The Voice

Mafe, Val T. Webb shine in The Voice battles

Mafe and Rivers Grayson listen to the coaches' feedback on The Voice. (NBC Photo)

Mafe and Rivers Grayson listen to the coaches’ feedback on The Voice. (NBC Photo)


Val T. Webb snagged the final steal on The Voice as the Season 22 battles came to a close Monday night.

A four-chair turn recipient during the blind auditions, she’ll now be singing for Team John Legend.

Four other singers advanced to the knockout rounds during Tuesday’s episode, battle round winners Mafe from Team Legend, Ashley Bryant from Team Reba, Rletto from Team Chance and Anya True from Team Dan + Shay.

Unfortunately, that meant the elimination of AJ Harvey, Elyscia Jefferson and Rivers Grayson.

And kudos to The Voice for tightening up the editing so they could show a fairly decent snippet of the Anya-AJ battle.

The show aired about 42 seconds of the two and a half minute performance. Which isn’t great, but is a whole lot more than The Voice showed of the Dani Stacy vs. Corey Curtis battle on Monday’s two-hour show.

That said, no more than I give the show kudos for doing something right, I have to wonder what the hell is going on that the knockouts aren’t going to begin next week.

Instead, The Voice will air a clip show on Monday night and nothing on Tuesday.

And here I was hoping the schedule would allow for another live show at the end of the season because of the clip at which Season 22 was moving along. Silly me, right?

I should have known better. This is, after all, The Voice, which offered up just two voting episodes last spring.

Here’s the Tuesday recap.


Team Legend

The match: Mafe vs. Rivers Grayson
The background: Mafe, 22, Miami, turned 4 chairs in the blinds, performing “Besame Mucho.” Rivers, 27, of Muscle Shoals, Ala., got John to turn with his performance of “Babylon” by David Gray.
The song: “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King
The feedback: Reba complimented them on a “beautiful job.” She gave Mafe the edge. Chance complimented Rivers’ tone. And he praised Mafe’s sense of musical identity. He gave the edge to Rivers. Shay gave the edge to Mafe.
The outcome: John declared Mafe the winner, saying she’s one of the best artists in the competition and sounded beautiful singing in Spanish and English. Rivers was eliminated.
My take: Rivers opened the song with a really nice gentle approach. Mafe simply has a lovely vocal tone. She provided most of the vocal highlights during that very well done, tasteful performance. It was my favorite battle of the night. Unfortunately for Rivers, his laid back singer-songwriter vibe didn’t work to his advantage, especially not when he’s taking on a four-chair turn in the battles. But I agreed with the coaches; they sounded lovely together.
More on Mafe
More about Rivers Grayson


Team Reba

The match: Elyscia Jefferson vs. Ashley Bryant
The background: Elyscia Jefferson, 20, of Baltimore, Md., performed “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson, turning 3 chairs in the blinds. Ashley, 26, of Louisville, Ky., got Reba to turn singing “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood.
The song: “If I Were a Boy” by Beyonce
The feedback: Chance praised both singers, but gave the edge to Elyscia. Dan + Shay also loved the performance, but didn’t express a preference. John gave a slight edge to Ashley.
The outcome: Reba awarded the win to Ashley. Elyscia was eliminated.
My take:Elyscia is just 20, but performs much older, with a confidence that belies her youth. And she has such a rich voice. Ashley seemed a bit nervous at the open, but then nailed some impressive glory notes as the performance went on. She sounded much better than in the blinds. I was just super impressed with Elyscia and her potential upside at such a young age. I cannot believe Reba let her go. And since she did, I was really disappointed John didn’t steal her.
More on Ashley Bryant
More on Elyscia Jefferson

Team Chance

The match: Val T. Webb vs. Rletto
The background: Rletto, 27, of Orlando, Fla., turned 2 chairs in the blinds, performing “Golden Hour” by JVKE. Val, 43,of New Braunfels, Texas, turned 4 chairs, singing “Nobody’s Supposed to Be There” by Deborah Cox
The song: “Saving All My Love for You” by Whitney Houston
The feedback: The performance brought the coaches to their feet. Dan called it an iconic performance. He praised Val for her control and called Rletto “a star.” Neither Dan + Shay or John offered an opinion on who should win. Reba gave the edge to Val for her “stupendous” vocals, but also complimented Rletto for his style.
The outcome: Chance declared Rletto the winner of the battle, saying he loves his individuality. John then saved Val as she was walking off the stage. Her praised her range and tone.
My take: Val turned in a professional performance from the very first note on a song that was probably a bit more suited to her. She was superb and will have to be throughout the competition because Voice fans have never shown proper appreciation for female R&B artists. Rletto is the flashier contestant and showed off nice range, but I’m not sure he nailed those big notes early in the performance. He also needs to open his eyes more to make an emotional connection, especially when singing a ballad like that. I thought Val won handily.
More about Rletto
More on Val T. Webb


Team Dan+Shay

The match: AJ Harvey vs. Anya True
The background: AJ, 25, of Norman, Okla., turned 2 chairs in the blinds, performing “Girl from the North Country” by Bob Dylan. Anya, 17, of Encinitas, Calif., performed “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez in the blinds, turning 2 chairs.
The song: “Half of My Heart” by John Mayer
The feedback: Shay praised Anya’s growth since the blinds. Dan praised AJ’s sense of musical identity. We didn’t get to hear from any of the other coaches on the performance.
The outcome: Dan + Shay declared Anya the winner. AJ was eliminated. Shay says Anya has intangible star power.
My take: Impossible to tell. The Voice showed more of the performance than they normally do when they cut the battle short, but most of the 41-second musical clip they showed featured AJ and Anya singing harmonies. I do enjoy Anya’s unique vocal tone.
More on AJ Harvey
More on Anya True

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