“The Voice” wrapped up its second round of battles Monday. By the end of the night, each of the four coaches had chosen five singers to take to the playoff round. Some of the cuts were clearly harder than others, with Adam Levine sending home the duo who, back during the blind auditions, had given him his favorite performance in the history of “The Voice.” Ah, fickle, fickle “Voice” coaches.
Here are how the final battles went down:
Clarissa Serna vs. Dani Moz
Shakira teamed Serna and Moz, whom she called her “powerhouse singers,” because, she said, the two were “so similar” she’d need to pick just one. Moz, who’d left a career in PR to forge one in music, was by far the more interesting singer to watch as she and Serna faced off on Pink’s “Perfect.” Levine heard “major improvement on both sides,” but thought both singers needed to conquer their nerves. “We are all nervous all the time,” he said, but added, “to never make anyone believe that you are is part of the performance.” While Blake Shelton liked Serna’s poise, he believed Moz, with her “soft” yet “strong” voice and “unbelievable” range, had won the battle. Usher agreed, calling Moz “unwavering” and saying she understood “how to be a star.” Crediting both singers’ “amazing potential,” Shakira said she felt she could “make the biggest difference” with Moz.
Winner: Dani Moz. “If Dani has come this far over the last couple of rounds, I can’t wait to see what she’s going to be capable of doing,” Shakira said.
Kat Perkins vs. Dawn & Hawkes
Levine paired his ultrafaves, the gooey-eyed duo Dawn & Hawkes, with rockin’ Minnesota nanny Perkins, saying that, with her “great, big voice,” Perkins had the power to compete against the couple. In fact, she dominated on KT Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See,” stalking the stage and delivering her lyrics straight to the audience while Dawn & Hawkes stayed rooted to one spot, harmonizing and gazing at each other. “As good as Dawn & Hawkes sounded,” Shelton said, “I found myself watching Kat. It was almost like they were backing her up.” He gave the battle to Perkins. Usher did, too, telling Dawn & Hawkes they shared “an energy … that maybe the rest of the world hasn’t been able to connect to.” Shakira said the duo sounded “like one,” noting, “I guess that’s what love does.” Perkins, though, engaged her from the start and looked and sounded “like a star.” Looking pained, Levine admitted that he hadn’t again seen “the great that I saw in the blind auditions” with Dawn & Hawkes, in part because they’d always had to deal with another voice onstage. And while he thought they’d done “a fantastic job,” he gave the match to Perkins.
Winner: Kat Perkins. Levine said Perkins had “a very commanding presence” and a “beautiful,” “powerful” voice. “When you have positivity and confidence and drive,” he noted, “it’s a dangerous cocktail.”
Music Box vs. Melissa Jimenez
Usher paired Jimenez and Music Box, whom he’d stolen from Team Shakira in the previous battle round, hoping for an “epic performance” and a chance to see which was “most committed.” They sang Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” and though Jimenez was probably the favorite going in, I thought Music Box’s performance came across as more genuine. So did Shakira. Not Levine though. He said he had performed part of that song with Keys during the Grammys and it was harder to sing than you’d think. While both performers had had good moments, Levine believed Jimenez had more of them. Shelton, however, commended Music Box on her energy, which he said always felt like “it’s about to erupt” and said he’d probably go with her. Usher felt both singers had made the song their own, but chose Jimenez, saying he was “looking forward to teaching and developing” her.
Winner: Melissa Jimenez. “I’m ready. Push me. Push me,” she told Usher.
Ryan Whyte Maloney vs. Kaleigh Glanton
Shelton matched “versatile” vocalists Maloney and Glanton in hopes, he told them, of getting “a grasp on the artist behind your voices.” While rehearsing their chosen song, Rascal Flatts’ “Easy,” Glanton sounded strong, but once onstage, she seemed to retreat as Maloney took command. Usher complimented both singers on challenging themselves, but, noting that Glanton seemed “a bit nervous” and at times “pulled back,” gave the battle to Maloney. Shakira agreed, saying Maloney’s performance “felt a little more effortless.” Levine said that, while Glanton had shown them “nothing but improvement,” there was “something about Ryan … I would want to stick with.” Shelton said that, while Glanton impressed him by going places with her voice “that nobody else really thinks of,” Maloney’s power and consistency had given him the edge.
Winner: Ryan Whyte Maloney. “He comes out here every time with just 150% confidence,” Shelton said, adding that he had a lot of song-choice ideas for Maloney to tackle.
Brittnee Camelle vs. Jake Barker
Levine summoned a battle between his two Team Usher steals, and they upped the ante by choosing one of their former coach’s songs, “Climax.” Camelle’s challenge was to stay on pitch; for Barker, who has struggled with stage fright and is new to performing in front of a crowd, the goal was to show confidence. Both met their individual challenges, but Barker clearly showed himself to be the more intriguing performer. Shelton said Barker’s ability to maintain his “gravelly raspy sound” while singing falsetto gave him “the edge.” Usher declined to render a verdict, saying it would be “totally unfair” to do so given that it was his song and his former team members. Shakira said Camelle’s voice had “cut through,” but Barker had impressed her more with “all those falsettos and those trills.” Levine said both singers had “what it takes,” but gave it to Barker, saying he possessed “a quality that makes you say I need to see more.”
Winner: Jake Barker. Usher told Levine he could see him winning the whole thing with him.
Steal? No, but Levine clearly felt bad letting Camelle go. “You’re a wonderful singer, Brittnee,” he told her.
Bria Kelly vs. Madilyn Paige
Young singers Kelly and Paige showed different admirable qualities as they squared off on the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand by You.” Kelly seemed to reach the audience where they were, while Paige drew them in. Shakira admired the way Kelly worked her “dynamics” and the way Paige came across as “very comfortable” in her own skin. Levine liked the way Paige had continued to improve and Kelly had stepped out of her “comfort zone,” but said he “was left desiring more.” Shelton agreed, saying neither one had stood out. Usher said that, “while the performance may have not been the greatest,” he felt both had “learned a lot.” There was more to learn, he said, and the one he wanted to teach more was Kelly.
Winner: Bria Kelly. Usher said he wanted “to show the world that she has versatility.”
Steal? Yes. Shelton pushed his button for Paige, who seems very much like Season 4 winner Danielle Bradbery. “Her confidence is coming out more and more every time she gets out onstage,” he said, telling her he believed in her “as an artist” and can make “a performer” of her as well.