The Voice 2 : Episode 7 (Battle Rounds 1)

Ear protection must be worn in this area.

So after six weeks of yelling, fighting, trolling and…whatever it was that Tom was doing for most of it, the blind auditions are over, which means it’s goodbye to this:

RAAAARGH

and hello to this.

Ring
BATTLES!
This is The Cube.
Seriously. Intellectual copyright lawyers are being consulted.

By the looks of it, the first round will be Jessie pitting Nate James and Lem Knights in a head-to-head game of Parallel, presided over by Phillip Schofield, who will remind them that they still have their Simplify and their Trial Run if they wish to use them.

Teedle-dee-teedle-dee THIS IS THE WHISTLE

“This is fight, or lose,” declares Tom. Do you want to tell him those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, or do I have to do it? And of course, by “fight”, he inevitably means “shout”. Last year’s battles were conducted on an all-shouting basis, and you really shouldn’t expect this year’s battles to be any different. And don’t think it’ll just be the contestants, either:

I wanna make you holler, make you scream my name

It’s going to be a long night.

Yes, that's weekends. With an S

And an even longer month. What I didn’t see the first time I watched this was that the title says “Battle Weekends”. PLURAL. So it’s going to spill over beyond this week. (I mean, there are only six out of 24 battles in tonight’s show anyway, so there’s no way they could do the rest in an even shorter show tomorrow, but BLOODY HELL.) At least we’re getting a week off for Eurovision, I guess.

Presenters: activate!

Look, it’s Holly and Reggie! Actually doing stuff! They’re going to get to raise people’s arms into the air this week and everything! I can barely contain my excitement, in much the same way that Holly can barely contain her boobs in that dress. Now, who’s ready to hear about the DRAMATIC TWIST?

THIS AM HOW IT BE WORK

First, we’re all going to what is either a big fancy house or a really cold TV studio pretending to be a big fancy house (I vote the latter)

Look at the piano

and then we’re going to get split into duos by our mentors and receive some intensive coaching from mentors plus also superstar guest mentors.

There's so much Welsh right here

To the surprise of no one, Paloma Faith has not been invited back after her unfortunate remarks about her appearance last year, and has been replaced with Dido.

Where is Paloma? Was it pension day?

The shade of it all. Still, if any show needed a mentor qualified in advising how best to handle your increasing irrelevance to everything, I guess it’s this one. Jessie, meanwhile, has brought along her songwriting and producing partner Claude Kelly.

*gasp* Not THE Claude Kelly?!?!

In case you were wondering, “superstar” was the exact adjective this show used. I’m not sure writing ‘Gold Forever’ for The One Thing entirely qualifies you for that status. Meanwhile, Tom has brought back Cerys Matthews for extra Welsh insight.

Cerys Matthews: looking insane, yesterday

Where On Earth Is Dante Santiago?

Look out, here come Ivy and Zack!

He’s in Manchester, helping William for the second year running.

Then once they’ve been honed and coached to within an inch of their lives, it’s time to head into the ring and duke it out.

Ring of confidence

But hold on there missy! There’s a new bit this year!

I think it might be a steal?

Each coach gets the opportunity to steal one contestant rejected by one of their peers. That’s just one steal each. Also you can apparently steal anyone you like. I’m only saying this because we went to Paris earlier this year just in time for the battle rounds of season 2 of The Voice: La Plus Belle Voix, where the rules of the steal there are that you can only steal someone if you turned around for them in the blind auditions in the first place. Which makes a lot more sense to me, although it’s probably best we don’t nick too many idea from the French version of the format, because it legitimately goes on for about four hours per episode and every coach had about 90 contestants last we saw. Also, the guy who looks like Merlin just got eliminated so we’re officially well and truly over that show now.

Oh, and spoiler alert:

Hair apparent

Lem Knights is going to lose his battle, and he’s going to get stolen. Nice work, editors. Maybe pick a contestant with a less distinctive hairdo next time?

Right, here come the coaches:

J-J-J-J-J-JESSIE J

Look at that volume! Either it was very humid in Manchester in early March, or Jessie J’s just making the most of her hair while she still has it.

Pleasingly, there is minimal faffing once the coaches have taken their seats, and we get straight into Battle #1, which comes from Team Tom:

Jamie vs LB

It’s Jamie The Man Of 1000 Jobs vs LB The Sass-Monger. Tom explains that he’s paired them together because they’re both soulful, and that’s why he’s having them sing ‘When Love Comes To Town’ by U2 and B.B. King. LB seems to be getting into the whole “battle” aspect a bit quicker than Jamie is.

SHADE

Cerys’s feedback after hearing LB and Jamie run through it once is that there’s one person who can sing the pants off this song.

Learning by following. Sure, why not?

SIR TOM JONES! Yes, I’m sure hearing him run through it will be very useful for LB and Jamie, because nothing says “intensive coaching” like listening to Granddad and Grandma Number Four reminiscing about the glory days, back when the only time anyone ever “sampled” anything was when the roadie brought a selection of white powders to your dressing room before the gig. THAT WAS REAL MUSIC! LB thinks that Tom’s voice is “fresh like a daisy”.

Camp sneeze ahoy

Unfortunately, LB has hayfever. Jamie says that Tom “gave us the standard at which it needs to be delivered at”. After this intensive music lesson, he will be kept behind for intensive grammar lessons with Professor I.Am.

LB and Jamie get ready for the rest of their professional music careers by

Eh, it's still more people than watched Series 2 of ShoogaBoogaCanDance UK

singing to an audience of about three people, and then it’s showtime! Holly introduces Jamie as “the big man with the big voice” (oh good, I’m so glad we’re still referring to people that way. Why not just call him “Fatty McTonsils” and be done with it?) and Jessie declares that she’s a bit scared. To be fair, that’s probably because she knows she’s got to sit through Sarah Cassidy vs Katie Benbow in about half an hour’s time, and ain’t nobody looking forward to that. LB gives Jamie an Eyebrow Of Sass (<3) and then IT IS AWN.

HEEEEEY-YEEEEEAH-EEEE-YEEEAA-YEAAA-HEEEEY

Nice to see that this show's commitment to distancing itself from The X Factor now extends as far as…outright theft of their logo from series 1.

Volley good

We’re into Shout Tennis territory once again. Considering Jamie is beating LB out by around 20 decibels, and considering who will be judging the outcome of this fight, I think we can safely go ahead and call it for Jamie. Also, I think we can be safe in the knowledge that Jessie’s loins are well and truly girded right now.

Oh dear, Jessie's been at the Babycham again

Whether she’s aiming all that at William or at the camera is as much of a mystery to me as it is to you. Either way, I suspect she’s never going to get as much love back as she’s putting out. I might send her a copy of Women Who Love Too Much and see if we can work out where it’s all going wrong for her. Once it’s all over, Jamie and LB want us to know that they LOVE EACH OTHER REALLY.

UNF

All right, steady on, we’re still a good 15 minutes shy of the watershed just yet, chaps.

Holly arrives and tells Tom that he’s got a big choice to make, but she’s going to leave him alone with his thoughts (“Wales…Elvis…tanning…women…Wales…”) for a little while so she can talk to the others first. Danny was impressed with them both, but considering the two different styles of singing, he would “tip with LB”. And thus a million (okay, maybe six) fanfics were spawned. William and his

That's dope

glasses that he imported from the titles of The Two Ronnies thought it had the air of a wrestling match at times. I don’t know a lot about wrestling so I’ll defer to Chris’s superior knowledge on this matter, but I would’ve thought wrestling might pay a bit more thought into pairing up people of relatively similar builds. I’m just saying. William thinks LB had the range and ALL THE HITS MY DARLING ALL THE HITS, so he would go with LB. Jessie welcomes us all to The Voice and Tom is so on board with that.

*twitch*

Except I think he just tried to wink and it made his big toe fall off. NURSE! Jessie thinks the energy was great from both guys, but it’s LB for her as well, please and thank you. Time for Tom to make a decision, and he’s going with his gut.

Victory: Jamie!

Seriously, never underestimate the importance of being really, really loud.

Jamie is utterly overcome at having been chosen by the one coach whose opinion actually matters in this instance, and apologises to LB for getting through ahead of him. LB just tells Jamie he needs to win now after that. Meanwhile, Jessie J would like to register her distaste at this turn of events.

Bzuh

Still, all is not lost yet, because we still have the Steal in play, and all the other coaches liked LB best, so someone else can just steal him now, right? Holly prompts LB that he now needs to plead his case to the coaches as to why they should steal him. Oh good, more talking.

Nerves of steal

LB decides not to do that, however, and just thanks them for all their support in the manner of someone who’s just been booted. So, who’s going to steal LB?

*tumbleweed*

Nobody, apparently. This whole Steal business feels like a crock of shit already, doesn’t it? Especially since a show that prides itself on being so kind and nurturing is now going to make 20 of the Battle Round contestants have to get rejected TWICE before it’ll let them go home with what’s left of their dignity.

Jessie wants to reiterate that she’s shocked and disappointed in Tom’s decision (GOOD LUCK JAMIE!) and she just wants LB to know he was REALLY GOOD.

I tire of these fools. Have them executed, William.

LB says that’s enough for him. And they say our kids lack ambition these days! Holly thanks LB for his incredibleness in an ill-chosen camera shot that gives us a lovely reflection of her Autocue.

The writing's on the floor

LB makes his exit and thanks all the judges, and does not make out with Danny O’Donoghue even if the camera angle suggests otherwise.

MWAH

Tom tells us that he realises he just made a controversial decision, but Jamie’s just more his kind of singer. Told you so. Let that be a lesson to you all: if you want to stay on Team Tom, you’d better bring an amplifier.

Time for Battle #2

Matt vs Jordan

as William pits Matt “Brother From Another Mother, And Also Another Father” Henry against Jordan “Brown Note” Lee Davis. Also I know that the findings of last week’s poll were conclusive in disagreeing with me, but I don’t care,

Still WARM FOR DAT FORM

I still find Moni Tivoni aesthetically pleasing. Whatever, haters gon’ hate. Back to the matter in hand, and it turns out Matt and Jordan are equally scared of each other, because Jordan’s worried that all four coaches turned for Matt, while Matt in turn is fearful of Jordan’s impressive range. They’re singing ‘Do I Do’ by Stevie Wonder, which feels like a far better fit for Matt than Jordan, but we’ll see. They go for training with William and Dante, the latter of whom says that charisma and talent are both important.

A knees up round the old Joanna

He doesn’t mention uniqueness or nerve, but I’m sure that was an oversight. Matt admits that he would never normally sing Stevie, because Stevie’s such a legend, and William tuts that he’s putting limitations on himself. In rehearsals, Jordan is whooping all over the place in his upper register, and Matt’s worried that he’s losing ground to the young upstart and needs to re-establish himself. He will be doing this by the use of his smooth moves.

Wheeeeee

Smooth. Hey, wasn’t it nice of Andrea Begley to style tonight’s show, considering she had her own battle to prepare for?

Avert your eyes, children! Don't look directly at them!

Damn. I mean, Matt’s tribute-to-the-lesser-villains-ofJet Set Willy shirt isn’t great, but it is, at least, in the general tradition of the shirts he’s worn on the show so far. Jordan’s suit defies explanation. It looks like he’s being gradually consumed by the Sugababes edition of Where’s Wally? (Known these days as “Where The Hell Is the MKS Album?”)

The performance mostly consists of Jordan making faces like this

FACE
AND FACE
AND FACE
AND FACE

and making attempting to force high notes where they really shouldn’t be, and Matt sliding around like a boss and generally being in control of the performance in a much less manic way. I guess they work together well, though, in that they behave like they respect each other in a way that certain acts yet-to-come (I’m mentioning no names, but I would imagine you can work it out for yourself) do not. At least it’s a fairly evenly-matched game of Shout Tennis. It’s one of those ones that goes from Advantage to Deuce and back again about six times before anyone wins.

More like a 50%-off, AMIRITE

Holly’s verdict: “That was a sing-off, that was a dance-off, that was a taking-everything-off…I nearly did!” I think she might be wise to keep the ad-libbing to a minimum. Jessie thinks they’re both amazing and that William has a tough decision to make. (Lol, if only she knew what’s around the corner.) Tom thinks it was a great battle, and while Matt had more soul, Jordan put up “a hell of a fight”. Danny tells Jordan that his dance moves were “unbelievable” and has a little go at them himself.

RARGH

Ehh, I give that a 5/10 at the most. He just doesn’t look enough like a vengeful pteranodon to have truly captured Jordan’s vibe during that battle.

Eeep!

Not bad, you’re getting there. Again, he thinks it goes to Matt, if that’s any help to William. William is not that fussed, thanks, but would like to praise Matt for doing slides like Tom Cruise in Risky Business but with the added pressure of wearing shoes rather than socks. Decision-time, and things are getting serious, so William takes his glasses off like a reverse Horatio Caine, and awards the victory to…

Suits you, sir

Wait, what?

No, seriously: BZUH?

I hope Jessie is planning to make that face after every result. Especially her own. “But Jessie, you’re the one who just eliminated them—” “I DON’T CARE, IT’S THE WRONG DECISION.”

William’s being crafty, though: he’s saving Jordan because he knows someone else will steal Matt, and that way both his pets get to stay around. He doesn’t care if it means losing Matt, because this show’s about the talent, not about him. Oh, William. I think we all know you don’t really believe that, but credit to you for at least making more of an effort to pretend you believe it than anyone else has done.

Jordan’s in disbelief (“I’ve got so much more to do, I’ve shown nothing so far!”) and then exits while we all wait for the important bit: who’s going to steal Matt?

THEFT!

Jessie and Tom would both like to steal Matt, please. So how are we going to decide who gets him? In the exact same way everything else gets decided on this show: they’re both going to plead their case until he decides who he wants. Ugh, boring boring boring.

So Jessie does “I’ll push you so hard” and Tom does “I won last year” and William’s all “pick Tom!” and the viewing audience is all “screw you, William, you’ve already cast him aside, let him make his own decisions”, and after about a million years

It r be hugz tiem nao

he picks Jessie, which is probably the right decision. Also, Danny laughs like Milhouse Van Houten, which is not really relevant to anything but I noticed it and felt like it needed to be shared. William reiterates that he cares more about singers going through in the competition than he does necessarily about those singers being on his team.

If I wanted to see crying, I would watch Survivor: Caramoan

Out of interest, how much does he care about Matt Henry’s mental health? Because I feel like he was a casualty of William’s brilliant plan there, just a little bit.

Battle #3 now, featuring two contestants from Team One Of Those Inflatable Creatures With Wavy Arms That They Put Outside Used-Car Showrooms For Some Reason:

Danny O'Donogue: full of hot air
Andrea vs Alice

Andrea “The Poor Girl’s Blind, Jessie” Begley vs Alice “That Goth Chick From Hollyoaks Who Might Have Been Real Or Might Have Been Imaginary, I Dunno, I Gave Up Watching Before I Figured It Out” Barlow. Alice’s audition was barely shown, but she appears to have just directly covered Margarita Pracatan’s version of ‘Call Me Maybe’.

So they go and meet with Danny and Dido, and everyone has a good chuckle at the idea of Dido being able to sing.

Dido, Dido, it's off to work we go

Ho ho ho. Danny tells them that the song he’s chosen is ‘People Help The People’ by Birdy. Except not. Andrea notes that Alice is a great performer, but that she might have an edge with this song because it’s quite lyrical. Similarly, Alice mentions that the song is very pure and innocent, and since Andrea is blind and therefore a saint, she might have a fight on her hands here. Dido tells them to plan when to breathe, since that apparently is where the emotion comes from. Alice gets a special one-to-one consultation with Danny where she talks about how she’s not used to being herself, she’s used to putting on a persona, while Danny

The Voice: Special Victims Unit

wonders what the acceptable amount of time is that he needs to leave between eliminating her and trying to tap dat ass. Danny says that Andrea has the upper hand, but if Alice only knew how to tap into her emotions, then that might just sway things in her favour. Gosh, if only she’d previously worked in some kind of career that required a person to be able to portray emotions effectively!

Shocker

Oh, Danny. It’s DEFINITELY too soon for “one in the pink, one in the stink”. Sorry. In studio rehearsals, Alice appears to be upping her game while Andrea frets about not having enough stage presence.

I can't stand the rain against my battle round

I love how they’re all having to pretend it’s not pissing down as they film these. Also, since Alice appears to have been entrusted with guiding Andrea safely to the stage, I wonder how much of that walk she spent considering whether she could stage an accident and still have plausible deniability. To the stage!

Ooh, atmospheric

I didn’t really care much for Andrea’s voice in her audition because it sounded really quavery and unsupported. It sounds better this time, though whether that’s down to the “intensive coaching” or the advantage of having a song that’s SUPPOSED to sound quavery, I couldn’t tell you. Alice, meanwhile, sounds like Diana Vickers singing in Simlish. Seriously, just try to pick actual words out of the noises she’s making. Good luck, because I couldn’t bloody do it. There’s also not much going on visually in this battle either: Andrea doesn’t move around much for obvious reasons, and Alice just kind of shimmies awkwardly within a very small circle, presumably because she figures it wouldn’t look very classy to try and upstage the blind girl with a tightly choreographed dance routine.

Thrilling

So this sort of polite swaying is all the excitement you’re getting, I’m afraid. Enter Reggie.

The sweater the better

William thinks it was beautiful, while Jessie thinks the song was better suited to Andrea, but Alice has so much more to give, etc. Danny then keeps it real by telling us all that WE DON’T EVEN REALISE HOW HARD IT IS FOR ANDREA JUST TO GET TO THE STAGE! We are getting dangerously close to Louis Walsh territory now, Daniel. Be very careful. Danny announces that he’s going to make the decision according to the singer that makes the hairs stand up on the back of his neck.

ANDREA WINS!

LOL OBVIOUS.

Then there’s THE INCREDIBLE LOGISTIC OPERATION OF GETTING ANDREA OFF THE STAGE AGAIN!

Bravo!

So inspirational. Hay you guise, does anyone want to steal Alice?

Nope

That’d be a no, then. I think this is going to be the worst (and by that I mean most deliciously awful) part of this round: having to go through the procedure of putting someone up for the Steal when there’s pretty much zero chance of anyone taking up the offer. It’s schadenfreude at its finest. So Alice goes, and Danny says something patronising about Andrea’s “hard-won wisdom”. Blerg.

Onwards and…if not upwards, then definitely at least sideways on to Battle #4:

Sarah vs Katie

Sarah “third handsomest woman in Scotland, 2008” Cassidy vs Katie “Shit My Grandpa Likes” Benbow. Jessie opens up the “intensive coaching” by explaining that her special advisor Claude Kelly is “Moonhead”, from the intro to ‘Price Tag’.

Why's everybody so serious, actin' so damn mysterious

Pffft. Coconut Man or GTFO.

Katie’s nervous because Sarah’s had a lot of vocal coaching, whereas Katie has not.

Oh no, my LACK OF VOCAL TRAINING!

Fortunately, they’re singing ‘E.T.’ by Katy Perry, and since Katy Perry herself doesn’t bother to sing most of her own songs in tune, surely Katie’s had a stroke of luck? Still, those nagging doubts persist: Katie thinks the song really suits Sarah’s voice. However, Sarah’s voice might not be the problem, because Pea and Moonhead don’t find her emotionally convincing.

I deride the truthfulness of your face!

“I don’t believe your face,” Jessie tells her, which I immediately resolve to adopt as my new insult of choice. This is of course the cue for Sarah to have a little breakdown of her own

*tear*

because it just MEANS SO MUCH TO HER, even if we can’t see any evidence of that behind her unfeeling robot face. Jessie tells us that Sarah vs Katie is the “strong female battle” in her group, and she needs them not to fuck it up, while Sarah witters on about this being her last chance because she’s 31, having confused real life with Logan’s Run like so many other people on reality TV.

Oh, here it go

On stage, Katie tanks the whole thing from minute zero by beginning in a completely different hemisphere from the accepted melody and tempo of this song. I don’t know how much of the utter car-crash that follows is Sarah’s fault: she does not come out of it well either, but it’s quite hard to begin or stay on-pitch when you’re following someone who’s so very, very off, as I learned to my horror during a revue-style ensemble performance of ‘Being Alive’ from Company when I was at university. This performance isn’t so much Shout Tennis as it is Shout Squash: high velocity, unforgiving, and with absolutely no regard for the safety of innocent passers-by who might get caught up in it. They’re so caught up in each trying to outdo the other that neither one appears to have stopped to consider whether the noises they’re making might be pleasant or not. Meanwhile, windows smash, animals yelp and run under the stairs, car alarms are triggered and satellites crash out of orbit as a result of the cacophony. Sarah goes as far as to undo the previous goodwill I held towards her by releasing the sort of ungodly note that was last used in Aztec times to reawaken the dead. And then doing it again about ten second later.

NOM

In other words, they’re both fit to join Ruth-Ann St. Luce in the Jessie J Vocal Coaching Hall Of Fame.

Just when we were all starting to believe that the Westboro Baptist Church might have been right and this was in fact God’s eternal punishment for our fag-enabling ways, the battle ends and

Thank fuck that's over, eh Jess?

Tom looks very relieved. Reggie announces that “there is a ten-year age gap between these two performers”, as if that’s relevant or meaningful in any way, and Tom says rather skeevily that “ten years is nothing to me”, and says that they’re very similar in the way that they sing, presumably in the sense that they’re both utterly dreadful. William thought Sarah’s high note was fresh, and noted the healthy competitive spirit that Katie put up in response. Jessie says that it’s a hard decision, and “if I’m honest, as I always am…”

Honest J's Quality Used Cars

“…I have no idea right now.” Yeah, we got that from the way you made them sing it in the first place, Jessie. Jessie hopes that whoever she doesn’t choose gets stolen because they both deserve to go through (SO MUCH FOR HONESTY), but she has to make a decision, so she votes to keep

Sarah lives!

Sarah. Since there was no option to send them both home, I guess that was the right decision since Sarah was fractionally less awful than Katie, but bloody hell, the real loser in that battle was the viewing public.

Compulsive liar Jessie pleads to the other coaches to steal Katie because she’s “so good”. And there’s some very vocal support for Katie in the audience.

Team Katie!

Support lacking much punctuation, but support nonetheless. Katie is put up for the Steal, and promptly demolishes what little chance she might have had by claiming that cacophonous mess was Jessie’s fault for giving her a song she couldn’t sing. Girl, KATY PERRY can sing that song, and she’s…well, Katy Perry. Don’t be bitter, just be better. Anyway, it turns out that the other coaches do not much care for turncoats, therefore nobody wants to steal Sarah. This show hasn’t put much thought into its visual signifier for “no steal”, because a quick flash of the lights isn’t really something we can capture in a still image. So here’s Katie’s disappointed face instead.

Disappointed Katie is disappointed

Jessie tells Katie to go away (finally, some sense!) and work on herself as an artist (…oh), building up her confidence. Yeah, a lack of confidence, that was definitely her problem. Jessie tells Katie to “keep in touch”, and then places a direct call to her local Register Office to ask how she goes about changing her name to Zelda B Untraceable.

Back to Team William for Battle #5:

Cleo vs Brantano

Cleo “Patra, Comin’ Atcha” Higgins vs Bran “Seriously, We Are So Awful, Just The Very Idea Of Our Presence On This Show Ought To Entitle You To a Licence Fee Rebate” Tano. William says he needs an R&B powerhouse act, but not two of them, so this is why he’s pitting them against each other. Brantano see Cleo as a serious threat, but also recognise her possible weakness. Or at least the think they do, since they analyse it as “four people turned around, but where can you go from there?” I dunno, to victory? I’d say it at least gives her a vastly improved chance of being stolen if she loses, compared to Brantano who nobody else wanted in the first place. Still, they’re smirkily pleased with that conclusion, in the same way that Brantano are smirkily pleased about almost everything they do.

KILL IT WITH FIRE

Ugh, they are just the worst. It quickly becomes apparent that Cleo and Brantano cannot STAND each other, making this a rather tense rehearsal process for all concerned. They’re singing ‘Finally’ by CeCe Peniston; Brantano want to do harmonies over Cleo’s bits and Cleo is all “NO” and William is all “well, it’s a battle, do whatever you think you have to do to win”. Cleo expresses distaste for Kelly’s habit of singing over everything, all the time:

HOLD UP

and Kelly’s all “well, I’m going to be a smug obnoxious bellend on the stage so you’d better get used to it.”

Ugh, hipster humour

Dante declares the whole thing to be “a battle of the egos”, and Cleo states regally that she hoped it would all go rather smoother than it has done, but “‘s girls, innit?”

Judith Butler, we're so sorry

Reality TV really is the greatest obstacle to the feminist movement in modern society, isn’t it?

They go in for their studio rehearsals and William begins to realise his folly (“it sounds like freakin’ pterodactyls coming from a freakin’ volanco – ashes, rocks, lava, WRAGH! WRAGH!”) Cleo attempts to rein Brantano in a bit

Bitch, sing the damn note you're given or I will knock you into next week

and Brantano take that about as well as you’d expect. William says that if your acts insist on singing over each other, you have to listen out for the one who’s restraining themselves. Unless you’re Tom, obviously. Brantano bitch that Cleo thinks she’s won already, and Cleo says that she’s ready to stomp all over anyone who blocks her glorious path to victory.

Don't mess with Cleo

Brantano bitch a bit more that Cleo’s done all this already, while Cleo kvetches that she was in a band that time and this time she wants to prove herself on her own (because obviously Yonah and Zainam were the ones carrying that band). Let’s just get this over with before we all die in the crossfire, shall we?

Needless to say, the performance is one long clusterfuck of each act trying very hard to resist the urge to punch the other in the face:

FACE
AND FACE
AND HAND
COME AT ME BRAH
OH JUST FUCK OFF

Cleo sounds fine, Brantano sound like refried ass, and you know it’s bad when Jessie – who, lest we forget, thought Sarah and Katie were both so amazing that they should both go through – does this:

Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...

Afterwards, Kelly starts up that awful “Brantano! That’s the name!” shit and Cleo rolls her eyes so hard that they fall right out of her head and the show has to halt production temporarily while three runners help her to find them and screw them back in. Brantano attempt a “we’re just having so much fun!” attitude, and Holly asks Cleo how it felt to be up against them. Cleo, in a piece of passive-aggressive behaviour that will be in psychological textbooks in years to come, says that it didn’t feel like she was up against anyone.

SHADE

Ooh, it just got COLD in here. No, hang on a minute, Cleo was just responding to the audience and having fun – that wasn’t a slam on Brantano at all! (Whatevs, it totally was, and I love her for it.) Holly asks Jessie what she made of that performance.

I cannot tell a lie

“Not much”, I’m guessing. Jessie blows a raspberry and declares that she has a headache before performing one of the unreleased tracks from Who You Are. Oh, my mistake: she’s actually doing an impression of Cleo and Brantano oversinging their way through ‘Finally’. Easy mistake to make, could’ve happened to anyone. She thinks they didn’t listen to each other, and they’re all going to walk off the stage with sore throats. Right on cue, Elesha coughs. Danny agrees that Brantano were overdoing it and that Cleo got dragged into it a bit too. William mispronounces Nu-Tarna (<3) and says that they "started the riot" whereas Cleo came out smooth.

*lulz*

I'm Cleo Higgins, and I approve this message. William asserts that Cleo obviously wouldn't have chosen to perform this way if she'd had any say in the matter, but she got drawn into unnecessary roughness by Brantano, so

Cleo wins!

Cleo wins, obviously. Thank god for that.

See? Women can TOTALLY get along once one of them has resoundingly defeated the other

Most of the beef seems to be behind them once the result has been declared. At least, that's the impression that they all want to give. Cleo leaves, and Brantano plead to be stolen, but to no avail. Double-phew.

Time for our final battle of the evening, Battle #6:

Ash vs Adam

Eeeee! I hope this means The Fiancée is back. Jessie describes this as "a battle that could go down in the history of The Voice” while serving up some

Can I interest you in having your colours done, madam?

Avon sales representative realness. Adam says that being paired up with Ash is intimidating because of his vocal chops, while Ash jokes that they all call Adam “the rock goddess”, because he has girly hair. Oh, how the laughter must be unending in Team Jessie. Jessie and Claude are impressed, to the point where they basically have no feedback for either of them. Jessie does, however, want to stage a special confidence intervention for Ash, with a little help from Claude:

Believe in yourself, you little turd

STOP SAYING YOU’RE NOT A GREAT SINGER! YOU ARE A GREAT SINGER!

Right, job done. What’s next? Well, Adam’s being a bit nervy when they get to the studio, so Jessie gets all

Gah! No, the high note is coming!

A Clockwork Orange on him. (You can’t see it here, but she’s forcing him to watch Team Danny’s performance of ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ from last year, on a continuous loop. ‘Tis a cruel and unusual punishment.) Adam tells us that he’ll be picturing The Fiancée (whose name is Stacey, but I think her legend is such at this point that The Fiancée she will remain) when he sings, presumably because he daren’t do anything else.

Speaking of The Fiancée,

FIANCÉE SIGHTING

whee, there she is! And as enthusiastic as ever.

It's a song, apparently

Yeah, I don’t really know this song at all, but it does sound very James Morrison-y. Ash sounds better than he did at his audition, hitting some really sweet notes. Adam puts up an impressive fight, but the rockier affections of his voice don’t quite suit the material as well. Although you know what he does have in his favour?

Should've done something by the Pointer Sisters

THE FIANCÉE.

Fiancée status: overwhelmed

She’s fangirling him so hard, it’s so cute. She’s the new Mrs Jazz, except possibly marginally less fecund. Jessie is making appreciative noises throughout, although I’m not sure about the effectiveness of her yelling

Look at me, I'm Jessie! Pay attention to me!

“FOCUS! FOCUS!” Personally, I tend to find that one thing that will make me lose focus awfully quickly is someone yelling at me to focus, because I start paying attention to the shouting and not the task at hand. Anyway, Ash gets the big showstopping note at the end, to the point where Adam may as well not even be there, and even Adam knows it. So this is a very foregone conclusion, but there might be a Steal in it somewhere, so let’s press on.

Tom explains that they’re very different singers, because Ash is a big Welshman, and “Adam’s got a big, hard…” He doesn’t get to finish that thought, because Danny says “oh yeah!” and Tom loses his train of thought. And frankly I hope I’ve lost Danny’s train of thought as well. Danny thinks Ash is a gifted singer, but Adam’s an incredible singer. Don’t ask me which one of those is supposed to be better. Still, Danny would like us to know that he’s maybe, possibly thinking about stealing whoever Jessie doesn’t choose. Or not. Whatever!

Oh god, what if it wasn't breezy?

He’s breezy! Reggie asks William what he would do right now if he was Jessie. William replies,

IMMA GUT MA HURR DID

“I would do that with my hair”, and then muses on the subject for a little longer and decides that he would choose Ash. Jessie blathers on about how it was like two great singers who’ve already had albums out coming together for a Grammy performance, and reiterates that they are GREAT SINGERS, and when people ask them if they are GREAT SINGERS, they need to say…

Yeah, Ash and Adam, not so much with the picking up of cues. Anyway, it’s time for Jessie to make her decision, and for The Fiancée to have a lot of feelings.

Many fiancée feelings

Ash wins!

Ash wins!

Well, somebody had better come in with a steal before The Fiancée destroys us all.

It's a steal!
I think she might be quite pleased

Phew! Actually, a really nice touch here is how visibly thrilled Ash is about this backstage:

D'awww

Reggie points out that Adam didn’t even have to say anything to trigger those Steals. I approve. At this point in the episode, I am a huge fan of things not being said. Tom and Danny make their cases to Adam, and Adam decides to go with the person whose music he’s listened to the most in the last few years.

Team Tom!

Tom Jones! (Please excuse my uncontrollable mirth at the idea of Tom apparently being more current than Danny, whose main currency for being here is his, well, currency.)

Fiancée status?

INCOMING!

GLOMP.

So here’s a quick recap of the state of everyone’s teams right now:

TEAM TOM
TEAM WILLIAM
TEAM DANNY
TEAM JESSIE

Coming up tomorrow: William doing a little dance. That’s going to be pretty much the main highlight.

THE END. THANK GOD.

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6 thoughts on “The Voice 2 : Episode 7 (Battle Rounds 1)

  1. rodneyandsteptoe

    I think they should decide a tied judge steal with the Sheldon Cooper approved “rock paper scissors lizard spock” – not sure Tom could cope with the original version…

    Reply
  2. Soph (@dexychik)

    I bloody love French The Voice. It goes on for days, and I didn’t have a clue what was going on and had to listen very hard to tell if the Justin Bieber lookalike was a girl or a boy (a girl, it turned out, which would have been enough for her to WIN THIS SHIZZ here), and we never did quite work out who’d been eliminated because everyone looks happy after every announcement. And the judging panel are John Burton Race, Wolf from Gladiators, Peter Stringfellow and Budget Nelly Furtado.
    VIVE LA FRANCE!
    Ahem. It’s better than this bullshit anyway. Some of the eliminations actually made me FEEL ANGRY, which is the first time I’ve felt anything about this programme aside from mild *eh* for some time. Adam looks like all of The Young Ones merged into one.

    Reply
  3. Patrick

    My fav thing in life is reading something filled with cultural references… even though i probably miss half of them when i think about it. love this blog guys.

    Reply

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