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‘The Voice’ Recap: Usher Proves He’s Toughest Judge To Impress

Mon, April 15, 2013 10:05pm EDT by Emily Longeretta 7 Comments
The Voice Usher
Courtesy of NBC

The battle rounds on ‘The Voice’ are always intense, so when season four’s kicked off April 15, we weren’t surprised to see fierce performances, tough choices… and of course, shocking steals!

Adam LevineBlake SheltonUsher and Shakira did not have it easy April 15 on The Voice. Night one of the battle rounds was full of outstanding performances, leaving the judges in tough spots. But Team Usher may need to put in a little more effort in order to make a lasting impression.

Usher May Be Impossible To Impress

When it was time to see Team Usher, the singer chose Jess Kellner to go up against Taylor Beckham, and we knew it was going to be an epic fight. Usher chose Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” to showcase both their strong voices — but he wanted more.

“I want you to energetically attract me towards you,” Usher said when the girls were rehearsing, then went and stood on the other side of the room, hoping one of them would draw him in.

“You guys have some great voices; that’s only one component of being an incredible entertainer,” he told them. “Performing is not only about hitting the right note, it’s about what you can do to captivate me.”

During the next clip of rehearsals, he told the girls to get excited and actually perform. And that they did! Jess went right into Usher’s face and he loved it.

Usher Not Impressed: ‘The Work Is Going To Get Harder’

However, when both girls brought their A-game to the stage for the battle, he wasn’t as impressed as the other judges.

“I can’t say that you both came out here and 100% lit it on fire the way that I know you can,” he said before making his decision. “I want to make sure that you understand the work is only going to get harder from here.”

From there, he went with Jess. While both performances were great, I think it was because she really listened to his direction in rehearsals.

Regardless, he really made it hard for the girls to impress him, putting them under a great deal of pressure. It worked, since they rocked the stage and he knew what they were capable of, but it was a bit shocking how brutally honest and unimpressed he was.

The Battle Rounds Kick Off With Multiple Steals

The battle rounds were completely changed last season when they introduced the steal, so this season, the steal was a powerful weapon right off the bat!

The first battle of the night was a shocking one: Adam paired up judge-favorite Sasha Allen against country star Amber Carrington to sing Pink‘s “Fly.”

Both girls were tremendous, leaving me feeling sorry that Adam had to make that decision. Then, I had to pick my jaw off the floor when Adam chose Amber over Sasha. However, not to worry — you may remember that she turned all the chairs!

Carson Daly began talking to Sasha, and both Usher and Shakira pressed their buttons immediately — they wanted to steal her! And she shocked us all by choosing Team Shakira.

“I don’t get it,” Usher told the camera afterward. “I was dumbfounded, flabbergasted.”

He then told Sasha, who came to hug him afterward, “You’ve got a great coach. … I’m better, though.”

The second steal of the night went to Team Blake. After Usher chose Jess over Taylor, Carson was about to send her off, but Blake interrupted, saying, “I like Taylor,” before slamming down on his button!

Team Adam Puts On Best Battle Ever

The final steal took place after the last performance of the night, as Team Adam’s Judith Hill went up against Karina Iglesias. Singing “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” in probably the most intense battle of all time, the ladies got a standing ovation from all four judges!

“That was not a great battle; that was the best battle I’ve ever seen on this show,” Adam said. “You guys floored me!”

After contemplating for a while, he had to make a really difficult choice … and he chose Judith! And, of course, Shakira jumped on her button to steal Karina. (Remember how mad she was when she didn’t pick her?)

“Not turning for Karina in the blind auditions has been haunting me!” Shakira said. And now, she’s got her! Shakira’s used both her steals, but was it worth it? I’d say so!

What did you think of the start of the battle rounds? Tell me, HollywoodLifers, do you think Usher is too tough of a coach?

WATCH: The Voice – Battle Rounds Recap
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— Emily Longeretta

More ‘The Voice’ News:

  1. ‘The Voice’ Recap: Blake Shelton Offers To Adopt Contestant
  2. ‘The Voice’ Judges Have Great Chemistry — Season 4 Is The Best Yet
  3. ‘The Voice’ Recap: Adam Levine Tells Shakira To ‘Shut Up’ In Spanish