As the battle rounds continue, I’m beginning to understand the painful process each coach has to go through. At first, I was a little confused at the pairings for the battles; but now, I can see that the coaches are in a no-win situation. They have these great singers that are all worthy of attention, yet the coaches have to let half of their team go. I don’t envy them. My heart breaks every time someone is sent home, and I don’t even know the contestants/artists. The coaches have spent time with these people, encouraged them, helped them, wanted the best for them…it would be equivalent to me having to kick 15 students out of my classroom because the other 15 have more potential. I tear up just thinking about doing that.
This is a brilliant, yet agonizing process. The viewers who criticize the coaches and/or contestants need to give everyone on The Voice encouragement, not condemnation. Take the higher road.
Team Adam: Pip vs. Nathan Parrett “You Know I’m No Good”
Pip and Nathan have great voices. Pip has more confidence on stage from his various experiences with musical theater. Nathan recognizes that difference: “I would have rather battled anybody else.” Pip is a natural; all four chairs turned around for him, and only Adam turned around for Nathan.
Pip is 19, but he has an old soul; his voice and song choices come from generations past. He also has an interesting style (he wears bow ties:), which makes Pip endearing and memorable.
Nathan was a former competitive swimmer and has sadness etched on his face. He explains: “When my father found out that I’m gay, he took it pretty hard. I haven’t spoken to my father in a few years.” I know how it feels to be disconnected from a father; I can identify with the rejection and pain he feels.
Adam seems to favor Pip from the outset: “Pip is amazing. I love Pip. He hasn’t had a sour note.”
Nathan recognizes that he is the “underdog” and takes on the challenge: “I absolutely have a lot to prove to everyone and Adam.”
Nathan’s rehearsals prove he is a strong singer, and Adam encourages him: “Nathan, you are so much better than your audition. Your audition was not good.”
Nathan: “My audition was awful. The adrenaline definitely got the best of me.”
Adam: “That’s what prevents a lot of great singers from doing it, but it’s not going to prevent you from doing it.” This is what I love about Adam as a coach. He gets what the artists are going through. He gives them solid advice and the courage to move in the right direction.
Robin Thicke also encourages Nathan: “Stand there and be fearless. You’ve got nothing else to lose, so lose it right here.” This is solid advice for anyone pursuing his or her dreams. If we are not willing to put it all on the line, we don’t want it bad enough. Fear will win over desire every time otherwise.
Adam has definitely made a connection with Nathan: “I’m trying to instill confidence in him, because he has nothing to feel insecure about. To me, your biggest demon to tackle is going to be getting yourself to be confident about what you do. You have every right to be, because you got a great voice.” His compassionate coaching style is what produces results.
Pip’s and Nathan’s performance was incredible! It didn’t feel like a battle. They complimented each other well. I cannot choose a winner. Poor Adam!
Blake tries to help Adam out by picking a winner: “Pip’s the guy that can do everything. I lean towards Pip on this one.”
But then Cee Lo adds to the difficulty: “I think Nathan stole it.”
Adam picked Pip, but it was a hard decision for him. Ultimately I have to agree with Adam. Pip is more ready to fight for the title. Nathan is amazing, but he still needs some work with stage presence and confidence.
Pip backstage: “I’m excited to go to the live shows, but it’s awful to have to see him go, too, you know?” Pip validates the brilliant, yet agonizing process of The Voice.
After the battle, Adam hugs Nathan: “I’m so proud of you buddy. Don’t stop. You can’t stop. Promise me?” Adam is so genuine and caring. He has a tough job to do, but he does it with benevolence.
Team Cee Lo: Erin Martin vs. The Shields Brothers “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”
These artists’ styles definitely clash. Erin is quiet and unique and beautiful; the Shields Brothers are loud and old school rock ‘n roll in sound and looks.
Erin is a strong presence: “I want to be sure I’m presented in the best possible way and loud isn’t necessarily better.” I like that she isn’t afraid to be assertive with her preference. She knows what works with her style, and she asks for what she needs.
Babyface works with the Shields Brothers. He states: “The first run through was challenging. I thought, Wayne’s World.”
Cee Lo helps them to showcase their voices: “Show some vulnerability.”
One of the brothers asks, “Vulnerability?”
The piano player chimes in, “Chicks love vulnerability!” I love that he said that! He was speaking their language. The brothers were ready to try it after that.
Babyface noticed the improvement: “They quickly found their vulnerable point and pulled it together, and I heard their voices. And I was impressed. I started forgetting about Wayne’s World.” They did sound great and are great guys. They were fun to watch.
Ne-Yo worked with Erin. He felt she didn’t understand the lyrics: “The emotional element of this song—I don’t believe you. I need to believe what you’re singing.”
Cee Lo added to Ne-Yo’s comments: “I think you are trying to be attractive, but you’re not trying to be sexy.”
Erin didn’t understand the nuances: “My confidence was completely shaken. I didn’t understand what they were trying to say. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that somebody didn’t think that I was not sexy.” Even though the double negative made her comment confusing, she was obviously still convinced that her beauty equates with sexiness.
Ne-Yo explains further: “Looking at you is the easy part. I see you, okay? You’re cute. What else you got? Because there’s a lot of cute in the world.” I have more respect for Ne-Yo with every episode.
Before the battle, the Brothers reflect on the awesomeness of this experience: “We come from a tiny farm in Virginia and to be out here in LA, living this, like, rock-n-roll dream, is just incredible for us.”
Erin is more competitive: “I’m 100% confident I’m going to win this battle. The Shields Brothers are like, Punk Rock. Power is not talent. It’s just loud.”
After the battle, Adam sums it up: “That was so weird!” It really was. He liked the Shields Brothers better because they were like a garage band doing their thing and having fun. I agree with him for the same reasons.
Blake comments on Erin’s outfit: “Erin, I’m so glad you wore that. I’m married now and girls wearing outfits like that is all I have left.” He picked Erin, but it seems as if it was based on what she wore, not on her performance.
Christina had a surprising reaction: “I [bleep] loved it! I thought that was entertainment.”
Cee Lo’s summary of the battle made sense. He felt it was strange and brilliant. He thought the Shields Brothers were a one trick pony, but that Erin had potential to do great things in other areas. He picked Erin. I have to say, my husband turned the DVR off after that; he was angry. I had to make him turn it back on. I can see where Cee Lo is coming from, but I liked the Shields Brothers better.
Team Christina: Ashley De La Rosa vs. Jonathas “No Air”
Ashley is 17 years old and a philanthropist: “I have two passions in life, music and charity. I do a lot of food drives and clothing drives because it’s important to build awareness of what’s going on in the world. The Voice will hopefully give me the opportunity to put both of my passions together.” It is incredible to see a teenager with such conviction and compassion.
Jonathas is a father and immigrated to America when he was young: “I don’t want to let my kids down. This would be the American Dream, and it would just kind of give me the satisfaction that, you know, my mom didn’t bring me to America for nothing.”
Jewel worked with Ashley: “If she can get on stage and just let herself shine, she’s going to be really compelling and really hard to beat.” Ashley definitely has everything it takes to make it in the music industry.
Ashley reflects on the opportunity The Voice has given her: “I am in no way taking this for granted. This is honestly the best thing that’s ever happened to me, so I’m just ready to give it my all and to really work for it, and I’m not going down without a fight.”
All three of the other judges picked Ashley and so did Christina. That was a tough decision, but I think it was the right one. Both are talented, but I think Ashley can go far in the competition.
Team Blake: Alex vs. Jermaine Paul “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car”
Jermaine was a backup vocalist for Alicia Keyes and his daughter suggested that he try out for The Voice. It’s hard to imagine that someone as talented as Jermaine would not be front and center from the beginning; another beautiful reason The Voice is a great venue for talented artists.
Alyx expresses the conviction that all should aspire to obtain: “I was born to be a performer. This is exactly what I’m supposed to do.” If we all sought out our purpose and worked to achieve it, no matter how many times we fail, we would have a happier world.
Miranda astutely comments on what is missing in Alyx’s performance: “I’m not sure she’s ever had fun and cut loose. She doesn’t seem like that person that could actually give up all control and just own being a jackass, and sometimes that’s what you have to do, as a performer.” I hope Alyx takes Miranda’s advice.
Kelly works with Jermaine. After his first rehearsal with her, she exclaims, “Oh my God. That was amazing. I mean, like, I really hope you win it. But if you don’t, please come sing with me on tour.” What a grand compliment for him! But of course, he wants to open for her, not be a backup singer any longer.
Jermaine truly was brilliant during the battle, and I don’t think Alyx let loose. Her voice is great, but she didn’t seem to be having fun.
Adam summed it up: “Jermaine, you took this song and kicked its ass!”
Blake picked Jermaine. I agree. Christina commented on how she loves Jermaine and is jealous that Blake has him.
Team Adam: Angel Taylor vs. Katrina Parker “Bleeding Love”
Angel has an amazing talent, but she is another artist who has pain etched on her face. I am immediately drawn to those people. I think Adam and Robin saw it as well. Robin said, “Angel has one of the best chances to win the whole thing, I think. All she has to do is say, ‘I’m ready to be the best right now. This is my moment and I’m going to shine.’” The confidence issue will make or break a person’s dreams.
Alanis worked with Katrina. Katrina was not able to sing for a number of years because of an illness. Now that she can sing again, Katrina is ready to make the most of this opportunity. Alanis sensed a slight hesitation though: “Katrina is really smart and very funny, and for her it’s just realizing that the boat that she’s in is safe. It has no holes in it, and just paddle away, my friend.” Katrina truly has a beautiful, interesting voice. She must worry that at any moment her voice could disappear. Alanis gave her solid advice.
Both their performances were great, but Angel was a little nervous. Katrina was consistent and sounded better.
Blake, without hesitation, stated, “Katrina flat out won.”
Adam was torn. He prefaced his choice with, “I love you both, by the way, and I hope you don’t hate me after I do this. . . . I have to go with Katrina.” He made a difficult decision, but the right one.
Angel, very sweetly, parted with, “Adam has become a friend, and I obviously love him to death, and I appreciate the time we spent together, so thank you so much.”
Team Blake: Gwen Sebastian vs. Erin Willett “We Belong”
Erin has an incredible voice and started this process with her number one fan, her dad: “The Voice gives my dad a chance to see me live my dream.” Chuck Willett has Stage IV Cancer.
Blake knows that this pairing will be difficult: “They’re both very dramatic, very emotional performers.”
Gwen is a country singer with a lot of style and character. She has put off having a family in order to pursue her singing dream. To make this battle even more difficult, Gwen reveals the conundrum she is in: “I’m trying not to look at the Battle Round as a battle, because Erin and I have become close in such a short period of time. I want the audience to feel like they’re coming to a show and not to a battle.” I love when people can put a positive spin on difficult situations.
Miranda notices the strength in Gwen’s character as well: “It’s really cool that you are thoughtful of the other person on stage.”
No matter what, Gwen is pushing forward: “I’ve sacrificed a lot. I’ve worked really hard…and right now, I’m not ready to give up my dream. I’m just not ready to do that.”
The part of the show that has been alluded to from the beginning is Erin’s plight: “I got a phone call from my mom, letting me know my dad’s not really doing that well. . . The nurses gave him 24 hours. I’m trying to be as present as I can right now and trying to focus as much as I can.” Why does this happen so often? Exactly the moment when our dream is ours for the taking, a tragedy forces an unimaginable choice. Erin chooses to stay, knowing her dad wanted her to. Real love will always encourage us to follow our purpose in life.
Blake encourages Erin’s decision: “You deserve this opportunity so much.”
Erin tearfully proclaims, “I want to make him proud. I know he’s proud of me anyway, but the fact that I have this opportunity, I know he wouldn’t want me to give it up. I’m doing this for him. I want him to hear his daughter’s voice.” I choked up with the symbolic truth of it all.
All the judges loved both performances, but they all favored Erin.
Gwen’s charm shines through after the battle when she states, “I couldn’t have lost to a better person.” I hope a music producer picks her up. She is an amazing talent and an even more amazing person.
Sadly, the final segment showed a clip with Erin and her dad, with the words “In Memory of Chuck Willett.”
Following our dreams is never an easy road.