More matchups, more talent, more steals. The battle rounds continued on “The Voice” on Tuesday night as the coaches paired off members of their teams to go toe-to-toe in the ring. Some singers emerged victorious. Some went home disappointed. And one vocalist found herself snatched back from the brink and in the enviable position of selecting a brand new coach. Who doesn’t love this stage of the competition?
Shakira, working with guest mentor Miranda Lambert, kicked off the evening’s battles by pairing pop rocker/camp leader Clarissa Serna, who spun four chairs during the blinds, with rock-singing office worker Jeremy Briggs, who had turned only two, assigning them Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice.” Initially, the rockers seemed to struggle to find their groove, but when the time came, they delivered, leaving their coach with a tough call.
Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, saying they were impressed with both singers, gave the match to Serna. Usher thought Briggs had shown “effort” and “tenacity” and emerged the winner. Shakira complimented both of her team members on their “courage and confidence,” but chose to keep Serna, explaining that she felt she could “do a lot more” with her “moving forward.”
No one moved to steal Briggs, but he took the loss philosophically. “There always has to be a winner and a loser,” he said.
Levine matched doughnut shop worker Caleb Elder, who’d snagged the final spot on the show during the blinds, and Delvin Choice, a singing Starbucks worker who returned after a false start last season to turn four chairs, giving them a song written by guest mentor Aloe Blacc, “The Man.” The two worked to master the song’s hip-hop cadence, and both did well in the ring.
Shelton and Shakira each said they’d enjoyed how much fun the singers seemed to be having, but thought Choice had won the battle. Usher saw good qualities in both performers. Levine thought both had shown “major improvement,” but went with Choice, calling him “captivating” and predicting that he would soon “come out here and blow people’s minds.”
Elder, a charming performer who, at the end of the day, may have been a bit too green – he’d been nervous, he explained, and his “throat dried up” -- said he was going home “happy.”
In a trio of barely glimpsed battles, Megan Ruger beat Ria Eaton to stay on Team Blake, Ddendyl prevailed over Lindsay Pagano to remain on Team Shakira, and, sadly, Brothers Walker were bested by Morgan Wallen and sent home by Usher.
For the final matchup, Usher, working with guest mentor Jill Scott, paired up nursing student Brittnee Camelle with R&B singer Melissa Jimenez, both two-chair turns, on Melanie Fiona’s “Give It to Me Right,” hoping to challenge them to be more aggressive. “You both have an opportunity to stay on the show,” he told them, “but you’ve got to work for it.”
The singers did do the work, and universally impressed the coaches. Shakira called it “awesome” and “smoking hot,” saying the performers had “edge,” “pocket,” “sassiness” and good “moves.”
Levine, noting that “Blake is probably having a heart attack right now,” presumably because of the hotness factor, said of the hard-fought battle, “The only thing you didn’t do is punch each other in the face with boxing gloves.” Though he admired Jimenez’s “astonishing” final note, he thought Camelle “actually had a stronger voice.” Shelton came to the opposite conclusion, saying that, while he’d been “leaning toward” Camelle, Jimenez’s power note had convinced him that she had won the battle.
Usher said he regretted putting the singers onstage together, because he’d like to keep both, and told them they had managed to “individually shine.” He chose Jimenez as the winner of the “epic” battle because, he said, “I just think that Melissa just gave a little bit more.”
Shakira, who had made a play for Camelle back in the blinds, and Levine both went for the steal. Shakira said she understood female pop stars because she’s one herself. Levine said he was “more interested in finish lines” and noted he’d crossed them as a winner “twice on this show."
“This is big if I can get you on my team,” he told Camelle. “Real big.”
Shakira really didn’t have a chance. Camelle picked Levine.
“It’s hard to fight for a female singer when you have the sexiest man alive that you’re sitting next to,” she said. “Nothing I can do.”
Shakira really does seem to be at a disadvantage this season. What do you think she needs to do to win?