The two-night Knockout Rounds conclude on The Voice
with Usher and Blake Shelton cutting their teams in half. Last night
Adam Levine chose four remarkably talented women while Shakira was left
with a fairly mediocre group of four (two of whom she stole from Adam). Recap: The Knockout Rounds, Part 1>>
The door is wide open for Usher and Blake. Thanks to Adam eliminating Warren Stone, there's a huge opening in the country music department that Blake seems poised to fill. There's also a lot of potential for male singers since only two of the eight contestants moving on to the Live Playoffs are guys, the unremarkable Kris Thomas and the slightly less unremarkable Garrett Gardner.Team Blake Knockout Round Predictions>>
Team Usher Knockout Round Predictions>>
Will Usher and Blake keep men and country singers? Will more favorites be eliminated? Will I do better than 50 percent with my predictions? And most importantly, can I stand 10 seconds of Christina Milian without having flames on the side of my face
The answer to that last one is a resounding "No," but for all the others, it's time for the second night of Knockout Rounds on The Voice
season 4!Team Blake: Savannah Berry vs. Justin Rivers
Oh dear, I picked BOTH of these pop country singers to survive, so I'm already screwed with my predictions.Savannah Berry ("As Long as You Love Me" by Justin Bieber)
: Taking a pop song and turning it into a country version is a great way to show artistry. The arrangement is awesome and it's pretty solid, but there seem to be a few weak vocal moments in my opinion. Justin Rivers ("The Climb" by Miley Cyrus)
: We've seen almost none of this guy, which is always a bad sign. I'm distracted by his near-constant constipation face. The dude gets way too intense and just doesn't look good when he sings. And, oddly, he makes it LESS country.
Shakira and Usher both give the win to Justin because he held a long note. I really don't get the big deal with Justin. He's no Warren Stone. And I'm not easily impressed by a single note like coaches are.The winner is...JUSTIN RIVERS!
Well, so much for my confidence in Savannah being "Definitely Safe." I'm doing quite poorly at predicting these rounds. Still, a good-looking male country singer is like the Holy Grail, so it's a smart strategic move. And Blake has two other teen country girls in Holly and Danielle.
Team Usher: Josiah Hawley vs. Jess Kellner
Huzzah, I like the chances of super hottie male model Josiah.Josiah Hawley ("Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse)
: He has the look and the voice, so he just needs to show vulnerability to have the whole package. I decided to listen to this performance without watching so I could focus on the singing and not his insane hotness. And he's pretty great, controlled but with just the right amount of edge. He could be a real contender.Jess Kellner ("You Give Me Something" by James Morrison)
: The song is about her relationship with her mom. It's kinda OK, but I don't get Usher's obsession with her unique tone, mostly because I don't hear anything unique about her. I see at least three dozen girls just like her every year during the Hollywood Week on American Idol
Adam Levine thinks they should've swapped songs. The coaches all agree that it's difficult to get past Josiah's attractiveness. Yeah, it's SOOOOOOO hard to be that good looking.The winner is...JOSIAH HAWLEY!
Whew, Usher does a fake-out about how it's been great working with Josiah, then flipping it to say it will be great to continue working with him. Usher might miraculously head into the Live Playoffs with a very strong team if he keeps making smart picks like this.
Team Blake: Holly Tucker vs. Luke Edgemon
Holy crap, these are the OTHER two singers I picked to move on from Team Blake. Clearly I'm way off base with Blake because he's now getting rid of two of the people I think are his strongest singers, meaning he's gonna be forced to keep some weaker contestants later tonight.Holly Tucker ("Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw)
: She actually compares losing on this show to dying, which is how she relates to the song. She has a great big country voice and this song does her justice. Personally, I don't think there's anything wildly special about her and she just seems like a not-as-good version of Amber Carrington.Luke Edgemon ("Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry)
: He thinks being on a team with all country singers and doing a crazy version of a pop song gives him an edge, which means he doesn't understand Blake Shelton at all. Don't you remember what happened to Christian Porter when he made the decision to join Team Blake? Anyway, Luke turns this song into a sexy, smooth, baby-making R&B track, which is so damn amazing it makes me love him in spite of his hair.
Usher didn't understand Luke's style, but Shakira and Adam did and both think Luke won. Adam is very vocal about wanting Luke to stay.The winner is...HOLLY TUCKER!
Ugh, this is hideous. Blake basically admits that it's just because he gets country music. I knew this was coming, and Adam is quite mad because he knows that Luke has far more potential, as opposed to just another completely ordinary female country singer. Seriously, The Voice
NEEDS to add a Steal to the Knockout Rounds, because there are way too many talented people with the potential to be real stars going home while people with no future are moving on.
No offense to Holly Tucker, she has a perfectly fine voice, but there's NO WAY she will ever be a huge country superstar. Luke Edgemon, on the other hand, could be a new Robin Thicke.
Team Usher: Audrey Karrasch vs. Michelle Chamuel
OK, Audrey better get her butt kicked by the supremely great Michelle.Audrey Karrasch ("How to Love" by Lil Wayne)
: Usher's rehearsal strategy is to stand right in front of her and make her sing. It's a pretty weak performance and her voice seems to be strained.Michelle Chamuel ("Raise Your Glass" by Pink)
: Usher teaches Michelle to control her breath by doing push-ups with her, then going right into singing. LOVE HER! She puts on the best performance of the whole season. Not vocally, but her performing is stunning and I love how she lets her freak flag fly.
The coaches all agree that Michelle is just so entertaining that they want to see more of her while Audrey was just vocally off.The winner is...MICHELLE CHAMUEL!
OK, this is going to be a great season. If anyone can give us Cody Belew-style theatrics, it's Michelle. Oddly enough, I'm 4/4 on predictions tonight, though Im definitely going to be wrong on the next two Blake pairings since the two other singers I chose have already been eliminated.
Team Blake: Danielle Bradbery vs. Taylor Beckham
This is a bit like Judith Hill vs. Orlando Dixon, because there's NO WAY Taylor wins. None. I don't care if Danielle is inexperienced and I predicted she was "Definitely Out."Danielle Bradbery ("Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood)
: Sigh, I know I'm going to Hell, but this song makes me laugh because I always picture a woman's car spinning out of control, then Jesus magically appears and literally takes the wheel. She sings it very well, but adds absolutely nothing new or interesting to it. Taylor Beckham ("Russian Roulette" by Rihanna)
: If Holly taught us anything, it's that country beats pop the same way paper covers rock. I stand by my belief that Taylor had no right being stolen in the Battle Rounds. She just way too underdeveloped as an artist, so it's like a little girl playing dress-up.
Even Usher, Taylor's former coach, struggles to praise her and gives the win to Danielle. Thiey seem to be trying really hard to pump up Danielle as some sort of prodigy.The winner is...DANIELLE BRADBERY!
Of course she is. Blake even admits that Taylor lost this the moment she chose her song. I feel like Blake's "all country" strategy is going to backfire big-time and he's not going to have any singers in the finale. Then I'll laugh. And so will Adam.
Team Usher: C. Perkins vs. Vedo
Sigh, I didn't pick either of them and this means Cathia is going to be sacrificed to Ryan Innes. It also means the whole "Vedo's mom just died" story is gonna get shoved in our faces again.C. Perkins ("She Ain't You" by Chris Brown)
: Doesn't he watch Glee
? It's NEVER OK to sing a Chris Brown song. He plays to the audience, but since I'm not in the audience, I don't care. It's just so uninspiring I can't even think of an entertaining way to bash it.Vedo ("(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by Bryan Adams)
: He even says "I'm using my mom's memory to just give my best, heartfelt performance." This whole thing just makes me uncomfortable, especially the painfully manipulative song choice. The vocal is, objectively, just OK.
Blake gets an answer to the age-old mystery "What does the C stand for?" And it stands for Craig. Then Adam and Blake do some of their increasingly lame and awkward foreplay fighting. I think it's time to break up that bitter bromance and I wouldn't object to Blake Shelton sitting out season 5.The winner is...VEDO!
Yeah, I get it, bu I'm worried Vedo is gonna skate by on the sympathy factor, which is perhaps the highest I've ever seen on a singing competition.
Team Blake: Grace Askew vs. The Swon Brothers
Well, no matter what, Blake gets his all-country team. Grace Askew ("I Can't Stand the Rain" by Tina Turner)
: She's showing off her blues side. When she tells Blake during rehearsals she wants to be more than just a country singer, you can almost see her die in his eyes. She has a great tone, but I'm not very impressed because the song doesn't seem to go anywhere.The Swon Brothers ("Drift Away" by Dobie Gray)
: I'm still bitter that they beat Christian Porter. I'd probably hire them to perform at a wedding reception, but that's about it. These guys are pure bar band and nothing more.
The coaches don't seem all that interested in this pairing either. Shakira thinks Grace adds a more interesting flavor to Blake's team. And he could use it, since his team is so white bread. Somehow Blake starts talking about Colton Swon's tight jeans (Colton is the hot one who doesn't sing a lot).The winner is...THE SWON BROTHERS!
They're the first duo heading to the live shows since season 1. They also help to make Blake's team as bland as possible. Holly, Danielle, Justin and the Swons? Is anyone other than Blake excited by that?
Team Usher: Cathia vs. Ryan Innes
I picked both of these singers to move on, so no matter what, my predictions were 5/8 tonight, which is slightly better than last night. In my defense, Adam had a strong team and Shakira and Blake proved themselves to be obscenely terrible at making decisions.Cathia ("Mr. Know-It-All" by Kelly Clarkson)
: Like Mary Miranda and Monique Abbadie before her, she's turning away from a Spanish language performance. She's pretty great and fun, then she pulls an insane falsetto note out of her pocket that no one saw coming and the second half pushes it into high gear. I bet Shakira is kicking herself for keeping the now-gone Mary Miranda over her.Ryan Innes ("I Don't Want to Be" by Gavin DeGraw)
: OK, he wins my vote based solely on my obsession with One Tree Hill
. The only way to beat it is if someone sings Remy Zero's "Save Me" from Smallville
. He tries really hard, but he looks like a homeless man and this song isn't the kind of stuff that he needs to do to win. He just shouts and gets red-faced. He should've gone the Nicholas David route and done more of a sweet, sensitive song.
The coaches agree it's a "toughie" one. I disagree, and somehow Blake is the voice of reason, saying Cathia was the clear winner.The winner is...CATHIA!
Upset city! That was pretty shocking since I thought Ryan was the only member of Team Usher who was definitely safe, but based on this performance, Usher made the right call. FUN FACT: Cathia is now the ONLY stolen artist in two seasons who outlasted the singer she lost to in the Battle Rounds (Mary Miranda). Though since there are three other stolen artists left (Sasha Allen, Karina Iglesias and Caroline Glaser), one of them can also achieve this.
Usher proved himself to be the smartest and most strategic coach during the Knockout Rounds. While Blake has an all-country team, Usher is insanely diverse, with a hot dude who can sing pop, a quirky nerd chick who is an awesome performer, a soulful and emotional young man and a Latina diva.
That does it for the Knockout Rounds. All four coaches have their teams of four and next week it's the Live Playoffs, with two teams singing live for your votes on Monday, the other two teams singing on Tuesday (both two-hour episodes) and the results show Wednesday at 8pm where one person from each team goes home. Three nights and five hours of The Voice
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