The Voice is just steps away from turning control over to you at home. In fact, we're less than two months away from crowning a new champion. But before we can do that, there are more battle rounds and more scenes of Chris Martin that we need to get to. So, here's Monday night's fight card!
1. Team Shakira: Dani Moz vs. Clarissa Serna, "Perfect"
Shakira matches her "powerhouse singers," looking to narrow it down to just one on her team. Their choices include Pink's "Perfect," Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory," and Kelly Clarkson's "Catch My Breath." They go with the Pink tune, which has already been performed by Vicci Martinez and Niki Dawson (from season 1) and Katrina Parker (season 2). Shakira approves, saying she thinks it "has the right style to showcase the power of their voices." Although, there's only been one really surprising song choice yet, so...Chris Martin wants to see a little more performance, and Shakira wants less nerves.
From the jump, it's clear why Shakira paired these two together; not only do they sound fairly similar, they even look like they could be related. The result is a battle that basically comes down to personal preference, because they share the same strengths and both seem to have taken Chris's note about performing more toward the audience. Adam praises "major improvement on both sides" but also hits on the nerves issue. Blake votes for Dani, and Usher (still with that ridiculous hat) agrees. That brings it back around to Shakira, who chooses Dani.
Winner: Dani Moz
2. Team Adam: Kat Perkins vs. Dawn and Hawkes, "Suddenly I See"
With this "really tough" pairing, Adam thinks Kat has the power to counter the duo. He hands them two classic rock songs and KT Tunstall's "Suddenly I See"; he does love his classic rock. These three have an actual discussion about the tunes that goes beyond 'Well, which one do you like better?,' which is cool to see. Then Kat freaks out over Chris Martin, enough to get Adam to joke about it. We're further amused by how these guys don't get the usual "It's the [insert descriptor here introduction from Carson Daly. He just announces them and leaves it at that. Ah, well, we know who they are by this point anyway.
This is a battle that sounds perfect and looks terribly mismatched. Kat looks like she's liable to go over to Dawn and Hawkes, kick over their mic stand, and break the guitar, but of course she's not like that. It's another one of those examples of why The Voice's central concept is still true: don't judge an artist by their look. This one's actually hard to call, because she has great energy, and Dawn and Hawkes are one of the stronger duos we've seen on the show. Blake says it was almost like the duo was backing Kat up, and votes for her. Usher echoes that, saying Dawn and Hawkes need to "take command of the stage more." Shakira makes it three for three, saying that Kat "stood out." That kind of makes Adam's decision obvious: it's Kat. And Adam says what we've all known since Season 1, that "if it's not a duo that blows everybody away, it's going to be tough to get through."
Winner: Kat Perkins
3. Team Usher: Music Box vs. Melissa Jimenez, "Song"
Usher has his first chance to coach Music Box after stealing her from Team Shakira, and he's paired her with one of his strongest artists, Melissa. Their song choices are "Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys, "What A Girl Wants" by Christina Aguilera, and "Only Girl In The World" by Rihanna. It's kind of clear what Usher wants to see from these two ladies, who very easily settle on the Alicia Keys track, which meets with Usher's approval (although you wouldn't know it from the initial non-reaction he and Chris Martin give). Chris wants both artists to "inhabit the lyrics more" and Usher backs him up by reminding them that "individuality in covers is so important." His comments make us wonder once again if allowing artists to perform their own music at some point is a good idea; then you'd definitely see individuality.
While nobody can touch the power and sass that Alicia Keys imbued the original with, these two ladies give a solid if imperfect effort. One of the things we love about Melissa is that she never loses her ability to enunciate even as she's belting out crazy notes; we can always understand her. She's met a great partner in Music Box, who matches her energy level. Shakira calls the battle partly great and partly not so great, and because Music Box used to be on her team, votes for Music Box. Adam points out that he actually performed part of that song with Alicia Keys, and thinks Melissa had more good moments. Blake agrees with Shakira and uses the situation to get a jab in at Usher's hat. (Someone steal that hat and hide it, please.) Usher gives the win to Melissa, who appears stunned by that decision. Trust us, girl: you earned it.
Winner: Melissa Jimenez
4. Team Blake: Ryan Whyte Maloney vs. Kaleigh Glanton, "Easy"
Team Blake finishes up early, with two people he hasn't quite figured out. Kaleigh misses former battle partner Noah Lis (so do we, Kaleigh!), and Ryan can't believe he pulled off a Tina Turner song. "I seriously burned calories watching that," he quips. Blake hands them their short list of songs: "Easy" by Rascal Flatts, Seal's "Kiss From A Rose," and Train's "Drops of Jupiter." Man, we remember that Seal song from Batman Forever. Sadly, these two take the least surprising tune, the Rascal Flatts song. Blake advises Kaleigh about traveling to Falsetto Land. That doesn't sound like an interesting place to visit.
Maybe the mic volumes were turned down a bit for this battle, because both these two are hard to hear at times over the band. However, what we can hear sounds pretty good. Usher says he's a fan of this particular song; who'd have thought? He goes on to say that he felt that the artists were supporting each other, and that he votes for Ryan because he thinks Kaleigh held something back due to being nervous. Shakira says a similar thing with the same endorsement. Adam likewise sides with Ryan, making it a clean sweep before we get to Blake. Blake eloquently tells us that this decision "blows" before choosing Ryan.
Winner: Ryan Whyte Maloney
5. Team Adam: Brittnee Camelle vs. Jake Barker, "Climax"
It's the battle of people stolen from Team Usher, and that's why this is a battle. Both of them saw this coming, as they've become friends over the course of the season. There's no shortage of presence between these two artists, although Adam offers them each a piece of constructive criticism before he even hands them their song choices. Those options are "Climax" by Usher, "Beautiful Soul" by Jesse McCartney, and Justin Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat." Brittnee originally leans toward the Jesse McCartney song, which we would've probably chosen, but ultimately the duo comes around to performing an Usher song in front of Usher. It'll be interesting to see what Usher thinks.
Adam and Chris advise Jake to be confident in his falsetto, while Adam wants Brittnee that there were a few moments in rehearsal that were "a little bit flat." Chris gives the same piece of advice he gave to Music Box and Melissa, to "inhabit the song." When the battle starts, we sadly are deprived of Usher's initial reaction shot, but he seems impressed with the performance as it goes on. We're certainly impressed by it. We'd let them go through a couple more songs. Carson goes first to Blake, who jokes about Jake wearing Usher's shoes, and compliments the falsetto he was so worried about before giving him the Shelton seal of approval. Usher laughs about having to comment on one of his songs done by two people who used to be on his team. Asked who did it better, he replies, "Me." Shakira thinks Jake rose to the occasion and votes for him as well. It's decision time for Adam, who elects to keep Jake. Darn it, why didn't Blake push his button?! And why is everybody crying?! Now we're crying.
Winner: Jake Barker
6. Team Usher: Bria Kelly vs. Madilyn Paige, "I'll Stand By You"
Wrapping up the evening is the battle of the two adorable singers (which sort of explains why it's placed at the end of the show). Usher wants to help Madilyn get over her nerves; he doesn't have that concern about Bria, but he thinks she needs to work on her control. For the two of them, he's offered "Red" by Taylor Swift, "I'll Stand By You" from The Pretenders, and "The First Cut Is The Deepest" by Sheryl Crow. Wanting to avoid country, the girls opt for the Pretenders classic. And then Usher makes everybody, including Chris Martin, get a little workout in. Watching the girls rehearse, Chris points out to Usher that of course Madilyn is intimidated, saying, "I couldn't do this at age 16, are you kidding me?"
It's already known that the loser of this battle will be stolen by Blake, so it's kind of anticlimactic. He's already intently staring through introductions like he's plotting. This contest is as cute as you thought it would be, and it plays out pretty much the way you'd think, too. Both singers have strong moments and others that betray their youth. Shakira doesn't name a winner; Adam wanted to see more from both artists, and Blake concurs with that sentiment. "I definitely don't think anybody really stood out," he admits. Usher ultimately wants to keep Bria, so Blake gets Madilyn. Blake has shown an ability to work well with younger artists, as well as an interest in doing so (see: Xenia Martinez, Danielle Bradbery), so this is a win-win all around.
Winner: Bria Kelly and Steal: Madilyn Paige to Team Blake
The Voice begins its playoffs tomorrow at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC. That's right, the playoffs are starting on Tuesday. For more on the show, you can check out our interviews with Adam, Blake, Shakira and Usher from Thursday's special event, and our editorial on why Adam and Blake must be a part of Season 7 this fall.
And most importantly, we finally have information on this summer's The Voice Tour! You can visit NBCTheVoiceTour.com to see what's been teased so far about the new tour, featuring eight artists from a roster of "past stars and this season's finalists." We already know four of them - Season 1's Dia Frampton and Season 5 finalists Tessanne Chin, Jacquie Lee and Will Champlin - so start guessing who those other four will be!