The Voice season 18 Knockout Rounds begin 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.
Team Blake Shelton
Joei Fulco – When Will I Be Loved by Linda Ronstadt – Her dad is a body builder. She and her boyfriend are both MMA fighters. James mentions that he and Linda Ronstadt both worked with producer Peter Asher. Blake and James suggests she not mess with the melody too much. She’s no Linda Ronstadt, but the song is a good fit for her style. A compelling deep tone, with a bit of a rasp, she’s the gal who auditioned with a Cher song.
Levi Watkins – When Will I Be Loved Like This by Waylon Jennings – Levi promises that he’s not an outlaw. Obviously not. He’s only 14 years old. “I don’t need love, I’m an independent young man.” This kid is kind of funny. Blake says Levi has to figure out how to become the character in the story. This song might be over Levi’s head. The performance is…cute. The song’s theme is too much for him. But he does have a terrific tone in his his mid-range. Melodically, the song is in his sweet spot.
John calls the performances “perfect.” He would pick Levi. Nick has enjoyed watching Joei grow in the competition. He would pick her. Kelly thinks it’s cool that Levi knows Waylon’s music. She picks him, although she is a fan of Joei as well. Blake picks Joei. OK I’m surprised. He seemed to be a little obsessed with Levi, who calls him “Mr. Blake.” Kelly fans herself, she’s so taken by the adorable boy. Blake acknowledges that Levi still has some growing to do. Dang. We never got our Peter Brady moment in the lives.
Blake picks Joei, Levi is eliminated
Team Kelly Clarkson
We previewed this performance HERE.
Cammwess – Say Something by A Great Big World – Camm dropped out of school to pursue music. Kelly stole him from John. The song was one of the first Camm learned to play and sing at the same time. James says he learned a huge amount singing in church. Don’t oversing the song! That seems to be James’ main message to these singers. He’s the hero we didn’t ask for, but definitely the one we needed… John’s team was so full of talent, that he let go of the extremely talented Camm. His fast vibrato is distinctive. His voice isn’t perfect, but he’s so emotional, it doesn’t matter.
Megan Danielle – Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson – Like Kelly, her father left the family when she was young. Her grandfather stepped up to help. Her rehearsal had Kelly tearing up. James contends that understated moments can be powerful. She changed the lyrics a little to fit her personally, which Kelly is totally cool with. This is Megan’s best performance yet. It helps that it’s such a great song, and that she has a profound connection to the lyrics. Her head voice is lovely! But her growls at the end are too much.
Blake calls it a “neck and neck” competition. He’d choose Camm. John loves Megan’s tone and control. John calls Camm’s performance a “tour de force.” Nick says Camm crushed it. He calls Megan’s song choice “bold.” He can’t pick. Kelly picks Megan, Not a surprise. Kelly sees her young self in the singer. BUT THEN TWO STEALS FOR CAMM. Nick and John! John wants him back! “Why would you go back with an ex?” asks Nick. “You have the potential to win this thing.” John says, “I would love for you to come back to Team Legend.” And of course, Camm chooses John.
Kelly picks Megan, Nick and John steals Camm, Cam picks John
Team John Legend
Darious Lyles – Me and Mrs. Jones by Billy Paul – He played the song in high school marching band! James calls Darious a powerhouse. John reminds him to allow the character guide his choices. Let the high notes ring, he advises. Ha. There really is no way to update this song, it’s so quintessentially 70s. He does a nice job. Darious is s very smooth singer, and easily hits those all important notes on the verse.
Mike Jerel – Versace on the Floor by Bruno Mars – Mike is a cruise ship entertainer. It’s not an easy song to sing, says John. It doesn’t sound great in rehearsal, actually. John notes the flat moments. This song IS hard to sing. Most competition covers of this particular tune fall flat. It takes a very skilled and confident singer to pull it off. Mike has had good performances so far, but this is his worst. The song sits in an uncomfortable range, he strains all the way through it.
Nick appreciates Darious’ swag and confidence. Nick mentions the strained notes. He picks Darious. Kelly calls them both gifted. Blake would pick Darious, because he explored his range. Wow. John picks Mike, based on that terrible performance. Huh. Darious is eliminated.
John Picks Mike, Darious is Eliminated
Team Nick Jonas
Roderick Chambers – Redbone by Childish Gambino – Roderick sang the song to his infant son. He lives away from his kid now, and it’s hard. James compares Roderick’s style to Prince. Nick suggests he infuse a little attitude into the performance. Mike could take a few falsetto lessons from Roderick, who sounds so smooth and sweet by comparison. He’s doing a terrific job with a tough song.
Tate Brusa – The Scientist by Coldplay – His dad is a big Coldplay fan, attending a concert together a few years ago. James calls Tate a “prodigy.” Nick suggests a few adlibs. Nick sees a little of himself in Tate. The singer gets off on the wrong foot, singing out of key throughout the performance. This is very bad. VERY BAD. Tate is a better singer than this. Once again, choosing a song because PARENTS, usually a bad move.
Kelly can’t believe Tate is only 16, but she’d pick Roderick. Blake thinks Tate set the place on fire? And burned it down, maybe. Why doesn’t anyone hear the bad notes? John would pick Roderick. For Nick it’s a gut call. And he picks Roderick. Whew. I was afraid Nick would allow his affinity for Nick color his choice.
Nick picks Roderick, Tate is eliminated.
Team Blake Shelton
Cam Spinks – Rumor by Lee Brice – Cam is currently in a serious relationship. He plans on marrying her. Blake mentions the song has a pocket. James said he needs some grit. Cam is clearly more comfortable on stage performing a song that he chose. He’s got a nice tone, but overall, it’s a boring performance.
Todd Tilghman – Anymore by Travis Tritt – He’s been married 21 years and has 8 kids. They were 15 & 13 when they met. Blake thought he was a little bit shaky. He needs to settle down, Blake says. James makes a few timing suggestions. This is a pretty boring song, but Todd brings it to life in the chorus. His raspy voice has an urgency that never feels forced.
John notes Cam’s pitch problems. John felt Todd. Nick compares Todd’s voice to his dad, who is also a pastor. Kelly thinks Cam needs to allow himself more space. After learning that Todd’s wife picked his song, Kelly suggested she be his A&R person. Blake thinks Todd had his foot on the gas a little more than Cam. He picks Todd. That is the correct decision. Also, Cam’s battle performance got a negative edit. I wonder if he really is as hard to work with, as he seemed.
Blake picks Todd, Cam is eliminated.
Team John Legend
Welp. Someone is getting stolen here. We’ll see who.
Joanna Serenko – Angel from Montgomery by John Prine (Bonnie Raitt covered) – Amazing she picked this song. John Prine lost his life to Covid-19 last week. I love this song so much. James mentions he’s known Bonnie for years. “She brings a modern sound to it,” he says about Joanna’s version. “I know Bonnie would approve,” he says. Joanna is one of my favorites. This song fits her like a glove. She manages to channel Bonnie, while making the song her own. She ornaments a bit too much at the end, but over all–beautiful.
Zan Fiskum – The Story by Brandi Carlile – Brandi Carlile is from Zan’s hometown. “Try to give messages to the audience about who you are,” John advises. This performance is so much better than her Battle. She doesn’t have the strongest voice, but she knows how to make the most of what she has. She’s an extremely expressive singer. I’d still pick Joanna, However.
Nick regrets letting her go last time,. Ha. Kelly keeps losing her earring, and now Nick is wearing it. He looks so silly! Kelly calls the performances “even.” Blake would pick Zan. John picks Zan. Hm. Nick and Blake steal Joanna. The argument Nick made earlier against John’s old team member returning to the fold is now moot, he admits. Blake insists that he has believed in her since day one. He won’t play games with her…like Nick. She’s no dummy! “We had a great run,” she says to Nick, “But I just need to move on.” OHHHH THAT’S A DEEP BURN. She made a good decision, I think.
John Picks Zan, Nick and Blake Steal Joanna. Joanna picks Blake.
Moving on to the Playoffs:
Cammwess – Team Legend steals back from Team Kelly
Joanna Serenko – Team Blake steals from Team Legend (Nick tried to steal ber back and failed. Joanna has been a member of Team Nick, Team Legend and Team Blake!)