Melanie Martinez and Caitlin Michelle on "The Voice." (Tyler Golden / NBC )
Apparently we're not the only one's loving "The Voice's" new coach steal. The coaches like it, too.
"The option to steal the artists definitely ups the stakes," Christina Aguilera said at the top of Tuesday night's battle-round show.
Blake Shelton agreed. "It's got all the coaches paying more attention than ever before," he said, "because we do have something at stake."
But the new twist – and the new knockout round that will trim the teams following battle rounds – may have required cuts and concessions: Of the five battle rounds we were shown in Tuesday's episode, two flickered for only seconds on our screens before a winner was declared.
Those quickie rounds were …
Pairing: Tennessee high school student Celica Westbrook versus former gymnast Lisa Scinta
Song: "My Life Would Suck Without You"
Winner: Celica Westbrook
Pairing: Smog technician Charlie Rey versus dedicated dad and grandpa Rudy Parris
Song: "Bad Day"
Winner: Rudy Parris
And the rounds we saw in full? They were …
Team Cee Lo
Pairing: Hilarious rodeo singer Cody "Bam-Bam" Belew versus ultra-confident hip-hop dancer DOMO (a.k.a. "D to the O to the M to the O")
Thoughts going in: Green said he'd put together a dancer who can sing and a singer who can dance, and wanted to see who would rise to the occasion. Belew worried that DOMO had an advantage because she's female who has "curves for days" and that's what Green "goes at night to sleep thinking about."
The performances: Belew needn't have worried. When he's on stage, there's simply no way to look away from him. That spanking move he did? Genius!
The response: Shelton found DOMO beautiful and Belew good-looking but wasn't sure who won the sing-off, and Aguilera and Adam Levine were impressed that DOMO had reined herself in a bit. Green, though, didn't think either contestant really made a mark as a singer, so he went with his "personal preference." No, DOMO's curves didn't carry the day. Green picked Belew because, he said, he got a kick out of him and he made him "feel really good."
Winner: Cody Belew
Steal? Nope, though Domo did get sympathy and sweet words from Belew.
Pairing: 24-year-old Aquile versus 15-year-old Nathalie Hernandez
Song: "You Make It Real"
Thoughts going in: At first, Aquile really seemed to have the upper hand. "You just killed it. I think it sounded better than the original," guest mentor Billie Joe Armstrong told him. But then Hernandez showed improvement during rehearsals, and given Aguilera's penchant for picking young women she thinks she can shape, it seemed to be anyone's game.
The performances: Aquile was smooth and solid. Hernandez sounded sweet but a bit tentative.
The response: The coaches had kind words for both singers, marveling at how impressive Hernandez's composure and talent are for her age, but that seemed like a consolation prize. "Aquile you're ready, and Nathalie you will be soon," Levine said. It was Aguilera's call to make, though, and she chose Aquile.
Steal? Sadly, no.
Pairing: Melanie Martinez versus Caitlin Michele, in a battle of the quirky singers with bangs
Thoughts going in: Both interesting singers with their own trademark style, Martinez and Michele both had bad days in rehearsal. "Melanie and Caitlin are equally capable of winning this battle," Levine said, noting that it was going to come down to "who wants it more."
The performances: Michele was haunting and powerful; Martinez was breathy, strange and soulful. Two different flavors of good.
The response: Aguilera called it the "prettiest and most moving performance of the whole day" and said there was "no right or wrong choice." Levine said he wanted to keep them both but since that wasn't possible, he went with his gut and picked Martinez.
Winner: Melanie Martinez
Steal? Yes! Both Green and Shelton hit their steal buttons for Michele, and no matter how much Shelton – who made a play for her during blind auditions – tried to convince her she'd be a "natural fit" for his team, she wasn't buying it. She picked Team Cee Lo. "You got denied twice," Aguilera told Shelton. "She must really hate me," Shelton replied but then generously added that, regardless, he was happy she'd remained in the competition. Aw, there's the nice-guy Blake we remember from last season.