The Voice 2: Episode 9 (Battle Rounds 3) [Part 1]

It’s back, and better longer than ever!

[A quick bit of housekeeping before we begin: due to the fact that this episode is, essentially, two hour-and-a-bit long episodes coupled together with all the skill and care of Dr Josef Heiter, we’ll be treating it as two episodes for recapping purposes, so I (Steve) will be taking the first six battles, and Chris will recap the final six. (The other reason we’re doing it this way is because this episode is so long and so awful that if either of us had to do it singlehanded we’d probably have some sort of nervous collapse.)]

Two weeks ago, before Sweden and the European Broadcasting Union showed us how entertaining a singing contest can actually be, we had some battles. Remember them?

Cleopatra, comin' atchaFACE
Somebody wins!
Time to say goodbye

Yeah, you do. Well, tonight we’ve got two more rounds (/episodes) to endure, and also Danny’s going to appear in one of those weird softcore horror movies directed by David DeCouteau.

Danny O'Donoghue in: Sexy Blueface Puppets!

Not to be outdone, Holly’s making an appearance in Caramel Bukkake 4: Sweet Nothings.

Thank Crunchie it's Holly!

(Yes, I’m 39 seconds in and I’m already reduced to making porn jokes. It’s a portent of things to come. EYETHANGYEW.) We’re reminded that there’s a place in the Knockout Round at stake (I might feel slightly more invested if I had any idea what a Knockout Round was and how it differs from a Battle Round), and that two of the Steals are still in play. Yes, thank goodness that dynamic and exciting mechanic is still going to be a feature of this show. I was worried it was going to be awkward or something. Also, this show’s general clumsiness with spoilers continues unabated as the montage shows us Moni Tivoni getting through, even though we haven’t seen his battle yet. Thanks, editors!

Anyway, let’s get on with

Super! Battle! Saturday!

Just to give you an impression of the general last-minute-bolt-on feel of this episode, we open with Holly welcoming us to Super Battle Saturday entirely through the medium of voiceover as we look at lots of shots of grinning goons in the audience. In other words, this is not initially how they planned for the episode to start, but they had to add some navigation in post-production.

Once those pesky time-specific issues have been dealt with, we’re allowed to see Holly and Reggie’s faces

Hi! We were just over there, mumbling in a sound booth!

as they invite the coaches to take their seats.

Go on, giz a look

His eyes are up HERE, Jessie. God. Right, let’s get on with Battle #1, then.

Ricardo vs Mitchel!

I remember literally nothing about Ricardo. Apparently he was one of those people who got shown briefly in that Tom vs Danny compilation back in episode five. To be fair, I only really remember Mitchel because I spent the aftermath of his audition compiling a list of hair volumising treatments he should consider. Anyway, Ricardo is a “West End veteran” so we all know how this is going to end, but all of us (me included) are contractually bound to go through the motions of the battle itself. Danny has selected ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ by Jet, which in no way favours one particular act here.

LOL SORRY BOUT IT
Well, we'll just see about THAT, won't we?

We get a quick reminder that Danny’s battle advisor is Dido, who amongst other things claims that the performance needs “a bit of an edge”. This from the woman who has released an album called Safe Trip Home. It’s like being lectured on subtlety by Katy Perry, or having Melanie Phillips extol the virtues of a balanced and rational argument. Danny tells them that what he needs in this battle is “just two bucks going at it”. While he watches, and maybe sticks his hand down his pants. Look, whatever happens, JUST DON’T STOP UNTIL I SAY SO, OKAY?

Mitchel comes out of the gate screaming, and Ricardo is genre-savvy enough to know that his only chance of survival is to match Mitchel decibel for decibel.

Are you gonna be my GIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRLLLL, yeah?

Danny and Dido (Dando? Dinny?) think the crowd is going to go wild. At studio rehearsals, Danny screams “NHB, baby! No holding back!” As tragic as this is, I at least respect the show for not flashing up a caption trying to get “#NHB” trending on Twitter. Anyway, Ricardo and Mitchel go at it full-pelt

Not pictured: holding back

though Ricardo laments that Mitchel keeps whipping his hair back and forth, which Ricardo daren’t risk for fear of pulling a muscle in his neck. And also because it looks kind of daft when you’ve got a buzzcut. Danny throws some more uniquely The Voice-style shade about how Ricardo has been “acting his whole life” and he wants to see him being Ricardo now.

Stupid actors coming on my singing show to do their actory things

I can certainly see how putting on an act would be anathema to terminal try-hard Danny O’Donoghue. Mitchel joins in this pile-on by saying that while Ricardo has “passion”, he doesn’t have “the genuine feel for what this song’s all about’. Dude, it’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ I don’t think we need to worry about anyone failing to pick up on the lyrical subtleties of the piece. Anyway, after a bit more “actors, ugh” unpleasantness, we get down to the main event. Mitchel and Ricardo trot into the arena, while Danny still hasn’t quite learned how to mask that visage of gormlessness.

DERP

I don’t think you really need me to tell you how this battle goes, given the song. SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM.

Meanwhile, Mitchel delivers on the promise that he’s going to really LIVE the song and not act the way you might think a rock singer would act by…thrashing his hair around a lot and doing the splits in mid-air.

Yes, your hair is very long, but have you got LASER HANDS, eh?

Ricardo puts up a good fight, but he might as well have phoned in sick for all the chance he has of advancing to the next round.

He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy.

Jessie tells Mitchel that she’s annoyed because she’s just spent hours on her hair, only to ruin it by throwing it all around during that song. Oh, so THAT’s why she shaved her head. And here we all were thinking she was being charitable. Jessie wants us to know that she believed Mitchel, whereas Ricardo’s effort was “like a stage performance”. Perhaps that had something to do with him performing it on a stage? Still, boo! Stages! Down with stages! Tom thinks they have very different approaches: Ricardo is “lighter in his higher register”, while Mitchel is “full-on all the time”. William is the only coach not to attempt to shade Ricardo for being an actor, and says it felt like there were two rock stars up there. He even goes as far as to say he would choose Ricardo’s seasonedness over Mitchel.

Danny thinks the decision is so much tougher than he expected it to be (LOL WHATEVER) but he’s going to decide based on who he think he can give the most guidance to.

Mitchel wins!

It’s predictable as hell, but just about worth it for William’s reaction.

AW HAYLL NAH

So, with the formalities dispensed with, would William (the only non-Danny coach yet to use his steal) like to pinch Ricardo for his team?

Nerves of steal

Ricardo opens his mouth to pitch his case, and Danny interrupts all “HE DOESN’T NEED TO TALK! HE MADE HIS CASE RIGHT THERE!” because he’s exactly that kind of asshole. Fortunately Ricardo proceeds anyway, and his argument is “this is what I do, and if it seems stagey, it’s because that too is what I do, SORRY BOUT IT.” Let’s see how that plays with the crowd.

*Family Fortunes klaxon*

Nope, no steal. But if you ask wardrobe nicely, they might let you keep that kickass leather jacket, and then you can cosplay as Travis Touchdown. So really there are no losers here. Ricardo steps down from the stage, and Jessie runs over to him to be all

Tidings of comfort and J

“NO BUT WHEN I SAID STAGEY WHAT I MEANT WAS YOU WERE JUST UP AGAINST SOMEONE REALLY AUTHENTIC! THAT’S ALL I MEANT! YOU’RE GREAT AND STAGEYNESS IS YOUR THING!” I think Jessie is one of those people who probably shouldn’t try to make people feel better. Ricardo leaves, and Jessie goes back to her seat all “OMGSOAWKWARD” as though that situation wasn’t entirely of her own making, and William has a little kvetch about how Ricardo was totally better, but Danny’s in a “rock” band and wants to do “rock”.

'Rock'

It’s the air quotes that make it art. Now over to Team Tom for Battle #2.

Mike vs Emma Jade

Just in case you need reminding, Mike’s the one who likes to hang around near situationally-appropriate street signs practising his singing that nobody ever hears

Pay no attention to this highly convenient street sign

and Emma Jade is the genuine authentic country flavour of South Yorkshire.

'Ey up y'all!

Tom explains that he paired Emma and Mike because they’re both a little bit country (although ideally he should’ve paired them individually with someone who’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, surely?). Mike explains that there’s still a bit of difference between them, because his is tinged with rap and pop while Emma Jade assures us that hers is that unadulterated country sound of Doncaster. Tom and his good friend

Hat's entertainment

Hattie Hayridge over here inform Mike and Emma Jade that they’ll be singing ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac. Tom explains to them that it’s a love song

Awwwwwwww

and that they’ll need to summon those authentic lovin’ feelings however they can. Emma Jade interviews that it was awkward at first, but they get on really well, and “it’s just come naturally”. Well, there are medications you can take to delay that. Or so I hear. Anyway, they run through it a few times and Hattie declares that it’s turning into a very potent love song and she’s “sensing some vibes here”.

You can cut the sexual tension with a KNIFE!

OMG SHOWMANCE!

Tom thinks they have great chemistry, and that people are going to think “ooh, those two have got something going on there.”

SEXY SEXINESS

Yes, and that thing is “polite indifference”, as far as I can tell. Tom waffles on about how when the time comes to choose who to take through to the next round, “it’ll be like splitting somebody up”. Good lord, nobody has tried quite so hard to make a showmance that nobody cares about happen since Joe McElderry and Rachel Adedeji, although obviously that one was hilarious for different reasons. Anyway, somehow Mike and Emma Jade manage the red carpet walk without ripping each other’s clothes off

It's fine, I needed a cold shower anyway to get rid of this MASSIVE ERECTION

“Is it raining? I hadn’t noticed.”

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today...

Now, if what you’d like to hear is a soft, bewitching, boy-girl country duet, then I suggest you watch Nashville (More4, Thursdays at 10!) and hope that Scarlett and Gunnar are performing, because you’re not going to get it here. Basically Mike is doing a screaming goat remix of his own performance, which is fascinating in a live art sort of way but not a lot of use in what is still ostensibly a singing contest, while Emma is so intent on maintaining that thoroughly affected country twang that she forgets to sing in tune at all, ever. Their attempts at harmonising are disastrous, even if they do prompt a guy in the audience to do this:

Why, I must dramatically applaud those sexy harmonies!

In short, despite all of Tom and Hattie’s certainty that we would spend the performance marvelling at how well their voices blend and wondering they were shagging, I’m actually wondering if they even met before they walked onto the stage tonight, or if all those shots of them seemingly in the same room for rehearsals were chroma keyed together. It would explain a lot. Also, the direction to have them just stare “lovingly” into each others’ eyes for most of the song is a total misfire because it results in this sort of set-up

'You dancing?' 'Well, as long as I keep an eye on 3C.'

where they act like the only two teachers supervising a Year 6 disco during the inevitable slow dance, and it just means that they’re rooted to the spot the whole time which makes for super-boring television. Still, I am prepared to give Emma Jade a few bonus points for ending it with this face.

SCRUNCHY FACE OF LOVE!

Afterwards, Reggie tries to make some banter happen.

HAY U GUISE LETS TALK ABOUT SEKSUAL TENSHUNS!

“WURRRRRRRRGH! BET YOU WANT TO STICK IT IN HER NOW, DON’T YOU MATE?” Or something to that effect, anyway. It goes about as well as you’d expect. Danny, who has yet to find a room he can’t misread, honks that he “DEFINITELY FELT THE CHEMISTRY!”, and adds that he feels Emma has a believable country voice, but “if I was going to edge anybody, I’d probably edge Mike.”

Oh yeah, Mike, I'd edge you up real nice.

Now THAT is some UST I can believe in. Will puts on his best Tennessee accent and tells Emma that she sounds like a peach. I thought she sounded more like a lemon, personally. Anyway, Will votes for Emma. Tom thinks that he did well pairing them together because they sounded so good, but now he’s made it HARD FOR HIMSELF OH NOES BECAUSE HE HAS TO CHOOSE A WINNER.

WHATEVER SHALL I DO?

HashtagOrangePeopleProblems. Anyway, he does indeed have to choose a winner, and it’s

Mike wins!

Mike.

Mike strides off victoriously without so much as a backward glance, but Emma Jade is going to have the last laugh when she covers all those Taylor Swift songs at her next gig at the Bluebell Café in Rotherham.

I knew you were trouble when you walked in, so shame on me no-o-ow

Yeah, Mike, this time she’s tellin’ you she’s tellin you’ you are NEVER EVER EVER getting back together. Emma is now available for Danny or Will to steal. Any takers?

Steal Mag-NO-lias

Don’t all rush at once or anything. Emma thanks Tom for turning, and tells him she totally doesn’t blame him for picking Mike, but he can probably expect an angry Miranda Lambert cover in his honour at some point in the near future as well. Dolly’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ plays as

GLOMP!

…well, this happens. See, the Conservative backbenchers warned us that if we tried to legalise gay marriage, the polygamous polysexual fivesomes would want official recognition as well, but oh no, we thought we knew better. Well, that’ll teach us to ignore Lord Tebbit. As the very fabric of society disintegrates, Tom tells us that he picked Mike because he’s got something very different about him, and he could completely revolutionise the country music scene in Britain.

The wise words of Mr Jones

I shall look forward to that. In the meantime, we have reached Battle #3.

Letitia vs Alex

Alex is the West End performer that the coaches all arbitrarily decided that they liked, even though his audition was a tuneless crywank of an abomination. And a Chris Brown song, just to really stick the boot in, while Letitia is the hairdresser who made Jessie trip on her own tongue. Jessie doesn’t explain why she’s paired these two together particularly, so I think this might have been an end-of-the-night, pick-names-out-of-a-hat, fuck-it-I-just-want-a-cocktail sort of match-up. Holly reminds us that Jessie’s “loo-tenant” (where was the BBC pronunciation unit when that was happening?) for the battles is Moonhead,

Still no sign of Coconut Man :(

who tells Alex and Letitia that he’s worked with Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera as well as Jessie. He doesn’t bother namedropping Corbin Bleu, David Archuleta or Mr Schu from Glee, for some reason. Speaking of things that we will never fully understand,

Ain't nobody got time for that!

Jessie has decided they should sing ‘Family Affair’ by Mary J Blige. Doesn’t Letitia’s face say it all? Not only is this song not really any sort of vocal showcase, but it is going to require these people to say “crunk”, “hateration” and “dancery” on primetime BBC1. Jessie explains that this song requires you to bring a party to the stage, and you really need to make it

Jessie J's styling courtesy of Pat Butcher

“pow”. Claude admonishes Letitia for approaching the song too mimsily, and Letitia admits she’s got to really give it her all. Meanwhile, Alex interviews that Letitia’s weakness is her lack of experience, and hopefully he can capitalise on that with all of his singeration and his dancery.

*smirk*

It’s odd, because I feel like on any other reality show, he’d be the villain – the cocky, complacent character that the producers would encourage us to root against, either so they could stage a dramatic redemption arc, or so they could use him as fodder to prop up someone dull but likeable as the more heroic alternative. The thing is, this show is so earnest and worthy that it can’t even commit to a good villain edit, so basically Alex just says lots of smug things and it’s presented rather impassively, like the show’s vaguely aware that he sounds like a tosser but they don’t want to get their hands dirty by pointing it out.

They head into the rehearsal space, and Jessie J begins to realise what an ungodly mess she’s inflicting on us all.

*look to camera* *falls over*

It’s no good sitting there and pulling an Ann Perkins face, Jessie, you’re the only one who can sort this out. Jessie interviews that after the first proper rehearsal, it was just an “explosion of mess”. And that’s more the sort of thing you expect to see in one of Danny’s rehearsals. She tells her acts that there’s too much going on, and tells Alex in particular that if his dancing is going to adversely affect his vocals, then he needs to shut it down.

What the FUCK.

Alex interviews, in a manner that suggests he is not a person who takes criticism especially well, that he’ll do whatever it takes to outshine Letitia on the night, even if it means toning down the dancing. Incidentally, it is now chucking it down outside to such an extent that they’ve had to break out the brollies.

Ella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh

Atmospheric! Anyway, the groundwork is laid for another battle of youth vs experience, and off we go. Having told them both to calm the fuck down in rehearsals, Jessie is chanting “PARTAY! PARTAY!”

HALLELUJAH PRAISE THE LORD!

as they walk in. She really is her own worst enemy sometimes, isn’t she? The song begins, and the whole thing’s clearly in too low a key for Letitia, and Alex is oversinging all of his lines. While Letitia struggles to keep up, Alex does more bullshit dancing

MUMMUMMUMMUMLOOKATMEEEEEEEE

and Jessie continues to counteract everything she advised them to do previously.

MORE! MORE! MORE!

However, despite Alex’s headstart, he quickly blows it by insisting on more dancing and pushing his voice up into a falsetto that he can’t support at the same time, while Letitia gradually gathers momentum and favours just wandering around the stage a bit over flashy theatrics. It’s not a great performance from either of them (I actually muted it the first time I watched it because it was that painful), but Letitia just about edges out Alex in terms of not being completely awful at all times.

Danny thinks the song suited Letitia better and Alex’s pitch was better at his audition than it was in this round. It really wasn’t, but thanks for your input, D. William thinks Letitia is “like a queen”, and Alex is a “ball of energy”, but he’s got to focus himself a bit more, because his pitch suffered as a result of the gymnastics. “If you lose, that’s going to be why you lost, because you chose to do the dancins-split-your-pantsins.” Indeed.

Alex hangs his head, and Holly leaps in to ask if he’s just too tough on himself sometimes, because that’s clearly what we learned from the performance we just witnessed.

Just read from this script, love. Start with 'I am humble...'

Alex is no fool (despite appearances to the contrary), so he’s all “YES HOLLY, I AM VERY HARD ON MYSELF, I AM AN ARTIST AND I ONLY LIVE TO GIVE” about it. Jessie leaps in to say that if this was a rehearsal she’d have told Alex he was giving too much and Letitia that she wasn’t giving enough. Yes, except you already told them that in the actual rehearsals, and look where it got you. Still, she is happy that they are learning about themselves as artists. By continuing to fail in the exact same way every time, apparently. Time for Jessie to pick a winner, and she’s honouring her commitment to nurturing the voices in the UK that haven’t had enough exposure in the UK yet.

Letitia wins!

Because that worked out so well for her last year.

Letitia is weepily grateful, and of course this show is not going to let us be rid of insufferable Alex this easily.

Steals! Steals for all!

Yep, for some reason William and Danny are both still totally gay for Alex and would like to steal him, please. William suggests that Alex join his team so he can coach like he coached “Tyler and Jazz”. “What, two people that didn’t win?” smirks Danny, clearly very proud of that little sideswipe even though he hasn’t coached a winning act yet either. William’s all “lol, I’m not promising you a WIN or nuffin, but I can at least promise you the Knockout Round, and then we’ll see.” I admire his honesty and everything, but that’s not much of a sales pitch. Meanwhile, Danny’s pitch is his usual “we’re the same, you and me” meaningless blather, and unsurprisingly after all that

Embrace of awfulness

Alex opts to jump ship to Team Danny, where they can be choads together. It’s as close to a happy ending as we’re likely to get, I suppose.

Joseph vs Diva

Battle #4 now. Diva are the last group standing, and they work the club circuit up north in case you’ve forgotten (although let’s be honest, the minute you see a tiny glimpse of their audition, you can tell), while Joseph, Reggie reminds us, is a shy guy. Only him can make us irie irie irie. Tom tells us that this is the most unusual battle because it’s one man battling two women

HO HO HO, am I right lads?

“which is always a tough thing to do”, ho ho ho. The song is ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ by Elton John (although Tom has decided it’s officially by Elton and George Michael, because he’s hip and modern like that). Joseph shrugs that he doesn’t know the song that well, but Diva do: “obviously, because they’re old.”

*crickets chirp*

SHADE. Meanwhile, Dee sniffs that at the tender age of 21, Joseph doesn’t have the experience that they have.

Yeah, TAKE THAT, whippersnapper!

Oh Christ, not youth vs experience AGAIN? Have we not settled this already?

Hattie interviews that it’s “like David versus Goliath”, because Joseph’s really quiet and Diva are loud and overbearing. I’m not sure that’s David v Goliath as much as it is Susan Ma v Zoe Beresford, but I suppose sometimes you have to just go with the more widely known reference even if it isn’t as apt. Point is, the quiet one is going to emerge triumphant.

Indeed, for all the talk of how hard Joseph supposedly has to struggle to take on the mighty Diva,

Beep-beep-beep! Backing up...

this reads so much like Obvious Headline Act And His Two Enthusiastic Back-Up Singers. Sure, Diva get to start the performance off, but Joseph gets the important lines and the majority of the focus, and every time they try to outshine him, he comes back twice as hard. Well, twice as loud, anyway, and that’s the same thing on this show. At the end of it all, Tom’s mopping his eyes, and also Joseph’s speaking voice seems to have got about two octaves deeper since his audition. I know this is Youth v Experience and everything, but I had assumed his voice would’ve already broken some years previously. Danny loved the song choice and the harmonies, William loved Diva and Joseph equally, and Jessie thinks it was technically one of the best vocal battles they’ve seen, and she loves them both.

Tom tells us that he’s made it difficult for himself once again by being such a flawless coach. Nevertheless, he manages to wrestle with this most taxing of decisions.

Joseph wins!

Joseph wins!

Bless the show for trying to maintain the suspense long after Tom’s already said he’s taking through “the most unusual voice”. You can leave all the gaping pauses you like; if there’s one soloist and one duo on the stage, we all know what’s coming. (Actually, the way the battles have gone this year, if there’s one soloist on stage and one duo, we all know what’s coming regardless.)

Diva are up for grabs, and the only coach who can steal them at this point is William. Diva’s pitch is “there’s two of us, so there’s a better chance.” Yes, of elimination.

Steal us if you want. No bother. *shrug*

I mean, come on. Look at their faces. They know that this story does not end with their transferal on to Team William, but the rules of the show dictate that they must dance for our amusement all the same.

Umm, nah

No, but thanks for playing. Diva are dismissed, and wish Joseph good luck for the rest of the competition. They’re not exactly cheerful, but they are sincere about it, which is the next best thing.

Back to Team Danny now for Battle #5.

Abi vs Laura

Laura’s the wedding singer who sang Florence + The Machine, and Abi is the dentist who likes to make everything sound like Kula Shaker. Danny explains that he put them together because he can see them “sharing the same space in the charts”.

They could get a timeshare, I guess.

That’s hardly fair, Danny, there’s enough room at No.45 for everyone. Also, how exactly would these two cannibalise each other’s audience? They have literally nothing in common, apart from the fact that they’re both women. Oh, Danny. He’s chosen to make them sing ‘Heaven’, the worst of all Emeli Sandé songs.

Emeli Sandé? What is this, the bloody Olympics?

Abi, of course, is looking for anywhere she can interject with some “soft Indian singing” and Danny is

I love ragas! I'm a total ragamuffin!

totally down for that. Abi explains to us that a raga is a kind of scale used in Indian classical music, and Danny will proceed to call it a “ragga” for the rest of the episode. Danny insists that he’s been dying to try this out in “general pop music” for a long time, but has presumably refrained on the grounds of not really wanting to get into the whole “cultural appropriation” quagmire. Laura admits that she has no gimmick, so she’ll just have to try to be really good instead. Oh, Laura. So innocent. So doomed.

In rehearsals, Danny tells Laura that she’s sexy. Laura’s reaction is this.

Sexy? No, no, no...

Abi’s reaction, the show would have us believe, is this.

I WILL KILL YOU, YOU SEXY BITCH!

Again, I’d love it if they actually committed to a villain edit here, but they won’t. Far easier just to insert a couple of context-free seconds of someone doing a side-eye and wait for those “OMG SO FULL OF HERSELF!!!” threads on Digital Spy to start themselves. Danny asks Abi to do some sexy dancing on stage, and she admits to being a bit self-conscious about it.

Sexy? Moi?

I guess they just don’t cover this sort of thing in dental school. Abi and Laura head to the stage, and

Deep down in your soul, are you a GLADIATOR?

…hold on, is that the Gladiators logo? Are we going to settle this with a round of Hang Tough against Jet and Lightning? No, they’re just going to sing. Gimmicks aside, they seem pretty evenly matched, actually. They both handle the song well, they’re both reasonably confident, they are both

Come on, they just started playing Mumford and Sons!

prompting Danny to throw some super-awkward only-guy-on-the-dancefloor shapes. But the fact remains, the minute Abi busts the ragas out, Laura gets lost. Sometimes that’s all it comes down to – Abi has a hook and Laura hasn’t, and god knows up against any number of other contestants Laura could probably have taken an easy win, but she just got an unlucky draw here.

Once the performance is over, Holly is forced to interrupt Danny’s game of imaginary beer pong

I am so TRASHED

to ask for his thoughts. Danny calls it a battle of “East meets West” and “two different styles”. Quite how that fits in with “they’d be fighting for the same place in the charts”, I have no idea. I really shouldn’t ask these questions, I suppose – I remember poking logic holes in the plot of an episode of Glee yesterday and frankly you deserve whatever headaches you’ve got coming to you if you start doing that. Tom thinks Abi’s voice is interesting, but Laura’s got the voice he’d actually want to listen to.

All this time, we've come a long long way...

Question: did they get Laura’s outfit from a box marked “Discarded Michelle McManus Wardrobe, Pop Idol 2”? Jessie’s more intrigued with what Abi has to offer, but wants her to be more confident with her vocals. Danny has to pick a winner, and of course

Abi wins!

it’s Abi.

Abi’s shocked at the outcome, and so Holly asks her when she’s going to start believing in herself, dammit? From now on, is the answer. Abi departs, and William is given the option to steal Laura if he wants.

Stealing third

DOES NOT WANT, it seems. Still, she’s had a lovely time, she says. And if this show were called The Lovely Time, I’m sure she’d be in the top six at least. Meanwhile, William explains in a French(?) accent that he’s, y’know, holding on to his steal for the right moment, because this show seems to think that if it doesn’t say “steal” at least once every 30 seconds we’ll forget that particular mechanic even exists.

Another clumsy bit of overdubbing relating to “taking us to the halfway stage” leads us into Battle #6.

Liam vs John

Liam is the guy who did Maxwell’s version of ‘This Woman’s Work’ and instantly earned the enduring hate of the entire internet. Oh, and his nan died, because of course that’s relevant. John, meanwhile, is the fashion stylist with a reasonably pleasing falsetto. To my great relief, we are spared another go of Youth v Experience, and instead we get the slightly more interesting version of Experience v I Done A Fashion. Speaking of which, I realise that I’m probably the last person you’d want to come to for valid opinions on fashion but

I am so WAISTED

Hawaiian shirts and mom jeans? Really? That’s what the cool kids are doing these days? We’re reminded that William’s battle advisor is

Dante you love me baby?

Marie du Santiago from Kenickie, and Liam and John admit that neither of them are particularly familiar with ‘Easy Lover’, their song for the battles. I remember my sister buying that song from a vinyl stall at Folkestone’s Indoor Market. There is not a single part of that sentence that doesn’t make me sound really old, is there? Anyway, it turns out that John may not have been entirely truthful about how much he knows this song, since he clearly knows the melody and the timings

Your move, SUCKA

and quite enjoys watching Liam squirm afterwards. As would we all. After going away to study the song properly however, Liam’s confidence improves

True or falsetto?

even if his falsetto doesn’t.

In his pre-battle montage, Liam confesses that this is a big risk for him, because he stepped away from “the best musical in the world”. That’s Les Misérables, by the way, in case you’re wondering. I know, I wouldn’t have got it from the clues either. Still, I’m not quite as horrified as I was for that brief moment when I thought he was referring to We Will Rock You. Meanwhile, John’s all “Liam’s such a TECHNICAL singer, but somehow I just have this ability inside me”, and yes yes, we all know where this is going, now get on with it.

To be honest, I’m not sure ‘Easy Lover’ does either of them many favours because it makes the limits of Liam’s falsetto painfully apparent and it makes John sound really nasal. Still, if nothing else the aesthetic works in a

Get shirty

lost musical episode of Miami Vice sort of way. Meanwhile, I’m beginning to get the sense that Jessie J is not loving this performance.

SMIZE

I know, I can just read people like that. It’s both a gift and a curse, really. At the end, Jessie announces that it felt flat for her, and it was the wrong song choice.

MY EYES!

Also, if someone could adjust the brightness on John’s shirt for her just a touch, that’d be super. She asks William why he chose that song, and William’s all “I CHOSE THE SONG FOR ME, LADY, NOT FOR YOU!” Danny complains that the key was too high, and Jessie agrees. William replies that the original is in that key. Reggie senses that the audience might be getting bored with all this key-talk and asks Tom for his opinion. Except Tom also says that the key is too high, prompting Jessie to snarl

Yeah, well, so's William's mom!

“but if you listen to the original, Tom, as Will[iam] just said, that’s exactly how you do it – you copy the original!” Ooh, sassy! Tom disagrees that they were copying the original (though I suspect he means they just weren’t as good) and says that Liam felt more natural than John, so he preferred Liam. Meanwhile, Danny wades in all “hey, don’t be so hard on William, even I get it wrong sometimes.” You know what, it’s late, I haven’t even got the energy for that sort of comment. Long story short, Danny votes Liam too. Of course, the ultimate decision is William’s, and

John wins!

LULWUT. I mean, I actually like John far more than I like Liam, but even I’m struggling to parse how that one worked.

Still, this is exactly what the Steal was invented fo—oh. Except the only person with a Steal still in play is William, so Liam is shit out of luck, basically. Aha. Ahahahaha. Oh, this is going to be good.

Tragedy! When the feeling's gone and you can't go on...

“OH MY GOD, AND I HAVE NO STEALS!” (HashtagJessieJProblems.)

NOOOOOOOOOO

DANNY O’DONOGHUE DOES NOT COMPREHEND YOUR REASONING.

I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!

Even John is like “are you absolutely sure you didn’t mean to pick this guy?”

Sheffield steal

Brilliantly, Reggie decides to ladle it on nice and thick, all “well normally this is where would do the steal, and of course if there were any steals left in play then of course the steal would be used on you, but all the other coaches have already used their steals, so there are no steals, so you can’t have a steal. Look, I just want to make it abundantly clear that there are no steals. No steals. Steals. Steal. Steal.” Jessie, meanwhile, is outraged and would like to make her opinions known.

Yes, Jessie, you may go to the toilet, but don't dawdle now

Unfortunately, she still hasn’t quite mastered the art of the bon mot, so she tells Liam that this is basically all his fault for not picking her at the blind auditions when he had the chance, because if he’d done that he “wouldn’t be in this predicament now”. ‘Predicament’. Amazing. She’s also completely confused as to why William didn’t pick Liam to go through to the next round. William argues that it’s not just about the voice (…hang on, which show are we watching again?) and he sees more long-term potential in John as a performer.

So Liam cries

Sob!

but wants to thank William all the same, and anyway, he came here for one reason – FOR HIS DEAD NAN!

O…

…kay then. Jessie leads Liam down from the stage and Tom bellows “I WISH I COULD STEAL YOU BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY STEALS LEFT!” in his face, just in case he didn’t get the message the first 68 times, and after Liam’s gone, Danny would like to express his exasperation

Seriously: WUT

while Jessie would just like to HAVE A FLOUNCE.

RIGHT I'M LEAVIN
KTHXBAI

It’s okay, Jessie, I know how you feel. I have to leave the room when the entire universe doesn’t bend according to my every whim too. Meanwhile we’re treated to lots of passive-aggressive sniffles from Liam about how he “did the best [he] could with the song [he] was given” and how Will OBVIOUSLY KNEW WHO HE WANTED. Lol, cry moar.

Then it’s time for a hastily assembled montage to mark “the halfway point”. Mmm, seamless edit is seamless. Chris is tackling the second half, so for me this is THE END. Hooray!

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7 thoughts on “The Voice 2: Episode 9 (Battle Rounds 3) [Part 1]

  1. rodneyandsteptoe

    Things we remembered through watching The Voice this week:

    Holly isn’t just breasts, she has nice legs too; and

    Hang Tough against Jet AND Lightning? That was EVERY man’s dream…

    Reply
  2. Ferny

    “Danny, who has yet to find a room he can’t misread”. So true.

    And out of all the ‘rejects’ (that’s showbiz!) why o why was it Alex that got two people wanting to steal him?? That battle was the worst of them all! I have a feeling they know more about him than we do

    Reply
  3. Rad

    I was convinced country duet thing was leading to a SHOCK!FRANKENDUO but clearly that’s just too X Factor for this show

    Reply
  4. Kat

    I’m still failing to understand why professional west enders bother with the voice :/. Surely there are better things they can do for/with their careers. And if they had watched last series they’d know it isn’t about the voice and that being pros is a hindrance!

    Reply
  5. Catherine

    Ricardo was so much better than Alex, both in his audition and in the battle round. And yet somehow the UTTER HELLFIRE MESS Alex made of that song got him 2 steal attempts? I can only assume that’s because the judges know they’ll have to sell their eventual team members to the Great British Public and they think Alex will sell better because he’s younger and cuter…which completely contradicts the entire point of the damned show.

    Reply

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