Tonight on The Voice we say so long Blind Auditions and hello Battle Rounds! It’s taken nine episodes to get through the often tedious chair-spinning portion of the show, but now the pressure is on and we’ll finally get to see which contenders can handle the fire and which ones will whither grotesquely under its consumptive flame MUUWUHAHAHA. In the battle rounds our eminent judges – Delta, Seal, Ricky and Joel – get busy pitting team members against each other in a sudden death sing-off.
The show starts at 7pm on Channel Nine, joins us (and by us I mean me because I’m entirely alone right now) then!
7:08pm: Can’t wait to see the judges wearing new outfits tonight. Sad.
7:09pm: First up, the judges are performing! Ricky Martin emerges into the irony-absent BOXING RING in an undone white shirt and black trousers with white speed stripes. This is GOOD. They are singing “Uprising” by Muse. How apt. Because UPRISING talent, right?
7:10pm: Seal is wearing white leather FINALLY and appears to have painted nails. I’ll confirm once he stops sweating it out next to Delta in short black shorts. Joel always looks ridiculous so the fact he’s wearing a sleeveless white hoodie is no biggie.
7:14pm: First to go head to head this evening is a pairing from Team Delta: the folk child Celia with the home school-length hair and country and western cowgirl Anna who impressed all the judges in the Blind Auditions (so said Darren McMullen in his voice over just now).
7:15pm: Tonight also hails our introduction to the judges ‘mentors’ – the pros who’ll be assisting the judges do whatever it is they do. Mentoring on Team Delta is Ryan Tedder, the guy from OneRepublic.
7:22pm: The judges have returned from their performance. Seal is in draped drop-crotch trousers. Delta is bathed in gold plastic. Just FYI. Now to the Battle!
7:24pm: I don’t know if Delta’s made a great choice pitting Anna and Celia against each other because they both sound REALLY pretty singing this song I’ve never heard of (it’s called “A Thousand Years”, so you can explain more in the comment section if you take issue with me ignoring this detail). Surely Deltron wouldn’t want to lose either of these gals?
7:26pm: That wasn’t really a battle per se, more like a lovely duet. Ultimately Delta chooses Celia as the winner. Farewell sweet Anna. I liked your bolo ties.
7:31pm: Next up for battle is Team Joel prospects, Icehouse keyboardist (snicker) with vertical hair Michael and rock chick with arm in sling Louise, who’ll be singing Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”. During the rehearsal session, both singers get some invaluable advice from mentor and exhaler of pure zen Ben Lee who is sporting a grizzly beard. Shout out to Ben Lee’s beard.
7:37pm: Wow, so all I am getting from this performance is how upsetting metal-informed reinterpretations of Justin Bieber are. Both Michael and Louise are really giving it their all, just like the grunting guitars that are accompanying them. Delta says she is “completely and utterly obsessed with Michael Paynter’s voice” and gives him a shout out when the judges get a chance to throw feedback at these two. Ricky thinks Louise was giving 66% and Michael was only giving 70%. Fire them both, I say. Seal was entranced by Louise and preferred her performance. Joel agrees with Ricky – he thinks neither singer turned it out properly, but ultimately he chooses Michael, something that anyone who is familiar with Joel’s preference for good looks would have picked a mile away.
7:44pm: Delta‘s “gentle giants”, 45 year old Michael who has survived a brain tumour and Rob are up for battle next singing “Have A Little Faith In Me”, the only version of which I’m familiar is Joe Cocker’s. Ryan Tedder (who, I should mention, has an uncommonly soothing speaking voice) tells them “it’s all about the goosebump moment you guys”. I’ve got to admit my favourite pieces of mentoring are the totally intangible, conceptually abstract ones.
7:52pm: Ooh. It was a very strategic performance from both these guys. They started with the energy quite contained and crescendoed into that yelling attempt at Joe Cocker I was hoping for. Even though Michael had cancer and my cancer-free guilt makes me feel I should root for him, Rob is definitely the better looking performer. Kidding you guys! He sounds a bit better.
7:59pm: Delta picks Rob as the battle winner, but the other three judges pipe up on a new concept for The Voice called ‘The Save’. This means Michael can choose to join Team Ricky, Seal or Joel. He opts for Team Joel and his wife weeps with joy. Ugh, I’m close to sympathy-weeping with joy myself.
8:06pm: A pair from Team Seal will be facing off next: Sky Elizabeth and Alex Gibson singing Adele. Mentor Connie Mitchell (Sneaky Sound System’s screamer) joins the crew at rehearsals to talk shit. Seal mostly talks about sexy things. Sexy girls, sexy eyes, sexy eye contact. Does he realise how hard it is to be sexy when someone asks you to, if you aren’t a cranially-gifted black man named Seal?
8:10pm: Guys, giving a pair of amateurs a song like “Skyfall” to sing seems cruel, frankly. Such is the wicked ways of Seal, I suppose. When it’s time for the judges feedback, Joel, Delta and Ricky all preferred Alex’s vibe and Seal agrees. “There’s just something that happens when you open your mouth…” he says of Alex’s “tone”, something that has become a go-to compliment zone for our old buddy Seal. On the whole I feel that all the judges have been too quick to concoct fake flattery for one contestant in lieu of offering actual constructive criticism.
8:21pm: Next up is Caterina Torres and Katie Reeve from Team Ricky who will be singing a P!nk song. They receive a little input from the husky voice of Jessica Mauboy who has been there, done that when it comes to televised singing contests.
8:25pm: Both give strong vocals but Caterina easily edges out Katie in the end and all the judges agree that Caterina Torres is a hot contender. When she and Ricky embrace after the adjudication they murmur things in Spanish to each other. I feel extremely left out.
8:34pm: Family man pastor-of-unknown-religious-denomination Tim and babyface stutterer Harrison are battling it out next for Team Seal. They’re singing “You Raise Me Up” previously performed by Westlife, Josh Groban and every third baritone dude singing on television. Goddamn I hate this song.
8:43pm: Despite the fact this song gives me shingles-like symptoms, these two are doing a solid job. For me Tim has the better voice. It’s really clear and perfectly in pitch, compared to Harrison who has the Kermit the Frog tones of a young Eddie Redmayne in cinema’s Les Miserables (AKA Eddie Redmaybe right now).
8:46pm: Naturally, all the judges prefer Kermit – because what do I know? I’m just an uncredited armchair critic with a platform through which I can share my inexpert opinion with many? Poor Tim, who’s only mistake is being too competent at speaking.
8:50pm: That’s it for another night. From one armchair critic to another, let me know your thoughts, feelings, comments and concerns on the outcome of tonight’s episode. Otherwise, I’ll be back on Sunday night for the next installment of Battle Rounds. Night all.