“The Voice” Battle Rounds: What’s Taste Got to Do With It?

Six more duets. Twelve chattering contestants. And a squeaky-clean performance of Amy Winehouse‘s dirty “You Know I’m No Good” that was more ironic than Carson Daly‘s deadpan delivery of “This is The Voice.” Who came out on top last night? And who’s forever banished to the cheap seats at Christina Aguilera‘s next concert of monster yodels and barf grunts? Join me, dear!


Pip vs. Nathan Parrett, Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”

If you can look yourself in the mirror and say, “I tolerated a bow-tied adolescent named Pip’s bluesy lounge cover of an Amy Winehouse song today,” then congratulations: You’ve outperformed me. I didn’t want to dig Pip and Nathan’s Biebered down/DeGrawed up rendition of the late Amy’s finest jam, but I can’t say they butchered it. In fact, they left all of the song’s pronouns intact, leaving bouquets of homoeroticism for us to interpret and ponder for decades to come. Pip pipped like the beaming H&M Newsie that he is, and Nathan treated us to his dead-eyed Nico stare and adequate croon. Again: Weirdly not a disaster, for some reason. The final decision came down to whether you preferred Pip’s “carnival barker’s apprentice” getup or Nathan’s “Color Me Badd attempts at a Michael Kors palette” suit. At least a carnival barker’s apprentice has pizazz!

Pip: B, Nathan: B-

Overall: B


Erin Martin vs. The Shields Brothers, Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

I can’t believe I found myself rooting for The Shields Brothers, the boisterously cheesy “rock” duo who trotted out a Billy Idol song some weeks ago, but did I have any choice? Is Erin Martin not the most entitled, self-impressed, and TOTALLY CONTRIVED vocalist still in the competition? Serious question: WHO CAN TOLERATE HER FANCY FEAST GROWL? She sounds like Eartha Kitt trying to survive an electrical fire. I can forgive the Shields Brothers for resembling a duo of school bullies from Saved By the Bell because their harmonies worked; I can’t even look at Cee-Lo for choosing Erin as the winner. God! I’m too proud a Mary for this nonsense. (But props to Ne-Yo, a great guest mentor, for calling out Erin’s lackluster emoting.)

Erin: D-, The Shields Brothers, C+

Overall: C


Ashley vs. Jonathas, Jordin Sparks’ “No Air”

Sparks doppelganger Ashley and the competent Jonathas were well-matched to “No Air’s” inhaler-needy melodrama, and as usual, the verdict came down to visuals: Jonathas twirled the grinning Ashley with a bit of flair, but he can’t erase the sight of his clumsy, bare-armed outfit. Pop stars need to bare their arms like gangstas, not school bullies on Saved by the Bell. (This metaphor is becoming a troubling Voice motif.) Ashley’s instincts were ultimately smoother, and while she probably won’t advance far, she’s good enough to move on. Christina Aguilera, I begrudgingly agree with you and your decision. Let’s keep this off the record.

Ashley: B, Jonathas: B-

Overall: B-


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