Team Cee Lo: James Massone vs. WADE “True Colors”
James is from Boston and has a great tone. He is easy to connect with because his passion for singing is obvious: “I don’t want to go back to the body shop. This is my dream. This is what I want to do.”
WADE has a beautiful voice as well. He is young and doesn’t seem to be aware of how talented he really is: “To win this battle . . . I have to put my heart and soul into this song and continue to be the voice Cee Lo turned around for.”
During the rehearsal, James stated, “I don’t have much confidence in myself.”
Ne-Yo replied, “Which is a serious problem.”
Cee Lo added, “One that you’re going to have to correct in a timely fashion if you plan to last.”
Ne-Yo encouraged James with some advice: “You got to get out from under your nerves. Like, I can hear it. You’ve got wings. You can fly, but you can’t fly because you’re bogged down by your nerves. . . . You wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t some greatness in there somewhere. You’d be at home, watching. Wishing. But you’re here. Come on man, you at the game. You got to play.” I love Ne-Yo. He has great wisdom. All of us can identify with that analogy.
Babyface worked with WADE. WADE has a great voice, but he’s singing without the passion for the song he needs to connect with the audience: “There’s a calmness about your voice, and this is a spiritual song. Sing every word like you mean it.”
Cee Lo added, “When this song is done right, it moves people.”
During the final rehearsal, Cee Lo is moved by their performance: “There’s something about that. That song made me cry, man.”
The battle was not as good as it could have been, but James has charisma and captured my attention more than WADE did.
Cee Lo: “James, you came out here so cocky, so confident. It was such a pleasant surprise because [you] struggled with confidence. . . . WADE, I expected you to go all the way to the end of this thing with me. My heart is broken about that, because I had plans for you. . . . I was planning on making you soul brother number two, right behind me . . .” but Cee Lo picked James.
WADE: “I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet and work with my idol, Cee Lo Green.”
Team Adam: Nicolle Galyon vs. Mathai “Love Song”
It seemed like Adam wanted Nicolle to be better than she was. She has a great voice, but her piano playing is what set her apart from the others. During the individual rehearsals, Adam saw the difference in Mathai: “I feel like Mathai is this pure thing. As her coach, I want to back off, because it’s the things that don’t require much coaching that, a lot of the time, wind up being the most special.”
Alanis agrees with Adam’s perception of Mathai: “Yeah, when you’re born to do something, it’s pretty obvious.”
Mathai, with Adam and Alanis’ coaching, discovered that “You have to give each note its due respect. You can’t chop them off so quickly like you’ve done this a million times.” The lesson here is when something comes naturally to you, you cannot take it for granted. You have to take a few steps back and remind yourself of the awe and wonder of what you are doing. That is where you will capture your audience. Whether it’s singing, writing, or acting always have respect for the beauty you have within you; share it in a way that makes others feel beautiful because you invited them to join you on that journey.
Nicolle was going to play the piano, but at the final rehearsal, Adam took the piano away because it wasn’t working. Nicolle accepted his decision, but not without reservations: “I wanted to be known as the country piano girl, but I’m not here to just play the piano. I’m here to perform and entertain, and ultimately, this isn’t a piano contest. This is about my voice.”
Mathai is ready to go the next step: “I want to sing. This is where I’m supposed to be. It’s definitely a defining moment. I love Nicolle, but one of us has to go home, so I’m going to give it all I got until the last second. No regrets.”
All four judges felt that Mathai did better, even though Adam felt that the performance was a letdown. I agree. I think both are better singers than they showed during the battle.
After the battle Nicolle thanks Adam for his help: “I have a lot of respect for you as a musician, and it was an honor to work with you.” Then, backstage, she comments about her loss: “I did it. I have no regrets, and I’m going to be Mathai’s number one fan.” I love that she had enough respect for herself and Mathai to hold her head up and support Mathai in her future battles.
Team Christina: The LiNE vs. Moses Stone “Satisfaction”
Moses is a hip-hop artist and The LiNE is a country duet team, a very odd pairing. Moses can actually sing. The LiNE artists have great voices, but there is something weird with their relationship dynamics. Moses is likable; The LiNE is not. Actually Leland is, but Hailey has a negative vibe coming from her. I’m not sure what it is.
After the battle, Christina eloquently explained what she is looking for in an artist: “First of all, The Voice does not have to be a specific thing for this show. It doesn’t have to be this powerhouse, incredible over ad-libbed vocal. It doesn’t have to be straight country. It doesn’t have to be soul or R&B or whatever. You know, in this business, you have to be able to know how to be versatile and how to expand and how to grow as an artist in any scenario against anyone, any song, anytime, anywhere, because that’s The Voice to me.”
Cee Lo curled his lip and said, “Preach.” I laughed for a while over that one. Very funny.
Christina chose Moses.
Leland gave a nice thank you to Christina, but Hailey said, “I’m not talking” to the backstage cameraman. That was a mistake for her. Win or lose, people have to show strength of character. That kind of attitude will not do anything for her future. The LiNE may need to go their separate ways so they can do better on their own.
Christina adds, “I just wasn’t seeing the chemistry and the heart-felt passion with The LiNE.”
Team Adam: Karla Davis vs. Orlando Napier “Rich Girl” but then changed to “Easy Like Sunday Morning”
At the first rehearsal, Adam said, “Perhaps this isn’t the right song for us to do. I’d be doing you guys a disservice if I didn’t say maybe we should try something else. . . . I’m not going to let these guys do the wrong thing.”
Adam sees something in Karla that she could not see in herself: “Karla was a little afraid and today, I saw that fear just dissipate because she finally found something in her voice that she wasn’t able to access without help. You know, that’s why we’re here.”
Karla discovered something in herself that gave her a lot of confidence: “I think I’m the biggest thing holding me back, and I see it now more than ever. It took them 20 minutes with me to make me see something and hear something in myself that I’ve never, ever heard before.”
Robin Thicke worked with Orlando and made an interesting observation: “Orlando is a painter. He wants to paint his vocals on the canvas, and he wants to do it differently. He’s the Picasso of the group, and there’s greatness in that, and I think that his style is what makes him special.”
Even though Orlando has a great voice and style, he has never had any vocal training. Adam and Robin help him with when and how to hold his notes. Adam: “Try to get that E—eeeee-asy.”
Robin added, “Vowels are where the strength of the voice comes from. Your consonants don’t make any noise. You can’t go r-r-r-r. You know what I mean? You have to use ah, ee, oh, ee, so you got to go, ‘that’s why I’m e-e-e-asy.’ See how I’m using the vowel to project? That’s what you’re missing . . . You’ve got all the style in the world but without a little bit of that power at the right moment, it’s hard to ignite the crowd.”
Unfortunately, neither performance ignited the crowd. They both sounded better in their rehearsals. Karla has a better voice and more experience, but Orlando is an original.
Adam picked Karla. It was a hard decision for him.
Team Blake: Jordan Rager vs. Naia Kete “I’m Yours”
Naia performs this kind of reggae music normally, whereas Jordan is “Country as dirt” according to Blake. I think that’s a little unfair to pick a song so obviously suited to one of the contestants. The good news is that Jordan went from weak to unbelievably great by the time he had to perform. That shows a lot of drive and talent.
Before the battle, Naia reflects on her journey: “To win tonight would mean everything. I’m so ready to not have to play on the streets. It’s right there, like I just want to reach out and grab it. I’m ready to lay it all out there for the world.”
Jordan had a hard time with his nerves: “I’m getting more and more nervous as the time approaches to step onstage. I think hitting the harmony part, for me, is going to be crucial. If I mess that part up, I don’t see how Blake is not going to send me home. I think if I get in there and can nail it, there’s no reason I couldn’t walk out of this battle the last man standing.”
Neither one outdid the other; they both had moments of greatness and moments their voices failed them. Blake picked Naia.
Jordan showed class after Blake’s decision: “I want to say thanks to Blake for teaching me everything that I’ve learned. Dude, I will always be grateful for that.”
Blake commented about Jordan’s leaving the show: “I still think he hasn’t reached his full potential yet, but Jordan will be ready one of these days.”
Team Cee Lo: Justin Hopkins vs. Tony Vincent “Faithfully”
Justin has a great voice. It has a nice tone. Tony is a Broadway performer. He has an amazing voice as well.
I love the song “Faithfully,” and so does Cee Lo. He gets emotional after their first rehearsal: “It’s nice to not be alone, to have that connection with other artists who are actually living their reality and share that same sacrifice.”
Babyface worked with Tony. His observation: “Tony is a pro, so he’s not going to go at anything halfway.”
Ne-Yo worked with Justin: “This is the perfect competition for singers like Justin where if you close your eyes and just listen, it’s all you need. He has a lot of emotion, naturally. I feel like that’s a strength for him.”
Before the battle, Justin expresses how important this moment is: “My whole life, I’ve been trying to be a singer—on the road, packing gear and hauling amps and guitars. And trying to support a family, trying to keep a dream alive. It’s like 20 years of being a musician is all summed up into this one performance.”
The battle was a bit too over the top for me. They tried to out sing each other which took away from the performance. But I think Justin sounded better. Tony was too theatrical for a singing competition.
Cee Lo picked Tony.
After seeing all of the battle pairings, I’m a little disappointed with who the coaches chose to battle each other in the first place. There are some artists that should be moving into the live performances
Who should still be in the competition?
Team Adam: Adam had 12 awesome contestants. I don’t know who should have stayed over the ones who won the battle rounds. I really liked Chris Cauley and Whitney Myer, but I don’t know who they would replace. Adam created a strong team.
Team Blake: Blake had great contestants as well, but there are a few I would replace. I would have Brian Fuente replace Charlotte Sometimes, and Jordan Rager replace RaeLynn. Even though the girls have great voices, I think Blake would have a stronger team with Brian and Jordan.
Team Cee Lo: Here is the biggest difference in opinion. Justin Hopkins and WADE deserve to be in the competition much more than Cheesa and Erin Martin. Cee Lo would only have Juliet Simms representing a female voice on his team, but Cee Lo would have been hard to beat with that lineup. He made some mistakes in the battle pairings.
Team Christina: She also made a blunder, mostly in choosing Moses Stone and Chris Mann. Anthony Evans and Lee Koch would have been better choices.
My predictions for the final four:
Team Adam: Pip. He has a great voice and is adorable. Pip will get to the finals with those two characteristics alone. If he wants to win, he may have to mix up his look and style a little so that he doesn’t become predictable.
Team Blake: Jermaine Paul. He has an amazing voice, and he is likable. Jermaine has talent and experience, more than any other artist. He has a natural charisma that will take him to the finals.
Team Cee Lo: Jamar Rogers. Even though his biggest competition on the team is Tony Vincent, I think Jamar will go to the fianls because he has a great voice and an inspirational story. As long as he keeps smiling and doesn’t let the pressure get to him, Jamar will be Team Cee Lo’s final representative.
Team Christina: Ashley De La Rosa. She has a great voice and the most universal appeal. She has a kind heart; she’s beautiful, and she hasn’t shown the amazing voice she truly has, yet. Even though she is young, I can see her being the last artist standing for Team Christina.
Of the four above, who do I think will win The Voice? Jermaine Paul!