The Blind Auditions this season were a little boring, so here’s hoping that the Battle Rounds are more exciting. For the first night there were some decent pairings, and I think only one or two of the judges really had difficult decisions to make. We also got a couple of steals. For this season, Blake Shelton will have The Band Perry mentoring his team. Usher is teamed with Jill Scott, Adam Levine is enlisting the help of Aloe Blacc and Shakira is trying to stick it to Blake by having his wife Miranda Lambert as her team’s mentor.
For her first match-up, Shakira had Dani Moz and DeShawn Washington singing Emeli Sande‘s “My Kind of Love.” This was a great song choice for the both of him, but Dani struggled with using her lower register. Neither of them had issues with hitting some of the big notes in the song. Shakira realized her mistake of putting these two together after they finished, and though I really liked DeShawn, I think she made the right pick in sticking with Dani.
Adam gave Kat Perkins and Patrick Thompson the Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks duet, “Whenever I Call You Friend.” This brought out the classic qualities of their voices, and the beginning of it felt I was listening to the “Nothing But Oldies” station on the radio, which is a good thing. Kat seemed taken with the way Patrick sounded, as she did in rehearsals, but this took a minute to really get off the ground. Kat won this round, but Patrick isn’t going home just yet, he was stolen by Shakira.
Jake Worthington and Lexi Luca were given Thomas Rhett‘s “It Goes Like This.” So Jake and Lexi are the youngest contestants in the competition at 17, though they honestly don’t look or sound like it. Lexi’s nerves got the best of her during rehearsals, and maybe some of that came back while they were on stage, she hit a couple of sour notes. I don’t think the two really meshed well together, and Jake messed up on some lyrics, but his nasal tone, which Shakira said she liked, might have won him this battle.
Blake second battle featured Paula DeAnda and Sisaundra Lewis. Even Paula knew that going up against Sisaundra would require a lot of work. Blake chose “Do What U Want” for them to sing, which Lady Gaga performed with coach Christina Aguilera during last season’s finale. Now Paula is a professional singer (I remember her music!) but she fell flat here. I think she felt defeated before she even got on stage, but she didn’t take many moments for herself, save for that tired whistle note at the end. Unsurprisingly, Blake chose Sisaundra as the winner.
Usher put the old school against he new school with Biff Gore and TJ Wilkins singing “Aint’ Too Proud To Beg.” Obviously the song leans in Biff’s favor, with Jill calling him “rough and smooth.” Both of the men had to really sell the song, as if they were really begging to a woman. I like how into the performance they both were, and while TJ will do just fine as he continues on, it was nice to see Blake steam Biff. It was the kick that won him over.
The last battle of the night went to Jake Barker and Stevie Jo. Usher gave them “Higher Love” to sing, to try to get them away from their R&B roots. Usher really pushed Jake to get his phrasing just right. He does have a Justin Timberlake quality about him that would be easy to work with, but Stevie has an interesting voice as well. I thought the battle overall was kind of static, but Jake ended up with the win, and Stevie had the other three coaches fighting over him. He chose to move over to Adam’s team.
The Battle Rounds continue on Tuesday. Which coach do you think had the best first pairings? Let us know!