The Voice: 5 Contestants To Watch In The Battle Rounds

With the blind auditions behind them, “The Voice” coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera are raring to go.

The 12 contestants each coach has chosen now head into the battle round, where the coaches must pit two of their team members against each other in a duet. One will stay, one will go. Unless, of course another coach wants to steal the loser. This is after all a reality show. You have to keep it interesting, right?

So, who will fare well in this fight to the singing finish? We take a look at some contestants sure to take down their opponents.

James Irwin – Audiences were brought to tears last season when James’ intensely sad story was revealed that he and his wife had lost their twins 10 minutes after their birth. He didn’t make it through last season which I think upset a lot of faithful viewers. But being sent home did not deter James. He continued working on his vocal skills and came back stronger this year. His rendition of “Losing My Religion” turned all four chairs, a first for a second-time-around contestant. James will duke it out against team mate Matt Cermanski next week on Team Adam, as shown in promos.

Bottom Line: He’s good looking, he seems incredibly sweet and audiences have connected with his tragic story. He can easily win votes going forward. James also was close to getting a record deal at one point while he was trying to make it. At just 20 years old, Matt (also a contestant who returned for a second chance) may have a hard time keeping up in the battle round.

Tessanne Chin – She used to tour with reggae king Jimmy Cliff and her soulful singing literally had Adam begging this Jamaican beauty to join his team after all four coaches turned their chairs, telling her “I want it bad” and saying “Man, you could easily win ‘The Voice’ this year. I don’t have a doubt, not a doubt.”

Bottom Line: In perhaps a cruel match up, Tessanne will compete against Donna Allen, once a backup singer for The Miami Sound Machine. While both are obviously amazing singers, Tessanne is way more marketable than Donna. She’s got a unique look and a unique sound.

Shelbie Z – It was no surprise that a country artist was the first to join Team Blake this season. This former child beauty pageant queen (think Honey Boo all grown up and mature) had everyone’s chair turning except Adam during her take on Gretchen Wilson’s country anthem “Here for the Party.” Clad in cowboy boots and super sassy, it was hard not to like her country swagger. She even had her coach Blake Tweeting, “Those boots are made for Shelton!”

Bottom Line: It looks like in the promos Shelbie goes head to head with Alabama cowboy Justin Chain. Both are pure country but Shelbie has got more experience coupled with a Wynonna Judd style swagger that Justin most likely won’t be able to compete with here.

Matthew Schuler – Holy moly this kid has got some talent. During an early press screening of the first episode, every TV critic/journalist took notice when Matthew started singing, predicting this could very well be the Season 5 winner. All four chairs turned the fastest in “The Voice” history as the 20-year-old college student sang Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup” only getting through a few words before the coaches hit their buttons. Adam gave Matthew a standing ovation on top of his chair. The judges were clawing over each other to win him on their team but Christina’s begging, “Please let me be the first female coach to win this thing” was what sealed it.

Bottom Line: The promo showed Matthew battling with rocker Jacob Poole singing Fall Out Boy’s “Light Em Up” in the battle rounds and they both actually sounded really good. However, Christina was the only one to turn her chair for him during his audition. So, I think it safe to say so long Jacob. Matthew is going all the way to the top and may just give Christina that win.

Caroline Pennell – CeeLo’s team is the hardest to say who might stand out since he certainly has the most eclectic mix of artists. If seasons past have shown us anything, it’s that audiences seem to connect with young, country and quirky. Caroline certainly fills young and quirky. The 17-year-old high school student’s unique voice stood out while singing Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Can Happen.”

Bottom Line: Caroline does lack experience here but remember how well the equally young and quirky Melanie Martinez did in season 3.

“The Voice” airs Monday and Tuesday nights at 8 ET/PT on NBC.

-- Laura Saltman

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