One gorgeous duet triggers the first Save of the Round, but it's not enough to save incredible singers from elimination as some Coaches are clearly hearing a different show than the rest of us.
After kicking off the round with the first Battle of the season on Monday night’s installment of “The Voice,” Tuesday finally revealed who won between Blake Shelton’s classic country crooner and Southern rocker.
The episode then continued with a Battle each for his fellow Coaches Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Camila Cabello, with one of those Battles also triggering the first Save of the Round. Each Coach has one Save, where they can save one of their own team members after they’ve lost a Battle, and one Steal, where they can save another Coach’s team member after they’ve lost a Battle and bring them onto their team.
We also got more sparring between Blake and Camila about who doesn’t know more songs. We’ve been startled for years about how much Blake doesn’t know outside of country music, but this season, we’ve been struck by how much Camila doesn’t know outside of perhaps her formative years. At 25 years old, there aren’t that many of those.
Blake has not strayed beyond his country roots, but he does know the depth and history of his chosen genre. Camila seems to have mostly focused on her contemporaries, like her advisor Charlie Puth. It could make for some very interesting choices for her contestants.
This week, we saw her choose Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” for a duo that are 36 and 40 years old. At the same time, we have to give credit for her Coaching, as she helped them tap into the story of the track and really did bring out their very best, with both artists pushing themselves beyond what we saw in their Blind Auditions.
Over on Team Legend, his singers had to contend with an iconic song by Jazmine Sullivan, which is daunting enough for the sheer passion of it. Then, they had to sing it in front of Jazmine herself, as she’s sitting as John’s advisor this week.
Meanwhile, Team Gwen welcomed Sean Paul, who recently collaborated with her on a new single. As a frequent collaborator, Sean was able to impart a lot of wisdom about what it’s like to tell a story and share that space with someone else.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Blake Shelton, Camila Cabello, Gwen Stefani, and John Legend. And just for fun, I'm going to rank the performances from worst to first and then see how they do as the season progresses.
(Team Legend - “Bust Your Windows,” Jazmine Sullivan) This piece is about the story and the emotion. Dia definitely did a better job of sinking into the depths of frustration that triggered busting the windows out of someone’s car. Valarie sang like she was above the fray. It was interesting, because for much of it, Valarie had a much richer and prettier tone. She sounded better on paper. But Dia felt more right on this track from the jump and that never wavered. By the end, we were fully invested in Dia’s story, while we can’t say the same for Valarie. She was technically impressive, but emotionally hollow.
Results: Valarie Wins
Austin Montgomery vs. Tanner Fussell
(Team Blake - “Folsom Prison Blues,” Johnny Cash) These boys did not come to play, with incredible and unique vocals. Tanner’s Southern Rock style actually brought out some grit and growl from Austin, who has that more pure classic country tone to this point. But we also got some more pure vocals from Tanner. Their different sounds created stunning harmonies, too. We’d give the edge to Austin for a beautiful start, but then Tanner had a strong mid section. By the time they hit the crescendo toward the end, though, they were neck and neck and definitely giving Blake an impossible choice. We’d probably give the slightest edge to Austin because he surprised us more, and then really consider Saving or Stealing Tanner.
(Team Gwen - “Fingers Crossed,” Lauren Spencer-Smith) Just gorgeous harmonies and a beautifully perfect song for these two young teens to tackle. While both of them had a lot of heart in their performances, Rowan was just at another level with her level of connection and overall performance. Rowan delivered the lyric as written and did it beautifully, but Rowan put little touches on it that took it to the next level. The tiniest little run, a breathy whisper, each choice enhanced the emotion of the piece, proving that her Blind wasn’t just a fluke -- she really is this special.
Results: Rowan Wins
Morgan Myles vs. Steven McMorran
(Team Camila - “Wrecking Ball,” Miley Cyrus) An incredible growth from audition to their final performance. Even though they sang most of this in harmony, it was easy enough to single out their voices and what we heard was both of them pushing one another to be their best. Morgan found her big, full, belting voice and was able to match Steven. His pure voice was shredded raw at times as suddenly we could feel the anguish in his delivery. There was anger, there was heartache and there was regret and all of it came through just perfectly from both of them in equal measure. How do you pick a winner? We’d give it to Steven by the slightest margin because he really surprised us and between his Blind and this, there’s nothing he can’t do. The Coaches, though, were leaning more toward Morgan, proving just how tight this was.
Results: Morgan Wins
“The Voice” continues Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.