By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
The Blinds are over! Begun, the Battle Rounds have!
Throughout the next couple of weeks, 48 artists will be widdled down to 24 in order to compete for the chance to enter the Live Rounds!
Several music icons stepped in to assist the coaches with the process of whipping their artists into shape! Team Pharrell’s artists were “Happy” to see Alicia Keys, while Team Blake got four new advisors in the form of Little Big Town! Gwen Stefani brought her husband, Gavin Rossadale, as her advisor and Adam Levine called on the Queen of Rock and one-fifth of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, to help Team Adam grab its third champion!
In addition to the advisors, making their returns are the steals! Since Season Three, the Steals have made memorable game changers including Shakira stealing two of Adam’s powerhouse artists in Season Four, Will Champlin and Stephanie Anne Johnson’s ping pong game with the Season Five coaches and Usher stealing Josh Kauffman last season!
Who slayed their opponent? Which artist(s) found themselves new coaches? Which fan-favorites got the axe? Read on to find out…
Up first to face the Battle Rounds was Team Pharrell’s Elyjuh Rene and Maiya Sykes! Both of them were shocked to meet Pharrell’s guest adviser! However, the “Get Lucky” singer had a monstrous task ahead of them: sing her signature hit-“If I Ain’t Got You.” The last time that two powerful voices dueled on this song was Team Christina’s Jesse Campbell and Anthony Evans…way back in Season Two!
As Alicia played her song on the piano, both Elyjuh and Maiya brought their A-game. However, both of them received notes of improvement…Elyjuh needed to hit one of the song’s signature high note and Alicia asked Maiya to remember the message behind the song. This battle oozed with so much charisma and was like watching a master class! Gwen loved every moment of the performance and Blake declared it a “Grammy moment.” Pharrell was in the difficult position when he had to pick against two singing styles…but chose Elyjuh to move on to the Knockouts! Shame on Adam, Blake or Gwen for not stealing Maiya! They are letting go of a gem!
Rock legend Stevie Nicks surprised four-chair-turns Chris Janison and Jonathan Wyndham! They tackled Bruno Mars’ “Young Girls.” Chris was intimated by singing in front of Adam and Stevie, while Adam asked Jonathan to tone it down. It was a battle of soft tone versus loud vocals! Their harmonies were like silk, but there was something about Jonathan that made me connect with him and while Chris won the Knockout Rounds, he has a great career ahead of him.
Team Gwen’s first battle involved two singers that both the No Doubt singer stole from Blake! Jean Kelley and Sugar Joans were assigned to tackle Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.” This was one of the best female battles in the show’s history! Sugar’s power vocals were impressive and had the grittiness that both Gaga and Xtina have in their voices. I was a little disappointed with Jean’s lack of aggressiveness and she lost me. Both Adam and Blake thought it was right down the middle. But, in the end Gwen picked Sugar! However, Jean got a second chance when both Adam and Pharrell wanted to steal her! But, Pharrell stole Jean!
Blake’s only battle of the night belonged to James David Carter and Craig Wayne Boyd! Both country rockers impressed Blake and Pharrell during the Blinds. The three-time champion chose Pat Green’s “Wave on Wave.” The guys decided to use their guitars during the final rehearsal and carried to the battle. James welcomed the crowd in the beginning, but it was Craig that gave me goose bumps. Pharrell brought his producer hat in his commentary and stated that it was dead even, Gwen and Adam also voiced the same opinion. In one of his toughest decisions as a coach, Blake chose James and Gwen stole Craig!
Gwen’s final battle of the night belonged to Taylor John Williams and Amanda Lee Peters! They tackled Dolly Parton’s timeless “Jolene.” While Amanda hit the notes like a bazooka to a target, Taylor struggled to connect with the viewer. During the final rehearsal, Gwen wanted the duo to connect more and taught them how to perform better. I liked that they started the track a cappella (a first in Voice history), but in my opinion; Amanda Lee Peers won my heart! In the coaches’ commentary, Adam sided with Taylor and Blake with Amanda. While Gwen chose Taylor to move on to the Knockout Rounds because of longevity, I do not think Taylor will survive the next round and does not have a career ahead of him!
Pharrell had the honor of closing night one of the Battles! It was another battle of ages: 23-year-old crooner Griffin versus 31-year-old soul man Luke Wade. Pharrell picked the duo to see one of my all-time favorite songs to perform: Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Luke’s falsetto was all over the place during and Griffin did not know the song. Alicia decided to flip the song around and both guys took it to church!
Both Luke and Griffin slayed it and impressed the coaches! While Pharrell kept Luke, it turned into a Battle Royale as Blake and Gwen each wanted Griffin to join their team! He chose Blake as his new coach!
Tomorrow night, the Battles continue!