The Voice Season 13’s Battle Rounds wrapped Tuesday, with some surprising — and by “surprising,” I mean annoying — results. Two very worthy competitors went home way too soon. Natalie Stovall, we hardly knew ye.
What wasn’t so surprising? The fact that Blake Shelton used his one remaining Steal on one of the Team Miley’s country ladies, in the final showdown of the evening. Funny how that worked out, huh? This show, despite its four Emmys, really isn’t very good at building suspense.
Here’s what happened.
TEAM BLAKE: Adam Cunningham vs. Natalie Stovall
Natalie is a total Music Row pro: She’s played fiddle for many A-listers, including Team Blake guest advisers Rascal Flatts; she was once named one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country”; and she even had a Top 40 country radio hit in 2013. But she got montaged in the Blind Auditions anyway. The audition by Adam, who’s also a pro (he’s a Nashville demo singer), was shown in full, so seemed to have the advantage Tuesday. (A brutal montage edit typically doesn’t bode well for a contestant’s chances.) Still, this could still be a close one.
I liked Natalie’s firecracker personality and rawness on Little Big Town’s “Boondocks,” and the lady could really wail. Adam showcased what they call in the business a “recordable voice” and was solid, but he was also generic. There is someone who sounds like Adam Cunningham every Voice season. And while people who sound like Adam Cunningham admittedly tend to do well on this show, Natalie was certainly more interesting.
“You’re just a cool-lookin’ chick. I just like your vibe!” Jennifer Hudson told Natalie, although she eventually, reluctantly gave her endorsement to Adam. The other coaches were equally torn. Blake agonized over his decision. “Nobody won or lost that performance,” he grumbled. “I should have never put those two against each other.” Then he went with the safe choice: Adam. Ugh. I was hoping Natalie would finally get to take her career to that elusive “next level.” She seemed like Team Miley material, but unfortunately, Miley Cyrus had no Steals left in play (and neither did Adam Levine or Jennifer). “If I had a Steal, I would’ve stolen her. Damn, that one hurt my soul,” Miley lamented. I definitely felt Miley’s — and Natalie’s — pain.
WINNER: Adam Cunningham
TEAM J.HUD: Ignatious Carmouche vs. Eric Lyn
This here was a Davey/Goliath setup: the Snapchat contest winner vs. the professional L.A. backup singer. But despite their very different backgrounds, Ignatious and Eric’s velvety voices sounded evenly matched on Allen Stone’s breathy slow jam “Unaware.” I was drawn to Ignatious, who gave off more a sexy, swaggery loverman vibe onstage; he really attacked the song and looked like a star, while Eric’s approach was more reserved, polished, tentative. There was no denying that both men could saaaannnng, though. Eric’s silky falsetto alone made him a formidable opponent.
“Did you hear all the girls screaming? It was crazy,” raved Miley. “Ignatious, you had some of those nice, lower tones that felt more grounded, and you seem very comfortable onstage. And Eric, you obviously know your voice very well. This is such a tie for me.” Adam voted for Ignatious, and Blake sided with Eric. Jennifer had a tough decision.
And, in my opinion, she made the wrong decision, going with Eric. Ignatious had so much potential! I was hoping that Blake would hit his button for Ignatious, but I knew he saving his Steal for the night’s final Battle. So the Snapchat star’s chances sadly expired.
WINNER: Eric Lyn
TEAM MILEY: Ashland Craft vs. Megan Rose
Feisty filly Ashland and sweet country crooner Megan were two of this season’s standouts in the Blinds, so I knew the show wouldn’t let either of them get away too easily. Luckily, Blake still had an aforementioned Steal that he needed to use or lose. So I wasn’t worried. I knew both would be moving on to the Knockout Rounds — and judging by their sassy performance of Waylon Jennings’s “A Good-Hearted Woman,” they both definitely deserved to advance. No, it wasn’t the “best Battle Round we’ve ever had,” as the hyperbole-prone Adam Levine claimed, but it was dang good.
Megan came across as more modern and versatile, but Ashland was irresistibly fun and fresh; it was hard to look at anyone else when she was rocking the mic. That’s likely why Miley went with Ashland. So, if you’re doing the Voice math, that means Megan moved to Team Blake. Everybody wins! Finally, a happy ending, after two bummer Tuesday results.
WINNER: Ashland Craft / STOLEN: Megan Rose moves to Team Blake
Come back Monday for the Knockout Rounds, when key adviser Kelly Clarkson, who’s set to be a Voice coach next season, joins in on the fun. It sure feels just plain wrong seeing the original American Idol sitting in one of The Voice’s red chairs, but I really can’t wait for a moment like that. See you next week!