continues the Battle Rounds with this, the third (and penultimate) round. The performances themselves aren't all that outstanding, but this second-to-last go-round does stand out for the moves that the coaches make, particularly when it comes to Steals. With so few Steals occurring so far, The Voice
panel makes an aggressive play for their Steal buttons and forces host Carson Daly to make that nightmarish squeal of "WE'VE GOT A STEEEAAALLLL!" The Battles are winding down, but the competition is heating up.
Kaleb Lee vs. Pryor Baird ("Don't Do Me Like That")
Kaleb and Pryor are close friends and have been roommates (presumably on The Voice), yet the show sort of buries the lede there. Little time is spent on their friendship. The more surprising thing is that not only is Blake pitting two of his country artists against each other, but he's also having them perform a rock song. Pryor is more than up for the challenge, though.
With his audition, Kaleb had one of the more memorable showings, but Blake is totally sacrificing him for Pryor in this Battle. Kaleb does a nice job, but Pryor is, by far, the more polished, interesting and plain fun artist to experience.
Kelly steps in with the surprise opening show Steal and scoops up Kaleb. Kelly's wanted Kaleb from the beginning, and that could be promising for them both. Kaleb isn't much right now, but if Kelly's really that passionate about Kaleb, he could become something special. It's still a very weird choice for a Steal.
Winner: Pryor Baird
Steal: Kelly steals Kaleb Lee
Genesis Diaz vs. Mia Boostrom ("Because of You")
Coach Adam does Genesis no favors here. It starts by putting her up against Mia, who has one of the coolest and most effortless powerhouse voices on the show. The worst is that the pair performs a Kelly Clarkson song -- in front of Kelly. Maybe if it wasn't one of Kelly's most famous songs, it'd be better. But as it is, it takes both artists, but especially Genesis, a long time to get out of their heads. During rehearsals at least, it's constant stress management.
When it comes to the performance, Mia does manage to make Kelly's song her own. Sadly, Genesis, while miles ahead of the average karaoke singer, does feel like she's doing karaoke. Adam knew what he was doing here, and it wasn't trying to protect Genesis.
Winner: Mia Boostrom
Justin Kilgore vs. Molly Stevens ("Burning House")
Shockingly, Kelly doesn't pair these two together because they're both former small-town kids from the South who came out as gay later in life. Well, Kelly claims that isn't why she paired them up, and because Kelly is flawless and wonderful, I believe her implicitly. Even if it's serendipitous, the pairing is rather perfect, especially since Justin's main problem is confidence, within himself and his talents, but Molly is totally established.
Justin is technically the better singer, but Molly has such a presence that this becomes one of the best Battles yet. It is rather odd, considering how thirsty Kelly has been for country artists, that she's put these two up for a Battle. However, the result is a performance that's just so sweet and pleasant. It's a tough choice for Kelly, but she appears to go for potential than who "wins" the showdown.
Winner: Justin Kilgore
Miya Bass vs. Drew Cole ("Knocking on Heaven's Door")
Miya is the one person on Earth who knew who Team Adam mentor Julia Michaels was before The Voice, as she performed Julia's song during the Blind Auditions. Drew is the guy who played a guitar for a dog and it went viral. On paper, it's not a duet that makes any sense. In practice, it still doesn't make much sense. Drew and Miya are obviously singing the same song but approaching it from very different angles (and even arrangements). It's a mess.
The one thing that can be said of the Battle is that Drew complements Miya's voice well. Drew plays it safe, and Miya just goes all out. The times when Miya is singing feel the most cohesive and interesting. Their coach doesn't agree.
Adam makes the most bone-headed of bone-head moves and picks the artist he feels the most personally close to ... leaving Miya to get stolen by Alicia (thank god).
Winner: Drew Cole
Steal: Alicia steals Miya Bass
Jordan Kirkdorffer vs. Wilkes ("Nobody to Blame")
Another Team Blake Battle between two country artists singing a rock song. It's also another clear blow-out. Wilkes is the heavy favorite. Trace Adkins and Blake aren't even trying to hide that they think he has Jordan beat in the rehearsals. Blake says Wilkes is in "his wheelhouse" approximately 5,000 times. In fact, Trace even starts to show that elusive thing called listening to Wilkes sing.
Jordan does try to compete but not enough to triumph. He still looks and feels like a singing accountant, not a bonafide artist. Wilkes might not be the most fun at parties (his name is Wilkes, after all), yet he's so ready for The Voice stage.
Britton Buchanan vs. Jaclyn Lovey ("Thinking Out Loud")
Team Alicia finally decides to join us with two of the youngest and, in the case of Britton, most awkward contestants in the competition. Britton is a doofus, in an endearing way. Meanwhile, Jaclyn seems wise beyond her years. Yet that's all forgotten when the two open their mouths to sing. So far, Alicia has been playing things safe in the Battles, positioning things so that the best artist can move forward. Here, she lets go and has both Britton and Jaclyn shine. It's indie pop/rock glory.
All of Britton's social awkwardness melts away when he sings, and Jaclyn's voice understandably makes Blake feel like he's riding on a unicorn. It's adorable, and the two have insane musical chemistry. Like all the best Battles, it's makes you wish that the pair could compete as a duo moving forward. Alicia playing it safe comes back to bite her, as she has to give up one, and neither should go.
It's only up to Blake to pick up the "loser" because Kelly and Adam are out of Steals. If Kelly's not regretting using her last Steal on Kaleb, she should.
Winner: Britton Buchanan
Steal: Blake steals Jaclyn Lovey
What did you make of the penultimate Battle Round? Who got the best Steal or got the worst Steal? Will Kelly regret keeping Justin Kilgore over Molly Stevens? Will Adam regret letting Miya Bass go? Do Britton and Jaclyn need to record an album together or just start dating? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)