The Voice: Knockouts, Night 1

Last night’s episode of The Voice was the beginning of the knockout round. This represents the final step before the show airs the live playoffs. If I recall correctly, each coach will finish this round with five singers on their team, so three of their current team members will be cut. Each coach has one steal in this round to keep a singer they feel deserves to remain on the show should they lose their knockout battle.

Six battles were shown during the program (and no montages!—though I’m sure there will be at least before the round ends). So, let’s begin.

The first battle of the night featured Sundance Head vs. Josh Gallagher from Blake Shelton’s team. Josh chose to sing “My Maria” by Brooks & Dunn, while Sundance chose “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. Josh gave a solid performance with some nice falsetto notes. Sundance was very soulful in his version of Cyrus’ hit. Both were so good, I wasn’t sure which way Blake would lean. He ended up choosing Sundance, but Josh was stolen by Adam.

The second knockout pairing of the evening paired Kylie Rothfield against sister duo Whitney & Shannon from Alicia Keys’ team. Kylie sang “Hound Dog” in Big Mama Thornton’s original version, while Whitney & Shannon took on “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Kylie sounded shaky at first, but she grew into the song as it went along. She had the blues flavor throughout the performance. While Whitney & Shannon’s harmonies were again on point, I don’t know that they gave a standout performance. Alicia surprised me by choosing Kylie; I thought for certain she would choose the sisters because of their harmonies.

Miley Cyrus paired Ali Caldwell against Lauren Diaz in her team’s first knockout pairing. Ali sang “No Ordinary Love” by Sade, while Lauren went with “Rise Up” by Andra Day. Lauren gave a very emotional performance, even crying during the song towards the end. However, I think I heard a couple shaky notes at the beginning, which I would chalk up to nerves. While Ali wasn’t as subtle as Sade on her version of the song, she more than made up for it with her power. I would have preferred she stayed as smooth as she was when she started, but she kept the wailing under control. Miley chose Ali to move on; I was hoping Lauren would be stolen, but it was not to be.

Adam Levine’s first knockout pairing featured Dave Moisan against Simone Gundy. Dave sang “Like I Can” by Sam Smith; Simone went with “Midnight Train To Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips. Dave picked a very tough song to sing, in my opinion; and it proved to be a bit too much for him. He wasn’t totally bad, but he sounded winded during the song. He had some nice moments, but it was not a complete performance. Simone was good throughout, but I was a little bugged at how far she lagged behind the beat. It wasn’t enough to keep her from winning, as Adam chose her to move on to the live playoffs.

Team Alicia’s second knockout pairing of the night featured Courtnie Ramirez and Wé McDonald. Courtnie chose to sing Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy,” while Wé took on Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama.” This was a battle that featured a lot of power. Courtnie’s beginning sound very shaky, but as she turned up the volume, the performance got better. Wé sounded great, and seemed to have more control over her voice than Courtnie did. In what may have been one of the easier battles to pick a winner, Alicia went with Wé.

The final knockout of the night featured Jason Warrior and Riley Elmore from Team Adam. Riley chose to sing “Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Bublé, and Jason chose “I Want You” by Luke James. Once again, the Crack Editing Team gives the game away; the audience knows a steal is coming, it is just a question of which one? Riley gave a very solid performance, using the tips given to him by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (wait, I waited until now to mention that they were the guest mentors?) into practice. Jason wowed with his falsetto, and his performance was a performance. He played to the crowd and he showed he has an amazing voice. That Luke James song had some really high notes, and Warrior hit every one of them. Adam chose Riley as the winner, but Blake stole Jason. That makes coach number three for Warrior, who has to wonder what’s next on this journey.

Generally, I have no complaints with the singers chosen to move on. I wish a coach could have found room for Lauren Diaz, but with only four steals available and two already gone, the show will definitely be edited to milk every bit of suspense out of the last steal. Miley and Alicia still have their steals left. Stay tuned for more knockouts tonight.

photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi (available for reuse).


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