The Voice, Battle Rounds Week 2, Part I
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Monday night’s Battle Round was jam-packed with action—just the way I like it. And even BETTER, I got a chance to talk with Todd Kessler, formerly of Team Cee Lo, for a follow-up interview on his battle against Nicholas David, his experience on The Voice, and what’s in store for him and his band, The New Folk!
But first, a recap. Similar to last week, we had three okaaaay battles and three AWESOMETASTIC battles.
First up were Julio Cesar Castillo and Terisa Griffin from Team Blake. Staying with the theme of incredibly random song choices this season, Blake chose Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” for these two. This match-up was weird. This song choice was weird. Terisa Griffin’s attempts at Latin dancing were all together terrifying. But I think out of sheer cuteness, Blake gave Julio the win. And because Terisa reminds Cee Lo of all the various women in his life, he used up his final steal on her.
Then from Team Xtina, we had Dez Duron and Paulina singing Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.” Paulina tried too hard to be unique and Dez had the battle sewn up, so it was no shocker when he came out with a “W.”
Benji and Sam James from Team Adam started to get things going with their fairly badass rendition of “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. No, Adam Levine, this was not a crazy original song choice. It made perfect sense. And we the viewers thank you. They both did a great job, though I’m over Benji’s rock scream. All three coaches thought Benji deserved the win, but my man Adam will not be swayed by lesser opinions and made the right choice by going with Sam James. #Adam+Dena4Life
Next, Todd Kessler and Nicholas David teamed up (and I do mean teamed up as opposed to battled it out) to perform Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone” for Team Cee Lo. This was definitely one of those instances where their voices almost sounded better together than they did separately, I think for the first time all season. As we saw in the package, Nick and Todd had formed a really solid friendship and it definitely came through in their harmonic moments. While Todd had a clean, pure tone with a super solid center of pitch, Nick had something nasty-dirty that was just too interesting to pass up. And so Cee Lo chose “St. Nick” to move on to the Knockout Round. But this is far from the end for Todd—check out our exclusive interview after the recap to find out more!
Next up were Lelia Broussard and Suzanna Choffel from Team Blake singing Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” This was just excellent. They both sounded great, the song suited them, and it was just a matter of taste at the end. I preferred Suzanna ever so slightly, and she pulled out the win over Lelia. Still worth checking out this battle because it made a pretty stellar duet.
But for sure the battle with the most OOMPH was between Joselyn Rivera and Sylvia Yacoub from Team Xtina, which we shall refer to as the Battle of the Beltresses. Their rendition of “Best Thing I Never Had,” originally by Beyoncé, was just perfection. They both nailed every run, every belt, every riff—it was absolutely glorious. And it really seemed like Joselyn matured ten years between the Blind Audition and the Battle Round. Like she got in a time machine, picked up some crazy confidence and silver eye makeup along the way, and came back to slaughter every part of this performance, which she needed to do standing next to the firestorm that is Sylvia Yacoub. Really there was no right or wrong choice to be made, and it was clear that someone was going to steal whoever Xtina didn’t pick. So Xtina stuck with Sylvia and Blake and Adam battled it out for Joselyn thanks to the Steal. But as these things tend to go, Joselyn picked Adam as her new coach.
I had a chance to catch up with Todd Kessler and find out a bit more about what he’s doing now that his time on The Voice is over. Being on a hit primetime TV show certainly his its perks and Todd has been experiencing a lot more of that face and name recognition now that the Battle Rounds have aired. He is currently working on getting himself and his band, The New Folk, on the road for a nation-wide tour, so be on the lookout for that!
And as far as working with other Voice contestants, especially Nicholas David, the show was only the beginning: “Nicholas and I have talked for a while about recording and touring together… When things kind of settle down for both of us, we’re going to do it. We loved working together and our voices sound so great and natural together that I think we’d be idiots not to make the most of that connection.” Todd recently did a show in Chicago with last season’s Jamie Lono
from Team Cee Lo, so clearly the network keeps active long after the show. And when I asked Todd what his favorite part of being on The Voice was, he said that “my favorite part of it was the comradery of the team.” As viewers, we don’t really get to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes moments, and the clashes are often highlighted more than the friendships. “… Even though it is a competition and you’re competing against your teammates, having that team to fall back on was really reassuring and made the whole process a lot easier.”
As we all saw at the end of Todd’s battle, Cee Lo pulled Todd in and said, “You call me. We’ll talk.” So obviously I had to know what was going on, if anything, between Todd and my favorite sequin-covered coach. Todd and Cee Lo have definitely been in touch, with nothing concretely in the works as far as a collaboration, but we’ll see what happens!
With his first baby on the way, a new album out, a tour in the works and all the good things that come from being on The Voice, things are looking up in a pretty big way for Todd Kessler. Look out for him, y’all. He’s only just begun.
You can check out Todd and the New Folk’s newest album, Sea Fever, on iTunes now.
Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for watching KPRC Local 2!