A second night of Battle Rounds took place on The Voice Season 14 Tuesday — and unlike Monday’s episode, these Battles were all pretty even matched. But Tuesday’s most epic showdown wasn’t onstage, but on the sidelines, as Kelly Clarkson and Adam Levine attempted to steal 17-year-old Team Alicia diva Jordyn Simone.
When Jordyn belted En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go (Love)” up against 22-year-old Kelsea Johnson, I assumed at first that she was some also-ran with no chance. After all, Jordyn’s Blind Audition wasn’t even shown in full, while Kelsea’s audition was one of my favorites of the season. But … I ASSUMED WRONG. While there was more of a natural grace and ease, and a lack of desperation, to Kelsea’s husky performance — an advantage of her being older and more seasoned — Jordyn was shockingly mature for a high schooler, and she held her own.
Fortunately, host Carson Daly had already spoiled that this Battle would end in a double-Steal, so I knew The Voice would not have to “let go” of either of these dynamite young women. But what was it gonna be? Things got interesting when Adam and Kelly went head to head.
“I pressed my button [to steal] you before anybody else had — namely Kelly Clarkson,” gloated Adam. Kelly then pointed out that Adam hadn’t even turned for Jordyn in the Blind Auditions. Then Adam retorted that Kelly had not turned either. Then Blake Shelton started randomly singing a Billy Idol song, to make fun of Adam’s newly peroxided ’do. This was all good TV. I was rebel-yelling at my screen. (Side note: Billy Idol was awesome dueting with Chloe Kohanski on last season’s finale. Can he be a Key Adviser someday?)
It looked like Kelly had the edge, but Jordyn ultimately went with Adam, the one coach who’d declared her the winner of this Battle. Either that, or she’s a big Billy Idol fan. Regardless, I was glad to see Jordyn back in the game, and still en vogue.
These were the other pairings of the night:
TEAM KELLY: Amber Sawyer vs. Jorge Eduardo, “Starving”
This first Tuesday Battle was a rather low-key way to start the show; Hailee Steinfeld’s easy-breezy ditty didn’t allow for many breakout vocal moments, and with Jorge strumming an acoustic guitar, there was a laid-back, “More Than Words” vibe here. Not quite the right song choice for the contestants Kelly called her “two most-passionate ones.” But I thought Amber — who, unencumbered by an instrument, was freer to work the stage — brought more performance-wise, as well as vocally. She was vampy and vivacious and seemed to be having a ton of fun. That said, Jorge was more credible and cheesy than he had been during his audition, and his suggestion to add some Spanglish to the tune was a smart move. In the end, it came down to which contestant made Kelly more “curious about what will happen next.” And that contestant was Jorge. Fair enough, but I was sad to see a diva as gifted as Amber leave the competition so soon.
WINNER: Jorge Eduardo
TEAM ADAM: Davison vs. Reid Umstattd, “Love on the Brain”
This was a much more high-energy Battle, an intense vocal workout that suited both very different but soulful dynamos. I would’ve thought Rihanna’s sultry ballad would be a better fit for Davison, but the moment Reid sang the opening line, it was clear he hadn’t come to play. Still, while both Davison and Reid were passionate technically spectacular, Davison brought more contemporary flair and charisma to the ring. Kudos to Reid for putting up a good fight in what I’d wrongly assumed would be a total TKO — but I was dismayed when Adam actually picked Reid. I didn’t even hear Carson say, “Davison is available to steal,” so I am just going to assume that was why no one tried. What a shame.
TEAM BLAKE: Bransen Ireland vs. Jaron Strom, “Head Over Boots”
TEAM ALICIA: Johnny Bliss vs. Megan Lee, “Versace on the Floor”
TEAM KELLY: Jamella vs. Teana Boston, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”
I suspected, with the show being only an hour long tonight, that there’d be a dreaded montage. But we had three! I felt sorry for poor Megan, whose audition had also been montaged; the girl spent weeks on this show and ended up with about 17 seconds of screen time, And during about 11 of those seconds, she was upstaged by Johnny’s antics.
Jamella was also a montage victim during the Blinds, but at least she won her Battle over not-ready-for-prime-time teen Teana. So maybe in the Knockout Rounds, we’ll finally get to hear her sing more than five words.
As for Jaron, his audition was shown … and it was terrible. So I don’t know why Blake went with Jaron over much-less-annoying country crooner Bransen, who seemed a better fit for that Jon Pardi track. Maybe when we see what Jaron can do in the Knockouts, it’ll all make sense.
WINNERS: Jaron, Johnny, Jamella
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