The Voice season 17 Knockouts conclude tonight with coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Gwen Stefani, and featuring pop star Taylor Swift serving as “Mega Mentor” for each of the coaches. Each team has ONE steal. But this season–no saves! Carson Daly hosts. At the end of tonight’s show, a TOP 20 will be revealed.
The Voice 17 Knockouts: Marybeth Byrd vs Preston C. Howell (VIDEO)
The Voice 17: Bye Bye Top 24 Playoffs, a Wildcard, No Tuesday Lives?
The Voice Season 17 TV Schedule: Blinds, Battles, Knockouts, Lives
Blake Shelton has the remaining steal.
Marybeth Byrd vs Preston C Howell – Team Legend
Preston C. Howell – The Way You Look Tonight – He sang Fire and Rain in the Battles. It was out of his comfort zone! So he’s back to his Bublé deal. John warns him to find unique melodic moments that allow him to be unique. Taylor suggests he flirt with the audience. Preston has a warm tone, but he often sounds underpitch to my ears. His vocal verges on laconic, like he doesn’t quite get there. He reminds me a little of Perry Como. (For the olds!). Also, he reminds me a little of a young David Archuleta. NOT his vocal style–his look and the way he carries himself. So he takes Taylor’s advice and winks at Gwen. Gotta admit it’s rather charming.
Marybeth Byrd – All I Ask by Adele – Growing up, Marybeth had a stutter. But when she heard Adele, she realized singing would afford her a stutter-free zone. Oh. Blake predicts Marybeth will be in the finale. John suggest she work around the lower notes. Change it if she’s not comfortable. Taylor admits she throws away notes if she can’t sing them. No kidding. I know Marybeth loves her some Adele, but I hope she sticks to Americana if she lasts in the competition. Although she sings it well, I’m not digging her as an AC artist. And yes, she struggles a little on the verse. But when she hits her upper register, she’s terrific. She puts her own spin on the song. She sings with passion that’s blessedly free of oversinging.
Gwen calls Preston a phenom. She appreciated his stage presence. She thinks Marybeth’s style is coming out. Kelly notes how hard the Adele song is to sing. She loves how she’s working strategy. Kelly wants Preston to flip a song. Blake insists Preston already flipped a song- stupidly calling Preston’s Blind Audition pick, “Dream a Little Dream,” a Mamas & Pappas song (Cass Elliot recorded it solo and SHE COVERED A DANG STANDARD). Blake admires Marybeth for swinging at the fences. John is having a tough time deciding who to pick. Blake suggests going to commercial. AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS. John Picks Marybeth!!!!! OK I’m shocked. SHOCKED. I predicted Blake would steal Marybeth. WRONG. Preston C. Howell is eliminated They pimped the heck out of that kid. Until they didn’t.
Ricky Braddy vs Zach Bridges – Team Blake
Ricky Braddy – So High by John Legend – NOT MENTIONED: Ricky was a Top 36 contestant on American Idol season 8 in 2009. Totally mentioned: He came out as gay in his Blind Auditions video package. He wants to win the knockout for his boyfriend. Wow. His boyfriend never saw him perform before his live audition? Really? Taylor suggests he start the performance standing still, gradually working up to moving his body. Taylor and Blake warn him not to spend it all too soon. This is Ricky’s best performance so far. He’s bringing the emotion up gradually. The pacing is beautiful. He hits a high note and the crowd is totally with him. He ends with an impressive falsetto. Wow. KELLY IS CRYING.
Zach Bridges – The Dance by Garth Brooks – He impressed Blake with a cover of his song in the Blind auditions. He grew up in Pearl, Mississippi. He wants to be Blake’s country guy. Blake thinks he’s taking a big risk singing such a beloved song. Taylor works with him on stage presence. He seems awkward! She suggests that he work on connecting to the audience. Zach can’t get rid of his nerves. “Shake it off!” says Blake. Har har. He has that classic country tone. But the performance lacks punch. He also still seems really nervous. He needs to get out of his own head. Zach does have a nice tone. But compared to say, Jake Hoot from Team Kelly, Zach’s performance is competent karaoke at best.
John rarely compliments artists when they cover his songs, but he does it here, calling Ricky’s high notes “thrilling.” He appreciates Zach’s tone, but feels Ricky gave the better performance. Gwen says her jaw was on the floor after Ricky’s performance. She believes he could sing any genre. Gwen compliments Zach’s “storytelling” voice. Kelly felt Zach didn’t stray enough from Garth Brook’s rendition. She feels Ricky could be in the finale. Blake Picks Ricky! YAY! Zach is Eliminated. Blake believes Ricky COULD WIN the show.
Myracle Holloway vs Calvin Lockett – Team Gwen – A quick montaged Knockout from Myracle and Calvin. We see a bit of Gwen and Taylor coaching Myracle as she rehearses “Can We Talk” by Tevin Campbell. Calvin is totally missing in action. I wonder if he blew it. Gwen Picks Myracle. Calvin is Eliminated.
Damali vs Gracee Shriver – Team Kelly – THIS is where Blake uses his steal. Both artists are 16 years old
Damali – Sober by Demi Lovato – A senior at a military school, Damali is singing for a friend who struggled with addiction. Kelly suggests she go bigger, but Damali is scared! Kelly thinks she can do it. Now, her tone is not only cool, but comes across in an authentic way. There is simplicity in the way she inhabits the song’s emotion. Beautiful. Her voice cracks at one point. But it kind of works.
Gracee Shriver – Leave the Pieces by the Wreckers – Gracee auditioned at the end of the Blinds. Blake’s team was full and he was MAD. Hm. Taylor notes that she and Gracee share a signature look. And they are both drawn to break up songs. Taylor likes that she brought a “yodel vibe” to her performance. Kelly is looking for “bluegrassy sad.” Taylor thinks making the production more “desperate” would work. Gracee has an awesome throwback sound with an appealing break in her voice. She’s natural too–authentic and effortless. She throws in a few well placed growls. Nice.
Blake feels Damili is stepping into her moment. She was a one chair turn. Blake loves Gracee’s tone. John felt Damali’s storytelling connected. He’d pick Gracee though. He also loves her tone. Gwen thought Damali had Grammy performance moments. She feels Gracee has an original sound. But she’d pick Damili. Kelly can’t decide. She begs for “10 seconds with me and the Lord.” Carson snarks back “Kelly this is God. Even I say the time is now!” Finally Kelly Picks Damili. AND OF COURSE Blake Steals Gracee. But not after waiting forever while Gracee likens Kelly to a mom and cries and Kelly falls to her knees and cries. He’s so mean. “Believe more in yourself,” Kelly says to Gracee. “You’re more powerful than you know.”
Advancing to the Playoffs
Marybeth Byrd – Team Legend
Ricky Braddy – Team Blake
Myracle Holloway – Team Gwen
Damali – Team Kelly
Gracee Shriver – Team Blake Steals from Team Kelly
Preston C. Howell – Team Legend
Zach Bridges – Team Blake
Calvin Lockett – Team Gwen
The Voice 17 TOP 20