I loved the first battle last night. Those were two great guys paired together, and of course it was sad to see one go. James Massone has that great “How do you like them apples?” personality, and that storyline of true Boston grit and his family supporting his pursuit of music. And then WADE stole my heart, too. When we met him, he was a real student of music, listening to his iPod the whole day, singing Al Green. A little glimpse behind the scenes: when James and WADE went to rehearse, neither of them could sing “True Colors” at first. Confidence was such an issue with James and WADE at the beginning, and Cee Lo even had to sing the song for them during rehearsal! WADE idolizes Cee Lo, so when he was in that mentorship process with Cee Lo and Babyface, he couldn’t sing in front of them. They had him get his confidence up by turning him around and having him sing “Love and Happiness” by Al Green towards the wall. That’s how they started working it out with him.
And the battle, of course, brought Cee Lo to tears. That was a great moment in the show that I think shows how much our coaches really care about each person on their team, and how difficult it is to make these tough decisions about cutting people. Cee Lo’s not a guy who’s going to show that much emotion unless it’s 100 percent pure and organic, but he did last night. It was a great way to start the show, and a real testament to how difficult it is for the coaches to cut their teams. Our coaches are so into this show for all the right reasons, and sometimes it shows up like it did last night, in the form of Cee Lo crying. You just can’t make that stuff up.
Mathai and Nicolle Galyon were an interesting pairing. Behind the scenes, Nicolle thought she was going to get paired with Karla Davis, who was more of a country vocalist, or Orlando Napier, who’s also a piano player like her, so Nicolle was shocked when she got paired with Mathai. I don’t think that shock was captured in the episode. Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” was a good selection, and she’s a friend of Adam’s, so he had a special connection with the song and wanted the girls to do their best. The whole thing with the piano was interesting. The piano’s been a crutch to Nicolle, and Adam just yanked her security blanket away from her — and it was a welcome challenge, because she really wanted to push herself and prove that she’s a great singer and not just stuck in the pedals. Even though Mathai won, it was definitely close. I love the story of Mathai, by the way, because I think a lot of young people can relate to the relationship she has with her parents. When I met Mathai, she was a nursing student and her parents were not particularly happy that this was the career she had chosen. They were optimistically cautious to see how far this little TV-show pipe-dream of hers could go. But then she went out and killed her blind audition, made three chairs turned around, and now she’s working with Alanis Morissette and winning her battle round. You could see that change of excitement in her parents, and I think that’s such a great storyline that’s playing out that a lot of people can relate to.
Christina surprised everybody when she decided to pair up our first MC in Moses Stone with the country duo THE LiNE. It’s obviously rare to see country and hip-hop collaborate, but it definitely made for the most unique battle of the night. Moses has great stage presence already, so I think this battle was about Christina wanting to push Moses to tap into his vocal ability, and Lionel Richie helped him prepare for that. Moses wanted to show that it’s not all about the voice, and after the blind auditions, other things do in fact start coming into play: the mentoring, working with coaches, and showing off your style in the live shows. He knows how to win the crowd, so we’ll see how far that can take him. After the battle, Hailey from THE LiNE was not happy, and what you saw on TV was exactly the mood backstage. They both wanted it badly, and THE LiNE left it all out there during the performance, so she didn’t want to be interviewed afterwards, and rightfully so. It was a tough battle and a tough loss, and I wish them nothing but the best.
NEXT: Karla and Orlando, Justin and Tony and a tease for next week