The Voice 8 – Live Blog and Recap – The Battles, Part 4 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 8, “The Battles, Part 4”! Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera participate in the final battles of Season 8, as the coaches determine which artists will advance to the Knockouts. But don’t forget, Pharrell still has one Steal left! Last night’s Battle Round show narrowed down the remaining artists in a tight collection of battles, and tonight’s show should be no different.
Ellie Goulding, Meghan Trainor, Nick Jonas and Lionel Richie are back as the mentors for the Battle Round. But what will we see tonight? Here are the battles scheduled for tonight’s show:
Team Adam Levine: Bren’nae DeBarge vs. Lexi Davila
Team Pharrell Williams: Noelle Bybee vs. Sawyer Fredericks
Team Christina Aguilera: Jeremy Gaynor vs. Rob Taylor, Koryn Hawthorne vs. Vance Smith
Team Blake Shelton: Bay Brooks vs. Brooke Adee, Corey Kent White vs. Jacob Rummell
That’s six battles in a one-hour show, plus a Steal to come at some point. So expect some montages tonight.
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be posting results, videos, commentary, and more as the night rolls on.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with Blake giving Pharrell advice. Since he isn’t sure he can win two years in a row, he wants to work with Pharrell to make sure Adam doesn’t win. Adam interrupts at the Starbucks kiosk, and while i know this is just a sketch, I’m surprised at how natural everyone is around each other. It almost feels like friends just chilling. Probably because it is.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: JEREMY GAYNOR VS. ROB TAYLOR
-Rob feels Nick has a lot of musical knowledge to “shed upon” him, and he’s “happy to receive it.” Christina feels both guys are powerful soul singers, but she wants to see what they can do with a rock-driven track, so she gives them “Animals” by Maroon 5. Jeremy notes that Rob has a really high ceiling on his voice, and that makes him a threat. Nick tells the guys to over-enunciate, since the inflection on the words is what makes the song cool. Christina does a casual display of what they should do, and it kind of blows me away how Christina can sound that good at the drop of a hat.
-In rehearsals, Rob talks about what an honor it is to be paired with someone like Jeremy. Christina is stoked with what both guys are doing, as she feels they make it unique. Rob makes it soulful while Jeremy throws in some really cool ad-libs. Before the battle, Jeremy says that while he loves his job with the West Point band, he doesn’t want to lose this battle. Meanwhile, Rob notes that his mom has always been there for him, so even while she’s not here tonight, she’ll be with him in spirit. Should be a great battle. They’re so evenly matched that I genuinely don’t know which direction Christina should go. This is one battle where it really will come down to who does the better job in the battle. Even Christina seems puzzled, saying “I’m going to need help with this one!” before the battle.
-This battle was cool as hell, I thought. Both guys gelled really well, and it managed to come across as a duel without losing the collaborative element. Damn, this was practically a fight. Both guys sounded terrific, and I’m just not sure who should take this one. I prefer Jeremy, but Rob was so good here.
-Pharrell could see the soldier in Jeremy, and Rob really brought it as well. Adam loved that the guys sang his song, and notes it was a pain in his ass to record since it took every bit of his range. He liked both guys, but thinks he’d give it to Jeremy. Blake feels Christina can’t go wrong with whichever artist she picks. Christina says her heart is breaking to have to make this decision, but she’s made up her mind…
ROB TAYLOR WINS THE BATTLE!
-Rob breaks down in tears after winning, and Jeremy embraces him by saying, “You did it, man. You did it.” He adds, “You worked hard and you’re gonna kill it.” It’s a wonderful moment of sportsmanship from Jeremy, and Rob expresses his joy at having advanced while backstage. Back in the studio, Jeremy says his farewells. Pharrell is the only coach with a steal left, but he’s holding onto that steal for later on. I get the vague feeling he’s going to use it in Sawyer’s battle. In fact, for at least a week now, I’ve been convinced that Sawyer’s battle will result in a steal. I guess we’ll find out soon enough if there’s any truth to that (no spoilers, please!!!).
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: NOELLE BYBEE VS. SAWYER FREDERICKS
-Okay, maybe there won’t be a steal here, since I completely forgot Sawyer was Team Pharrell. As he shows up in the studio, Sawyer says he never thought when he auditioned that he’d end up in a room with Pharrell Williams and Lionel Richie. Pharrell gave them “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, noting that it’s a classic song but they need to make it new. Lionel wants Noelle to turn up the volume, saying that she can retain her sweetness while still singing at a greater volume. He has her shout out “Hey!” to him, telling her that’s now her voice. Lionel stresses that if they’re going to shine, they’re going to have to shine together. It’s a battle, but it is, after all, still a duet.
-In rehearsals, Pharrell notes that Noelle listened to them and put power behind her sweetness, although he thinks there are more shades to her voice that ought to come out. He has her shake it out before running through the song again, and Pharrell is really impressed with what she does in the second run-through. In a confessional, Noelle tearfully says how much it means to her that Pharrell believes in her. As for Sawyer, he’s a bit nervous about Lionel’s suggestion that they add harmonies to the song. He’s never done harmonies before, so Pharrell tells him to work on it. After all, how do you get better at anything except by doing it a lot?
-Sawyer’s voice is just magical on the verses. So is Noelle’s. I actually think they’d make an amazing country/folk duo, so much so that I kind of wish this show could pull an X Factor and pair contestants together to make a new group for the competition. I’m having trouble remembering the last duo we actually had on this show, come to think of it. I wish we’d get more, if only for variety’s sake. Anyway, I digress. Sawyer and Noelle nail the harmonies, and while it’s one of the most understated battles of the round, I’d argue it’s also one of the best. I think it’s fairly obvious that Sawyer is taking this one, but I think a case can be made for Noelle. She just seems like a total star up there, in a subtle way.
-Adam loved that everything both artists did in the battle was in service of the other person. However, he thinks there’s just something otherworldly about Sawyer’s voice, so he’d give it to Sawyer. Blake, meanwhile, would give it Noelle, since he hears some country tones in her voice. He does note that they both have beautiful hair, which is totally true. Christina loved both singers, and is glad their respective gifts are in Pharrell’s hands. Pharrell loved Noelle’s high notes, while he loved Sawyer’s generosity in the performance. But he made his decision…
SAWYER FREDERICKS WINS THE BATTLE!
-Sawyer is thrilled to advance, and Pharrell states in a confessional that he feels Sawyer has what it takes to win this show. And I agree. Noelle is gracious in defeat though, which makes her all the more endearing. She feels she’s learned a lot from Pharrell, and thanks him for believing in her. “Everyone stand up for her!” Pharrell says, as he gets to his feet to applaud her. That dude is so sweet, man.
But you know what’s less sweet? This…
-On Team Christina, Koryn Hawthorne defeats Vance Smith in a close battle. On Team Blake, Brooke Adee defeats Bay Brooks, who now has had her entire run montaged, which has to really suck. Meanwhile, Team Adam’s only battle of the episode is also montaged, as Lexi Davila defeats Bren’nae DeBarge, another singer whose entire run was montaged, despite being a part of the legendary DeBarge family.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: COREY KENT WHITE VS. JACOB RUMMELL
-Well, since this is the last battle of the season, the steal happens here. That said, there’s still a fair amount of drama in this, since these are two guys I expected to go far. So the question is, who stays on Team Blake and who lands on Team Pharrell? I’m interested to find out. In the studio, Jacob is floored to meet Meghan Trainor, as he has trouble letting it sink in. Blake has given them “I’m Crazy” by Hunter Hayes, since it’s a youthful song that should fit both guys’ voices. Corey faces some problems when he gets a bit too breathy on the lyrics, which he attributes to nerves over being in the room with two superstars. Jacob is also having trouble with his nerves, as he’s biting down on some of the words. Meghan talks about her own experience with nerves when she auditioned L.A. Reid for her record deal. She played “All About That Bass” on the ukulele, and although it was terrible, she smiled and maintained her confidence, and that made all the difference. I had no idea people still had formal auditions for record deals.
-In rehearsals, Meghan gets on Corey for being an eye-closer, while Blake gets on him about pitch. Both guys work it out, and it gets a lot better, with Corey making Meghan blush by just looking at her during the “I love you” lyric, while Jacob impresses Blake by maintaining his pitch during the harmonies. Meghan flirts a little bit when Blake asks if the guys have any questions for her. (“You know, like what’s your number, you doing anything later?”) Hell, I’d have taken her up on it. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about her, but I’m just so ridiculously attracted to Meghan Trainor.
-The guys bump fists before the battle, and I love it already. You know, I came into this thinking it’d be Corey steamrolling Jacob, but I think Jacob actually had the better breath control and a clearer tone. But I think Corey had the X Factor here, showing that ineffable star quality in his stage performance. He just seems like a real contender for the crown this season, which isn’t to say that Jacob doesn’t do a superb job here, but rather that Corey is probably Blake’s best chance at making it two seasons in a row in the winner’s circle.
-Christina liked Jacob’s energy and charisma, whereas she felt Corey screams “Team Blake”. Blake asks what she’d do, and she says she’d go with Corey. Pharrell agrees, and says he feels there’s more of a creative rapport between Corey and Blake, although part of me feels he’s only saying that because he wants Jacob for his team. Adam feels there’s no lack of talent here, but would actually go with Jacob since he navigated the waters between two different styles, in impressive fashion. Blake is surprised everyone is assuming this song is in Corey’s wheelhouse, since he’s more than just a country artist. He notes also that Jacob is a great performer, so it’s a really tough decision for him.
COREY KENT WHITE WINS THE BATTLE!
-No sooner does Corey get backstage than…
PHARRELL WILLIAMS STEALS JACOB RUMMELL!
-Adorably, Corey flips out backstage when he hears the steal button, celebrating backstage for his friend. Jacob and Corey embrace and cheer that they’re both going to the Knockouts. This bromance rivals Adam and Blake, for me. If nothing else, it’s far cuter.
-And that’s a wrap! To recap, here are the results of tonight’s battles:
Team Adam Levine: Lexi Davila defeats Bren’nae DeBarge
Team Pharrell Williams: Sawyer Fredericks defeats Noelle Bybee
Team Christina Aguilera: Rob Taylor defeats Jeremy Gaynor, Koryn Hawthorne defeats Vance Smith
Team Blake Shelton: Brooke Adee defeats Bay Brooks, Corey Kent White defeats Jacob Rummell (Pharrell Williams STEALS Jacob Rummell!)
So what did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments! Until next time, thanks for reading and hanging out!