Week one of the Voice battle round is over, and so far my front runner picks have made it through.
You can read my initial picks here
Tony Lucca v. Chris Cauley
Last week I picked Lucca as one of the Top 6 for Team Adam, and he didn’t let me down. Cauley’s voice was stronger, but Lucca had more experience and control. Lucca seemed to struggle a little in the beginning, but who wouldn’t after facing varying degrees of neck beard from Adam Levine during rehearsals? I don’t think Lucca can win the contest, but every week he sticks around is publicity he needs.
Adley Stump v. RaeLynn
RaeLynn was my wildcard pick for Team Blake, so I expected her to win this battle. She does a good job of packing attitude and emotion in her voice. During the battle her inexperience showed, however. She seemed off from the beginning and didn’t really feed off of Adley in her performance. In sounded more like she was singing along in the car.
Adley gave the better performance. Her voice was stronger, and she had plenty of charisma on stage. Unfortunately, Adley’s singing the wrong genre. That desire to be stuffed in the country section of a music store hurt her more than anything. I’m not sure Blake knew what to do with that.
RaeLynn won’t win the contest. She’s just not ready yet. But if Blake “adopts” her like he did some of his season one contestants, she could get the right seasoning to spice up country music.
Chris Mann v. Monique Benabou
Again one of my picks won, but I can’t help but think Monique did a better job. Mann looked very uncomfortable with the more soulful parts of the song. It was like watching a chess master try to learn Connect 4. Still, skill is skill and he deserved to go forward as much for his potential as his performance. He will do much better when he can pick his own songs, and if he tones down the vibrato a little.
Monique may have gone home, but she greatly improved her stock. Her voice harkens back to the soulful easy ballads of the ’70s, and that’s a sound that’s been lacking in music for a while. There are plenty of big voices floating around, but Monique could do something different if she had the right music.
Angie Johnson v. Cheesa
I thought Cheesa’s audition was one of the worst, so I expected Angie to blow her out of the water. To her credit, Cheesa had a much stronger performance than her blind audition and did a great job showcasing her abilities. Angie and Cheesa were close enough that I can’t blame Cee Lo for his choice.
However, he did pick the wrong singer. I don’t think either Angie or Cheesa can win the contest, but Angie is a more complete singer. Most of the songs Cheesa will sing will start with lower-toned verses. Cheesa struggles in these sections and will have trouble surpassing that bad first impression. Angie was stronger and could sing lower, more delicate passages.
Jordis v. Brian Fuente
I didn’t expect Blake to pair these two together, so I had both in the top 6 for Team Blake. I did pick Jordis as the stronger singer last time, so I expected her to win.
I liked Fuente’s tone better than Jordis. Her bluesy rasp is great, but in the battle it turned into a sharp, piercing tone. I’m just not as impressed with vocal pyrotechnics as I am by a clean, smooth tone. Yet, Jordis brought more emotion and power with her and deserved the win. I think Blake lost a strong contender through a bad pairing. No, Fuente couldn’t out-sing Jordis, but in my experience the vocal powerhouse rarely wins a competition like this.
Jesse Campbell v. Anthony Evans
Jesse was my pick for one of Christina’s top 3, so I expected him to win. Anthony turned in a great performance. In the end, Jesse had slightly better control and musical instinct. The differences were so slight, that I can’t help thinking Christina might regret this pairing down the road.
At the end of the night, I was 5-1 in my picks.