The Voice Recap: The Battle Rounds Begin, and I Officially Don’t Understand This Show

I started watching The Voice last season because Vicci Martinez was on it, and so everyone in Tacoma was forced to watch it Clockwork Orange-style. I kept watching because, along the way, I became obsessed with Cee Lo’s T-rex arms. I could seriously watch an entire hour-long show just of him trying to get something down off a tall shelf. Make it happen, NBC, you could probably use some filler before The Biggest Loser extends into a fourth hour.

So even though I’ve been watching The Voice from the beginning, and we are now well into the second season, I still cannot explain how this show works. People are picked based on their voice and put on teams, but then they compete against their teams, and the coaches wear distractingly weird clothing and choose who on their teams keep going and then there’s voting and I think Twitter? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I needed something to write about this week and this gave me the excuse to look at Cee Lo’s odd dimensions.


We begin with a forever long voiceover, where Carson Daly explains the rules and says that for 48 artists, everything is about to change. Forty-eight? Jesus. Between the length of this explanation and the number of artists, someone over at NBC is drastically overestimating the attention span of the American people. When I come out with my ninety second singing competition that’s actually just one long Starbucks commercial, it will kick The Voice‘s ass.

Round 1: Tony vs. Chris

Or for those of us paying minimal attention: Hat vs. jacket

Adam Levine chooses these two hipsters to go against each other. Both try to prove how badly they want this, but also how little they care. Tony lazily suggests that this is where things heat up. Chris shrugs and says he respects Tony “as a dude.” And the hipster battle is on!

Adam brings in a coach to help each person. Hat gets Alanis Morisette, who says weird things to him like “wee lad” and “why is this such a juicy time for you?” which grossed me out for reasons I don’t understand. I sort of get embarrassed whenever Alanis does anything these days, now that I know “You Oughta Know” was about Uncle Joey. The other guy is Robin Thicke, who I’ve never heard of, but who is obviously involved in a side competition with Adam Levine over who can have the taller pompadour.

Battle round!

They sing “Beautiful Day,” where Chris worries that Tony will have the advantage on paper because of his years of experience in The Mickey Mouse Club. O.K., weird advantage to be worried about since you’re both grown ups in a singing competition for adults, but he does turn out to be right because Tony wins. Congratulations, mousekateer, you now have two very unusual claims to fame!

Round 2: Adley vs. RaeLynn

I guess someone realized that in order to keep people straight, everyone was going to need at least one insane accessory.

In case you didn’t realize it, Blake Shelton is a country singer:

Nothing says, "pure country boy" like hosting a reality TV show from a sound stage designed to look like your family farm.

So he perches on a rock, uses the word “firecracker” 700 times and announces that the two blondes will sing “Free Fallin’.” After practicing with their coaches, NBC tries to convince us that they drive themselves to the show in a seamlessly integrated car commercial.

You'd be this happy too if you had a giant hair flower and a Kia.

They butcher “Free Fallin'” pretty epically. RaeLynn’s voice actually causes me physical pain to listen to, but she wins. I suspect it’s because advertisers tested her voice on focus groups and learned that it causes people to unwittingly look at the screen out of concern for whatever animal is being killed. If they start putting up ads for Kia every time she speaks, I’ll know I’m right.

Round 3: Chris vs. Monique

Opera vs. Curls

Nothing really interesting happens here, except that Christina wears a series of increasingly comical hats to distract from her increasingly comical body.

See? Those hats are ridiculous, but as soon as she takes them off, they make sense.

Oh, and I spend basically the entire segment trying to figure out what is going on with that stuffed owl in the background.


Anyway, they sing “Power of Love” which reminds us all that Celine Dion is out there, somewhere, married to a man who must be 100 by now. Opera guy wins. Moving on.

Round 4: Cheesa vs. Angie

Battle of the Back Stories!

Cee Lo chooses Cheesa and Angie to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” This one is tough, because Cheesa grew up really poor, but Angie is in the air force. Who will win, the story that tugs at our heart strings or stokes our patriotism? As always, I choose to root for whoever designed Cee Lo’s space for this competition.

Whoever picked out that dog is the real winner.

The girls sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and it sounds all right. They both sound nervous, but they were probably just trying not to laugh when they saw Christina’s hat. Cheesa wins. Sorry, Air Force.

Round 5: Jordis vs. Brian

Tattoo Lady vs. Creepster Smile that Haunts My Nightmares

It’s back out to Shelton Farm, where Blake chooses two “rockers” to sing “Ironic” by Alanis Morisette and make him do this:

Blake Shelton is America's embarrassing dad.

So they sing Alanis Morisette and it sounds terrible. I miss most of it because it was around this time that my husband and I got into an argument about Susan Boyle, comedy and Seinfeld that, thankfully, lasted through this entire excruciating song. Anyway, Jordis won.

Round 6: Anthony vs. Jesse

The battle of the gospel singers where we learn, once and for all, who Jesus loves more.

They each practice with a coach, one gets Lionel Richie and the other gets Jewel. Seems a little unfair for an R&B song, but no one said The Voice was fair (or logical). They sing “If I Ain’t Got You,” and it’s actually really good. So good, in fact, that people in the front are moved to wave their arms back and forth, moved by their love of the music (but not love of the rhythm).

Stop it, white people! This is why we can't have good music.

Christina says a bunch of nice things, but no one can focus on any of them because of her best hat of the night:

A true artist knows to save the stupidest for last.

Jesse wins. That’s all for this week, and NBC transitions so seamlessly into Smash that I find myself watching Katherine McPhee by accident. Nice try, NBC. All the Angelica Houstons in the world won’t make me care about a Marilyn Monroe musical.

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