The Voice: Season 12, The Knockouts, Night 1

The knockout round on The Voice began last night; this is the last round before the live shows begin. In this round, rather than two singers singing the same song as a duet, each artist in the knockout pairing sings a song of their choosing against their competitor; the winner moves on to the live shows. The loser has the opportunity to be stolen, but each coach only has one steal to use this round.

Six knockout pairings were shown during the show. In order of appearance:

The first pairing of the night featured Chris Blue and Quizz Swanigan from Alicia Keys’ team. Chris chose “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, while Quizz chose “Chains” by Nick Jonas. Chris gave a bravura performance: he whooped, he growled, his falsetto was awesome and he even brought some low notes in. He killed the song, and thankfully, he sounded like Chris Blue, not like Stevie Wonder. Quizz’s performance was good, but he had a lot to live up to after Blue’s performance. Alicia chose Chris as the winner, but Quizz was stolen by Gwen.

The next knockout pairing of the night featured Autumn Turner and Hanna Eyre from Adam Levine’s team. Turner’s song choice was “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, and Eyre chose “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis. I liked Autumn’s performance of the Franklin classic, but I wasn’t wowed by it. I also think the song choice didn’t do Turner any favors. Hanna’s performance was a bit better in my opinion, and I thought that she won this knockout. Levine agreed with me as he chose Eyre as the winner.

The next knockout featured Hunter Plake and Johnny Gates from Gwen Stefani’s team. Plake chose Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is,” and Gates picked “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga. Plake’s cover of the Foreigner classic was intimate and full of emotion. I liked his performance better than Gates, who did what he could with the Lady Gaga hit but it wasn’t quite good enough. Stefani chose Plake as the winner.

Blake Shelton joined the fun with his knockout pairing of Casi Joy and Felicia Temple. Casi picked “My Church” by Maren Morris as her song, while Temple went with “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. Joy’s performance was very good, and showed her country bonafides. Temple gave a rousing performance of the movie theme from Titanic; good enough to win, or to be stolen if she wasn’t. However, neither outcome occurred, as Shelton picked Casi Joy to move on. The fact that Temple was not stolen stood out as the only real surprise of the evening to me.

Team Adam’s second knockout pairing featured Johnny Hayes and Josh West. Hayes chose “Statesboro Blues” by The Allman Brothers as his choice, and West went with “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas for his song. Another close battle ensued; Hayes’ growly, gruff performance was the best I had heard from him this season. West’s cover of the Kansas classic was a very good performance as well. Levine chose West as the winner of the knockout.

The final knockout of the evening featured Ashley Levin and Lilli Passero from Team Alicia. Ashley chose “Fancy” done by Reba McEntire but originally sung by Bobbie Gentry, while Lilli picked “Tears Dry On Their Own” by Amy Winehouse. Thanks to the Crack Editing Team™, every viewer watching knew that the loser of this pairing would be stolen, it was just a question of who would get the steal. Both Levin and Passero did well with their songs, but Keys chose Levin to move forward to the live shows, while Passero was stolen by Levine.

More knockout pairings tomorrow night. Still don’t have a front-runner, though Chris Blue seems to generate a few votes from the coaches.

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

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