Battle rounds continued on "The Voice" Tuesday night, and the coaches were being strategic in how they paired their battle match-ups but also how they used their precious few opportunities to steal another team's losing singer.
Starting out the night were Jacob Poole and Matthew Schuler, a pair of Team Christina rockers who shared deep roots in Christian faith as the sons of pastors. She paired them on the rapid-fire Fall Out Boy hit "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)," and she schooled them both with the help of Ed Sheeran, who said he loved both contestants' energy.
The challenge for Matthew, Christina said, would be for him to rein in his formidable energy. "He does run the risk of being overzealous," she said. "It's important not to step on each other's toes."
But Matthew didn't, at least not when he went toe to toe with Jacob on the "Voice" stage. The two proved themselves equals.
"That really was an ass-whupping of a battle!" Blake remarked, saying he'd choose Jacob as the winner while Adam said he'd pick Matthew.
Christina picked Matthew, too — but she regretted that nobody stole Jacob. So did Blake, who unfortunately had already used up both of his opportunities to steal another singer. "I wish I had a steal. He's definitely somebody I would have saved," Blake admitted.
Next up were two very different members of Team CeeLo, glam rocker Kat Robichaud and gospel-turned-soul crooner R. Anthony, coming a night after another unlikely match-up from the "Crazy" singer.
"They're total opposites, but I think they both really possess that power," CeeLo explained. Their task: Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing," a song that made R. think of his wife of 12 years and Kat think of her recently departed dad.
"Kat, I want the opportunity to hear that roar and that rasp in your voice," CeeLo advised Kat. R., meanwhile, needed to suppress his urge to add vocal runs to every line he sang, mentor Miguel advised. "I'm impressed, I'm wowed, but after a while it just becomes disingenuous," he said.
Onstage, the two disparate singers connected for an electrifying duet that gave them each space to show their strengths.
Christina praised R.'s vocal control and restraint, while all the other coaches shook their heads in disbelief at Kat's intensity — with Blake even imagining the ferocity with which she might do mundane tasks like open her mail.
The two were apples and oranges, true, CeeLo said. "There's no way to compare you," he explained. Still, he had to hand the bout to Kat.
He also handed a victory later in the evening to Cole Vosbury, after his battle with Lupe Carroll. Blake deemed E.G. Daily the winner of her battle with Sam Cerniglia, and Adam deemed Ashley Dubose the winner of hers with Justin Blake.
For the final battle of Tuesday night, Blake paired up two of his bluesy, country-tinged and genre-defining singers, Monika Leigh and Ray Boudreaux, on Grand Funk Railroad's "Some Kind of Wonderful." But each singer had a hurdle to overcome in their own voice.
"Ray's weakness in this performance is his range. He's gonna have to get up on his tiptoes to reach some of those big notes," Blake noted. And his mentor Cher advised Monika that even though it might not be fair, sometimes "loud trumps soft," and Monika needed to make an effort to project.
By the time Ray and Monika took the "Voice" stage, those hurdles were nowhere in sight, and the two stretched out into the song to explore its funky, bluesy edges.
Their performance gave the coaches a hard task in choosing a winner, but ultimately Blake — perhaps taking a cue from Ray's toddler daughter, who jumped the gun and yelled "RAY!" from the audience when Carson asked him to name a winner — picked Ray.
That wasn't it for Monika, though. CeeLo swooped in at the last moment and plucked her for his own team.
The battle rounds continue next week on "The Voice."
"The Voice" airs Mondays on NBC at 8/7c and Tuesdays at 9/8c.