Before President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off in the second presidential debate Tuesday night, six pairs of singers (three glimpsed only briefly) went toe-to-toe in the battle rounds of "The Voice."
The singers may have been less combative, on the whole, than the politicians, but for them the stakes probably felt just as high. Which is why I feel compelled to express my pity for the poor contestants who get barely any screen time on these hourlong battle-round episodes, despite having been found worthy of making it past the blind auditions and, in half their cases, past these battle rounds as well. Those eliminated won't really get much exposure from their experience on "The Voice," and those who have advanced won't have earned much loyalty from the audience that will soon play a hand in selecting a winner.
I'm sure eliding these battles is a logistical necessity, now that more team members and an additional round have been stirred into this season's mix, but it has not been without its casualties.
Oh well. Those are the breaks, I guess. On to the battles:
Pairing: 25-year-old country singer Liz Davis vs. 18-year-old country singer Nicole Johnson
Song: "Baggage Claim"
Thoughts going in: Davis, though beautiful, isn't getting any younger, Blake Shelton noted, adding, that her break in the youth-oriented music biz "needs to happen now if it's ever going to."
The performances: Both came out swinging, and if either showed signs of the things Blake Shelton had warned them about -- diction problems in Davis' case and pitchiness in Johnson's -- I didn't notice.
The response: All the coaches praised the performances, which they found similarly strong, but Shelton had to make a pick, and he went with experience over youth (and occasional breathlessness): Davis.
Winner: Liz Davis
Steal? Sadly, no, leaving young Johnson in tears.