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Reality Fix: The Voice “Battles: Round 1” 

Vicci Martinez. Photo Credit: NBC
Niki Dawson. Photo Credit: NBC

OK, the battles have begun and damn if Tuesday’s first round wasn’t one of the most entertaining hours of Reality TV I’ve seen in a long, long time. Some thoughts:
I like the format of this first round. Each mentor picks two singers to go one-on-one for a duet. This is like Rocky vs. Apollo Creed; it’s like they’re entering the Thunderdome and the best singer prevails. The drama is just so good. The winner gets immediate entry to the live round when it’s America that determines whether or not they’re “The Voice.” The first four duets are exciting, nerve-racking and just completely entertaining on all levels. Seriously, I’m all like “Idol, who?” right about now.

Battle 1: Tarralyn vs. Frenchie
Song: Beyonce “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)”
Judgment: Frenchie wins
Thoughts: I was kind of torn. I think Tarralyn had the very slight edge voice-wise; but Frenchie had the voice AND the presence. I just kept getting drawn to looking her way. So as far as overall performance, I give the edge to her. Now, this show is called “The Voice.” Is it fair to judge the whole package or should we simply be focused on their voices? I don’t know…

Battle 2: Patrick vs. Tyler
Song: Elvis “Burning Love”
Judgment: Patrick wins
Thoughts: Patrick was good, don’t get me wrong. But there’s no way he should have moved forward. Tyler had it all going on. He was unbelievable. He had Patrick beat but good. I don’t think Blake wanted the strongest singer. I think he wanted a strong country singer. Tyler should be singing for his life in the live round. I’m really upset about this decision.

Battle 3: Tim vs. Casey
Song: Stevie Nicks and Don Henley “Leather and Lace”
Judgment: Casey wins
Thoughts: First of all, “Leather and Lace” is one of my all-time favorite duets. Seriously. And both Tim and Casey did a good job, however, I feel theirs is probably the weakest duet of the evening which upsets me because I’m totally Team Adam. Having said that, I would have picked Casey as well. Tim was good but for an 18-year-old girl, I can’t believe how Stevie-esque Casey was. And I don’t think it was a karaoke-Stevie that she did. I think she felt the song; and she was strong. However, if I put her up against any of the other contestants that did battle in this episode, I don’t think her performance would have held up.

Battle 4: Vicci vs. Niki
Song: Pink “Perfect”
Judgment: Vicci wins
Thoughts: This was by far the best duet of the night. Vicci and Niki were both amazing. I’m glad I wasn’t coach Cee Lo Green because this was the toughest decision. The song was beautiful; the girls were beautiful; they both brought so much intensity and heart and soul to this performance. This is the duet I hit rewind on. I go by how re-watchable a performance is and this one is highly re-watchable. And it’s highly download-able. I want to download this performance sooner rather than later. I can’t argue with Cee Lo picking Vicci because she was off-the-charts awesome. My friend says she had a little more grit than Niki and that’s true. Although, I’m super happy Cee Lo told Niki to call him when they hugged because like coach Blake Shelton said, it was a big mistake pitting these two against each other. However, it’s these heavyweight pairings that make for great television and that duet was great television. Wow. I’m still in awe of those two rock star singers.

I also enjoy the fact the coaches get to have another trusted friend and music expert by their side so they don’t have to have the weight of the world rest on their shoulders alone. It’s kind of awkward that during the actual battle they’re sitting right by the judges’ sides, but I’ll allow it. And I’m still annoyed with the cutting away to the families watching them backstage. Other than that, I’m hooked on The Voice for the long haul.

And heads up: according to TVGuide.com, The Voice will go back to two-hour installments starting Tuesday, June 7. I assume that’s when the live portion of the show begins. The Battle rounds run through May 31.

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