I feel like I should have enjoyed those battle rounds more than I actually did. They certainly kept telling me how spectacular they all were. But, for the most part, I was left cold. Granted there were no obvious train wrecks, but there were few shining moments.
I had been a strong proponent of Xtina as a coach because of her sheer talent. However, tonight she demonstrated that she is a dinosaur that hasn't recognized that extinction has come: power balladeering is dead; BB King vocals are old-fashioned (no disrespect to that great artist). I thought both of her battles were terrible and dated. How of the Rising Sun- really? Sheeran seemed completed tuned out by the tiredness of that song selection and I was right there with him. I thought all of her contestants sounded like tired American Idol rejects. All screaming and screeching. There was no subtlety, no beauty to any of the performances. The only one who was passable was Amber because she had control of the song and a nice tone. The others were all overworked (not that Amber wasn't as well). I would have chosen Jacqui as well, just because she is young and cute and appears to have great potential. Based upon tonight's performances, I don't think Xtina has any ability to groom a winner of this competition. She needs to enter the 21st century before she can attain that goal. I predict she will be sitting on her hands very early in this competition- unless Anthony can save her from complete collapse (but I seriously doubt he can do).
In fact, Anthony is a perfect example of the problem with Xtina. She likely would have encouraged him on in the vocal gymnastics he demonstrated during the rehearsal, instead of telling him to go for more subtlety. CeeLo created that lovely performance he gave; Xtina would not have done that. Hell, she probably would have had Caroline try to waah-AAAHH- aaahhhhh her way through the song as well. I thought CeeLo's battle was the highlight of the night. There were some truly beautiful moments from both of those young singers. I would have chosen Caroline as the winner as well. I was looking forward to seeing how she would do and am now convinced she is a smart kid who will go far in the competition under CeeLo's tutelage. Something to look forward to.
I enjoyed Blake's battle as well and am not a country music fan (especially after last season). I was kind of hoping they could have broken the rules for the Bamas and let them go forward as a duo. Their voices blended nicely- although they never quite resolved the harmony problems.
I thought Adam's battles were also horrible. Pairing TessAnne and Donna was a sytlistic mistake- but I guess the black women with big voices must be paired against each other even though they have very different singing styles (that's about as deep Adam's artistic sensibilities plumb). I would have liked to have seen TessAnne paired up against one of the rockers on his team. That would have been much more interesting than the typical battle of the belters. The other battle was just kind of meh. I do not hear anything special or interesting in Grey's voice. Wedding singer sounds like the correct profession for her IMO. I knew Adam would select Grey as soon as I saw the matchup. I am not a huge fan of Nick (desperation smells, Nick, even through the TV screen), but I found him more interesting as a performer than Grey (how appropriate a name).
For some reason, the whole show seemed very scripted. I did not get a sense that any of the steals were sincere (especially the Double Steal for Nepotism). I think Blake used his up so that he wouldn't be in position to steal a country singer (ie, wouldn't incur the wrath of the country audience if he didn't steal a country artist). I can't otherwise explain them. Of course, Xtina would steal the young black man with the soulful voice. None of it seemed spontaneous to me. That feeling is not helped by the constant spoiling going into and coming out of the commercials.
Note to producers: Please do not cut away from the contestants when they finish their performance. This viewer at least would like to see the post-performance and post-selection hugs/reactions between the contestants. A huge part of the Voice brand to me is the camaraderie and respect the contestants have for each other, as opposed to the Machiavellian bitchiness on other shows. Let us see and enjoy that please. Also, I think I am developing a case of carpel tunnel from constantly having to fast forward the incessant commercial breaks.