio Cesar Castillo with Terisa Griffin on Gloria Estefan's "Conga," and I don't know about you, but I find great comfort knowing we live in a world in which Blake knows and enjoys the music of Gloria Estefan.
On stage, Julio took to this song like a fish takes to water, and Terisa has sass for days -- necessary for anything even remotely connected to Gloria.
Blake went with Julio, but the coaches weren't about to let someone as good as Terisa walk away (her blind audition was an Adele song, so you just know this woman is a fierce factory of emotion and talent), and Cee Lo picked Terisa up with a steal.
Later in the evening, Blake paired up breathy, Beatles-covering wonder Lelia Broussard with music teacher Suzanna Choffel with Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days." Lelia's voice is so quirky and pretty Suzanna has a the fixings of a modern-day Stevie Nicks, so this was very much perfect in every regard.
Suzanna is a chameleon, Blake said, sounding like Flo when singing Flo, and Stevie when singing Fleetwood Mac, "but she can also sound like herself when she wants to." He went with Suzanna, and no one (FOOLS!) stole Lelia.
Louisana native Dez Duron (who has effectively stolen my heart with his boy-band charm and "Sara Smile" blind audition) was paired up with Paulina Cerrilla (subjected to the cruel world of montaged clips) for Christina's first battle, with Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are."
During rehearsals, Dez was over-pronouncing (no, really, that's apparently a thing) and Paulina was nervous. After a somewhat inconsistent performance from both, Christina picked Dez to continue in the competition, and no one picked up Paulina with a steal.
The last battle of the evening (chronology isn't my strong suit, sorry) was between Sylvia Yacoub, and Joselyn Rivera with Beyonce's "Best Thing I Never Had."
During rehearsals, Sylvia jumped this song in a dark alley and kicked the crap out of it, that's how intense she was, and little Joselyn seemed meek in comparison. But during the battle, Sylvia toned it down, Joselyn turned in up, and the result was pretty raw and powerful.
Christina said she regretted pairing them two of them up, because she didn't want to get rid of either, but she went with Sylvia, because "I gotta go with fire."
Both Adam and Blake pushed their buttons for the steal -- bromance shenanigans ensued, some hurtful things were said; "You know all about bullcrap, Oklahoma," Adam needled -- and Joselyn went with Adam.
For his first battle of the night, Adam paired up Benji -- who has side-burns the length of the Nile River -- with bartender Sam James for Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name." And this battle was stadium-worthy.
Both held their own with melodic shouts and clap-alongs with the audience, and even shared a hug at the end. Adam had a tough time picking the winner, pausing and stuttering out Sam as the winner, and no one picked up Benji, who can't seem to find a happy middle between his screams and lower register.
TEAM CEE LO
Nick David (to my actual friend with this same name: You need facial hair like this) was paired up with Todd Kessler for some bearded battles on Team Cee Lo with Hall and Oates "She's Gone." I'm fairly certain this song was in fact written for these two men and not, in fact, Hall and Oates. They embody hairy '70s pop-rock. Cee Lo went with Nick, I think based solely on beard length. (Actually, the reason was soul and character, but whatever.)
Ponderable moment: Adam describing Jon Bon Jovi as a "deceptively great singer." What BAC level is necessary for this kind of thinking?
Someone, explain Bruno Mars' appeal. I don't get it. And his songs KEEP GETTING PERFORMED ON THIS SHOW. Is this a case of actual talent appearing on Top 40 radio? Ok, the Bieber and his Top 40 cohorts are talented, I'm sorry. But I still don't get it.
Life Coach, Blake Shelton. Coaching Lelia and Suzanna, before the battle: "Leave nothing out there." This is the kind of stuff that gets written on Post-its and read on your bathroom mirror while brushing your teeth in the morning.