Picking up from last night's action, The Voice returns Tuesday with another set of battle rounds. After stretching six battles over last night's two-hour show, we get five jam-packed into this one-hour episode: three full duets and snippets from two more.
Team Cee Lo starts the evening, as Cody Belew takes on Domo, to the tune of Lady Gaga's "Telephone." Cee Lo thinks the song will allow them to do both singing and choreography at the same time, and therefore he can see which of them is "the total package." Advisor Rob Thomas gives Cody some pointers while Domo's conversation with Cee Lo is "more about the choreography," according to her coach.
Meeting with his coach and advisor before the battle, Cody says he's aware that he's at a disadvantage because Domo has curves and doesn't wear a lot, and those are things that appeal to Cee Lo. It's interesting to see a member of Team Red Zone seriously call Cee Lo out on his liking of the ladies, and to his credit Cee Lo doesn't dispute that or take offense to it, either.
Once they're in the ring, Domo's performance is more dancing than singing, and his is the other way around. He doesn't seem quite comfortable on the stage, but he's got the vocals down. Both of them have room for improvement, so it's anyone's match.
What do the coaches think? Blake says "there's damn sure not a stage presence problem with either of these two" before complimenting each of them on their looks. Christina notes that the song was more in Domo's comfort zone, but that Cody put up "a good fight." She also thinks Domo reined in her "overabundance of confidence" from the blind auditions, a statement that Adam concurs with. Cee Lo admits that he thinks both artists were more focused on their choreography, but gives the win to Cody...who apologizes to Domo. On Domo's way out, she's the most humble we've ever seen her - too bad we couldn't have seen that side of her earlier.
Battle number two belongs to Team Christina, with Aquile against Nathalie Hernandez. The song is James Morrison's "You Give Me Something," and they meet with Christina and advisor Billie Joe Armstrong in the Chandelier Palace of a set to rehearse it. Billie Joe calls Aquile's first take "better than the original," while Christina encourages Nathalie to "be fearless," referring to her as "one of those secret weapons" who could develop later on in the competition (see: Ashley de la Rosa, Katrina Parker, Xenia).
The resulting duet is ridiculously smooth; although Aquile's extra maturity and experience are apparent in his performance, neither of these artists has anything to be ashamed of. They gel together and don't have any issues sharing the ring. Cee Lo calls it "a great rendition" while Adam quips that when he was fifteen, "I could not be out of the house, let alone on the stage," and thinks that while Aquile is ready, Nathalie will be soon. Echoing that sentiment, Blake says that it's "amazing" how good Natalie is at her young age. So who will Christina pick? She sides with Aquile, and while Nathalie does not get stolen, she makes a graceful exit. Christina even comments that she would've loved to see Nathalie join Team Blake - yet with only one steal available to him after swiping Collin McLoughlin from Team Adam, Blake has to choose when to hit his button very carefully.
We then get a glimpse of Celica Westbrook versus Lisa Scinta on Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You," which goes to Celica, and Team Blake's Charlie Rey against Rudy Parris on Daniel Powter's "Bad Day," which Rudy wins. Yes, after cutting down blind auditions, NBC has now extended that practice to trimming battles as well. It prompts the question of how this will impact artists further down the line - will viewers respond to singers if they are only given glimpses at their capabilities before the live rounds?
Next up is Team Adam, and Adam (who earned three American Music Award nominations with Maroon 5 this morning) has paired Melanie Martinez against Caitlin Michele. Adam and advisor Mary J. Blige coach the ladies through Ellie Goulding's "Lights," with Mary being shocked by Melanie's depth since she looks so young, and Adam telling them to work on their harmonies. By second rehearsal, both ladies are a bit nervous and Adam thinks that they "had an off day", which doesn't bode well. Yet, as he says, we all have bad days.
The actual battle is head and shoulders over the rehearsals; whatever was holding these ladies back earlier, they clearly got past. Their duet version of "Lights" has a haunting quality akin to Season 2's "Heart Shaped Box" battle between Lindsey Pavao and Lee Koch, or Season 1's Rebecca Loebe and Devon Barley performing "Creep" by Radiohead. Adam clearly would rather hide from this decision than make it. Christina calls the duet "the most moving performance" of the day, and no one gives Adam a pick, leading him to blurt out, "All three of you can't say that!" in desperation. Tongue-tied, he stalls as long as he can before he picks Melanie.
This leaves Caitlin open to be stolen, and Cee Lo and Blake decide to fight for her attention, which makes Adam a happy man. He points out that Blake turned around for Caitlin during blind auditions, while Cee Lo didn't. That doesn't make any difference, though, as Caitlin joins Team Cee Lo. "She must really hate me," Blake laments, while backstage Caitlin admits that she was hoping Cee Lo would pick her.
Four artists went home tonight - Domo, Nathalie Hernandez, Lisa Scinta and Charlie Rey, and one artist changed teams - Team Adam's Caitlin Michele to Team Cee Lo. If you're keeping score, that means both of Team Adam's losers have been stolen by other coaches. Mr. Levine clearly has a particular eye for talent. Yet with three of the four coaches each only having one steal left to use, the competition is only going to get tougher, because soon it will really be win or go home. Battles resume Monday night at 8 PM ET/PT.
For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.