Oct 2, 2020
The Voice Recap: Knockout Rounds!
Season Five Episodes 11-12
The Knockout Rounds
The end is near, and by near we mean there are still 236 episodes left before we find The Voice. Next week, gear up for three as the show ventures onto its live rounds. There will be pithy banter between Blake Shelton and Adam Levine, Cee-lo Green will be creepy, and Christina Aguilera will diva it up. This we predict.
But for now, we’re here to recap this week’s knockout rounds. The coaches could only keep five singers, cutting their teams in half. But for the first time, each judge got one more steal during the knockout rounds. The artists chose their own songs. And every note counted because everything was at stake, host Carson Daly told us in his drama voice. This also meant the coaches could steal singers back. Snap.
Team Christina: Amber Nicole vs. Josh Logan
Winner: Josh Logan
Stolen: Amber Nicole
This seemed like a no-brainer pairing these two. One might assume Christina would go with the powerhouse 17-year-old vocalist Amber Nicole, who belted out Jessie J’s “Mama Knows Best” with sass and command. She was pure Christina, and her coach ate it up.
But that sneaky single dad Josh wowed the judges, showing his range on Stevie Wonder’s “Livin’ in the City” and keeping up with the vocal demands of the song. And, just like he nailed Adam’s vocals for the Maroon 5 song in the battle rounds, he was a dead-on Stevie. “Your runs are effortless and they’re magic,” Christina told Josh.
That’s great and all, but what the hell does Josh sound like? There’s no doubt he’s got talent though. They both do. Blake even gave Christina props for how much her first two contenders have grown since the blind auditions. She chose Josh, and Cee-lo and Blake saw their chance to get Amber for themselves. Amber Nicole chose Cee-lo, looking to take a bit of a risk and be challenged. That hair isn’t crazy enough?
Team Cee-lo: Kat Robichaud vs. Monika Leigh
Kat decided to go the angsty, balls-out route with Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” high kickin’ some ass from the start and commanding the stage until she collapsed into acrobatics at the end. Alanis would be proud. Christina was, too, giving Kat a standing ovation.
Monika, one of Cee-lo’s steals from the battle round, took on Ray Charles’ “Hit the Road, Jack” to show her bluesy, sultry side. She’s refined, graceful and knows how to work those long locks, but her moves are less genuine.
No surprise, Kat took the round with vengeance.
Team Blake: Holly Henry vs. Nic Hawk
Holly and Nic, both of Blake’s steals, went head to head with Radiohead’s “Creep” and Christina’s “Genie in a Bottle.” Blake appreciates their apples and oranges visions for themselves as performers, and that’s why he paired them. Still doesn’t make much sense to us.
Holly pulled together all her teen angst and awkwardness for the song, but “Creep” really showed her lack of range (you can even see Christina cringing a bit when she faltered).
Nic’s neo-soul version of “Genie” showcased his vocals more, but to his detriment. He struggles with the lower range. But oh, those come hither stares. He steals it. It’s that damn charisma! You cannot refuse him. And he addressed all the notes Blake gave him, so he’s a good listener, too. Everyone loves a good listener.
Team Adam: Ashley Dubose vs. Tessanne Chin
Ashley chose Train’s “Hey Soul Sister,” which fell a little flat compared to Tessanne’s delivery of “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson—and by a little we are being sarcastic. First, Ashley is awesome, and that version of the song outdoes the original by laps and laps. Cee-lo said she has a “coffee and cigarettes quality” to her voice. Yeah, that’s cute. But cute ain’t gonna cut it.
Tessanne is large and in charge vocally. If you’re going up against her, you need to bring it because, hot damn, Tessanne sure did. The rehearsal reel made it look like she might bomb. Oh, you sneaky rehearsal montage! You get us every time.
“Kelly Clarkson, she is a great singer and you made it sound easy, and then you took it to a whole other level, which was crazy. I can’t say enough,” Christina said.
This woman is already a star. Even the coaches know they are seeing The Moment. Not to mention, there is no other female powerhouse singer in music today who looks like Tessanne. And she has a cool accent. I’m going to go ahead right now and call her The Winner of The Whole Thing.
Adam didn’t even hesitate to choose, not even to be polite.
Team Blake: Briana Cuoco vs. Shelbie Z
Winner: Shelbie Z
This round was again no contest. Briana’s rendition of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” didn’t improve much from rehearsal, where Blake told her it was “too much icing, not enough cake.”
That pretty much summed it up. She tried too hard and fell flat hitting pitch problems along the way. But her outfit was fierce. She wins the fashion points with us for that black bustier.
Shelbie Z pulled out her vocal competition ace, Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name.” She slutted her way through the barfly romp, strutting her stuff, working the crowd and judges, and nailing every note. Blake chose her because she “flat out” out-sang Briana. Ouch.
Team Adam: Grey vs. James Irwin
James Irwin took on The Script’s “Breakeven,” filling the room with the song’s emotion and warmth. He was solid. But…
Grey had some tricks up her sleeve, as well, this round. She went from belting a killer note in Kelly Clarkson’s “See You Again” to a smooth transition into falsetto with ease. Adam went with Grey, who he said has the power to win the whole thing (…if Tessanne gets hit by a bus).
Team Christina: Destinee Quinn vs. Olivia Henken
Christina made it clear, there is only room for one country gal on Team Christina. Destinee reached deep with Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again,” dragging out the emotions from losing two family members in the past year. But she fell a little flat vocally.
And Olivia, Olivia. If Christina’s telling you in rehearsals to not try and make every moment a power vocal killer, you know you’re over doing it. She rolled out Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good,” which could open her up for a lot of easy jabs. But, she is good, this just was not her best performance. She didn’t hold back as much as she should have.
Despite that, Christina chose Olivia, who is more polished, she said.
Team Cee-lo: Cole Vosbury vs. Jonny Gray
Cole chose a little known, somber song, taking a chance with “Let Her Go” by Passenger. He hit the high note at the end, knocking it out of the arena.
Jonny sang The Beatles’ crowd pleaser “We Can Work It Out.” His trembley vibrato was suited to the song and has a way of making you want to grab someone’s hand and sway with the room. Plus, he seems like a fun guy to hang out with.
But again, there’s only room for one long-haired brunette with a penchant for folksy hats. Adam immediately makes his intentions known, tellng Cee-lo whoever he lets go will then become his competition.
Cee-lo chooses Jonny. So that means Cole is headed to Team … not so fast, Adam. Blake is seeing red button, as well. Adam has been after Cole since becoming consumed with regret for not turning around during his Jefferson’s theme song blind audition. Adam fights the good fight, but there’s that big dimpled country crooner again sweet talkin’. Adam really looks like Blake has gone too far finally with his metro moped comments, getting a little genuinely riled up this time.
Then Blake hit Cole where he lives when he pointed out that Cole is still trying to determine who he is as an artist. He chose Blake, breaking Adam’s poor little metrosexual heart. Then Blake stood in front of Adam pointing at him and laughing. Ha ha, loser.
Team Adam: Lina Gaudenzi vs. Preston Pohl
Lina wanted to show a more soulful side to her voice, taking on Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” She delivered a beautifully arranged version and hit the high notes just swell.
And Preston Pohl’s emotional version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” didn’t exactly send shivers down our spines, but he has such a raspy, soulful, throwback voice that even taking on this mellow Marley song worked in his favor.
No surprise here: Adam chose Preston. He’s in it to win it, and unique Preston is one of his, and our, faves.
Team Christina: Antony Paul vs. Jacquie Lee
Winner: Jacquie Lee
Poor, poor Anthony. He’s so young, has so much potential, but he completely blew it. His nerves got the best of him. Singing Jason Derulo’s “The Other Side,” he had uncomfortably weird dance moves and his voice was all over the place. Disaster.
Jacquie on the other hand rose to the occasion somewhat, but from her first little shout out to the audience to “get up,” it was clear she was 16. She’s got chops but not the confidence yet to command a stage like this one. These kids are way out of their league. But someone had to win. Christina chose Jacquie.
Team Cee-lo: Tamara Chauniece vs. Stephanie Anne Johnson
Stolen: Stephanie Anne
Stephanie Anne wants her music to sound like soul music tastes, she said during rehearsals. But Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” with guitar in hand wasn’t going to do it in the knockout rounds. Her delivery was all over the place. She was too quirky even for Cee-lo. This ain’t no coffeehouse.
Tamara got loose with Alicia Keys’ “No One,” turning the R&B song into a smoky, reggae ditty. Adam and Blake gushed all over her great singing and stage presence. “I just think Tamara is awesome,” Blake said. Cee-lo kept Tamara.
But Christina apparently had a blackout during the performance and gushed all over Stephanie, even stole her back. She loved every second of it, which is so unlike her. That Christina.
Team Adam: James Wolpert vs. Juhi
James took on Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” which Adam calls “probably the most challenging song in the history of rock ’n roll.” This may very well be true. James, who quit his job at Apple to pursue this, went balls out, even ditched the stockbroker glasses and shirt and tie for the knockout round.
But unfortunately, he totally made applesauce of it, which really sucked. From the start you could tell he knew he bit off more than he could chew, and the faces of the judges said it all. They looked stunned. It looked like Juhi was going to fall off her chair at one point.
Juhi, the high school wunderkid Adam stole from Cee-lo, has great range and style, which she showed on Marvin Gaye’s “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” She’s quirky and fun, but as Christina said, she’s almost too carefree. She needed to stop with the tricks and show she’s got the pipes to win this thing, and she didn’t do that.
Adam, who knew as well as anyone who has been watching “The Voice,” that James royally fucked up, but that he is much better than that one performance. Adam stuck with James.
Team Cee-lo: Caroline Pennell vs. George Horga Jr.
Sweet, sweet Caroline. We just love this girl, and her song choice, Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am,” was perfect. This little angel just makes Blake want to buy a cat and a pink blanket and curl up by a fire with hot cocoa, and us, too. Perfection.
George chose Ne-Yo’s “Because of You,” continuing on his path in search of musical blah. We’re just bored by this guy. We know Justin Timberlake, in our dreams, and you George are no Justin Timberlake.
No surprise who the winner was here: Caroline.
Team Christina: Matthew Schuler vs. Will Champlin
Holy crap. Matthew brought it, hitting those high notes of Florence and the Machine’s “Cosmic Love.” The unexpected choice showed his range as a vocalist and performer. He absolutely recreated the bombastic tune, melting the faces off the coaches. He could definitely be Tessanne’s biggest competition. He brought the house down.
Will, who keeps talking about doing this for his family, dropped a little bomb during rehearsals adding that, oh yeah, his wife has a brain tumor. I commend him for not milking that during the previous weeks. He took on Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” giving a subtle, vulnerable take on the pop favorite delivering its big bang moments.
Both young men got standing ovations. This was by far the best knockout round, and there is no doubt that both of these guys are contenders. Christina shouldn’t have paired them so she could have kept both for her team. With this set up, one is now her competitor.
Christina kept Matthew, “the Mike Tyson of The Voice” as Cee-lo called him, giving Adam the chance to snatch back Will. As Carson asked Will if he had anything to say to his former coach, Adam quickly snapped back “Who cares?” as he smashed the steal button. Ding, ding, ding!
Watch the live rounds starting Monday, November 4, 8 p.m. on NBC.