'The Voice' Recap: The Final 8 Advance to the Live Playoffs
'The Voice' Recap: The Final 8 Advance to the Live Playoffs
Catherine Cabanela
Catherine Cabanela
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Tonight is going to be a very busy night on The Voice as we have to somehow squeeze in 14 competitive performances for this final night of the Knockout Rounds. Most likely, one or two of those battles will be relegated to a quick video montage with a voiceover by venerable emcee and host Carson Daly. We're live blogging this event, so make sure you refresh your page to keep up with the commentary. 

So, tonight's a big night, a huge night. As the artists receive more and more coaching by the professionals (superstar powerhouse Taylor Swift doles out nuggets of brilliance to each contestant in one-on-one sessions again), the entertainment quality increases in leaps and bounds for those of us watching from, well, wherever we are and on whatever portable (or stationary) device our eyes are glued to. So I hope you've taken your vitamins today because this is going to be a kick-ass and potentially traumatic evening. Buckle up, boys and girls, and let's get this party started.


The Scorecard Before the Final Knockouts

Team Gwen has Bryana Salaz, Ricky Manning and Taylor John Williams in the bag. Tonight we'll see Anita Antoinette, Beth Spangler, Ryan Sill and Craig Wayne Boyd hit the mat.

Pre-Show Prediction: I'd like to say Craig will move forward because I'm secretly in love with him his voice (he reminds me a bit of Jax from Sons of Anarchy. Yu-u-um!), but Anita has that reggae flavor on her side, so Gwen will choose her. Gwen will also choose Beth because she is just a force to be reckoned with. 

Team Pharrell is Luke Wade, DaNica Shirey, Elyjuh Rene and Sugar Jones. Tonight's competitors are Menlik Zergabachew and Jean Kelley.

Pre-Show Prediction: Pharrell will choose Menlik Zergabachew. 

Team Adam consists of Mia Pfirrman, Damien and Taylor Phelan. Tonight's competitors are Chris Jamison, Blessing Offor, Rebekah Samarin and Matt McAndrew.

Pre-Show Prediction: Blessing is done unless he comes up with a non-Stevie Wonder song, so Chris may actually have a shot. Heaven help anyone who goes up against Matt McAndrew. Behind that quirky set of glasses lied a musical genius. Going forward: Matt and Chris.

Team Blake has only James David Carter and Jessie Pitts so far. Grant Ganzer, Taylor Brashears, Allison Bray and Reagan James are on the docket for tonight.

Pre-Show Prediction: Reagan will move forward because a voice like that on a girl so young is nothing short of miraculous. Moving forward with her has gotta be Allison Bray, but it's gonna be a bloody battle.

That's how it stands. Grab a cold one and let's snuggle up on the couch for two hours of glorious competition.

Blake Pits Taylor Brashears against Allison Bray

Blake pairs these two together, calling them his two throwback vintage country-singin' girls, but he can only have one going forward. Swift advises Allison to take off her six-inch heels and get a little sloppy. It's amazing the difference once Allison is released from the bondage of precarious foot apparel. For Taylor, Swift recommends she choose one audience member and sing to them. 

Allison Bray Performs "Sin Wagon"

Allison does a great job with the vocal gymnastics, but I'm not sure she came quite unhinged enough to beat Taylor. She benefited from the switch to cowgirl boots, but could have done much more with it.



Taylor Brashears Performs "Landslide"

Wow. Taylor. She wins a score of 12 on the 1-10 goosebump scale, completely blowing my prediction out of the water. Dang, girl! She took this song and masterfully displays the harmonic nuances of the multi-faceted instrument which she calls her voice. This looks like a hands-down win for Taylor, if you ask me. Let's see if Blake agrees.



Result: Blake Chooses Taylor Brashears

Gwen Pits Beth Spangler Against Ryan Sill

Gwen says she put these two together because they both have a genuine sweetness to their voices. Swift characterizes Ryan's practice performance as masculine but emotional and accessible (which means lots of people can relate to it) and she loves it when he flashes a smile. Gwen and Swift advise Ryan to release his swaggerific side. He's got a super high note to sing, so Swift tells him to use that charm and make it his goal that all the girls will scream and throw their panties onto the stage. Okay, I made up the panty part, but that's really what Swift meant anyway. 

Ryan Sill Performs "Miss Independent"

Hm. I don't know. That is kind of a Milquetoast performance. Not that dynamic. Yeah, he's got the fabulous bone structure and glisteningly white teeth ... but the vocals, though they are on key, they just aren't interesting enough. Ryan's safe music choice may have been his undoing.



Beth Spangler Performs "Too Little, Too Late"

Wow. Again, a great performance by a second performer. She's a bit screechy at the top of her range, according to Captain Squirrely (Adam Levine). Adam says he'd go with Ryan. Blake says it's a dead tie. Gwen was won over by Ryan's alluring smile at the end of his performance and you can just see where this is going. Damn, damn, damn.



Gwen Chooses Ryan Sill

Pharrell Pits Menlik Zergabachew Against Jean Kelley

During the practice, Swift says Jean Kelly's performance of "Chandelier" is the "most emotional performance I've seen in a long time." Wow, that's high praise. Pharrell talks about the topography and the emotional connectivity and that whatever she's going through in this performance to channel such emotion ... it's dead-on.

Man, this just goes to show you what a difference this last bit of coaching makes for the Knockout performances. I was completely wrong about Allison and Beth. Coming up, I'm wrong about Menlik as well. Gah!

Menlik Zergabachew Performs "Could You Be Love"

The man has a nice voice, but it's not dynamic enough to compete against the others going to the live Playoffs. You can tell he listened to Swift and Pharrell when they advised him to open his eyes and let the people see what he's feeling, but doing so seems to just throw him off. 



Jean Kelley Performs "Chandelier"

Jean Kelley delivers a haunting performance, though her high notes are not as strong as those of Emily West on America's Got Talent this past summer. 

When it comes to making a decision, it looks like Pharrell is going to make the wrong decision and we were going to have another shocker like we had with Elyjuh Rene versus Ricky Manning ... and then Pharrell makes the right decision.



Result: Pharrell Chooses Jean Kelley

Adam Pits Blessing Offor Against Chris Jamison

Blessing wants the legitimacy that The Voice can bring to his career. He mentions he chose a specific song to show that he's not just a Stevie Wonder wannabe R&B performer. Adam says you can tell he lives and breathes the vibe. 

Chris Jamison Performs "Sitting On the Dock of the Bay"

This is a classic song choice. Blake says Chris sang the crap out of this song. Everyone is impressed with this performance, though I'm not feeling it nearly as deeply as they are.



Blessing Offor Performs "Your Body is a Wonderland"

I never realized what a sensual song this is. Blessing's performance is much more convincing as seductive foreplay than John Mayer's original rendering. Pharrell says Blessing's performance was captivating.



Adam Chooses Chris Jamison

Also Advancing from Team Adam: Matt McAndrew

Wait a minute, what? You have GOT to be kidding me. We don't get to see the full performance of Matt McAndrew versus Rebekah Samarin? To whom do I address my letter of complaint, people? All night I was looking forward to seeing Matt perform tonight. As a matter of fact, I thought I was going crazy because I didn't remember Matt having already been in the Knockouts, yet I never saw him perform tonight either. What the spank happened?

Matt McAndrew Performs "Drops of Jupiter"

So it must have played during my bathroom break and then I fast-forwarded through it thinking it was just a preview. That sucks, man. I would have loved to hear what Advice Swift and Adam had for Matt and Rebekah for tonight. Maybe we'll get to see that in the take-outs addition of the DVD one day. Anyway, we have most of that performance right here for you, so take a look.


Blake Pits Grant Ganzer Against Reagan James

Who is this kid, this little boy? Have we seen any of his performances from start to finish on this season of The Voice? He comes to the practice and immediately has rapport with Blake and Swift. Swift comments on Grant's ability to connect with the audience, and how he so gleefully sings the song. She also tells him that he can go further emotionally. "Get mad, get angry," she says. I can't wait to see the actual performance. He's such a little guy, barely out of the womb, and he's got a voice much more advanced than his chronological age. 

About Reagan, Swift says several wonderful things, but the most compelling and accurate is that, "Reagan is one of those freakish anomalies who just knows what to do when she's on stage." And she ain't wrong. 

Reagan James Performs "Hit 'Em Up Style"

Reagan's swagger and stage presence, says Pharrell, are addictive to watch. Baby girl is having a blast up there on that stage and we are all feelin' it. She's cute as a bee on a button and sweet as hot apple pie. Her voice? Well, it's years beyond her experience. Grant is going to have to knock the leather off the ball to beat Reagan's delivery. Let's see how he does.



Grant Ganzer Performs "Apologize"

You can feel it when Grant gets angry in this song. His face barely has any expression, though. The coaches say it more tenderly and more eloquently than I can write it, but this little diamond in the rough needs a lot more pressure in his life to shine like the gem he will eventually become. The coaches go for Reagan over Grant; she's just so much further along in her performance maturity than Grant is. Blake is fairly predictable when it comes to his choices, so we know he's going to make the right one.



Result: Blake Chooses Reagan James

Gwen Pits Anita Antoinette Against Craig Wayne Boyd

Swift says Anita reminds her a little bit of Gwen because of how playful and effervescent she is. Having watched about 100 No Doubt videos this past weekend, I have to agree with her. Swift and Gwen urge Anita to go ever further with her super cool moves, and Gwen tells Anita to go ahead and get sassy as hell.

Craig Wayne Boyd. Can we have a moment of silence to just to appreciate the fine specimen of perfect masculinity this man represents? And ... we're back to the show. Gwen admits this is a challenge for her because Craig is so very different from who she herself is as a performer. The majority of Swift and Gwen's advice centers around Craig's stage presence. They also have some wardrobe and hair recommendations. Gwen wants to dress him up the way she would want him to look if she were going to make out with him. I know exactly what she means. My own husband is a hottie, IMHO, but if he'd just let me cut his hair and spend a couple hundred dollars to replace his old t-shirts with something more, uh ... I digress. 

Anita Antoinette is such a phenomenal performer that it's going to take a miracle for even Craig Wayne Boyd to top her act. This Knockout has been saved for the end of the show because it promises to give us the most exciting steal of the night. Did I hear Blake say he was excited to get his girl back? Does that mean Gwen passes on Aita? How can that possibly be? Well, let's check it out.

Anita Antoinette Performs "Rude"

Of course, what a wonderful performance. It's fun and joyful and sexy and unique. I'd already seen this performance in the teaser video on NBC so I knew what was coming, but it's still damn good.



Craig Wayne Boyd Performs "Can't You See"

Okay, Craig kicks the poo out of that song. Adam acknowledges the masculine presence of Craig Wayne Boyd. How about that? Adam and I have similar tastes when it comes to men. Ha!



Result: Gwen Chooses Anita Antoinette

Blake Steals Craig Wayne Boyd

And the Final Eight Are Locked in Place

So tonight's additions to those going forward to the live Playoffs next Monday night are Taylor Brashears, Ryan Sill, Jean Kelley, Chris Jamison, Matt McAndrew, Reagan James, Anita Antoinette and Craig Wayne Boyd. Each coach now has five artists. Tomorrow night's The Voice episode will be a review of some behind the scenes footage and other performance goodness that occurred during the Knockouts. Next Monday, November 10, is the start of the Playoffs. Make sure you are there. We will be here live blogging again!


The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.


(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)