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The Voice Recap: Battle Rounds Pt. 1 -- The Art of the Steal

Finally! Blind auditions are over and battle rounds begin! Tonight brings the unveiling of the steal -- each coach gets two steals, if they want to save an eliminated artist who they didn't manage to pick up in blind auditions. And! We finally get to see Christina Aguilera in a different outfit. Adam Levine is paired up with Mary J. Blige. Blake Shelton bros down with Michael Buble. CeeLo is mysteriously paired with Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty. And Xtina is with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (filmed pre-Bieberrage out breakdown/entry into rehab).

The battle rounds start right now!

Team Blake :: Terry vs. Casey
Singing: Kansas "Carry On My Wayward Son"
Warm-Up: This is a brutal song choice on Blake's part. It's an incredible vocal part that Terry is more suited to shine on in a natural way. Meanwhile Casey is struggling not to sound too country. As rehearsals go on, Casey really steps up his game and seems to be getting on the same wavelength as Terry, but Casey's still a little bit country while Terry's a little bit rock 'n roll.
The Battle: The two gentlemen harmonize nicely. Casey is doing a better job of putting his own mark on the song, while Terry's voice seems more nimble but he's doing a traditional interpretation of this old Kansas song. The wheels of their harmony come off near the end of the song, which is disappointing.

The Winner: Terry

Team Adam :: Bryan vs. Colin
Singing: Sublime "Santria"
Warm-Up: First of all, how cool does Mary J. look? SO COOL. Now the challenge of this song is bleeping it enough to be sung on national television, because Sublime is dirty y'all. This song is a set up for Bryan, who is Mr. Gravel Voice. But amazingly, Bryan seems to find it hard to put any kind of feeling or musicality into his jam while Colin starts killing it in rehearsal. 
The Battle: Neither of these guys are douche-y or tough enough to sing this song. It still fits more naturally on Bryan's voice. Colin should really be doing a nice Jason Mraz tune, but he sells it here and there. And I'll say this: Colin is straight up White Guy Dancing. It's kind of charming.

The Winner: Bryan (WHAT!)
STEAL: CeeLo and Blake both try to steal because obvs Adam chose incorrectly! Colin goes with Blake.

Team CeeLo :: Diego vs. JR
Singing: Rick Springfield "Jessie's Girl"
Warm-Up: OH MY GOD. It's the super hot Peruvian guy vs. the YouTube sensation who has more followers than Coldplay! (Not to mention, more than Matchbox Twenty sorry Rob Thomas sick burn.) This is the meanest pair up yet! Er wait, JR was like "Oh snap, it's Rob Thomas!" So Diego is my man. But! Diego doesn't know this '80s hit, uh oh. JR is nailing it but Diego is sexyvoicing it which would be more helpful if there were a woman coaching him now. Interesting that CeeLo chose such a deeply unsexy song for these two dudes.
The Battle: These are the two most opposite types of people with the most opposite voices imaginable to sing this song together. There's not a point of comparison, CeeLo is obviously trying to get at a style he likes more than knock out two similar contestants like the other judges so far tonight. If you asked these two dudes to describe Jessie, they would tell you about entirely different women. But honestly, they're both killing it in their own way. When they get in a little shoving get-out-of-my-way match at the end, adorbs. We're with Blake here, what the hell just happened and how are you supposed to pick?

The Winner: Diego 

Team Xtina :: De'Borah vs. Nelly's Echo
Singing: The Police "Message In A Bottle"
Warm-Up: Xtina tries something different this season by getting a real rocker for a mentor. This is quite the pair up, with two insanely great voices going head to head. This is another interesting song pick, because the kind of voice and accent Nelly actually has is what Sting was trying to emulate in his original version of the song. Meanwhile, this song was recorded about 15 years before De'Borah was even born so she's blowing it out in weird places because she's probably never even heard the song before. 
The Battle: Oof rough, off pitch start for Nelly. It's like his voice is too perfect for the song so he's trying too hard and it's a pitch that's making my sinuses hurt. De'Borah's ad libs however add an interesting hip hop element to the song that seems to have naturally been missing all along but her voice isn't shining quite as much as it could on another song. There's no way she could have carried that song on her own, but Nelly could have. Almost a shame he went so far over the top.

The Winner: De'Borah

Team Blake :: 2 Steel Girls vs. Gracia
Singing: Dixie Chicks "Sin Wagon"
Warm-Up: Blake wants a barn burner. Good pick since you've got three ladies do pull a full Dixie harmony. But the Steels are nervous (or at least the older one is) and Gracia is a pile of nervous problems. Blake says the Steels aren't doing a great job of singing together and Gracia is being shy so...anybody's game.
The Battle: Opposite outfits at work out of the gate. 2 Steel Girls are dressed like black leather bad asses while Gracia is rocking a Miranda Lambert-inspired mini dress with cowboy boots. Everyone sounds like they finally found their voices and it's a real battle. Everyone caught that shot where Xtina was laughing when they all got sassy and shook their booties, right? 

The Winner: Gracia (gets a damn from Adam who really wanted to steal her)

Team CeeLo :: Amanda vs. Trevin
Singing: Mariah Carey "Vision Of Love"
Warm-Up: It's a huge vote of confidence for both contestants that CeeLo picked this song for them -- it's incredibly difficult. Amanda is knocking it out of the park from the get-go and Trevin seems to be fumbling. After Trevin nailed it so hard in the blind auditions, this is an interesting struggle to watch. This pairing shows how serious CeeLo is as a judge. 
The Battle: Holy crap these are two gifted singers. Where Trevin goes insanely high, Amanda can go impressively low. When the two meet in the middle it's basically a mind-blower. Can someone just give them a show in Vegas together? It's so damn good that they get a ful standing ovation from the judges and the crowd -- and now CeeLo has to cut one of them! You must be joking.

The Winner: Trevin
STEAL: All three judges waste no time trying to steal Amanda and it's pretty fun to watch. She goes to Adam on a gut feeling.

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