The Voice season 18 Knockout Rounds end tonight with coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas. Carson Daly hosts. We’ll be live blogging all the Knockout performances right here.
Legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor joins The Voice as Mega Mentor to help the coaches get their teams ready for competition.
As far as the round’s format is concerned, the coaches pair up singers. Each will perform a song of their choosing. Afterward, the coach picks one to advance to the next round. Each coach gets ONE steal. Tonight, 4 contestants saved from each team during the Battles will sing for a spot in the next round. YOUR votes will determine the winner.
Team John Legend
Mandi Castillo – Stand by Me by Ben E. King – Both John and James covered the Ben E. King classic. She’s dedicating her song to a good friend struggling with recurrent cancer. John compares her voice to honey. James notes the faster tempo, but it works for her. “She gave it a more modern rendition,” James says. Her voice sounds shaky and off pitch. Not her best performance. Is she nervous? Her vocals so far have been so smooth. She has a few beautiful moments, but it’s an uneven performance.
Thunderstorm Artis – Preach by John Legend – Thunderstorm grew up in a Christian family. John is usually squirrly about contestants covering his songs, but he appreciates this rendition. However, John has some ideas to tweak the arrangement. “Keep your eyes open,” advises James, who feels a kinship with the singer. Thunderstorm completely transforms the song into something new. That’s an advantage. He’s incapable of sounding karaoke. I would choose Thunderstorm, if only to see what he does next.
Both are Nick’s favorites. They were both 4 chair turns. He would pick Thunderstorm. Kelly felt Mandi was more competitive. Blake would also choose Mandi, because she “swung for the fences” a little more. John calls the choice “tough.” He loves Mandi’s vibrato. He chooses Mandi. Thank God Nick steals him. I pegged Thunderstorm as a finalist.
John chooses Mandi, Thunderstorm is stolen by Nick!
Team Nick Jonas
Jon Mullins – Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran – Nick stole Jon from Blake. Jon’s backstory is that his wife recovered from a very serious brain injury. James suggests he emphasise the “triplets” more. And Nick wants to modulate. Like an 80’s power battle! Heh. And indeed, the arrangement is dated with the addition of The Big Key Change (!!!). Jon has a big booming voice, but cheesing him up even more does the singer no favors.
Arei Moon – You Don’t Know My Name by Alicia Keys – Nick blocked Kelly from Arei in the Blinds. For the singer, the song describes how she willed a relationship with her future husband into existence. James gives Arei tips on how to sing in her lower register. Nick suggests singing the beginning straightforward, so she has more room to grow, which turns out to be very good advice. Arei pulls the listener into her world. The song is an excellent showcase for her voice.
Kelly calls them both powerful singers. Kelly would choose Arei. Blake would go with Jon because he “really went for it.” John reveals he sang background vocals on Arei’s song! Nick chooses Arei. Correct decision! He calls the young singer a “superstar.”
Nick chooses Arei. Jon is eliminated.
Team Kelly Clarkson
Tayler Green – Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper – Kelly wants to slow the tempo down to give Tayler more space. This is a hard song to cover! It’s so beloved–competition singers perform it at their own peril. This version is…OK. She needs more dynamics, her vocal doesn’t vary much throughout the performance. John seems to love it, however. And she got a standing ovation. I guess I’m in the minority?
Micah Iverson – Graveyard by Halsey – Micah chose a song way out of his wheelhouse. He changes the arrangement. Kelly and James are both impressed with his ambitious song choice. Kelly wants him to go darker. This performance might be his best yet. It’s emotional, rangy, effortless. Micah doesn’t have a strong voice, but he has range and knows how to use it. He’s one of my favorites.
Blake didn’t like Micah’s song choice. He thought Tayler “soared.” John agrees. Damn. I disagree completely. Her version was pedestrian. Nick didn’t like Micah’s song choice either. Weird. Kelly notes how hard Micah’s song is to sing. Kelly compares Tayler to Annie Lennox. It’s such a dramatic choice for Kelly…time for a commercial break! And Kelly picks Micah. He’s one of her favorites. I’m not surprised she’s sticking with him. I think Kelly set Tayler up as canon fodder, but then she unexpectedly exceeded everyone’s expectations. Nick wishes he had a steal.
Kelly picks Micah. Tayler is eliminated.
Team Nick Jonas
Allegra Miles – Chandelier by Sia – Allegra shares that she has suffered depression in her life, and music healed her. Nick loves her rendition, but suggests she enunciate a little more. Allegra’s interpretation of the song is alluring. She doesn’t possess a huge voice, but she conveys emotion nevertheless. The performance is not perfect–but overall, it works.
Jacob Miller – Better Now by Post Malone – Jacob is a folk singer. But he chose a pop song, in order to appeal to a broader audience. James gives Jacob tips on expressing emotion. Nick thinks he needs to stay in his lane as he interprets the song. The guitar intro is beautiful–a lovely performance. So understated–but the low-key vibe will probably work against him.
Kelly thinks both were even. Blake agrees. He admires Jacob’s guitar skills. But he’d go with Allegra. John wants more “charm” on Jacob’s singing. John notes Allegra’s poor enunciation. He can’t pick. Nick picks Allegra. Not surprising.
Nick picks Allegra, Jacob is eliminated.
Team Kelly Clarkson
Gotta make room for the 4 way knockout! The mentor session with James is skipped over completely and we only see a little bit of Mandi Thomas’ performance of My Church by Maren Morris. Anya Cheyenne’s “Praying” by Kesha will live on in an NBC vault, somewhere.
Kelly picks Mandi Thomas, Anaya Cheyenne is eliminated
Team Blake Shelton
Toneisha Harris – Diamonds by Rihanna – Her late father had a massive heart attack. They were very close. James calls her voice the best in the group of singers, comparing her to Streisand or Aretha. Blake noted a couple of sharp notes. “Calm yourself down,” he says. James admits he still gets nervous before a performance. Toneisha is the more conventional singer of the pair, but she’s incredible, consistent and effortless. She doesn’t hit a wrong note here. John is literally on his feet before the song is over.
Cedrice – Love on the Brain by Rihanna – Blake stole Cedrice from John. She calls the Battles really “humbling.” James compares Cedrice’s voice to “baked alaska.” Blake gives her pointers on hitting the high notes. Cedrice’s boyfriend, the love of her life, inspired the song pick. It’s not an ambitious song choice. She’s probably playing it safe after being eliminated. But, it’s a beautiful and soulful performance. She commands the stage.
John loves his former team member Cedrice, but he believes Toneisha belongs in the finale. Nick wishes Toneisha was on his team. “You could win this show,” he says. Kelly believes BOTH could be in the finale. Blake picks Toneisha. She’s his girl. Kelly steals Cedrice! I’m glad Kelly stole her. Cedrice has a signature style that can’t be denied.
Blake picks Toneisha and Kelly steals her!
TIME FOR THE FOUR WAY KNOCKOUT! VOTE NOW on The Voice phone app or at TheVoice.com. THE VOTE CLOSES AT 7 AM ET TOMORROW (Tues 4/20)
Todd Michael Hall – Somebody to Love by OneRepublic – Team Blake – James is impressed with his range. Blake suggests he be as aggressive on the verses as he is in the chorus. Surprisingly, he’s not singing the Queen classic, which would be up his alley. Hm. For the first time, his high notes sound pitchy and strained. I didn’t care for that. Blake calls Todd’s range “stupid” but in a good way, of course.
Nelson Cade III – Best Part by Daniel Caesar with H.E.R. – Team Legend – James calls Nelson’s voice “warm and airey.” John thinks the audience will be looking for fireworks. He needs to bring it, John says. This performance is soooo niiiiice. It’s not a vote getting type of song, unfortunately. His pitch is beautiful. Terrific phrasing. But without a money note, Nelson is done. John asks America to please vote!
Michael Williams – You are the Reason by Calum Scott – Team Nick – Nick warns Michael to watch his pitch. Now this is a competition performance. Emotion, power, the big big money note. Nick calls Michael’s performance his best yet.
Samantha Howell – Always on My Mind by Willie Nelson – Team Kelly – After Samantha sings in rehearsal, James actually salutes her. Kelly gives her phrasing tips. Samantha delivers a pretty and traditional version of the song. She builds the emotion nicely, with a few well placed high notes, showing off her range. Kelly praises Samantha’s tone, calling it “captivating.”
Next Monday….clip show! The next live show is scheduled for Monday May 4, when the winner of the 4 way Knockout will be revealed. (Yes, The Voice will go virtual for the lives).