The Voice 21 Knockouts: Holly Forbes vs. Girl Named Tom: A Masterclass in Singing Results in a Steal
The first night of The Voice Season 21 knockouts was a strong night of singing (Read our Recap). Maybe Mega Mentor Ed Sheeran’s musical talents brought out the best in the competitors. I hope that the Knockouts don’t fizzle out in future episodes like the Battles did.
Coach Kelly Clarkson’s Knockouts were brutal. First, we lost country star Kinsey Rose against Gymani, but then she had the insane pairing of Girl Named Tom vs Holly Forbes. After all, when a team is this strong, you are going to have some tough pairings. This one was a bit mind-boggling. But if the goal is to win, it makes sense to eliminate some of the team’s strong competitors to keep fans from vote splitting in the Lives. And Kelly is known to be a winning coach.
Holly, a Kentucky mom and caretaker started the Knockout out with a lovely rendition of the classic, “Superstar” penned by Leon Russell, originally sang as Groupie (Superstar) by Delaney & Bonnie. Holly’s rendition seemed to be arranged like the Luther Vandross rendition but had a more Karen Carpenter tonal quality to it. I loved this vocal, but there were a few moments where I found Holly’s tone a bit shrill and on the verge of over singing. But nevertheless, she never quite over sang. Holly knows her dynamics well. I hope that she goes more modern for her Playoff performance. Something along the lines of Sara Bareilles might be a good fit.
South Bend trio Girl Named Tom gave the performance of the season with “Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell. I’ve loved all of their performances, but I felt the solos were lacking in a few of them. This masterful performance started with a chill worthy solo transitioned to harmonies. Becca stood out with her solo lines–especially at the end with her ethereal vocal that gave off vibes reminiscent of Norwegian folk singer, AURORA. This versatile group sounded pop, country, and folk all at the same time. The performance was incredible.
Blake Shelton thought Holly was “incredible” and called her performance “tasteful and beautiful.” He called Girl Named Tom’s performance “one seamless vocal event” before offering Kelly no help with the decision. Ariana Grande compared Girl Named Tom’s performance to “the performance of a night at an award show” and Holly to the voices she grew up hearing, before declaring Holly the winner. John Legend called the blend of Girl Named Tom, “flawless,” and Holly’s singing, “perfect singing.” He wasn’t going to help Kelly this time around, John said.
Kelly noted how stacked her team is before saying that Girl Named Tom made “everything so special” and how they sound like “one voice” before describing their tritone quality. She described Holly’s voice as “beautiful,” calling it an “emotion.” Both acts were 4 chair turns, Kelly reminded everybody.
After Kelly declared Girl Named Tom the winner, John and Ariana attempted to steal Holly. In the end, Holly chose Ariana, which isn’t a huge surprise since Ariana blocked John in the Blinds and was the only coach who declared Holly the winner of the Knockout.
Overall, Libianca, Katie Rae, and the final knockout of the night from Holly and Girl Named Tom were the best performances. Honorable mentions go to the two powerhouses who could make nearly anything sound good, Gymani and Wendy Moten. They sang great, but had song choices that didn’t make me jump up and down.
I’m excited for the rest of the Knockouts.