Though we were largely underwhelmed by last week's Battle Rounds on "The Voice," the second installment this week certainly made up for it. (Note: Speaking of making things up, henceforth, the judges/coaches will be referred to as coadges. It'll catch on.)
But Battle Rounds, Week 2 also brought two competitive duets that tore our hearts out because we loved both contestants so much. Who's moving on after adorable family band singer Whitney Myers and Chaka Khan doppleganger Kim Yarbrough took on some Mary J. Blige? And after the battle of the best friend hipsters, Jamar Rogers and Jamie Lono, who is popping PBRs and moving on to the live shows?
Read on to find out (and be prepared to be gut-wrenched)...
BATTLE: Geoff McBride vs. Sera Hill
Song: "Chain of Fools" by Aretha Franklin
Sera seems surprised to be with paired Shady Geoff and then, equally shocked that she'd be going retro with Ms. Aretha Franklin. Of course, Christina Aguilera sings the title of the song instead of speaking it, just in case someone has never heard "Chain of Fools." When Geoff, a 51-year-old father, and Sera, a young hotel receptionist, starts practicing, they send Christina (and her awful hair extensions) into a squealing, screaming and spinning fit.
Sera is impressed by Geoff's ability as a dude to hit Aretha notes so she's going to bring out her inner diva. Then, it's time to meet with their mentors. Geoff, clad in a scarf and blazer, looks like he was prepared for a photo shoot with his mentor Lionel Richie.
Jaimie: "If Lionel and Geoff had a scarf battle, who would win?"
Chelsey: "Geoff is wearing his in the more artistic way. Lionel is more 'stroll in Central Park in the fall.'"
Jaimie: "Purrfect will make the call."
Chelsey: "Purrrfect knows best."
Geoff wows Richie, but the singer says he needs to lose the shades and get the "swagger" together. It's worth it to note that he says this with a helluva lot of shoulder shaking.
For her private session, Sera walks into the female empowerment room with Jewel and Xtina. Her coadge says her "runs are crispy and precise" and Jewel thinks she can one-up Geoff by bringing more heart and emotion. And then, it's time to take the stage.
Jaimie: "I feel like Sera should be in a tampon commercial in this ensemble, like, 'You can even wear skin-tight, all-white on national TV.'"
Chelsey: "NO LEAKAGE!!"
Speaking of looks, Geoff finds a happy medium regarding his eyewear: non-tinted frames.
He and Sera fight to outdo each other, which Chelsey observes, has become a problem: "The thing with the battles is that it really makes them try too hard and not necessarily in a good way. They overdo it." Christina is seemingly still impressed with her first battle of the night and struggles to decide.
Chelsey: "Everyone on this show always says they have to go with their gut. Like, guys, come on. This is 'Murica. We all do that."
Jaimie: "Amen. Follow your dreams. White picket fences. White picket outfits."
And Xtina's gut tells her ...
Winner: Sera Hill
BATTLE: Charlotte Sometimes vs. Lex Land
Song: "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People
Charlotte Sometimes, who had a jaw disease at a young age, has a unique voice, but a stank attitude, perfectly suitable for her home state of New Jersey. (We can say this because we're from New Jersey.) One of the first things Sometimes says is, "You can't really win against a Jersey girl." Eh, we've lost a fair amount.
Jaimie: "Charlotte, stop talking about Jersey. Please. We have enough problems."
Chelsey: "Yeah, honestly, between you, Snooks and the Giudice family, we're more screwed than ever."
Despite our pleas (to our TVs, months after this was recorded), Sometimes makes things NJ-related and uncomfortable from the get-go. During their first practice, she's loud, obnoxious, talking about boobs and blaming it all on "the Jersey" in her. She thinks it's funny and flirty, but it's just awful. Still, we can't deny we loved her voice.
Sometimes meets with her coadge Blake and her mentor Kelly Clarkson. They think this is going to be a battle of the personalities more than anything. Meanwhile, Lex meets with Blake's wife, Miranda Lambert in the Team Blake barn. Miranda says it's the perfect song for Lex to be "shy and dark." She thinks she'll turn it on and Blake wants to make sure Lex is self-assured when she hits the stage because "Lex Land has no boundaries."
Show time! "I want her to win. I want her to lose. I want to win, win, win, win," Sometimes says before they take the stage. That's the spirit! But really, we both think Lex looks beautiful.
Jaimie: "I am Team Lex even though I don't like her voice. Can we temporarily ignore the title of the show?"
Chelsey: "This is a pretty good name match-up if nothing else."
Despite the cliches about it being "a tough one" (thanks, X-Teens), the winner seems fairly obvious and Blake doesn't stun viewers like he did with MIranda's favorite RaeLynn last week.
Winner: Charlotte Sometimes
BATTLE: Sarah Golden vs. Juliet Simms
Team: Cee Lo
Song: "Stay with Me" by Rod Stewart
It's our feline-loving coadge's first battle, and while, for the most part, it seems that the coadges have been playing fairly in the Battle Rounds rather than using them to weed out their not-so-strong singers, this one kind of seemed like a cop out on Cee Lo's part. Both girls have totally different styles, which is a change of pace, but the coadges were all pretty blown away by Juliet in the blind auditions, while Sarah received mediocre praise. As soon as this one's announced, we find ourselves thinking, "L8R, Sarah."
During the ladies' rehearsal with Cee Lo, Juliet makes some obnoxious comments about how she's girlier and louder, and is "swallowing" Sarah during rehearsal. We try to ignore these comments by focusing all of our attention on Cee Lo's red satin pajamas (which, by the way, really look like something he stole from the costume department of one of our favorite pieces of cinematic history, "Santa Clause").
Jaimie: "I keep thinking about if he were to sweat. Is that wrong?"
Chelsey: "Well, he's a large man in satin PJs. The thought has to cross your mind."
As the ladies rehearse one more time on stage, Cee Lo has some very kind words for Sarah as Juliet looks on, skin boiling, we're sure.
Jaimie: "I like that Cee Lo is complimenting Sarah."
Chelsey: "Yeah, but it almost feels like pity."
Jaimie: "Let her have her moment."
It's battle time, and both girls really bring it, maybe a little too much. Sarah definitely sounds better than she did during her blind audition, and Juliet sounds good as well, but is definitely trying a bit too hard to keep her rocker chick vibe alive. Nonetheless, the coadges seem to lean towards Juliet. Christina even takes things so far as to call it a "no-brainer." Harsh, X-Teens, but mad respect for the blunt commentary (which seems to be a rarity on this show).
Winner: Juliet Simms
BATTLE: Kim Yarbrough vs. Whitney Myers
Song: "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige
Despite their 25 year age difference, Adam thinks these two curly-haired ladies are well suited to battle it out because they can both "sing [their] asses off." Though they're both powerhouses, Whitney says, "Her house is bigger than my house." We're pretty devastated because we love them both. I mean, it's Chaka and Whitney.
Jaimie: "Awwww, Whitney."
Chelsey: "She's so presh."
Jaimie: "I could watch Kim's audition 10,000 times."
Chelsey: "Me too. I really love Whitney though. She's just so happy."
Adam tells Kim and Whitney they have to be connected in order for this to work and Kim is certain she can do that. She says: "Some of the places [Whitney's] going, I've already been. And I bought the t-shirt and the ring and the mug and all that."
Well then ... It's time for Whitney to meet up with her coadge Adam Levine and advisor Alanis Morissette. She is worried about Kim's powerhouseness and asks Alanis and Adam for some tips on what she should focus on. But her coadge tells her, there's no "how to be successful" handbook. Alanis says, "Be present." That's helpful.
During her mentor sesh, Kim "gets the shock of her life," according to Carson Daly (so take that for what it's worth). But she is clearly stoked to spend some time with Robin Thicke, or as she calls him, "Thicket." There is some serious professional lovin' -- and accompanying metaphors -- going on (i.e. "She sings like she's hanging off a cliff and she might fall at any moment").
Then, it's time for the cross-generational powerhouse battle.
Chelsey: "Kim's voice is so powerful. But I think Whitney's voice is more unique."
Chelsey: "It's a Frenchi vs. Bev sitch." (That's for all you Season 1 viewers.)
Jaimie: "Totally. I really like Whitney's stage presence."
Chelsey: "Me too. It's fun without being obnoxious."
Jaimie: "Agree. And slightly hood, but there's recognition that she is unhood."
Blake says it "felt like one of those 'Diva' concerts" and notes that both Kim and Whitney used their strengths. "Son of bitch," he says, its "as good as he's ever seen." He doesn't know what to do and thus, he goes with Carson. Thank god his opinion doesn't actually mean anything, but Adam's does and he goes with Cha-Kah.
Jaimie: "Whitney is so gracious."
Chelsey: "I'm sad. She really is."
Jaimie: "I am VERY sad."
Chelsey: "I mean, Kim's amazing."
Jaimie: "This was a dumb pairing."
Chelsey: "Yeah they're SO different ... Dammit, Adam."
Jaimie: "You shot yourself in the foot."
Chelsey: "I used to like you. (jkluvu4evr) Aw, Whit. I really love her."
Winner: Kim Yarbrough
BATTLE: Lindsey Pavao vs. Lee Koch
Song: "Heart Shaped Box" by Nirvana
Christina chooses this duo for her second battle of the night, which is quite the interesting pairing. Lindsey and her everlasting eyelashes prove to have an advantage over Lee early on since she considers Nirvana to be one of her greatest inspirations, and Lee reveals that he hasn't heard the song in over 10 years. Lindsey looks both shocked and horrified at this revelation in that young person judging a slightly older person sort of way.
Jewel has similar sentiments towards Lee during her training session with him, as he struggles even more with the song.
Chelsey: "Jewel looks upset."
Jaimie: "She does look concerned. She has Kim Richards eyebrows."
Lindsey is thrilled to be rehearsing with Lionel. He's proven to be quite the normal and helpful vocal coach thus far, which is surprising since we've all seen the "Hello" music video. Lee continues to bring up his bakery over and over again, which leads us to spend the commercial break creating an impromptu, not-actually-practiced drinking game for "The Voice."
Jaimie: "BAKERY. TAKE A SHOT."
Chelsey: "If we actually created a drinking game to this, I would black out."
Jaimie: "I know. Every time Xtina says 'runs.' Every time someone can't choose. Every time they say 'powerhouse.'"
Chelsey: "Every time they tell them not to compete with the other person even though that is exactly what the term 'battle' implies."
Jaimie: "See you in the ER."
Now it's back to the show and Lindsey and Lee give us kind of a weird performance, but in a good way, just as Kurt Cobain would have wanted. (That is, if Kurt Cobain isn't rolling over that his songs are on a reality TV show called "The Voice.") Lee does surprisingly well with the song despite his struggles in practice and Lindsey seems more nervous than usual. Adam and Cee Lo go with Lee, while Blake chooses Lindsey. Blake also stuns us all when he says that he's never heard this song.
Jaimie: "Oh no, Blake. You're going to be the most embarrassing dad ever."
Chelsey: "Also drunkest."
Christina also favors Lindsey, so it's back to the bakery for poor Lee Koch (TAKE A SHOT).
Winner: Lindsey Pavao
BATTLE: Jamar Rogers vs. Jamie Lono
Team: Cee Lo
Song: "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner
Man, why are the last battles of the night always the toughest? We know it's early in the competition to be getting attached, but these two are honestly two of our favorites. Seriously. These were our reactions when this battle was teased earlier in the show:
Chelsey: "NOOOOOOOOOOO NOOOOOOO STOPPPPPP WHYYYYYYY"
Jaimie: "Pain. Pain. It hurts. I cannot."
Chelsey: "I'm already crying."
Jaimie: "I knowwwwwwwwww"
And to make matters worse, the two of them are besties on Team Cee Lo. (Of course they are.) Plus, their amazing ensembles and explosion of hipster articles of clothing/accessories makes this even harder to handle. (We'll spare you of the rest of our overly dramatic commentary at this point, because you'd probably throw up.)
Jamie has some voice cracking issues during rehearsals, and Cee Lo is concerned with what this means for his strength as a vocalist. Jamar, meanwhile, does a duet with Cee Lo in rehearsal and is so happy, he seems like he might burst.
The time that we are absolutely dreading comes, and it's time for the Double J performance of soul-crushing, not-so-fun time. Jamar really blows us away and proves that he is much stronger than we thought during the blind auditions. Jamie is just as precious as ever, but definitely seems overshadowed by Jamar in this performance. The coadges seem to lean towards Jamar, though Christina has trouble making a decision.
Jaimie: "Christina is so confused and she can't hold her head discus up anymore."
Cee Lo goes with Jamar, and both boys cry, and it's the cutest thing in the entire world. We're so happy to have Jamar, but so sad to see Jamie go. This is probably the only time we will ever say this, but if only this show were more like "The X Factor" right now, the two could team up and both stay in the competition.
Jaimie: "Jamie! I pick you! You're on my team of cuteness!"
Chelsey: "Where's he from? I will go find him. And hug him."
Winner: Jamar Rogers