If you haven’t heard, we’re in for an extra dose of battle rounds on The Voice this week.
In addition to the Monday and Tuesday night shows, The Voice will air a special battle round episode Thursday at 8 p.m.
That means there should be no reason to only show us snippets of some battle rounds, like the show did last week when Cole Vosbury, Ashley Dubose and E.G. Daily advanced from battles we barely saw.
But we won’t have to worry about that tonight. The Monday two-hour episodes feature six full battles and no snippets.
So on with the battles …
BATTLE 1 — TEAM CHRISTINA
Christina is pairing up two of her most experienced singers as Josh Logan, 33, of Manchester, N.H., goes up against Michael Lynch, 27, of Chicago, Ill. Michael got three judges — the most possible since Adam’s team was full — to turn when he performed “Bailamos” in the blinds; he’s the singer who’s fascinated with Spanish though he’s 100 percent Irish. Josh also earned a three-chair turn with “Too Close.” The R&B/soul artist described himself as a “six-nights-a-week, three-sets-a-night” type of performer when we met him on one of the first audition shows.
Christina will have them sing Maroon 5′s “Harder to Breathe.” Michael says it’s one of the Maroon 5 songs he’s not so familiar with. Ed Sheeran, Christina’s assistant mentor, thinks the song is a really good fit for Josh. During rehearsal, Christina is trying to get the guys to amp up their performance style. The battle begins. Josh starts strong. Nice distinctive tone. Michael seems to have mastered the lyrics, but it’s a little tough to make them out early in his performance. Both guys seem to find their groove at the midway point, Michael in particular, got much stronger. The guys are playing off one another pretty well, too. Josh seems to have the smoother performance style.
My pick: Josh
Christina declares Josh the winner. Michael does not get stolen.
BATTLE 2 — TEAM CEE LO
Juhi, 16 of Franklin, Tenn., had two coaches turn around when she performed “Mercy” during the blind audition. She’s the teen with the 4.0 GPA who plans to study computer science or aerospace engineering if music doesn’t work out. Cee Lo was the only coach to turn for George Horga Jr.’s performance of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure,” though the gals in the audience seemed to appreciate the 19-year-old’s good looks. George hails from Portland, Oregon, and is trying to follow his American dream the same way his parents did when they moved to the U.S. from Romania and started successful businesses.
The teens will be singing “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw. In the first rehearsal, Juhi sounds great. George seems to have his work cut out for him. But Cee Lo seems impressed by both of his young singers by the second rehearsal. Yep, immediately, I have trouble understanding what Juhi is singing. But she has a neat tone to her voice. That said, George has stepped up his game since that first audition, though he stumbled a bit early on. He’s showing nice flair on stage and holding his own against Juhi. And for someone who claims to be nervous, Juhi seems perfectly at home on stage.
My pick: Juhi. Her voice just seems more unique and she seems a bit more charismatic on stage.
Cee Lo’s pick: He picks George, saying he likes someone who’s completely committed to being a singer.
Adam steals Juhi, saying he feels like he won the lottery by getting her on his team.
BATTLE 3 — TEAM BLAKE
Interesting matchup. Blake is pairing Brian Pounds, 24 of Austin, Texas, against Austin Jenckes, 25, of Duvall, Wash. Brian turned two chairs when he performed Darius Rucker’s country version of “Wagon Wheel” in the blinds. Austin turned two with his version of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Both have pre-show music you can already check out, and should because it’s very good. Austin released albums in 2009 and 2011 and an EP last year. Brian released one album that is no longer available and an excellent EP last year. I’d hate to see either of these guys go home.
Blake has them singing “To Love Somebody,” saying it’s a song that can cross genres. And he says he paired them up because they’re both edgy performers who also have the ability to be vulnerable. Blake and Cher are encouraging Austin to pace his powerful voice. They’re encouraging Brian to get lost in the song and stop thinking too much. By the time the second rehearsal ends, Blake is bemoaning the fact that he paired them. Austin follows their advice and pulls back some in the opening voice. Brian’s showing more power early on. But Austin’s building and has a wonderfully gravelly quality to his voice. Both guys turned in a solid vocal. But there was one verse when Austin absolutely sparkled.
My pick: Austin.
Blake picks Austin. Brian does not get stolen.
BATTLE 4 — TEAM ADAM
James Irwin, 31, of St. Louis, turned four chairs with his rendition of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” He’ll square off against Matt Cermanski, 20, of Phoenixville, Pa., who turned three singing “Have a Little Faith in Me.” James is the former lead singer for a group called the Upright Animals and has performed as a solo singer under the name Rubix. Matt also released music pre-Voice — an EP in 2011 and a pair of singles last year.
This is an interesting pairing. Both are returning contestants who failed the first time around, but one is a rocker, the other more of a singer-songwriter type. Adam says he is going to keep the artist who moves him the most. And they’ll perform “Counting Stars” by One Republic. Adam’s looking for a little more emotion from James. He and Ryan Tedder seem impressed with Matt’s range. Matt starts strong, but I really like James’ smoky vocals. Hmm, Matt just hit a really great high note, which James pretty quickly matched. Dang, and those two guys got stronger as the song went on. Very solid performance, and they harmonized really well, too.
My pick: James, by a slim margin. He just seems more in command on stage.
Adam picks: James. Matt does not get stolen.
BATTLE 5 — TEAM CHRISTINA
Destinee Quinn, 20, of Surprise, Ariz., turned two chairs back in the blinds when she performed The Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away.” She’s the country singer who found her musical inspiration when she won a contest hosted by rock legend Alice Cooper. She’ll be paired up with Lina Guadenzi, 23, of Miami, who also turned two chairs when she performed Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide.” She’s the former model who traveled overseas to perform and study music and considers herself a bluesy soul-folk singer.
Christina will have them sing the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice.” She says she wants both to come out of their shells vocally and put some fire into their performance. Things don’t seem to be going so great in the second rehearsal, as the ladies are having trouble harmonizing. The battle begins. Lina isn’t a country singer, but sounds very good on her opening verse. And Destinee shows off her big voice, too. Lina hit a very nice glory note on that second verse. But I also loved the breaks in Destinee’s voice at the end of the song. She also seemed a tad more connected to the lyrics, if not as distinctive vocally.
My pick: Destinee.
Christina’s pick: Destinee Quinn.
Lina is stolen by Adam Levine, saying there’s “some diamond in the rough thing going on there.”
BATTLE 6 — TEAM ADAM
James Wolpert, 22, of Lancaster, Pa., earned a four-chair turn singing Jack White’s “Love Interrupted” in the blinds. He previously participated in the televised singing competition “High School Musical: Get in the Picture” in 2008. He’ll be matched up with Will Champlin, 30, of Reseda, Calif., who enticed three judges to turn their chairs when he performed Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You.” He’s the son of a member of Chicago and has three albums worth of original material available on iTunes.
Will seems to have the edge experience-wise. But I sure prefer James’ glasses. Adam says keeping them both on his team would seem a little repetitive. He’ll have them sing “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. Adam says the contestants have opposite problems. Will needs to be more technically perfect; James needs to show more emotion. The battle begins. Will has ditched the white frames. Good move. Will seems to have mastered his technical problems. He also seems to have paid very close attention to the advice about picking his spots to shine in the second half of the song, because he did it twice. James sounded great vocally from the word go, but had trouble selling that song with his look. And Christina is right; he pushed too hard in a couple of spots.
My pick: Will.
Adam’s pick: James. Will does not get stolen. That’s a shame.
Wait, at the last instant, Christina steals Will. Nice choice.