First up in the last of the battle rounds on Monday night was Joel Madden’s team.
Carmen Smith and Michelle Serret-Cursio were given the Rhianna song We Found Love. Not a great song in my opinion, but both girls were good in the high notes. Carmen has the timing chops for me. Delta Goodrem went with Michelle, but all the other judges including Joel went with Carmen, so she goes through.
Sam Ludeman and Kieran Fraser were up next for Seal‘s team they sang Coldplay’s Vida la Vida. There was much talk of Kieran’s trackies in rehearsals, but I have read somewhere that he was asked to wear them for the blind audition and a quick check of his YouTube clips proves that he does not wear them all of the time. I thought both these guys sounded like James Blunt in their blind auditions, so it was a very obvious match up. Kieran hammed it up in the on stage battle, pointing to Sam’s eyes while singing the line “see the fear in my enemies eyes”. He was very busy around the stage, but for me Sam sang better and had more stage presence. Once again Delta was the only one who disagreed with me, so Sam goes through as one of Seal’s finalists.
Kelsie Rimmer and Brittany Cairns from Keith Urban’s team sang the Adele song Turning Tables. It was a close battle, but some how Kelsie’s voice sounded clearer and she was more connected. This time only Delta agreed with me and Keith went with Brittany after a chat with Megan Washington.
Matt Hetherington and Jerson Trinidad were Delta Goodrem’s first pairing of the night. They sang Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground. These guys seem to have bonded in The Voice process, so much so they talked of forming a duo in rehearsals and even dressed the same for the onstage rehearsal. Matt rocked it up and he knows how to use the stage. This was the best battle so far tonight, but Jerson did seem to be the support act, so I would have to give it to Matt. Delta picked him, although Seal and Joel picked Jerson. I thought I would have gone with him after the blind auditions, but Matt delivered on the night.
Sarah De Bono and Yianna Stavrou were last up for Joel’s team. They were asked to sing Heavy Cross by Gossip, like me neither of the girls knew the song. This was billed as the Battle of the Beauties and it did not disappoint in that respect. Sarah started powerfully, they both looked great and Yianna knows how to perform on stage, but Sarah had it on voice quite easily for me. In fact I found Yianna a bit grating at times. All four judges went with Sarah
Brett Clarke and Darren Percival were Keith’s last contenders. They say Brett is 26 but he looks younger. Darren is one of the elder statesmen on the show at 40 and has a voice that should have seen him on the charts long before now. Megan Washington even had a tear in rehearsal listening to him. They were given the James Taylor song Shower The People, which was a very good choice and worked for both of them, despite the fact that Brett is very much a country artist. Brett has a really nice voice and sang it well, but Darren had it from his very first line, he has a great voice and very soulful. It was funny to see a shot of one of his kids sleeping in the audience while he was performing; every one’s a critic eh? All the judges but Seal agreed with me about Darren and he goes through.
Ben Bennett and Jesse and Ashleigh sang Fireflies. I didn’t know the song, but this was total Pop Pap. The song started with a thin tinny synth intro and did not get any better from there. To me this was all fake with no soul or substance. These guys are all teenagers, so I am definitely not the audience they are aimed at. Delta picked Ben to go through which is a blessing, only in as much as it cut the numbers by two thirds.
Emma Louise Birdsall and Casey Withoos were last up. Seal gave them the Etta James classic At Last to sing, which they were both pleased about. It’s a great song and both showed their great voices in rehearsals. There was a big build up to the performance, with an ad break to build the tension. Now I must declare a bias here, as Emma-Louise has become a favourite of mine. Partly because she has engaged with these reviews via Facebook, but also after seeing some of her clips on YouTube, especially her version of Cry Me a River. You can check it out here if you haven’t seen it. Casey sang the first verse of At Last and it was a bit of a stage musical type performance for me. Emma had the soul and connection. Delta did not base her decision on the performance and chose Casey, but the other three judges did, including Seal, so Emma Louise is through.
So the battle rounds are done and we move onto the live performances and we get our chance to vote. Well if you are on the eastern side of the country I guess. As over here in the west we will get the show 2 hours later and it will be too late to vote.
The Voice is back next Monday on Channel 9.
The official site for the show is TheVoice.com.au