Reality TV

The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – The Battles Premiere, Part 2 (VIDEO)

Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 10, “The Battles Premiere, Part 2”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!

The Battles continue, as the coaches welcome superstar guest mentors, many of whom are appearing as advisors for the very first time! Team Pharrell welcomes Sean “Diddy” Combs, Team Adam will be helped by Tori Kelly, Team Christina will have the legendary Patti LaBelle, and Team Blake welcomes back coach Gwen Stefani! Here are the battles we’ll be seeing tonight:

Hannah Huston vs. Maya Smith (Team Pharrell Williams)
Shalyah Fearing vs. Tamar Davis (Team Christina Aguilera)
Justin Whisnant vs. Mary Sarah (Team Blake Shelton)
Chelsea Gann vs. Kata Hay (Team Christina Aguilera)
Jessica Crosbie vs. Nick Hagelin (Team Pharrell Williams)
Natalie Yacovazzi vs. Nate Butler (Team Adam Levine)

Click here to find out what songs the pairs will be singing!

Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!

The Voice 2016 - Live Blog and Recap - The Battles Premiere, Part 2 (VIDEO)

Credit: NBC

Let’s get this show on the road!

RECAP

-We open with the coaches gabbing backstage about the battles. I really like their rapport with one another, although this segment is super brief. We’re off to the races with a Team Christina battle…

TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: SHALYAH FEARING VS. TAMAR DAVIS

-Tmar starts crying when she sees that her mentor is Patti LaBelle, calling her “the icon of all icons.” It’s a really endearing moment, although I’m instantly distracted by how outrageously hot Christina looks with the straight/slightly-curly hair. Sorry, I’m an extraordinarily shallow man. They’ll be singing “Lady Marmalade” by LaBelle, the girl group that made Patti famous. Shalyah is understandably nervous about singing in front of Patti, but Ms. LaBelle insists that she should keep singing through it no matter what. She also tells both singers to enunciate, and Christina shows them how, in an awesome moment. It used to annoy me when Christina would sing and completely upstage her artists, but now I literally can’t get enough. Maybe I was just jealous that I couldn’t do any of that awesome stuff myself. In the final rehearsals, Patti states that both singers have “it,” and after hearing their vocals, it’s hard to disagree. Patti LaBelle then joins in, singing the song with Christina in an absolutely spectacular moment. Christina hopes one of the guys saves the girl that loses the battle, and I kind of hope so too. I mean, I think Tamar will win, but I think Shalyah deserves to stick around.

-This is a good battle, as both women illustrated why they deserve to advance. Surprisingly though, I’d actually give this to Shalyah. Tamar has more experience, but I think Shalyah has more potential. From her runs to her overall style of performance, I thought Shalyah showed a lot of swagger. Which isn’t to say that Tamar didn’t, but I simply enjoyed Shalyah more. If I were Christina, I’d go with Shalyah, but I wouldn’t necessarily be mad if she went with Tamar, because both women did a great job. It basically just comes down to personal preference.

-Pharrell is amazed that Shalyah is only fifteen, while also being impressed with what Tamar brought to the table. Adam echoes Pharrell’s sentiments while also giving it up for Christina, who brought a lot of history to that song. Blake would give it to Tamar, but he’s a big fan of Shalyah as well. Christina goes over the story of both girls, noting that Shalyah wants to help out her family whereas Tamar was part of the original Destiny’s Child. She thought both girls did a tremendous job. However, she has to make a choice, so she picks the person she feels deserves it right now…

TAMAR DAVIS WINS THIS BATTLE!

-Tamar cries backstage, thrilled to have moved on in the competition. Back in the studio. Carson doesn’t even get a chance to finish noting that Shalyah is available to steal before…

PHARRELL WILLIAMS STEALS SHALYAH FEARING!

-Shalyah is every bit as emotional as Tamar was, thanking Pharrell for saving her in the competition. Pharrell simply wants Shalyah to believe in herself. Honestly, if THIS is what Shalyah sounds like when she has doubts, she’s probably a monster when she’s got self-esteem.

TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: JUSTIN WHISNANT VS. MARY SARAH

-Mary and Justin worry about who their advisor is going to be, but Mary flips out when she sees it’s Gwen, recalling how she used to sing “Hollaback Girl” in the living room with her sister. Mary and Justin will be singing “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” by Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, which is literally one of my FAVORITE songs on Earth. I’m not even kidding right now. Such a perfect song choice. Blake gives advice similar to what Patti LaBelle said to Bryan Bautista and Malik Heard last night, noting that they can put their twist on the song while also honoring the original. In the final rehearsal, Gwen is impressed by how Justin’s voice opens up, whereas Blake is worried about how he’s going to pick one artist over the other.

-I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Seriously, this has nothing to do with my crush on Mary Sarah, because I actually think Justin is winning this. I just adore the song choice, and I think they’re doing a hell of a job blending the harmonies, and communicating the meaning of the song with their performance. Just such a big fan of this. I would give it to Justin, but I would be so happy if Mary managed to advance.

-Christina was impressed with both singers, while Pharrell loved the vibrato from Justin and the high notes from Mary. Adam wished he’d heard more grittiness from Justin, but he still is a big fan of his. He says more or less the same to Mary, saying that he didn’t hear enough of what he initially loved from her, but he’s a fan of both. Blake thought Justin did some things Conway Twitty couldn’t do with the song, while also praising Mary for coming alive as a performer. If it were up to me, I’d give it to Mary. But it’s not, so…

MARY SARAH WINS THIS BATTLE!

-Oh s***! I’M SO HAPPY TO BE WRONG! Backstage, Mary is overjoyed to have advanced, although I feel like I might actually be more excited than she is. Back in the studio, Justin says his goodbyes, as no one steals him. Sad to see that happen, but I’m glad Mary advanced. Blake says he picked Mary because she comes across as a star, and I can’t disagree.

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: JESSICA CROSBIE VS. NICK HAGELIN

-Ugh, a battle between my two great loves: British girls and other people named Nick! The duo will be singing “Electric Feel” by MGMT, which is one of my favorite songs, because tonight is batting a thousand on song choice. THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT, IDOL! Jessica is a bit intimidated by Nick’s falsetto, but the final rehearsal sees Jessica absolutely come alive. Nick probably has more potential, but I actually prefer Jessica. Pharrell sort of feels the same way, saying that while Nick was impressive, Jessica had him dancing more. He suggests Nick work on his transitions. Diddy advises both singers not to disconnect from the audience, that they need to tackle this song aggressively. He views himself as the director of a film, and he wants to make the best film he can. As we head into the battle, Diddy notes that Nick really wants it, although Nick seems a bit concerned about the threat Jessica presents.

-My GOD, Jessica looks so hot here. Oh yeah, the battle. I actually think Nick showed more in this battle, between the crazy falsetto and the performance style. However, Jessica came across as the more confident vocalist. She didn’t try anything risky, because it seems like she really knows herself as an artist. I hate to put this copout, but once again, it really is a matter of preference.

-Adam loved both performers, but he seems to be leaning towards Nick. Blake rips on Adam for combing his hair like Miley Cyrus, before noting that he acquired a taste for Nick’s falsetto, prompting to Adam to butt in and criticize Blake over his pronunciation of falsetto. “Every time I try to make a point, Adam comes in like a wrecking ball,” Blake says, in the best burn of the season so far. Blake would go with Nick, as would Christina, noting his falsetto. Pharrell praises Nick for his high note, while praising Jessica for taking Diddy’s advice about remaining in the pocket. But Pharrell must make a choice…

NICK HAGELIN WINS THIS BATTLE!

-Pharrell chose Nick because he not only worked on the things he told Nick to work on, he also delivered a performance with a lot of energy. Jessica thanks Pharrell for giving her permission to empower herself. As Jessica hugs Pharrell, I’m prepared to let Jessica go, but then…

ADAM LEVINE STEALS JESSICA CROSBIE!

-Adam talks about the potential he sees in Jessica, while Jessica vows to work hard in her second chance. I love this steal so much, even though he’s probably going to wish he saved a Steal later on.

TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: CHELSEA GANN VS. KATA HAY

-Is there any way Kata doesn’t win this? I just feel like she’s got loads of potential to go far. Anyway, the duo will be singing “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge (ahem, OSCAR WINNER Melissa Etheridge, that is — you know, because I put a premium on “Oscar winner” because I’m obsessed with the Oscars), and it sounds really good. The harmonies are on-point, and I think they could have a real moment with this. In the final rehearsal, Patti worries about pitchiness when they get into the high notes. Christina is less worried, however, saying that both women seem energized by the song. In a compelling moment, Kata accidentally sings over Chelsea’s part, prompting her to apologize. Christina warns her against getting so excited that she loses focus. She also tells Chelsea she needs to do the opposite of Kata: on the one hand, Kata needs to learn control, whereas Chelsea needs to learn to loosen up.

-I like Melissa Etheridge, but this is probably the most I’ve ever liked this song. What’s funny, though, is that both singers have a really similar sound. So I have absolutely no idea whom to pick, since neither singer really outsings the other. With that said, I just have a feeling about Kata Hay, who’s one of the season’s buzzier contestants. She’s also probably Christina’s best shot at snagging the country/rock crowd.

-Pharrell would give it to Chelsea, but he feels Kata’s passion is undeniable. Adam thinks there’s something about Kata that is really seductive, while noting how cool it was to see a nice girl like Chelsea bring her claws out. Blake regrets not hitting his button for either singer, saying he must have been drunk at the time. He then tries to bond with both singers over their hometowns. He calls out Adam for knowing nothing about those places, and Adam admits he hasn’t because he isn’t from there. He calls Blake the dumbest of all his friends. This is a long way of getting back to Blake’s critique that he would ultimately pick Chelsea. Christina thinks Chelsea’s vibrato is effortless, while Kata feels things in the moment. She feels both women are powerhouses, and she’s sorry one of them has to go home.

KATA HAY WINS THIS BATTLE!

-Kata seems genuinely shocked, and judging by the coaches’ comments, I don’t blame her. She cries backstage, struggling to maintain her composure. She’s thankful for the opportunity, and the chance to work on the things she needs to work on. Back in the studio, Chelsea struggles with her tears, thanking Christina for giving her this chance. Unfortunately, no one steals Chelsea.

TEAM ADAM LEVINE: NATALIE YACOVAZZI VS. NATE BUTLER

-Natalie is really happy to see Tori, although Adam notes that she looks way more nervous now. Nate, meanwhile, is super hyped about meeting a Grammy nominated artist. Of course, it makes sense why Natalie is nervous, since she’ll be singing a Tori Kelly song directly to her. They’ll be singing “Hollow,” and Tori loves hearing a new interpretation to her song. Adam compares Nate’s voice to his own, and notes that he’s working too hard to hit something that should be easy for him. Tori feels Nate should be able to hit these notes with an airy falsetto. She then suggests Natalie find the right spot in the song for her voice in the chorus, since there are so many long notes. In the final rehearsal, Adam suggests Natalie stop worrying and just focus on singing. Tori talks about the meaning behind the song, which helped Natalie a lot, and allowed her to personalize the song. Adam says you can’t be afraid of making a mistake because it’ll hold you back. He thinks Natalie has the power, but she’s holding back. Meanwhile, Nate has grown a lot, but he still has a bit of a ways to go before he’s all the way there, as an artist. He feels the battle cna go either way.

-Natalie makes a really solid showing here, but I feel like Nate is the clear winner. Just the breathy nature of his tone, and the effortlessness of the runs he hits put him in a different class. That said, I really, really like Natalie, and I hope she gets stolen, because she’s got heaps of potential. Her tone is so clear and pure that I think it’d be a shame to let her go this early.

-Blake says that Nate sounds a lot like Adam, and there’s nothing wrong with it. “Damn right, there’s nothing wrong with that!” Adam responds, prompting Blake to note that Nate even looks more like Adam than Adam does, since Adam looks like Lance Bass with his blonde highlights. Christina and Pharrell both praise Natalie, while Adam recognizes that he put Nate in a “discomfort zone” with this song choice. He admits there were pitch issues with Natalie, but agrees with Blake on the lovely nature of the break in Natalie’s voice. Adam is picking the person he feels he can move forward with confidently…

NATE BUTLER WINS THIS BATTLE!

-Natalie thanks Adam for this opportunity, although no one steals her. I get it, but I still think it’s kind of a shame. But I think part of it is that I don’t really like seeing anyone go home, especially someone who worked as hard as Natalie to get this second chance. Ah well, best of luck for the future, Natalie!

-Backstage, Carson gets on Blake’s case about always hitting his button at the same time as Christina. So that basically serves as a spoiler for this final battle.

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: HANNAH HUSTON VS. MAYA SMITH

-Hannah and Maya seem a bit intimidated by their song choice, “Elastic Heart” by Sia — so much so that they rehearse the song together in their hotel room, in an attempt to learn the lyrics and get this song down. They arrive at the final rehearsal, and Maya is still nervous. Diddy tells her she has no reason to be nervous, and encourages her to have confidence in herself. Maya comes alive in the rehearsal, and now it’s Hannah who seems to be having trouble with the song. Diddy takes Hannah aside and tells her he wants more attitude, saying that she needs to tell the story to the audience. It’s great advice, because it brings out the energy and the fight in both women. This should be a great battle.

-On the one hand, I wish they’d have changed up the arrangement on this. On the other hand, I think it doesn’t matter to the overall strength of the vocals here, as both Hannah and Maya make a great case for why they should advance. Off-topic, I have no idea why Hannah is wearing a red pantsuit, but she’s somehow making it work. I’m torn on who wins this battle, but I think I’d go with Hannah. She has serious potential to go far in this competition. With that said, I’d expect the loser to be stolen, even if the promos hadn’t spoiled it (and even if this battle wasn’t the show-closer, which is normally guaranteed to have a steal).

-Adam thought Hannah played the part beautifully, praising how she connected with the story. But he’s leaning towards Maya, it seems. Blake loved how intense Hannah was, while praising Maya for how big her voice is, even though he felt there were shaky parts. Christina thought both singers had really solid vibrato, praising them for their confidence, excitement, fire and passion. Pharrell thought Hannah’s votes were beautifully “crispy” while Maya managed to hit some stellar runs without losing breath. He has to make a choice though, so…

HANNAH HUSTON WINS THIS BATTLE!

-Hannah is relieved to have advanced, stating how thankful she is, and adding that she can’t breathe. Back in the studio, Maya thanks Pharrell for his tutelage. As she goes to hug Pharrell, Christina Aguilera hits her button, prompting both Pharrell and Hannah to get excited for Maya. Christina warns Blake against hitting his button (“Don’t you do it. Don’t you do it.”). Right as Carson is about to close deliberations, Blake hits his button!

CHRISTINA AGUILERA AND BLAKE SHELTON HIT THEIR BUTTONS!

-Man, the look on Christina’s face tells the story. She immediately rips into Blake, saying he never pushed his button for her in the Blinds, and says “I can’t lose you to THAT!” She pleads with Maya not to break her heart, and sure enough, Maya immediately declares she’s choosing Christina. Maya celebrates backstage, while Christina celebrates in the studio about how sweet victory tastes.

-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Is the winner in this lineup? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow night, thank you for reading and hanging out!

GOODNIGHT!

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