The Voice Recap: On the way to the knockouts, Nick Jonas announces the winner of a battle – and then keeps the loser
The strangest thing about what happened in Monday’s episode of The Voice wasn’t that Nick Jonas cut off the candidate he and his co-workers had agreed to do the better battle performance… It actually made sense. The “loser” was so outstanding it was easy to understand why he would be reluctant to let her go. Read on and we’ll cover not just this unusual chant, but all of the evening’s pairings.
Team legend: Victor Solomon (Class: A) defeated Deion Warren (Class: A-) on “U Got It Bad” | After Victor and Deion had the sweetest reaction to meeting Battle Advisor Brandy, they were absolutely implicated in Usher’s hit. Her advice to Deion was to turn it down so his voice could grow. As for Victor, John wanted him to work on his stage presence. When the spotlight fell on them, they were so electric that I almost forgot to take notes. It turned out that Victor had some great, philanthropic moves in him. Still, I sometimes felt like he was doing like Deion’s excellent backing vocalist – this guy is a charisma machine; his voice was as stretchy as a rubber band (even when Blake had spoken to him about pitch problems). In the end, John Victor’s more stable voice and impressive development could not be denied.
Team Kelly: Anna Grace (Class: B) def. Ainae (Class: B +) on “You know I’m not good” | During rehearsal, participants revealed that only one of them (cute, shy Ainae) had ever heard, let alone related, the Amy Winehouse classic – and it showed in their performance. As adviser Luis Fonsi noted, Ainae sounded like a “little star” singing her truth. Kelly’s advice was that both should cut their runs in half; You were on your voice, not on the treadmill. When their fight started, hmm … I really didn’t feel like Anna’s voice suited the song, especially at the beginning; The three-chair rotation showed once again that she was in control, it was just a disproportion between songs and singers. Ainae’s Tangier voice worked better – it was the sonic equivalent of lime pressed in a corona – but unfortunately it was less impressive overall for Kelly’s submarine Kelsea Ballerini. When Anna grew up, Ainae could only become medium-sized.
Team Nick: Raine Stern (Class: B +) defeated Andrew Marshall (Class: A) in “Adore You” – Andrew stolen from Blake | Before the two of them began rehearsing, I assumed this battle was bad to lose Raines. But Andrew’s voice had a clarity that said, “Don’t count me out, you fool.” Nick wanted Raine to work on her falsetto notes, and he and consultant Darren Criss encouraged Andrew to save some breath to bring him to the end of his lines. On the stage, damn it. They didn’t come to play! Andrew sang with a passion that required serious attention – and he had boasting to burn. Harry Styles’ hit served him better than Raine, but she still managed to provide clues as to how special she is – enough to convince her coach to keep her, though he acknowledged that Andrew shone more brightly in this case.
Team Blake: Pete Mroz (Class: B) defeated Savanna Chestnut (Class: B +) on “Have a Little Faith in Me” | Savanna ran through the John Hiatt song with Blake and consultants Dan + Shay, turning her nerve into an appealing vulnerability. Pete, for his part, seemed to naturally use the song’s emotions. Behind the microphone, he served album-perfect storyteller vibes. However, Savanna was able to show more range from the start. Nice performance from each of them. John suggested that Savanna had no sense of urgency, and Blake couldn’t help but agree – she was performing in her head, not on stage. In the end, he pushed his old pal through to the knockouts.
Team Kelly: Kenzie Wheeler (Class: A) defeated JD Casper (Class: B-) on “Fishin ‘in the Dark” | We skipped the rehearsal for this pairing altogether, but hey, at least it didn’t get the assembly treatment. Maybe it got short because it wasn’t really a battle. The moment Kenzie opened her mouth with the mullet head and wheelbarrows and haystacks fell out, it was over. JD cleared himself well – and pulled out his band gimmick in the suitcase – but Kenzie was so great in the country he gave my remote a twang. As Blake put it, “he plunged himself completely into that voice”. Hope he can sing with Ethan Lively at some point; that would be a scream.
Team Nick: Rachel Mac (Class: C +) defeated Bradley Sinclair (Class: C) on “Your Song” | During rehearsal, Nick stated that he paired these two because he wanted to show off his team’s youth – on Elton John’s oldie-but-a-goodie. Mmkay. At first glance it seemed that he was showing himself off, was her inexperience. His advice to the children: have fun. I feared it would be tough. And it was. Rachel fared better than Bradley, especially when she buckled up. But when she wasn’t at the highest volume, she just tossed vibrato everywhere, whether it was requested or not. Bradley has a nice voice somewhere – and a fine growl when he uses it – but you get a feeling he doesn’t quite know how to handle it just yet. As chaotic as the battle was, the coaches overlooked the duet. Nick even called it the best performance they’d seen in battles. Are you coming back, sir?
Team Legend: Rio Doyle (Class: C +) def. Carolina Rial (Class: C) in “Someone I Knew Before” – Carolina saved by John | “Look who we have here!” said John as he walked into the rehearsal room with Brandy. Meanwhile I asked myself, “Wait, who do we have here?” I didn’t remember the contestants at all until the flashbacks reminded me that I actually dug up Rio, whose hoarse voice sounded cool on her and Carolina’s Gotye / Kimbra cover during its run-through. That said, the clarity of Carolina’s voice made it really remarkable. In the moment of truth, I had to wonder if this was really the right song choice for the duo. They threw themselves into it, but none of them sounded in their element. Rio’s smoky voice was mostly wasted, and Carolina screamed as much as she sang. Ultimately, I would have given Rio the win and promised to pick songs that would better bring out her satin vocal style.
What do you think of the gigs on Monday? Vote for your favorite in the poll below, then reply in the comments: Would you have kept Raine or Andrew if you were Nick?