Ok. So I’m going to make this a little easier on you. In this episode, we move on to the battle round. This round sucks for both the contestants and the judges, so I don’t know why they do it. Here’s what you can expect:
- This episode marks the start of the “Battle Round,” where the judges choose two contestants to sing a duet. But here’s the catch: After each performance, the respective coach must cut one singer from each duet. As we’re reminded, the singers are singing together yet competing against each other, which sucks for them.
- Each “Battle Round” episode will feature only one duet from each team. Let’s do the math – after all, we love TV, so math must be our favorite subject! There’s four teams, with eight contestants on each team, so that equals 32 contestants (minus any original duets from the blind auditions, where the pairings equal one contestant anyway). Now each episode takes two contestants from each team – that means eight contestants per episode – 32 divided by 8 = 4. So we have four episodes of this. With one battle round down and three to go, you now know you have about three more weeks before you have to tune in for the voting part.
- The Judges are given a “consultant,” – aka another professional in the music industry – to help them with coaching and, if needed, picking a winner in the battle round.
- But it’s gonna be worth it. Whoever wins this thing gets a recording contract with a company called Universal Republic. They’re important. Google them – if Facebook hasn’t turned you off to Google by now.
And that’s it. That’s pretty much what happens in this episode. But, since I am getting paid for this (I’m not), I will do the full recap anyway. So let’s get right to it.
In a complete brush off, Carson speeds through the judge/consultant pairings. And it reads like this: Christina uses Cia (sorry if I butchered her name, but I can’t find it anywhere on the internet), an Australian recording artist who suspiciously resembles Olivia Newton John; Adam uses Adam Blackstone, the musical director of Maroon 5 and apparently, the only person in this group not afraid to reveal last name; and Cee-Lo chooses Grammy-winning Monica, which is not a surprise since she is very pretty.
“Yawn (Stretch) Oh, my, how did my arm end up in such a compromising position?”
Oh, and Blake is paired with Reba McEntire, whoever she is…
We start with Christina Aguilera’s team. Having been in this business forever and understanding the Nielsen rating system, she’s not wasting any time. She starts by pitting Terralyn against Frenchie. And what kind of song do you choose when you have two strong, beautiful African-American women singing together? “Single Ladies,” of course!
With each pairing, we are teased with a tiny bit of behind the scenes footage, which may entail the rehearsal process, feedback from the coaches and contestant testimonials. It depends on what footage the producers think is best, mixed in with some needless commentary from Carson Daly. He does have a contract, after all…
But we have a nice moment with the two contestants and Christina. Not only does Christina coach them through the song, but she tells them not to worry about the words. They’re not important, especially if you’re standing in front of a nation and singing their anthem. Nah, don’t worry about it at all.
I never worry about the words. What are words, anyway? Just things WE NEED TO COMMUNICATE!
After some on-camera interviews that reveal Frenchie’s insecurities and Terralyn’s inner-cattiness (“I’m holding back until the performance to show what I’m really made of”), we finally get to… The Battle Round!
During the Battle Round, the duets are actually performed in a boxing ring, just to throw in our faces that this is a battle, dammit! Because when I think of music competitions, I immediately associate them with two guys on steroids hitting each other in the face.
The contestants are able to do a final rehearsal with their coach in the boxing ring, where Christina discovers some tension between Frenchie and Terralyn. Well, says, Christina, your peers are important. During the Grammys, when I fell down, Jennifer Hudson was there to cushion my fall. But now that she’s lost all that weight, she’s not soft enough to land on, so now I hate her.
Put up your dukes, girls. It’s a fight til the end!
We’re almost 10 minutes into the episode before Carson does his best sports announcer impersonation to introduce the fighters. His best is my worst, and I’m a pretty high-pitched girly-girl. But we move right into the song, each of our contestants getting a few verses to strut their stuff. And strut their stuff they do. Not only do they sing well, but unlike Miss Aguilera, they both manage to stay upright in 3-inch heels.
It was better than CATS!
They’re both so good. How will Christina choose? She gets advice from the other judges, who are each required to weigh in before she makes a decision. They’re not much help. Cee-Lo says something offensive about Frenchie’s weight, Adam says he was having too much fun to pay attention and Blake likes them both the same. She turns to Cia, who’s not much help either. After a commercial break, she chooses Broadway star Frenchie. Experience counts.
Spoiler alert: All of the duets are darn good. This is where I am at a loss. Not being a musician myself, I can’t honestly say I could really choose between one singer or the other. Perhaps knocking each out other actually would help.
Blake is up next. He pairs Patrick and Tyler up to perform “Burning Love.” Yeah, I’ve never heard of it either. It’s by some dead guy named Elvis. Patrick is ecstatic, Tyler is not. Since Elvis represents the marriage of country and pop music, it’s the right pairing. But with Reba as the consultant, it’s 100% country training the entire way, so Tyler better catch up.
The first rule of country music is to make sure you only sing out of one side of your mouth.
During the one-on-one feedback sessions, we finally get to see Blake’s comedic chops. With the most deadpan stare, he tells Patrick, “You need to make me believe you’re a hunk, a hunk o’ burning love.”
Ha ha. I’m just kidding.
No I’m not. I want you right now!
Of course, he doesn’t tell Tyler that, but I’m sure he gave him good feedback anyway. Poor Tyler, the families are backstage for support and you can’t help but notice his dad’s not there. In the last episode, he came out to his dad on national television, who wasn’t exactly supportive of his artistic endeavors in the first place. So sad. I think there’s going to be lots on on-camera testimonials and crying in the future if he makes it.
We move right into the competition, where again I can’t really tell you who sang it better. The majority of the judges suggest Tyler should win, leaving Patrick to silently fume.
Kill. Christina. Aguilera. Now.
Blake shows off his comedic chops, telling Tyler, “Where I’m from, the runs are a bad thing.” I’m not sure what that has to do with music, but poop jokes are always very, very funny. Regardless, in the end, he chooses Patrick – I think mainly because Blake sensed Patrick was about to whip out a shotgun and take over the building if he didn’t, but I’m sure the country thing had a little something to do with it.
Before anyone can comment on Blake’s apparent homophobia, we move right on to the next pairing. Adam chooses the two chicks with the highest voices – Casey and Tim – to sing “Leather and Lace.” With almost 20 years’ experience on Casey, Tim should be a shoe-in. But it’s not so easy. Tim can’t seem to say the word “moonlight,” nor is he willing to open himself up to the suggestion of not dropping the “t’s” off of every word he sings. So Casey wins – but not before we get a glimpse of her father creepily talking about how great she looks in her skin-tight dress.
Come to Papa, sweetie.
Hey, Joe Simpson made a living doing it.
Last but not least, we have Cee Lo’s team. He pairs Niki and Vicci, because their names rhyme. And their voices match. Singing “Perfect,” they give the best performance of the night. But let’s rewind. If you’ve been watching the show, you know we don’t know much about Niki, whereas Vicci had a heart-wrenching story about her father passing away. Now we finally get a glimpse of Niki, who actually says she realized one day she could either go to school or follow her dreams and try to “make something out of herself.” Well, since college is the less practical choice, I’m sure she made the right decision.
The rehearsal process is a much friendlier experience with this group. Niki and Vicci actually work together rather than try to compete against each other, which is probably why they rock it. Plus there’s lots of cuddling, which always opens up the creative juices.
There are so many advantages to women being taller than me.
The actual battle is hard to explain. It rocks. Go online and watch it, you lazy bum. I mean, if you really want a visual, here it is:
See? The picture doesn’t do it justice when there’s no audio, does it?
Unfortunately, there was one little mishap. The band stopped playing, revealing they were actually lip-singing. To help avoid an awkward moment Vicci did a little jig:
When all else fails, revert to your dance training.
No, I’m just kidding. It was a tough choice, but in the end, Cee-Lo chooses Vicci, reasoning that there’s no way Niki can become a pop star with that ridiculous hairstyle.
It’s beautiful and practical. You can land a plane on my bangs.
Ugh. So, so painful – and it’s made even worse in the last few moments of the show as we witness Cee-Lo consoling a crying Niki. Suck city.
So if you enjoy watching talented people’s dreams get crushed, you’re going to LOVE the next three episodes, which promise even more drama. I’m now just watching because I’m forced to. Well, till next week – if we all don’t off ourselves by then.