‘The Voice’ Recap: It’s Time For The Battle Rounds

Referred to as “the embodiment of [The Voice]” by Rolling Stone, Katrina Parker was a Semi-Finalist on Team Adam during Season 2 of the hit show. Katrina’s currently recording her debut album and stopping in weekly to discuss her favorite moments from Season 4 with us.

The Voice has moved on from the feel good blind auditions to the cut-throat battle rounds. Let’s brew a cup of tea, braid each other’s hair and talk about some of this week’s highlights.

It’s a Woman’s World. When Adam Levine paired Judith Hill against Karina Iglesias, I groaned. This is a battle setup we see often on Team Adam – the pitting of a 4 chair contestant against a 1 chair contestant (Something similar happened to me Season 2, y’all). However, Karina had more tricks up her sleeve than anyone realized. She showed a side to her voice we hadn’t seen in her blind audition, and she and Judith both set fire to “It’s a Man’s World,” going toe to toe in the fiercest battle so far. Judith’s win and Karina’s Steal via Shakira made everyone winners, except Adam who, in his own words, was ”the only loser.”

Pass the Tissues…Again. Karina’s Abuelita is back, making everyone cry (and by everyone I mean ME).

Most Entertaining Coach. Usher’s a little crazy, y’all…but is he crazy crazy or crazy like a fox? Between his “attract me to you” and “fight for the microphone” role plays and epic stare downs during rehearsals, his coaching’s proven itself to be in your face, aggressive and unconventional. Will it get results? That has yet to be seen, but it certainly makes for great TV.

Favorite Accessories. Cute as a button Michelle Raitzin may have left the show, but her glittery headbands will live on forever in my mind. Headbands – get in my closet ASAP (that’s how the secret works, right??).

Longest 30 Seconds. A few seconds can feel like an eternity when the losing contestant gives a rambling goodbye speech, hoping for someone (anyone!) to push their button. Even the coaches look uncomfortable, smiling too widely and leaning back in their chairs FAR away from the button.

Just Say No to Montages! Despite the internet outcry last season, battle montages are back and as disappointing as ever. I’ve talked before about how time consuming and emotionally exhausting preparing for the blind auditions can be. Well battles are doubly difficult and involve weeks of preparation for what’s essentially an awkward duet. To go through all of that, make it through your battle and not see it air has to be demoralizing (regardless of the outcome).

Papa Bears Rock. Blake Shelton may have picked Danielle Bradbury as the winner of her battle with Caroline Glaser, but his grilling of Adam and Usher over who would be the better coach for the budding singer/songwriter was adorable. Moments like this make me love the Steal option.

Most Confounding Pairing. I’m not sure what Usher was thinking when he paired Jess Kellner against Taylor Beckham on “You Know I’m No Good.” Jess is all alto honey and warmth, while Taylor is all upper range and precise runs. Their tones are lovely separately but wrong together. I understand the need to challenge contestants, but I wish the coaches would remember that these pairings should also be enjoyable listening for the viewers at home. The good news is both Jess AND Taylor stayed thanks to Jess’s win and Taylor’s sweet Steal via Blake. The bad news is we (and they) will never get those 138 seconds back.

Biggest Surprise. Amber Carrington vs. Sasha Allen – This was another 4 chair vs. 1 chair matchup via Adam with wild results.  Amber (with only 1 chair turn under her belt) really shined on “Try,” giving a stellar performance and winning the battle. Sasha (who turned all the coach’s heads last week) sang beautifully but also seemed to struggle. Her vibrato is rich and lovely but can sometimes read as operatic in the context of a pop song.  Finding the right commercially viable direction for her voice will be a challenge, but it could produce amazing results. Luckily, Shakira is up for that challenge. Happy endings all around!

Tensest Moment. When Jeff Lewis laughed after making a mistake during his pre-battle rehearsal with Josiah Hawley, Usher basically tore him a new one – quietly and with swag. His scolding reached right through the TV screen and grabbed ahold of all of us. I felt ashamed. My dog put himself in a timeout. We’ll all try harder, Usher. I swear!

Silliest Prop. What’s up with the white Kia SUV fake dropping the contestants off for battles? Everytime it showed up onscreen, I couldn’t help but giggle imagining them shooting hours and hours of B-roll while contestants hopped in and out again.

Swinners Never Lose; Losers Never Swin. While I think Christian Porter might have provided the stronger vocal during “I Won’t Back Down” (nailing that high note he struggled with in rehearsals), Blake was unable to resist the allure of The Swon Brothers. I get it. They’re naturally entertaining both on and offstage, and their battle with Christian felt less like a battle and more like a bro-tastic jam between buddies. This marks the first time a duo’s made it past the battle rounds and the first time anyone’s used the phrase “nobody crapped the bed” on this show (thanks for that, Blake).

Leave your favorite (or least favorite) moments in the comments, and tune in Monday at 8PM EST as I live-tweet the next episode of The Voice (@katrinapmusic).

For more updates, follow me on Twitter: @katrinapmusic and visit my website, www.katrinaparker.com.