Jesse Larson's Battle On 'The Voice' Proves He’s Got More Vocal Skills Than Meets The Eye
The final night of battles on The Voice proved to be an absolute nail-biter of a competition. In the second Voice battle, Jesse Larson used his voice in exciting ways, nudging out his competition and moving onto next week's Knockouts. Larson's challenge during his Voice battle was deceptive because it appeared, outwardly, that he was quite evenly matched with Taylor Alexander. Alexander had an interesting edge with his heavily twanged, country-soaked voice. By comparison, Larson's voice was beautiful and smooth. This made for, in the words of coach Adam Levine, a really interesting match. This even match led to Larson to find new ways to up the ante on Alexander. In the process, he was able to unveil new vocal dynamics.
Larson and Alexander were tasked with singing "Shameless" by Billy Joel. Alexander appeared to have the leg up because he stated that he heard the song constantly as a child. The implication was that Alexander's intimate knowledge of the song inside and out would mean he had a comfort with the song Larson did not. But, interestingly, Alexander's victory was not so easily sewn up.
While Levine and guest coach John Legend were there to help Alexander tone down his twang in favor of bringing out diction, Larson was able to bring new elements to the song that really elevated his interpretation of Joel's song. For instance, in rehearsal Legend loved Larson's vibrato and soul. He would bring that element to an even fuller force in his battle.
Larson and Alexander dueled not only with their voices but also with their guitars. While Alexander was every bit the country crooner, Larson really brought the vibrato, picked the hell out of his guitar, and let that voice flow so comfortably out of his body and into the room. Somehow, he was able to differentiate his voice so much from Alexander's. Despite having a relatively safe and predictably genre-specific voice (think something along the lines of "dependably smooth soft rock"), he was able to really edge Alexander out.
In the end, Levine loved Larson's nuance and vocal dynamics. He ended up bringing Larson along to the next round of competition, which was definitely the right choice.