Network: NBC, airs Monday nights
Original Telecast: March 6, 2012

If you want to see why AMERICAN IDOL appears to be losing its mojo, you only have to tune into a few minutes of the battle rounds for THE VOICE in the appropriately titled “The Battles Begin.”

Here, 48 contestants are paired up by each of the four coaches where they duke it out in a boxing ring-esque box on stage – dueling with their opponent to one-up the other person and also keep up with them during the harmonies of each particular song.

The Battle Rounds look like they’ll take up the next three weeks, and the first match-ups were pretty impressive. Yes, many of the contestants had previous recording contracts or have some level experience (not all, but some), but that’s what makes this much more exciting – these people have chops and they blow many of the IDOL wannabes out of the water.

Plus, THE VOICE is entertaining because the coaches are entertaining. I find myself fast-forwarding through the nonsense Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler say on IDOL, yet it’s always fun to hear what Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green have to say.

The Match-Ups This Week are …

Team Adam
Tony Lucca and Chris Cauley
Song: “Beautiful Day” by U2
The AX Critique: Both of these guys can sing. This one is a tough call. They nail the song and both bring different emotions to the mix. However, Lucca ekes out by a hair.
Winner: Tony Lucca

Team Blake
Adley Stump and RaeLynn
Song: “Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty
The AX Critique: Wow. Two really dynamic singers. Adley is clearly the stand-out here though. She’s got poise and confidence and someone who could go really far in the competition. RaeLynn is sweet and has a nice tone in her voice, but she’s really green. She’s good, but Stump is the one to go with.
Winner: RaeLynn. Clearly, Shelton saw his wife Miranda Lambert in RaeLynn (as they said multiple times), though this might have been a big mistake.

Team Christina
Chris Mann and Monique Benabou
Song: “The Power of Love” by Celine Dion
The AX Critique: Two completely different types of performers. Mann is classically trained and Benabou is a Diva. Both give it their all, but Mann is the hands down winner. Bringing his classic training to a pop song makes him stand-out in the competition
Winner: Chris Mann

Team Cee Lo
Cheesa and Angie Johnson
Song: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
The AX Critique: A big song, with big voices as the annoying Cheesa goes against military girl Johnson. They both give it their all, but Cheesa is clearly out of her element even though she hits a few impressive high notes. Johnson has the poise and control throughout. I give it to Johnson.
Winner: Cheesa, though this was another mistake this evening. Not sure what Cee Lo was thinking, because there’s no way Cheesa will make it past the next round. Johnson could have gone a long way.

Team Blake
Brian Fuente and Jordis Unga
Song: “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette
The AX Critique: Another interesting pairing. Both kind of flail during the song, with Fuente winning by an edge. Incidentally, Unga previously was on another Mark Burnett produced music show ROCK STAR: INXS.
Winner: Jordis Unga.

Team Christina
Anthony Evans and Jesse Campbell
Song: “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.
The AX Critique: These soul singers nail the song. Honestly, who do you pick here? It’s more preference. Either one of them is a welcome addition to Christina’s team and this is a great performance to close out the night.
Winner: Jesse Campbell

THE VOICE once again provides an enjoyable two hours of great performances, excellent (and atypical song choices) and many performers who should still be in the competition, but sadly had to go due to elimination. How often can you say that about IDOL?


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ArticleTV Review: THE VOICE – Season 2 – “The Battles Begin”


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