The Voice season 21 Knockout Rounds BEGIN tonight with returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. Pop star Ariana Grande joins the panel. Carson Daly returns as host. We’ll be live blogging all the performances as the coaches choose singers to advance to the LIVE SHOWS.
British pop star Ed Sheeran serves as Mega-Mentor to each coach, as they prepare their team members to face off against one another.
Like the Battles, team members will be paired up. But in this round, each singer performs a solo of their own choosing. After both artists sing, their coach choose which of the pair is eliminated, and which goes home. Each coach can steal ONE singer from another team!
The Voice 21 Spoilers: Week 1 Knockout Pairings and Song Choices
The Voice 21 Spoilers: Top 20 Contestant List – Knockout Pairings & Songs
The Voice Knockout: Hailey Green vs Libianca Crush Blake Shelton’s Soul
REMINDER: NO SPOILERS IN COMMENTS. Keep spoiler talk under spoiler posts above, thank you.
Jonathan Mouton vs Wendy Moten – Team Blake
Wendy explains that she’s been a member of the Time Jumpers, which sings traditional country music. But Aretha is her core. She likes being a storyteller. Ed thinks she has star quality. He suggests that she not use a mic stand. Blake couldn’t even remember who he stole Jonathan from. That’s not a good sign. It’s John Legend fyi. Jonathan’s mom sang the 70’s classic while he was hospitalized with cancer. Ed advises Jonathan not to do all the runs right away.
Jonathan Mouton – I Can See Clearly Now by Jimmy Cliff (Johnny Nash) – He starts acapella, which shows off beautiful tone. The song kicks into the familiar reggae beat on the second verse. He switches up the phrasing just enough to make it his own. This matchup is unfortunate. There should be a place for Jonathan in the Live Shows.
Wendy Moten – Ain’t No Way by Aretha Franklin – Wendy is so beyond The Voice. But she’s here, because her career never took off. And that’s the way it is sometimes. She has an incredible instrument. Her performances are effortless, like singing is second nature to her.
Ariana says Wendy blew it out of the water. She’d have to give the Knockout to Wendy. John likes the subtleties and the big notes in Wendy’s voice. All the judges have compliments for Jonathan. But Wendy is the clear winner. “I think you have to give it to Wendy,” says Kelly. Wendy chokes up, as she thanks the coaches. Blake says Jonathan blew him away. But “the only problem…is that Wendy blew the building away.” He expects to see her in the finale.
Blake picks Wendy Moten. Jonathan is ELIMINATED
It turns out, Ed and Ariana have known each other since 2012, and have collaborated on some stuff. Katie has been away from her husband and 3 year old child. She misses them. So insert “family” for “god” in this interpretation of Lauren Daigle’s worship song. Ed gives Katie advice on her phrasing. He loves her “tiny runs.” For Raquel, “Valerie” reminds her of her mom, who is her No. 1 supporter. Ed appreciates Raquel’s spontaneity. Ariana really hopes the loser is stolen.
Raquel Trinidad vs Katie Rae – Team Ariana
Katie Rae – Hold on to Me by Lauren Daigle – Katie is a bit old-fashioned. But she does have a huge impressive voice. Her top notes are clear and beautiful. Her tone is lovely. She’s just this side of generic, however.
Raquel Trinidad – Valerie by the Zutons (Amy Winehouse) – I’m not sure this is a good song choice for Raquel. She sounds off pitch, thin and reedy. Her audition and battle were better than this. She’s got great stage presence, though. And she performs with confidence.
John thinks Katie Rae had heart and connection. John loves Raquel’s charisma, however. He chooses her. Kelly loves Katie’s tone. “One of my favorites of the whole show.” But, she loves Raquel’s sweet sass. She’d pick Katie. Blake says Raquel lit up the room. But Katie sang with emotion. Still, he’d pick Raquel. Ariana picks Raquel. “I’m just excited to work with her from a technical standpoint,” says Ariana. But then Kelly steals Katie!
Ariana picks Raquel Trinidad, Katie is STOLEN BY Kelly Clarkson
Gymani vs Kinsey Rose – Team Kelly
Kelly and Ed were neighbors in Nashville! Gymani is a single mom and has not found the deep love PILLOWTALK speaks of. Kelly was unsure of the song choice, until she opened her mouth. Gymani is a big Ed stan! He compares her to Jazmine Sullivan. He and Kelly love her rasp. The coaches fought over Kinsey in the Battles. Her grandfather passed last summer. “Strawberry Wine” was one of the last songs she sang for him. Ed tells both singers to “never get discouraged.”
Gymani – PILLOWTALK by Zayn – Gymani interprets this song in such a novel way. She’s an incredible song stylist. Her phrasing is so powerful. And I agree with Kelly and Ed about her rasp. It gives her tone that extra something. Sing Gymani! Shouts John. Ditto.
Kinsey Rose – Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter – Poor Kinsey, following a powerhouse like Gymani. Kelly kept saying how different they were. “They would have come up against each other eventually.” Really? Kinsey sounds limp by comparison. She’s a bit pitchy. And although I realize this song is beloved in country circles. It’s boring.
Blake would go with Gymani. Ariana can’t choose. She thinks they both are unique. Kelly relates to both of them musically. “It’s me split in two!” Kelly picks who she thinks is the better competitor–Gymani. She thinks she came to win. Kinsey is eliminated.
Kelly picks Gymani, Kinsey Rose is ELIMINATED
Sabrina Dias vs Joshua Vacanti – Team Legend
Sabrina chose to sing “Photograph” and had no idea Ed was the Mega Mentor. She rehearses the song with guitar AND drums! Sabrina used to sing “Photograph” to her fiance. When she left home for The Voice, Sabrina left one note a day for her. Ed likes the energy that Sabrina brought. And much to her delight, he sings harmonies with her. John wants her to shred vocally more. The Voice was a big break for Joshua. He heard a ton of nos before. He’s a worship leader back home, but wants more for his music career. Ed suggests he pull back on the runs.
Joshua Vacanti – Falling by Harry Styles – Joshua delivers a very emotional, contemporary rendition of the song. He turns the it into a HUGE ballad. But he’s so sincere, it doesn’t feel oversung. Joshua poured himself into that. Big props for not holding back.
Sabrina Dias – Photograph by Ed Sheeran – The multi-instruments are distracting. Especially after following Joshua who was pure vocal adrenaline, Sabrina needed to bring the best that she could VOCALLY. This performance is competent, but nothing special.
Kelly calls Joshua’s performance “effortless.” Kelly compliments Sabrina’s artistry. But Joshua wins, because he brought the vocals. Blake likes that Joshua “swung for the fences.” He’d vote for him. Ariana picks Sabrina because she “brought out 85 instruments, and didn’t miss a beat vocally.” Joshua wins the Knockouts. Sabrina is eliminated.
John picks Joshua Vacanti. Sabrina Dias is ELIMINATED
Hailey Green vs Libianca – Team Blake
She chose Blake’s song because it reminds her of the Mississippi town where she grew up. Blake thinks the guitar is a distraction from the vocal. Libianca has battled anxiety and depression after attending boarding school in Cameroon. She breaks down while singing during rehearsal. Ed suggests she think of something random if she becomes too emotional. Ed was on a TV show at 16, he says.
Hailey Green – God’s Country by Blake Shelton – Astonishingly, Hailey’s head was half shaved during rehearsal. So obviously WIG for the performance. She decides to use her guitar, but take Blake and Ed’s advice not to play much. Her vocal is very powerful. She sings like a rock n’ roll star.
Libianca – everything i wanted by Billie Eilish – Libianca’s performance is nuanced, yet full of emotion. She works through the lyrics, building the song slowly. Her head voice is gorgeous. Just tremendous.
Ariana would give the knockout to Libianca. John calls Liabianca’s vocal a “master class” which is why he’d pick her. Kelly calls Hailey a “baby Janis Joplin.” She’d pick her. Describing the choice as soul-crushing, Blake picks Libianca. Hailey was a no turn in season 19. She thanks Blake for giving her a chance.
Blake picks Libianca, Hailey is ELIMINATED
Girl Named Tom vs Holly Forbes – Team Kelly
Holly sings “Superstar” to her kids. She wanted to show Kelly that she’s a “strait soul” singer. Her dad inspired her style. Ed thinks Holly could show off her runs even more. The family’s dad has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Ed’s brother did the string arrangement for “Perfect” because their grandmother wanted them to work together before she died.
Holly Forbes – Superstar by Leon Russell – I only recently discovered that the girl in “Superstar” is a groupie, rendering the song doubly poignant. Holly uses the song to showcase her big rangy, emotional voice. 70’s songs so far, have been her thing, as she sang Elton John’s “Rocketman” for her audition.
Girl Named Tom – Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell – The girl Tom is the best singer of the three. She needs to sing all the leads. The song really blossoms when the trio join their voices in harmony. It’s a haunting rendition of Glen Campbell’s classic 60’s hit. The song ends with ethereal notes from sis. The trio’s arranging skills are incredible.
Blake loves both acts. “I don’t know what you’d do.” Ariana would pick Holly. John calls Tom’s harmonies flawless. John can’t pick either! Kelly picks Girl Named Tom. John and Ariana STEAL Holly. Ariana used her block on John during the auditions. And Holly picks Ariana.
Kelly picks Girl Named Tom, Ariana and John STEAL Holly. Holly PICKS Ariana