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28 February, 2012 2:51 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
We're already at the Battle Rounds Stage on The Voice where 48 acts will soon be whittled down to just 24, 6 per category. I'm looking forward to seeing these battles as it will definitely seperate the weak from the chaffe in terms of singers, in particular Bressie's acts may produce some amazing battles because each and every one of them has a really quirky and individual style. Usually on The Voice, there's at least one really poor decision per category so I'm hoping some of my favourites such as Kellie Blaise, Conor Quinn and Nollaig O'Connor don't end up going home in favour of weaker acts. So, let's see what happens I suppose!
Recap and videos after the JUMP ...
Recap and videos after the JUMP ...
Liam Geddes vs Stephen Griffin - Sing 'Yellow By Coldplay'
This isn't a very surprising pairing but I had never really thought of them as possible duet partners in this round. All the same, I'm excited as I wouldn't have had either of them in my team and was less than impressed by Stephen's blind audition. However, both of them look to be doing quite a good job of this in the rehearsal stages. I'm actually impressed by Stephen's vocals on the song having not thought much of him at auditions. Liam isn't impressed because he feels like Kian is encouraging Stephen more than him but to be honest, I much prefer the almost falsetto like quality of Stephen's voice on the song. I would definitely choose Stephen as I feel that he sang it much better than Liam although it was a really close battle.
I choose: Stephen
Kian chooses: Liam
Graham Dowling vs Sandra Jane Hyland - Sing 'Moves Like Jagger' by Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera
Erm what in under god is Kian thinking with this song choice? It's bloody horrific, both of them have rocky, edgy voices and this song is a dance-pop song with a much too fast pace to be considered vocally impressive. I'm really not liking this song choice for either of them and Sandra Jane is extremely unimpressed saying that she thinks the song is far too dancey for her. I'm very annoyed at Kian, he could have chosen a better song and both of them appear to be struggling. Graham is extremely underconfident in the rehearsal stage but seems to be a little bit more confident and self-assured when it comes to the real thing. I do quite like both sets of vocals on the song but for me, Sandra Jane absolutely smashes it despite not being very passionate about singing the song.
I choose: Sandra Jane
Kian chooses: Graham
Siobhan McKenna vs Sharon Gaynor - Sing 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' by George Michael
This really is the battle of the diva vocalists. We have Siobhan who brought the house down with her rendition of 'Listen' and Sharon who did a great job of an Aretha classic. Whilst this might seem like a great pairing, for me, I think that this duo might be slightly too good, i.e. i think that they're both good enough to get through this round. And right enough, they are a little bit too good, both of them bring the house down with this performance and it's refreshing to see two diva vocalists who instead of trying to overpower each other, actually compliment each other vocally. Kian has made a major blunder here, Siobhan and Sharon both deserve to go through and unfortunately, one of them will be going home. If I were choosing, I think Siobhan sang the song with more control so I would choose her but as I said, neither of them deserves to be going home, they're both insanely talented and it's a shame that anyone is going.I choose: Siobhan
Kian chooses: Sharon
Kyle Kennedy vs Lucy O'Byrne - Sing 'When You Tell Me That You Love Me' by Diana Ross & Westlife
Sorry but can Kian's ego get any bigger? It's funny but the choice of song is just more than a little bit fishy, I think there were so many more duets that would have suited their voices better, it's not as bad as the REM choice was for Lata last week but I don't think this song is particularly suited to either of the performers. Lucy and Kyle weren't favourites of mine, I didn't particularly enjoy Kyle's blind audition but I'm willing to give them a chance and to be fair to them, it's a relatively enjoyable performance, not the best battle so far by any standards but good all the same. I definitely think there is a little bit of chemistry between these two, not as much as Gari and Dervla but still a bit and I don't think it's an easy decision seperating the two in that performance. Overall, I think I preferred Lucy.I choose: Lucy
Kian chooses: Kyle
Elliot Canavan Doyle vs Christina Foran - Sing 'Creep' by Radiohead
Two of the best quirky teenagers in the competition with one of my all-time favourite songs. These two have a strong friendship and it's clear in the performance, it's a truly amazing rendition of a song that I love however in saying that, poor Elliot is down with a throat problem and it's pretty evident that his vocals aren't quite as they could be as he seems to be struggling especially in the duo vocal aspects of the song. Christina meanwhile is amazing at the song, to be honest, I could easily have both of them in the live shows even if Kian, their own coach is really blunt and tells the two of them that they've majorly let him down and that he doesn't particularly want to take either through. What a tactless beep. Anyway, I think because I sort of prefer her voice and stage style, I'd go for Christina! Oh and once Kian has made his decision, he doesn't even have the guts to give Christina a hug as the cameras show Bressie going over and comforting her rather than her coach, oh well, I sincerely hope this will be Kian's first and only series of The Voice.I choose: Christina AND Elliot
Kian chooses: Elliot
Lorna Jordan vs Jim Devine - Sing 'I Can't Make You Love Me' by Bonnie Raitt
I haven't exactly kept it a secret that I'm far from ready to start up the Kian Egan fan club and I have pretty much consistently disagreed with everything that he has said since the series started but this song choice is quite good, it's maybe not as good for Lorna as it is for Jim but it's a lovely song and I think that both of these acts have the vocals to pull it off. Lorna is an indie folk artist at heart and is worried about coping without her guitar in hand whereas Jim is quite clearly a very nervous performer which makes him likeable but slightly less impressive than Lorna. However, they've both conquered their reservations with this performance, it's emotionally charged and very beautifully sung and both acts ought to be proud of singing it as well as they did. For me, I have preferred other acts in Kian's team and I honestly don't think either of these two have impressed me like the likes of Sinead Fox and Elliot Canavan Doyle have but I would probably pick the one with the more intriguing voice and that's Lorna.I choose: Lorna
Kian chooses: Jim
Dara Malloy vs Pat Byrne - Sing 'If It Makes You Happy' by Sheryl Crowe
This is a very strange pairing in my opinion, I didn't really consider Dara and Pat to have a similar tone to their voices but obviously Bressie does see a similarity and I won't disagree with him. I love this song and I'm interested to see how Pat takes it on because Dara reminds me of Pat Benatar a little bit so will obviously be perfectly suited to this song choice. On the other hand, Darren has an interesting gritty quality to his voice and should be able to do it justice. This is another tough battle, both of them are really good at the song although I do personally think that the song isn't completely correct for Pat's voice. I know who I would choose but I do think that Bressie is probably going to make a different decision to mine.
I choose: Dara
Bressie chooses: Pat
Gavin Kenny vs Rory Quinn - Sing 'Everlasting Love' by Robert Knight
I really like Gavin's voice, it was superb in the Blind Auditions when he sang 'Hurt' but at the same time, Rory has a nice albeit slightly more unremarkable voice. This song is horribly dated but obviously Bressie has his reasons for choosing the song and it appears to be working out when they begin to perform as I'm really impressed by how well they're coping with the song in rehearsals. When it comes to the actual performance however, there's a definite difference as Gavin is really focused on the performance which is evident in his voice and Rory just seems to be trying to make up for slightly weaker vocals by moving about the stage oddly. Maybe he's trying to prove that he has stage presence or something but there's only one winner and it's clearly Gavin in the battle.
I choose: Gavin
Bressie chooses: Gavin
Jessica Pritzell vs Kate Gilmore - Sing 'My Immortal' by Evanescence
This pair are fantastic, I really enjoyed both of their auditions and part of me is pretty sad that these two are being paired together because I absolutely believe that the two of them could and should make the live shows. I'm really loving this song choice from Bressie for the two of them, it's a very emotional song that will definitely allow both of them to show off their hauntingly beautiful voices. And lo and behold, I'm right, this is an amazing performance, one of the best I've seen on any version of The Voice and without a doubt, the best battle round performance of this series so far, just as good as the original so yes, I do have to admit that I wish that both of them could stay rather than one having to be sent home. I'm not sure which act should stay actually, I don't know who I preferred.
I choose: Jessica
Bressie chooses: Jessica
Dervla Magennis vs Gari Deegan - Sing 'Don't Upset The Rhythm' by The Noisettes
Dervla and Gari both showed themselves to have a lot of soul in their blind auditions and I can definitely see the two of them pulling off this song. I'm liking the slightly slower pace of their arrangement of the song for the battle and I think both of them have strong moments in the song. Gari is incredibly marketable as he has the Justin Timberlake sound that can definitely be very successful but Dervla also has a certain charm and charisma which definitely shows off in the performance. I do think that Bressie prefers Gari overall but vocally, it was Dervla's performance and she definitely owned it for me as opposed to Gari who was good but just lacked that vocal edge in the performance for me.
I choose: Dervla
Bressie chooses: Gari
Nikitta O'Rowe vs Conor Quinn - Sing 'How To Save A Life' by The Fray
Two of the most unique and different acts now although in saying that, I was hoping these two wouldn't be put together because I really like both of them. Conor is the one with the quirky voice and the strange stage manner whilst Nikitta has a soul voice similar to the likes of Amy Winehouse. This song is one of my favourite songs and I can definitely see the two of them giving us a very emotive interpretation of the song. And right I am as both Nikitta and Connor are very very good in the performance although for me, even though Conor has a really unique style, Nikitta provides us with a stunning rendition of the song that is most probably note-perfect. I do love both acts but personally, I think that Nikitta was possibly more commercially viable in the performance.
I choose: Nikitta
Bressie chooses: Conor
Kiera Byrne vs Carolann Haskins - Sing 'Standing In The Way Of Control' by The Gossip
Folk-rock style Kiera and diva belter Carolann aren't maybe the most natural choice to battle at this stage but I can see where Bressie is coming from when he announces that they'll be singing the brilliant 'Standing In The Way Of Control'. However, at rehearsals, both ladies are struggling with the song, trying not to oversing it as it often results in the song being shouted rather than sang naturally. However, they bring it all they've got for the actual battle and for the first time, it really feels like they're battling rather than just feeling like two people happen to be singing the same song in unison. Both girls are really getting into the spirit of the song and you can clearly tell that the atmosphere in the arena is absolutely electric, this is definitely what you call saving the best till last. But alas, Bressie has to choose one of these two to go home, it's a shame as that performance should have been enough for both girls to get a full house of Yes' in the Blind Auditions. Overall, I think that Kiera has shown more versatility and could probably give a more wide variety of performances in the weeks to come.
I choose: Kiera
Bressie chooses: Kiera
Kellie Blaise vs Kate Donohoe - Sing 'Shout' by Lulu
These two have really brilliant voices, Kate reminds me a bit of Florence Welsh whilst Kellie reminds me of Ruth Lorenzo and I really enjoyed both blind auditions so I'm excited for this battle. Both of them are a bit nervous about singing the song as it's so vocally demanding and Sharon agrees with them but says that she has confidence in both of them. I can see that this will be an interesting battle as Kate is sticking with her powerhouse vocals for this battle but Kellie has decided to try and go much more bluesy on the song. I can definitely say that I reckon Kellie's voice is going to appeal to me more on the song but I shall await the performance. This is another really good choice for both ladies, it compliments their voices really well and although at times, Kate's vocals are somewhat overpowering, I would be really happy with either of these two getting through but making a decision, I would choose Kellie as I was really impressed by her bluesy tone on the song.
I choose: Kellie
Sharon chooses: Kellie
Vanessa Whelan vs Dan Twomey - Sing 'Time To Say Goodbye' by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli
The two opera singers in Sharon's group are obviously going to be paired together because as displayed by Lata being screwed over earlier on, giving a classical singer a non classical song and trying to get them to sing it naturally is just unfair. This will be a very interesting battle, both of these artists are clasically trained and although I found Vanessa more impressive because she sang a Take That song classically, the song will surely suit both of them down to the ground. And true to form, they're both rocking the song so to speak so much so that Brian actually says that the two ought to join together and form a duo, that's how good they are together. So far, this is by far my favourite battle as not only were both great individually, their voices fused together really well. What a decision for Sharon to have to make.
I choose: Vanessa
Sharon chooses: Vanessa
Kevin Keeley vs Ingrid Madsen - Sing 'Need You Now' by Lady Antebellum
We have good if insignificant country singer Kevin and Ingrid, I won't lie, I don't really remember much about either, they've both sort of passed me by without making much of an impression on me. I do think that this song isn't the best choice for Ingrid in particular because she doesn't have much of a country vibe to her voice but I'm hoping to be proven wrong by Sharon in the actual performance. Okay, this is pretty dull and forgettable in my opinion, I do like the Lady Antebellum song but I just think that it's not something that really works being pulled off on stage in front of an audience. Neither of them do the best that they possibly can with the song but if I were to choose, I think that Ingrid is more marketable as a singer than Kevin, the country scene is just too restrictive for him to be anything special so I think I just couldn't pick him based on this performance but I won't be surprised if Sharon puts him through.
I choose: Ingrid
Sharon chooses: Kevin
Kim Hayden vs Ailbhe Hession - Sing 'Sober' by Pink
This is a really really good pick from Sharon for these two ladies. I've been in love with this song ever since Sarina Voorn absolutely smashed it on 'The Voice Of Holland' last year and these two have got voices that will permit them to also do it justice. Ailbhe did a lovely version of 'I'll Be There' at her blind audition whereas Kim did a nice, if slightly shouty rendition of 'I Will Always Love You'. Their voices blend together really well on the Pink song and give a very exciting and unique rendition of the track. Straight away, Ailbhe shows that she's more than a one trick pony by really showing grit in her voice during this performance and Kim is doing well too but needs to watch that she doesn't shout like she did during part of the blind audition. A very good performance there, I liked aspects of both vocals.
I choose: Ailbhe
Sharon chooses: Kim
Nollaig O'Connor vs Alan Lawlor - Sing 'Wild Horses' by The Rolling Stones
This is a bit of a strange pairing, I wasn't really blown away by Alan's rendition of a Michael Buble song whilst I absolutely adored Nollaig's intense performance style and amazing rendition of 'With Or Without You'. However, in the rehearsals, Nollaig appears to be struggling with her nerves with Alan sweetly supporting her and actually really helping her with her nerves. When it comes to the performance itself, both of them pour emotion into the song and absolutely smash it on the duo parts. I honestly think I'd have to think twice about who to put through after that brilliant performance, part of me thinks that Nollaig is more marketable but Alan really did prove himself as a capable performer in that song. I enjoyed it a lot and I'm glad that I'm not in Sharon's shoes.
I choose: Nollaig
Sharon chooses: Nollaig
Onya Gray vs Fauve Chapman - Sing 'Born This Way' by Lady Gaga
This song for a rock power vocalist and an acoustic indie rock chick, really? I don't know why but I feel like Sharon kind of has her decision made before the even hears them sing as although the song suits neither of them particularly well, Onya seems much more up to singing the song than nervous Fauve does. Ironically, these two faced off against each other before, in the sing-off in 'You're A Star' where Onya's group Black Daisy were sent home. If I'm being honest, I was hoping that these two would be singing a female rock song, in particular I had been waiting out for 'You Oughta Know' by Alanis Morisette. But oh well, the performance is relatively good, both of them are doing well despite the oddness of the song selection and both of them appear to be supporting each other throughout the performance which is nice to see. However, poor Onya is sent home, her second time failing to beat Fauve in a talent show! I really hope she can/will return next year.
I choose: Onya
Sharon chooses: Fauve
Lata McCarthy vs Alan Fitzsimons - Sing 'Everybody Hurts' by REM
These two are another very weird pairing, they don't have very similar voices at all especially as Lata is an opera singer whilst Alan is more of a blues/soul singer. The song is an absolute stinker for Lata, Brian tells her that he wants to hear her sing the song naturally then complains when she doesn't sing it operatically, erm Brian, you told her not to sing it like that. There's no question of a doubt in my mind that Lata is being screwed over by this song, she has potential but giving her a song that is about a million octaves lower than her voice is a very strange thing to do. The song is pretty much Alan's to lose because Lata's voice just purely doesn't work on the song. And I won't lie, I sort of would have preferred for Lata to stay as I think she is more individualistic than Alan is but oh well, it is completely down to the song choice.
I choose: Alan
Brian chooses: Alan
Sinead Fox vs Lindsay Hamilton - Sing 'I Try' by Macy Gray
Ooh, this is an erm unsual pairing? I absolutely love Sinead, she reminds me a little bit of Zooey Deschanel which is definitely a compliment as I adore Zooey. On the other hand, there's the very quirky Lindsay who has the vocals of Amy Winehouse but the personality and stage presence of the likes of Kitty Brucknell, Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani. I adore this song and after choosing a horrible song choice for Lata earlier, Brian has redeemed himself somewhat with this song, it's lovely although he's worried about Sinead being too withdrawn during the song and Lindsay being ~too~ out there. Luckily, Sinead really proves herself as an experienced performer during the song and really comes out of her shell and gives it her all, she's absolutely adorable. Lindsay on the other hand, she's good but she's a little bit too quirky in the song, too many ad-libs and growls during the performance for my liking. Overall, I would definitely be backing Sinead for this one, she just had the edge in my opinion.
I choose: Sinead
Brian chooses: Sinead
Brendan Keeley vs Neil McGrath - Sing 'Dirty Old Town' by The Dubliners
I don't remember an awful lot about either of these acts, they both have traditional roots so I don't know if either is likely to set the charts alight were they to win the programme. This is a classic which I really do enjoy but all the same, I think that Brian has chose a song that just doesn't allow either of these two to show their true potential. I think that Brendan really brings out the best of his voice with this performance and I'm pleasantly surprised because I hadn't pinned him down as being one of the standout performers after the Blind Auditions. Neil is good too but I didn't really enjoy it as much as I had with Brendan, I just feel like he's a very good busker rather than a performer with the potential to really blow everyone away. I like both but Neil didn't impress me to the same extent as Brendan.I choose: Brendan
Brian chooses: Brendan
Claire O'Loughlin vs Angela Shanny - Sing 'Nothing Compares 2 U' by Sinead O'Connor
Claire was one of my favourites of the over 30's contestants with her amazing rendition of 'Alone' by Heart and I did think that Angela had a nice voice but wasn't sure of her song choice for her blind audition. This is a good pairing because both of them have similarly big voices and it shall be very interesting to see the two of them duetting on this song. Straight away, I'm in love with Claire's rendition of the song, I love her more edgy vocals similar to the likes of Chrissie Hynde and Alison Moyet and once again, the song is perfectly suited to her voice. On the other hand, we have Angela who is actually a lot better on this song than she was on 'Listen', it's quite a sweet vocal and the high note is executed pretty well by her. I do think that the two of them probably sang the best that they have so far on this particular performance but there was one that edged it for me.I choose: Claire
Brian chooses: Claire
Colin Hand vs Ryan O'Shaughnessy - Sing 'One' by U2
We have Colin who touched everybody with his lovely story about his disabled child and Ryan who used to star in Fair City but didn't impress Bressie at the auditions with his performance of 'The Power Of Love'. If I'm being honest, neither of these two are amazing singers and I don't know if I would really envisage either setting the charts alight but I'm willing to remain open minded about the performance and I'm really pleased that I did do that as this is a really great performance from both acts. Colin steps it up big time and delivers a vocal full of emotion, passion and soul, he pours everything he's got into the performance and it really adds to the vocal. Ryan meanwhile shows that he has a very poppy tone to his voice and is sure to go down really well with everyone, both of them should be proud as they majorly stepped it up tonight.I choose: Ryan
Brian chooses: Ryan
Richie Hayes vs Conor J Ryan - Sing 'Crazy Love' by Van Morrisson
Conor was the first act to get all four judges to turn around whereas Richie was the one who I described as a bit karaoke for my liking in the initial stages. However, as the performance starts, I'm kind of thinking the opposite now, both deliver good renditions of the song but for me, Richie is much better suited to the song perhaps because its' style is more suited to his funk voice than Conor's jazz voice. I'm usually not a massive fan of Brian choosing more old style songs for his acts as it doesn't always work but in this case, I totally see why he did it. I think Conor was overshadowed by Richie there which is a shame as he was an initial bookie's favourite and he joins Siobhan as the second hotly tipped contestant to bow out in the Battle Rounds.I choose: Richie
Brian chooses: Richie
So there we have it, the Battle Rounds are over and next stop will be the live shows. Out of interest, in order of ranking, here is how the coaches fared in terms of compatibility with me in the Battle Rounds decisions!
1st - Brian - 6/6
=2nd- Bressie and Sharon - 3/6
4th - Kian - 1/6 (and even that was when I said I wanted both Elliot and Christina through)
So the Battle Rounds have lead to the departure of a few of my favourites namely Onya Gray, Siobhan McKenna, Kate Gilmore and even though he wasn't an initial favourite, Stephen Griffin who outshone Liam in the first battle for me.