The theme on Monday night's (March 19) episode of "The Voice" seemed to be strange pairings and even more oddly matched songs. Nearly every team to enter the ring was working one, the other or both for the third battle round, which saw judges [artist id="509026"]Christina Aguilera[/artist], [artist id="1164298"]Blake Shelton[/artist], [artist id="1350855"]Adam Levine[/artist] and [artist id="1163841"]Cee Lo Green[/artist] send six contestants home and add even more members to their respective teams to take to the upcoming shows.
Let's get right to it!
The first pairing of the night was Team Adam's Pip and Nathan Parrett. Pip's popularity during the blind auditions (he got all four judges to turn their chairs) intimidated Nathan from the start and the pair was given a tall order when Adam assigned them Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good."
It's no wonder, then, that mentor Robin Thicke's major recommendation to Perrett was to up his confidence and get ready to sell it once he hit the stage. But while Thicke was busy giving Perrett a pep talk, Alanis Morrisette was advising Pip to take it down a notch and not over-sing the song
Two clean-cut pop singers tackling Winehouse's bluesy hit might seem strange, but it gave both an opportunity to show their range as vocalists and earned raves from all the judges. Ultimately, though, Pip's stage presence and consistency won him a place on Team Adam for the finals.
One of the night's few pairings that made sense came later in the night, during Levine's team's second meeting in the ring, which saw raspy Angel Taylor go up against "sultry vocalist" (host Carson Daly's words, not mine) Katrina Parker, singing "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis.
Thicke had a lot of faith in Taylor, saying she had what it takes to win the whole thing if she remembered to bring emotion to her performance, but the judges didn't feel the same. Parker brought it to the battle and won the support of Xtina, Blake, Cee Lo and ultimately Levine, who sided with the three judges and will take Parker with him to the live shows.
Team Cee Lo
Cee Lo created what had to be the night's most awkward pairing: whispery Erin Martin and rock duo the Shields Brothers. Stylistically, the two couldn't be more different — Martin kind of sounds like Macy Gray, while the Shields Brother tear into songs like your friendly neighborhood garage band.
The strangeness extended to the mentor stage too, when the Bros were joined for rehearsal by Babyface, who called their first run-through "a challenge." "I thought 'Wayne's World,' " he added. He asked them to express a softer side, and when they did, he seemed pleased that he could finally "hear your voices."
On her way into the ring, Martin was "100 percent confident" she would win and that "power [i.e. the Shields Brothers] isn't talent, it's just loud." (Dis!)
This battle was strange right down to the song: "What's Love Got to Do With It" by Tina Turner. Christina raved about the performance, but the other judges weren't so sure.
The only thing Blake could really think to say was, "Erin, I am so glad you wore that." Cee Lo called it "wonderfully strange" and chose Martin to move forward because he felt he would be better able to mold her unique voice while the Shield Brothers were too set in their garage-rock shtick.
Ashley De La Rosa became nervous the second Christina told her was going up against one of the show's early front-runners, Jonathas, a father of two who lived in poverty as a child in Brazil. When they were given "No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, she started freaking out.
During the blind auditions, Jonathas' vocal similarity to Usher caused quite a stir, so Ashley worried that being given a song so firmly in his wheelhouse (there was no denying from the beginning that he'd sing the heck out of Chris Brown's part in "No Air") would play to his advantage. But in the end, his comfort with the style and choice not to step outside it and show the judges he could do something else worked against him. While he was a natural singing Brown's smooth R&B, the song gave Ashley a chance to show off her range. She did a great job with Sparks' part, and her effort was rewarded with a continued spot on Team Xtina.
The strange pairings continued as Team Blake's Jermaine Paul, a former backup singer for Alicia Keys, and pop-singing Texas teenager AlyX hit the ring together to sing the mega-'80s classic "Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car" by Billy Ocean.
The song required a carefree attitude that mentor Miranda Lambert just wasn't confident young AlyX had. "I'm not sure she's ever had fun and cut loose," Lambert said, prescribing "sassiness" if she wanted to pose much of a challenge against Jermaine.
It was a futile effort. Paul owned the song and the judges let him know it. "I mean, come on, Jermaine, you made that song your own," Xtina fawned. Adam and Cee Lo agreed. And while Blake offered AlyX an "A" for effort, he unsurprisingly went with Paul, sending AlyX packing.
The night's most dramatic performance was its last, between Team Blake's Gwen Sebastian and Erin Willet. In addition to their respective backstories (more on that later), the pair are total opposites when it comes to their singing styles. "Gwen is a country singer; Erin couldn't be anything farther from that," Blake explained as his rationale for teaming the two.
And like every other country singer in the competition, Sebastian was enamored with her mentor Lambert, saying of the country star, "Her voice evokes every emotion I want to as a singer."
Things took a turn just before the battle, however, when Erin revealed that her father, who is suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is not doing that well. In fact, he'd only been given days to live, but he wanted her to stay in the competition, "I'm trying to be as present as I can be," Willett told Shelton, who praised her devotion to both her father's wishes and the competition.
"I'm going to push from a place of wanting my father to be proud of me," Willett said before she went on.
Each judge commented on how radically different the two singers' vocal styles were when they hit the stage, and it divided them. Christina and Adam went with Erin while Cee Lo picked Gwen. In the end, Blake sided with Xtina and Adam and picked Willett, who dedicated her win to her father.
» Pip (Team Adam)
» Erin Martin (Team Cee Lo)
» Ashley De La Rosa (Team Xtina)
» Jermaine Paul (Team Blake)
» Katrina Parker (Team Adam)
» Erin Willett (Team Blake)
» Nathan Perrett (Team Adam)
» The Shields Brothers (Team Cee Lo)
» Jonathas (Team Xtina)
» AlyX (Team Blake)
» Angel Taylor (Team Adam)
» Gwen Sebastian (Team Blake)
What did you think of "The Voice"? Let us know in the comments below!