'The Voice' Season 5 Recap: The Battle Rounds Kick Off With Tears and Cher

The Battle Rounds of The Voice are always the toughest rounds. For me the viewer, I mean. I bet they're more crushing for me than for the contestants. I get so invested. No one understands my pain. Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, and Blake Shelton will pit their own team members against one another and force them to vie for their coach's love. When I put it that way, it sounds like rather upsetting television. We're introduced to the coaches' advisors: Blake is with Cher, Cee Lo is with not-Cher (Miguel), Xtina is with not-Cher (Ed Sheeran), and Adam is with not-Cher (Ryan Tedder). Moving on to the carnage from the first night of Battle Rounds:


Nic Hawk vs. Gray, "Domino": That was a stellar way to start the show. I can't get enough of Nic, but Gray really gave him a run for his money. Their voices were a strange combo, but a good combo. When they harmonized at the end, I was like, "What wizardry is this?!" The coaches and I had a blast during the performance. I tried to be objective, but I couldn't root against Nic. Adam declared Gray the victor. I was content with this decision only because a) Gray was really wonderful and b) Blake stole Nic!


Amber Nicole vs. Timyra-Joi, "Listen": I give up. I can't do this anymore. I'm in the second performance of the first episode of the Battle Rounds, and I've reached my limit. How dare you, Xtina? You arranged for two teen powerhouses to sing a song from Dreamgirls. The rehearsals gave me chills. THE REHEARSALS. Predictably, the duet/battle was on another level. Xtina cried when it was over, I cried when it was over, and Carson Daly didn't know what to say about any of it. Xtina chose Amber Nicole (she was my pick, too. Barely, though!), but no one stole Timyra-Joi. Booooooo, dude coaches! You sausages dropped the ball.


Justin Chain vs. Shelbie Z., "Don't You Wanna Stay": WHOA, Shelbie Z.'s voice is like velvet. Not that crunchy, crushed velvet. Pretty, luxurious velvet. I thought this was a fairly obvious win for Shelbie Z. (even though Justin's voice sounded wonderful alongside her's), if only because I gravitated toward her tone. Blake chose Shelbie Z., and Justin Chain was sent home. I literally frowned like a cartoon when that happened. The eliminations never get any easier.


Anthony Paul vs. Caroline Pennell, "As Long As You Love Me": A weird pairing, a weird song choice… it's going to get weird in here. At one point during the rehearsal, Caroline says, "I won't be too windy." Her coffeehouse affectation wasn't my bag during the the auditions, but it was so creepy during this Battle Round performance. Anthony sounded clear and beautiful, and the meeting of their voices was something that belongs on a movie soundtrack. Anthony sang the song perfectly, whereas Caroline made strange, memorable choices with it. Ultimately, those choices are what won over Cee Lo. Xtina stole Anthony (yay!), so all is well. If anyone is asking, I would've gone with Anthony, simply because I enjoyed his performance 100 percent of the time. But only if anyone is asking.


Donna Allen vs. Tessanne Chin, "Next To Me": I called this. I usually relish in being right, but holy crap-ola, am I pissed off. Doye, this performance was insane. Donna's voice turned into a blender and rendered the entire crowd into smoothies. So. Much. Power. Tessanne was so centered and gorgeous. This battle was dumb and I hated it (because it was so good). Tessanne won, no one saved Donna, and I'm asleep on the floor. Donna was my number one. I don't know if I can forgive Adam for this.


Briana Cuoco vs. Jacquie Lee, "House of the Rising Sun": What a Coven-tastic song choice. Both ladies obliterated this track. Sometimes, they sounded identical, which was kind of chilling. I dug this. I didn't care who won, because I knew the other would be the object of a steal. Xtina chose Jacquie, and Blake and Cee Lo both tried to steal Briana. She picked Blake. Xtina handed Blake her fan to help him cool off. I respect that instinct, Xtina.


"I love Adam." —Said to Blake after he casually mentioned Mr. Levine during a rehearsal. You and I are not so different, Cher.

Photo: NBC