In Cee-Lo Green‘s first battle on tonight’s episode of “The Voice,” he chose the Cyndi Lauper classic “True Colors” to test the skills of Boston-bred James Massone and high school prom king WADE — yes, apparently we’re using all capital letters on that one.
James’ nerves get the better of him at first, particularly because he’s completely unfamiliar with the song, but ultimately his mentor Ne-Yo tells him to sack up. “You’re at the game; you’ve got to play,” he says. Babyface meets with WADE, and while he doesn’t have much advice to offer, he does have plenty of praise — he even compares WADE to Al Green and Luther Vandross.
We’re a little surprised that Cee-Lo even put these two against each other, since he seemed so enamored of both of them — he even cried at their rehearsal at the thought of sending one home.
Going in to the performance, we expected WADE to blow James out of the water, but apparently Ne-Yo’s pep talk worked. James, clearly the more confident performer, was sent through to the live rounds.
For his final battle, Cee-Lo posed “Last Call With Carson Daly” band member Justin Hopkins against Broadway star Tony Vincent for “Faithfully” by Journey. Tony expresses a little skepticism because their styles are so different. “I picked this song because it’s epic, and I would just love to see both of you tear this one down,” Cee-Lo says.
Justin admits to being intimidated by Tony’s range, but they both impress Cee-Lo — in fact, he cries again. All three men find a connection to the lyrics of the song. Babyface advises Tony to stay out of falsetto as much as possible, while Ne-Yo believes “The Voice” is the perfect competition to showcase Justin’s voice. “A lot of emotion in his voice naturally,” he says. “I feel like that’s a strength for him.”
Though the judges are torn between Tony’s impressive range and Justin’s warm rough tone, Cee-Lo finally decides Tony will go further in the live rounds.
Watch both performances below. Who would you have chosen?