The Voice Week 4 Wrap-up: Let the Battle Rounds Begin!

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The Voice S03E09 & S03E10: “Blind Auditions Night 8” & “The Best of The Blind Auditions”

After four weeks, the blind auditions have come to a close and The Voice topped them off last night with a mind-numbing hour-long retrospective called “The Best of the Blind Auditions.” At least we got a more thorough understanding of “The Steal” at the end of it.

Reactions to The Steal have been mixed so far. I think it adds a nice new twist to a tired format, but I also understand the concerns that a contestant who finds success with one judge could theoretically be dragged to a judge with whom they might not be as successful. But never fear! According to the explanation we saw last night, judges can only steal contestants who've already been cut by their original judge. I don’t know about you, but I think that if I was a contestant, I’d adhere to the “any judge is better than no judge” philosophy. We’ll see how this goes in practice, though. I mean, it could still end up being a trainwreck.

Speaking of trainwrecks (this is just a small one), did anyone else think that the final night of blind auditions was kind of lackluster? I didn’t find myself particularly impressed by anyone until Kayla Nevarez and her “American Boy” cover. The knowledge that each judge entered the last night of auditions with only two spots remaining on their rosters didn’t so much add tension to the proceedings, but a sort of resignation. Somehow, all of the rosters would be full by the end of the night. It was a certainty, and that certainty made everything else feel like we were just going through the motions.

Team Xtina filled her last two spots with Natalie Hernandez and Celia Westbrook, performing “White Horse” and “A Thousand Years,” respectively. Hernandez’s voice is awesome and husky, but she seemed to falter when Blake and Christina both turned their chairs immediately after she began, which to me says that nerves might become an issue.

Team Adam wrapped up with Caitlin Michele and Kayla Nevarez. We’ve already established that Nevarez’s “American Boy” cover was full of awesomeness, but Caitlin Michele’s Florence + the Machine cover was also solid after a wobbly start. Florence Welch is kind of like Adele in that her voice is just SO phenomenal that it’s a lot of live up to and hard to emulate. Adam and Blake indulged in their usual banter, with Michele ultimately choosing Adam and Christina rubbing Blake’s nose in the loss by pointing out that he didn’t even know who Florence + The Machine was. Not doing much to sell the “I’m a musically diverse judge too!” schtick. On a side note: Caitlin Michele, please come color my hair, thanks.

Team Blake had a nice finish regardless, snagging Nicole Johnson and Rudy Parris. I’m generally against countrifying non-country songs because I think it’s symptomatic of a refusal to branch out and diversify, but Johnson’s “Mr. Know It All” cover was alright. Rudy Parris, with his outward appearance channeling a cross between Meatloaf and Ozzy, is the contestant I’m the most excited about seeing again on Team Blake. His stripped down cover of “Every Breath You Take” was my favorite audition of the night.

And finally, we have Team Cee Lo, whose team, as usual, is the most eclectic—an approach that has yet to win Cee Lo any finals, but but makes for some FUN performances. I think he picked up some strong voices in his last two team members, Chevonne and Cody Belew. Chevonne is not stranger to the stage, having toured as a backup singer with Lady Gaga and Cody Belew simply b-lew (I’m sorry, it was right there) off the roof with his energetic cover of “Hard to Handle.”

Battle rounds kick off on Monday! I’m excited. Are you? Who do you think has built the strongest team?

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