The Voice Battle Round 2: The Teams Are Too Damn Big

The Voice S03E12: “The Battles Premiere, Part 2”

It’s official: The teams are too freaking big. We saw the warning lights flash during blind auditions when entire performances were skimmed over, but I stopped short of condemning the newly expanded rosters and mind-blowing total of 64 contestants. I thought, “Let’s wait and see, maybe it will be awesome.”

Maybe it COULD have been awesome if we, you know, actually got to see all 64 singers perform. Maybe it would have gotten tedious, but hey, they earned their 15 minutes, right? Imagine: You auditioned, you had a great sob story to stir up emotion, and you were awesome enough to make the cut—even if you were a long shot to win the whole thing, you’d at least want what exposure you could get, right? Publicity, marketing, cultivating a fanbase that will follow you after The Voice—these are important things to consider as a musician hoping to go pro and frankly, I feel like there are some parties getting screwed over this season. All of a sudden The Voice is slightly less wonderful of an opportunity, and it all boils down to the giant teams... or at least the handling of the giant teams.

I was willing to overlook the blink-and-you'll-miss-them auditions because it was early in the game and I assumed that maybe those auditions just weren’t that amazing or awful enough to be entertaining. I assumed that we would see those musicians later in competition and we would be able to try to understand what the judges saw in them. After all, even if their auditions were just on the better side of mediocre, they earned their spot in the limelight.

There is no excuse for not showing all of the battles. There is CERTAINLY no excuse for not showing a “favorite” musician’s battle. On Team Blake, Ozzy/Meatloaf lookalike Rudy Parris beat Charlie Rey last night, but I can’t tell you why he was deemed better or what they sang or even who Charlie Rey is. Not cool, NBC. If you couldn’t handle having 64 contestants this season without, pardon me, half-assing the competition, then there just shouldn’t be 64 people competing. What’s the point of having 16 people on each team if we’re only going to pay attention to 12 of them?

Of the battles we DID see, Cody Belew faced off against Domo for a spot on Team Cee Lo. Cee Lo assigned them “Telephone,” which was so far out of Belew’s comfort zone that, I admit, I thought Domo was a shoo-in. Cee Lo loves him the ladies. And I love that Cody totally called him on it during rehearsals and blatantly asked how he could hope to compete with Domo’s curves. Why so awesome, Cody?

Maybe Cee Lo appreciated Cody’s gutsiness because his response to both Cody and Domo’s actual duet was lukewarm. He claimed that neither singer gave him what he really wanted during the performance, so he based his decision purely on preference. It was Cody Belew FTW.

On Team Christina, it was Aquile versus Nathalie Hernandez on “You Give Me Something.” The Official Rehearsal Drama for their segment revolved around Aquile flubbing words and Nathalie, at age 15, not having experienced enough real-life heartbreak to really “feel” the song. I don’t know. Mentor Christina likes to pretend that pop is deep. Billie Joe Armstrong compared Nathalie to Norah Jones, which was actually a pretty good comparison. She held her own but Aquile just seemed to rock the stage presence a little better, and Nathalie went home.

Team Adam wrapped up the night, pairing Melanie Martinez with Caitlin Michele for a phenomenal cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights.” Their epic performance came in spite of a disastrous final rehearsal and neither Cee Lo, Blake, nor Christina tried to help Adam make his elimination. Adam accused them of attempting to curry favor with his team members in anticipation of their impending steals and... yeah, that’s actually exactly what happened. Adam went with Melanie and Caitlin joined Team Cee Lo. I’m okay with that.

Anyway, here's where we are after the first week of battles:

Eliminated "Stolen" / Acquired
Charlie Rey (Team Blake) Caitlin Michele (Team Adam to Team Cee Lo)
Domo (Team Cee Lo) Amanda Brown (Team Cee Lo to Team Adam)
Nathalie Hernandez (Team Christina) Collin McLoughlin (Team Adam to Team Blake)
Lisa Scinta (Team Christina)
Casey Muessigmann (Team Blake)
JR Aquino (Team Cee Lo)
Nelly's Echo (Team Christina)
2 Steel Girls (Team Blake)

What did you think of this week’s eliminations and acquisitions? What about the battles we didn't see?

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