The Voice Knockout rounds begin tonight! The coaches choose team members to face off against each other. One will lose, one will advance. UNLESS the loser is stolen. For the first time in the Knockouts, each coach will get one steal. The team members will choose their own songs.
We’re watching here!
The Knockouts are my least favorite round of the competition. It’s like a continuation of the Battle Rounds, except even more pointless. Pitting random people against each other in order to eliminate one is an artificial mechanism to pare down the field. The manipulation becomes obvious. Even tonight’s first ever KO round steals seemed scripted.
For instance. Cee Lo chose Jonny Grey over Cole Vosbury. Cole was arguably better. But did it matter? That Cole would be stolen seemed inevitable from the get go. The other side of the coin: Monika Leigh had to know she was a goner when she was set up against coaches’ pet, Kat Robichaud. Cee Lo’s obvious disdain for Monika was palpable, so why did he even steal her? Oh right. To function as an easy fall guy against one of his favs. No surprises here.
Amber Nicole vs. Josh Logan – Team Christina – Amber is singing a little bit sharp. Christina gives her tips on how to tell a story and add character. Josh gets too much in his own head, says Christina. He has problems with confidence.
Amber – “Mama Knows Best” by Jesse J. – This girl is way better than I remembered her. I expected her to be cannon fodder against the popular Josh. But no. She’s got an amazing voice. A ton of sass and confidence. She pretty much owns the stage. AND SHE’S ONLY 17!!!! Heh. She pwns Jesse J. Not that it takes much.
Josh – “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder – This is going to be a tough pick. Josh is soulful and confident. A bit of a Stevie clone–I wish he’d take the song somewhere new. But there’s no denying he’s got a wonderful voice. A flawless performance.
The coaches are loving both performances. Blake thinks Josh continues to improve. Christina takes credit. She’s happy that Amber “brought the character.” She calls Josh effortless. – Christina chooses Josh but then Cee Lo and Blake Steal Amber Blake wants Amber because there is nobody like her on his team. Cee Lo quips that nobody is talented on Blake’s team. Oops. That’s kind of mean. Amber chooses Cee Lo
Kat Robichaud vs. Monika Leigh – Team Cee Lo
Kat – “You Oughta Know” – This isn’t as retro as Kat usually goes. She takes the stage with a ton of attitude. She’s a better performer than she is a singer. Whoa. She’s got some crazy eyes going there. And lots of rasp. She’s actually scaring me a little here. She’s laying it on a little too thick. Christina gives her a standing ovation.
Monika – “Hit the Road Jack ” – I love Monika. I might be the only one. Cee Lo told her he didn’t believe her performance. I like her sultry style and smokey voice. She gets better as the song goes on. She REALLY lays on the power in the last verse. I wasn’t expecting that from her!
Adam calls Kat a rock star. He notes her crazy look. No kidding. Monika was more calculated. He thought Kat was more natural. Blake calls them both sexy, but he picks Monika. Christina calls Monika fierce. She loves them both for different reasons. Cee Lo didn’t like Monika’s performance. Cee Lo chooses Kat. Bye Monika. Pitted against Kat, she was obvious cannon fodder.
Holly Henry vs. Nic Hawk – Team Blake – Blake calls out Holly’s pitch issues. He likes her song choice. He knows Radiohead? Hm. It’s a challenging vocal, he says. Nic is changing his song into a neo-soul thing. Nic is having trouble in his lower range.
Holly – Creep by Radiohead – Holly’s breathy delivery opens up into a fierce delivery. But she’s got MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR pitch problems. It’s unpleasant to listen to. She can’t sustain a note. Her voice is very thin when she tries. Her phrasing is interesting in spots, but the tuning is so bad, it doesn’t matter.
Nic – Genie In a Bottle by Christina – Nic isn’t a great singer. But I’m not going to lie. He amuses me. There are a ton of tuning issues here too. His voice cracks in several places. He gets props for trying to change it up though. He’s a good performer. I think he should stick around for a little while longer, even if just for the lulz.
Christina applauds Holly for being fearless. She loves that Nic made the song his own. She calls them both brave. Adam appreciated Holly’s passion. But he loves and misses Nic! Blake appreciates that both have a vision of who they are as artists. NOBODY IS CALLING OUT HOLLY’S HORRIBLE TUNING. Blake chooses Nic. Adam had thought of stealing Holly, but after that performance he just couldn’t.
Ashley DuBose vs. Tessanne Chin – Team Adam – THERE BETTER BE SOME STEALIN HERE. Adam tries to tone down Ashley’s tendancy to embelish. Adam advises Tessanne not to push too hard. She’s hoarse.
Ashley – “Hey Soul Sister” by Train – CRIES. Why is she singing this terrible song? Does she want to go home? She looks adorable in yellow and a black headdress. She’s doing a fine job within the limitations of the song. But it goes nowhere, and gives her no opportunity to shine vocally. I mean against Tessanne? You bettah be fierce. This isn’t cutting it. I’m disappointed, cause I’m a fan.
Tessanne – “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson – She’s a phenomenal singer. Fierce, bold. She’s hitting those notes like CRAZY. She ends the song with some AMAZING riffs. She sang the snot out of that song. She gets a standing ovation. Tessanne totally kicked Ashley’s butt.
Christina says Ashley did the best she could. Tessanne took the song to another level. Cee Lo calls Ashley is ethereal with a “coffee and cigarettes” style, but Tessanne is a lioness. Adam is looking for someone who can win. Adam chooses Tessanne.
Briana Cuoco vs. Shelbie Z. – Team Blake – Blake advises Briana to be simple and straightforward. He worries about her song choice a little. Shelbie says she always wins competitions with the Carrie song. Blake has high expectations. She should know this song inside and out.
Briana – “Don’t Speak” by Gwen Stefani – Vocally, Briana is limited. She’s underpitch in spots. That’s been a chronic problem for her. To be honest, she’s only here because she’s Kaley Cuoco’s sister.
Shelbie – “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood – Shelbie’s got a great voice, but it’s obvious she’s done the pageant and competition circuit. The performance is like watching karaoke performed by a really good singer. There’s no denying she’s got amazing pipes. The cutsie faces and pageant affectations are distracting.
Christina loved Shelbie’s confidence. Cee Lo also loves Shelbie’s charm. Blake chooses Shelbie Z – He feels she flat out out-sang Briana. Briana didn’t stand a chance.
Grey Paluszynski vs. James Irwin – Team Adam – Adam tells Grey NOT to sing behind the beat. Duly noted. She isn’t singing a blues or soul song here. He loves her pure voice and is impressed by her improvement. James sings, but Adam isn’t convinced.
Grey – “Already Gone” by Kelly Clarkson – Oh. This is a very good vocal. Her transitions into her upper register are beautiful. She has just a touch of rasp. She’s wonky on one note, as she comes down from a high note, but overall, good stuff.
James – “Breakeven” by The Script – James is a very different singer from Grey. He doesn’t have Grey’s vocal range, but he’s got great tone and sings with emotion. Unfortunately, he’s got some tuning issues here. Grey outsings him. The second chorus is powerful. But I don’t think it’s enough to win this knockout.
Blake thought James did a good job. He gives it to James. Christina liked her follow through on her adlibs. Christina thinks James has improved. Cee Lo loved the down shift (I thought it was interesting, but shaky). Adam thought it was shaky, but also amazing, because it was so unusual. Adam chooses Grey
Destinee Quinn vs. Olivia Henken – Team Christina – Christina admits that she doesn’t have room on her team for two country artists. Christina warns Olivia about sounding karaoke. THANK YOU. Christina tells her to choose her moments.
Destinee – “See You Again” by Carrie Underwood – This is a very shaky performance. Vocally she’s not up to task. Nerves are part of the problem. Lots of pitch problems here. It’s actually painful to listen to. It’s verges on a trainwreck. The song obviously means a lot to her, but it’s too big for her limited abilities.
Olivia – “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt – I find her delivery really calculated. for the most part, she can hit those high notes, but she’s boring, bland, vanilla. But she wins this knockout by default. Adam thinks it’s dead even between the two singers. Is he high? Blake heard problems with both, but thought it was even. He chooses Olivia. Christina gives Destinee a pass because her emotion was genuine. Christina can’t choose, “Can Shakira come back please?” she pleads – Christina chooses Olivia
Cole Vosbury vs. Jonny Gray – Team Cee Lo – Cee Lo tells Cole to push it to the limit, so the audience can connect. The song could be a special moment if he controls his voice. Cee Lo likes Jonny’s potential, but he needs to work on his stage presence.
Cole – “Let Her Go” by Passenger – He needed to prove he was more than a jokey singer of TV themes. This is a very tender performance. His voice has a sweet quality that’s very appealing. He brings on the rasp on the second verse. I believe this. He ends on a pure falsetto. Jonny has his work cut out for him.
Jonny – “We Can Work it Out” by The Beatles – Jonny bounces awkwardly around the stage as he sings. It’s not helping his vibrato. I don’t think this was the right song for him. He sounds strained on the high notes. He should stick to Americana and indie tunes. His vocal weaknesses come to light when he sings straight pop.
Adam thinks they are both spectacular. Blake feels Cole had more control over his song. He’d pick him. Christina thinks Jonny’s voice is special. Cee Lo was impressed with Cole. He loves Jonny’s flair. He feels Jonny has the “stance of activism.” He reminds him of Dylan. Cee Lo chooses Jonny. Hm. Adam and Blake steal Cole. Adam loved his performance. He wants him on his team. Please resist Blake’s charm, he says. Blake wants to support Cole in whatever direction he’s going in Cole chooses Blake. Cole says he thinks Blake can help him find his artistry.
Christina and Adam still have a steal.
Two hour show tomorrow, beginning at 9/8c PM