'The Voice' live blog: The battle rounds come to an end

blake-shelton-sheryl-crow-the-voice-nbc.jpgIt's the final night of battle rounds in Season 4 of "The Voice," and with that, we're expecting some explosive performances. Who will coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Shakira and Usher keep around for the knockout rounds and who will be sent on their way? With Usher's final steal still in play, it's bound to get interesting.

Team Shakira: Brandon Roush vs. Shawna P

Song: "Piece of My Heart" by Janis Joplin

The Performance:
Another disparate pairing, another song choice that seems stacked in one artist's favor. Is Shakira sacrificing Brandon with this song? Janis' song fits Shawna's voice like a glove. Brandon holds his own on the stage, but there's something about Shawna's experience that dominates the performance. There's something interesting about her, something I'd like to see more of. I'd prefer to keep her around.

Winner: Shawna. Shakira notes that she's judging between eagerness and experience; she makes the right decision.

Steal: Usher's playing it safe with that final steal, letting Brandon go on his way.

Team Adam: Duncan Kamakana vs. Sarah Simmons

Song: "Wanted You More" by Lady Antebellum

The Performance: The rehearsals leading up to this battle showed each artist struggling. Duncan was worried he'd fade away, singing against Sarah. And Sarah, one of the season's best auditions, showed hints of a chink in her armor. Granted, it's certainly some fancy editing to set us up for a better-than-expected performance, but who thought Sarah would be having such a hard time?

I have to be honest and admit that I'm not quite sure what everyone sees in Duncan. There's too little control in his voice during the battle. It's one thing to have an interesting tone, it's another to be unable to hold notes. Sarah eats him alive. It doesn't help that he remains stationary because he's playing the guitar. He just gets lost. Sarah for the win.

Winner: Sarah, duh. The coaches tell Duncan he has great confidence, which is code for: Nice try.

Steal: Usher takes a pass.

Ugh, another montage: Michelle Chamuel (Team Usher), Amy Whitcomb (Team Adam) and Justin Rivers (Team Blake) advance. I'm bummed. I really wanted to see Michelle in that battle.

Team Shakira: Cathia vs. Mary Miranda

Song: "Antes de las Seis" by Shakira

The Performance: It's a battle of the Latina divas. I'm a little obsessed with the fact that Shakira gave these two girls her own song to sing. During rehearsals, Cathia threw plenty of shade at an unprepared Mary. I think it's safe to say that these two aren't going to be friends when this is all over.

Both of them more than held their own throughout the number. While I'm unfamiliar with the song and don't speak any Spanish, I, like the fellow coaches, felt the emotion perfectly. I enjoyed Cathia a little bit more than Mary, I think. It's a bit anticlimactic knowing that Usher has one steal left and this is the last battle. It doesn't really matter who wins, does it?

Winner: Mary. Shakira picks Mary because she has a signature voice, even though it isn't a big voice.

Steal:
Usher steals because he has to, of course. He lets Cathia think she's going home, which is a little cruel. But whatever. What a shrugworthy way to end the battle rounds.

Are you ready for the knockout rounds, "Voice" fans?


Photo/Video credit: NBC
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