The Battle Rounds began on "The Voice" this week, complete over-singing and bogus drama from the judges. "Oh, I just can't choose!" Yes, you can, so quit pretending to complain.
Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton collectively sent home six people Monday night. With 48 artists to narrow down to 24 (and even that's an awful lot of competition for voters to muddle through), the judges took to the chopping block.
Let's charge into battle.
With help from guest coaches Alanis Morissette and Robin Thicke, Adam pitted former Mouseketeer Tony Lucca against Chris Cauley (remember the guy with the bluegrass grandmother? S'OK — I'd forgotten him, too.)
The two sang U2's "Beautiful Day," and I was reminded that I must be the only person on the face of the planet wholly unimpressed by U2. Chris was pitchy, and overcompensated for a lack of stage presence by … over-acting, maybe you'd call it? He was wearing bright red pants and looked like some kind of mating bird. Tony had a better presence and better voice, and when Adam picked him, my little fist went up into the air and I cried, "Yeahhhh!" In spite of myself, I seem to have become invested in this. Oops.
Selecting country darlin' RaeLynn and Adley to compete with Tom Petty's "Free-Fallin'" was a giant mistake. It was "aww, precious" overload. We had 17-year-old RaeLynn squealing into an uncontrollable high-pitched mess upon meeting guest coach (and Blake wifey) Miranda Lambert; Kelly Clarkson coached Oklahoma sorority girl Adley. It was all just so wholesome.
And then Adley and RaeLynn sang — a twangy, nervous, pitchy mess. It was not a pleasant experience.
Blake went with RaeLynn, because "as country singers, we tell stories … and it's about which has the ability to make me believe what they're singing." Really, Blake? I'm a rockin' storyteller and you sure as hell wouldn't pick me in a vocal competition. Flawed argument.
Blake actually had two battle rounds tonight, with the second go-'round pitting Brian Fuente (now, his performance of Grace Potter's "Ooh-La-La" was something that I most definitely remembered) against Jordis Unga doing "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette. It is ironic, because Alanis is a coach with Team Adam — oh wait, that's not ironic. Like the entire song.
Jordis was all nerves and over-sang, and pretty much every coach, in gentler fashion than I, said the performance was just not good. Blake was 0-2 in picking good songs for his artists to sing, and he finally admitted it and said: "It was this pitchy thing that didn't work, and oh my God, it sucks." Still, in spite of everything, Blake went with Jordis.
Team Cee Lo
Cheesa (which is apparently the correct spelling of "Chessa") versus Staff Sergeant Angie, singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart." With guest coaches Babyface and Ne-Yo, we learned that Cheesa's a show-off, and that Cee Lo and Blake clearly disagree on the meanings of "diction" and "articulate." Angie had the clarity and diction, but Cheesa was articulate, and even though these words mean essentially the same thing, Angie was the better choice. Cee Lo went with Cheesa, though, who was powerful but over-dramatic and frankly, annoying.
First of Christina's battles was between opera singer Chris Mann and Monique Benabou (say the name with me: "Ben-ah-BOO!") with Celine Dion's song, "The Power of Love." With guest coaches Lionel Richie and Jewel, Christina took her artists through the ropes, trying to get Chris to be less technical and trying to get Monique to be less nervous. Monique was a more passionate singer, and clearly felt the power of the song more, but Chris was crisper, and Christina chose him in the end. But the face-touching and hug at the end of Monique and Chris's duet? Adorable. Swoon. Done.
Christina also pitted powerhouses Anthony Evans and Jesse Campbell against each another with Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You," and honestly, with those voices and that song, how are you reasonably supposed to choose? It was the best performance of the night — absolutely awesome — but Jesse edged it out and scored his place in the live shows.
Some suggestions as to what exactly is on Christina's head:
Yes, I know it is called a fascinator — the entire Western world was introduced to that little bit of fashion last year during the Royal Wedding — and yes, I do in fact own one, but it pales in glory to Christina's, which could also be used as: a plate, a Frisbee — no wait, a BeDazzled Frisbee — some kind of throwing ninja death disc, a discus for a particularly flamboyant Olympics, a UFO, gladiator shield.
Cute Adam Moment: When coaching Chris and Tony, helping with pitch, he just kind of mumbles the words instead of singing them. It's like when you don't know the words to a song and you still try to sing along, and you're like, "mmewwww laaaahhaa maahh wahhhhh laaaaaa." Only, it's not lame when Adam does it.
My Take on Red Pants for Men: Yeah, Chris Cauley, this is about you. And unless you're a 15-year-old scenester (do we still have those? Or did the emos all become hipsters? I'm so out of touch ...) you shouldn't wear them. Burgundy pants, a la Chris Mann and Jesse Campbell, however, are totally OK. More GQ than Green Day.
Cee Lo, are you wearing pajamas? Yep, pretty sure you are. We'll just name you the new Hugh Hefner and be done with it.
When did "The Voice" pick up the piano player from "Glee"? Or do long-haired, middle-aged pianists with goatees just fill a specific niche in Hollywood?
Lionel Richie, positing "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Or, just not at all. They're endangered, dude.