Last night was the last episode of the knockout rounds. The only steal remaining from any coach belonged to Alicia Keys. The Crack Editing Team™ was sure to show the steal at the very end of the show. Seven knockouts were left, but one was truncated in such a way that it telegraphed the winner. That battle was between Malik Devage and Mark Isaiah from Adam Levine’s team. Because Mark was the only singer shown, singing an excerpt of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” there could be no doubt who the winner was. So young Mr. Isaiah was pushed through, uh chosen, to move on to the live shows. Here’s a look at his knockout performance; though it wasn’t shown on air, the video for Malik’s performance of “Rock With You” by Michael Jackson is here also.
As for the knockouts shown in full:
Andrea Thomas and Lauren Duski are the first knockout pairing from Blake Shelton’s team. Andrea’s song choice is “Cry” by Faith Hill, while Lauren’s choice is “When You Say Nothing At All” by Alison Krauss and Union Station. Andrea sounds good, powerful with range. Though Andrea hit a high note in rehearsals, I was still surprised when I heard it in the performance. While Andrea’s performance was full of bombast, Lauren gave a more controlled and subdued performance. I felt Lauren’s performance more than Andrea’s and felt that she should have been chosen to win. Blake agreed and sent Lauren through to the live shows.
The next knockout pairing featured Jack Cassidy and Vanessa Ferguson from Team Alicia. Jack’s song choice is “Unsteady” by X Ambassadors. Vanessa’s song choice is “If I Were Your Woman” by Gladys Knight & The Pips. I’m not a big fan of Jack’s song choice, but he did not win me over to his side either. Perhaps there was more emotion in his performance than technical ability; that is, you could feel him but the notes he hit were far from perfect. Vanessa’s experience came through while she performed. The vibrato was a bit much, but otherwise it was a good performance. The coaches were blown away, but I wasn’t quite as thrilled. Still, I liked Vanessa’s performance better, and so did her coach.
Davina Leone and Jesse Larson were the next knockout pairing to be featured from Team Adam. Davina chose “Toxic” by Britney Spears, giving the tune a slower pace and a different arrangement. Jesse’s choice was “The Letter” by Joe Cocker, though I think it was The Box Tops that did it first. The arrangment worked for Davina, because it gave her opportunities to show off her vocals; however, I thought her voice cracked a bit too often throughout the performance. As for Jesse, we’ve seen this before with Laith Al-Saadi from Season 10. Great guitar work for sure. But the vocals were good as well. This one did not seem like a fair fight with Jesse’s guitar giving him an edge over Davina. Even so, I thought Jesse was the clear winner. Adam agreed, sending Jesse to the live shows.
Brandon Royal and JChosen were the next knockout pairing for Gwen Stefani’s team. JChosen picked “Without You” by David Guetta & Usher. Brandon chose “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley. Brandon sounded like he was aping the Marley version in some ways, and in others, he’s showing his own personality. I was pleasantly surprised by Brandon’s performance; it could have been much worse. JChosen is showing some serious range. Hearing JChosen sing this just reminds me how talented a singer Usher really is; this isn’t the type of song that gives singers a chance to shine. Because of Brandon’s better than expected performance, this one was tough to call in my opinion. Though Brandon made it close, Gwen picked JChosen to move on.
Aliyah Moulden & Caroline Sky were the next knockout pairing for Team Blake. Aliyah chose “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood as her song, and Caroline chose “At Last” by Etta James. These two young ladies were ambitious with their song choices. Of the two, I think Aliyah held it together a bit better, but I don’t think either of them gave a strong performance. Caroline’s performance started out rough and never got back on track. I picked Aliyah, but I wasn’t wowed by either performer. Blake agreed that Aliyah should stay for at least one more week.
The final knockout pairing featured Stephanie Rice and Troy Ramey from Team Gwen. Stephanie chose Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars. Troy chose “Chandelier” by Sia. Thanks to the CET™, we know that both of these performers will be around next week, because Alicia used her final steal. They CET™ also saved the best knockout pairing for last. Both Stephanie and Troy gave very good performances. For the sake of posterity, I must say that Gwen chose Troy as the winner, while Alicia stole Stephanie to join her team for the live shows.
Heading into next week’s live shows, each coach has five team members left. The top 20 will perform next week. If form from past seasons holds, each team will lose two singers next week. The viewers will vote for two from each team, and then the coach will pick one of the remaining singers to stay on for another week. There are no more steals left in the competition. There will not be a recap of tonight’s show, as it is a recap that will lead in to next week’s live shows.
(photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi—available for reuse).i