It's the final night of the Knockout Rounds on The Voice
season 8 and it's going to be an interesting one. We have twelve artist performances to watch, and six artists will advance automatically to the Live Playoffs on April 6th. Each male coach will have one team perform; Christina will have two. Only one coach has the power to steal a rejected artist as their own and take them to the live shows.
Last week Adam Levine stole Brian Johnson from Blake. Blake Shelton stole Ashley Morgan from Christina Aguilera. Pharrell Williams also stole from Christina adding Koryn Hawthorne to his team. Christina is the only coach left who has yet to use her magic steal. So, tonight is the night. Singer-songwriter extraordinaire Nate Ruess is on deck once again to advise and cajole the remaining hopefuls, so let's get the show on the road.
Why Did Anthony Riley Forfeit His Position On The Voice?
Team Pharrell delivered a The Voice first last week when artist Anthony Riley forfeited his position in the Battles, making it necessary for three artist to compete in one round instead of the customary two. Sawyer Fredericks and Mia Z both beat out Paul Pfau to move on, but the question remained: What happened to the amazing performer who had the fastest four chair turn in The Voice history?
Anthony finally announced the reason for his exit from the competition to his hometown paper, Philly.com
, citing substance abuse issues and a grave desire to pursue treatment before moving forward with the daunting task of competing in a format as demanding as The Voice
. Will we see him is season 9? Maybe yes, maybe no. Regardless, it was brave and smart for him to make this personal decision. Good luck to you always, Anthony Riley.
Adam Pits Barry Minnefield and Tonya Boyd-Cannon Against Each Other
Prison choir director Tonya Boyd-Cannon is the first to practice and receive feedback from Nate and Adam. She's chosen Stevie Wonder's "I Wish." The coaches advise her to put more of herself into her performance. This song is by the one and only Stevie Wonder. Try to imitate him and she will not be true to herself. Adam tells her to bring more church into her voice.
Professional chef Barry Minnefield left behind his pot holders to pursue his dream of performing on the big stage. Barry has chosen "What You Won't Do For Love" by Bobby Caldwell. Adam is blown away by Barry's upper register. When they knock the song up an octave it releases a brand new Barry. Adam calls it Barry 2.0.
Tonya Performs "I Wish" and Barry Performs "What You Won't Do For Love"
Tonya takes the stage and punches out a fantastic performance. The coaches and audience grove along with her as she shows the world what she's got. Barry's performance is much more low key but he's a worthy opponent. Since this is the first dual of the evening, we know only one of these two will make it to the Live Playoffs because the producers of The Voice will save Christina's big steal for the pimp spot at the very end.
Blake says exactly what we're all thinking: these two should put a show together. Together they are a fantastic act. Pharrell says that no one knows how much that performance meant to him. He insists he wishes he had a steal. Pharrell says America needs to see a 53-year-old black man giving that kind of soul on television and Tonya cannot hide the church that's inside her. Adam gets cagey, bickers back and forth with Blake, and finally makes a choice and it's a good one
Result: Adam chooses Tonya
Blake Puts Brooke Adee and Kelsie May Into the Ring To Duke It Out
Adam babbles at Blake and messes with the seat of his chair. Christina was right earlier when she gave Adam the spirit name: Little Man Child.
Blake pairs the two beautiful teenage girls together to choose which one he will go forward with. I can barely keep the two apart at first. Nate compliments Kelsie May on her fabulous voice and she's star struck. Kelsie has chosen Taylor Swift's "Tim McGraw" as her performance piece for the Knockouts which Blake likens to Fun doing a song called "Maroon 5." During practice Blake and Nate mention how out of her wheelhouse this kind of song is and warn her about going sharp.
Brooke chooses MGMT's "Electric Feel" because it's more upbeat than her first two performances. Blake and Nate both comment on the enormity of her personality and her vocal muscles.
Brooke Performs "Electric Feel" and Kelsie Performs "Tim McGraw"
Kelsie takes the stage and he seems to be doing okay until she gets to the first chorus during which she goes flat on the biggest note, poor kid. Brooke takes the stage as the favorite going into the fight. She herself is an electric eel, as the song says. It seems clear Brooke has it in the bag and she may even be the one to take home the golden microphone. Pharrell says Brooke is a catch, and advises Blake to go with who he thinks can take him the distance.
Result: Blake chooses Brooke
Team Blake is complete: Brooke adee, Sarah Potenza, Corey Kent White, Hannah Kirby and Meghan Linsey.
Christine Puts India Carney and Joe Tolo in the Ring Together
Christina says both of these artists have powerful voices. Vocal beast India is classically trained and stinkin' adorable. She chooses "Big White Room" by Jessie J. Christina acknowledges what a huge piece this is. Christina advises her to really let herself be open and honest with this piece. Nursing student Joe Tolo chose "One Of Us" by Joan Obsorne. Nate appreciates Joe's courageous choice. Christina likes that he made the song his own.
Nathan's performance doesn't cut it. He's no competition for the power that is India Carney. She kicks the shit out of "Big White Room." It would be hard to compare anyone -- no matter who they were -- to Jessie J. But, my god, India made me forget all about Jessie.
Result: Christina chooses India
Pharrell Pairs Jacob Rummell and Lowell Oakley to Compete
Neither of these artists are my favorites, or maybe I've just forgotten their talents. I hope I'm wrong. How else would they have made it through the first two levels? Crooner Lowell is up first, dedicating "My Girl" by The Temptations to a girl back home. He cracks a note during practice and Pharrell says it's because he gave up on the note. Little Jacob Rummell, whom Pharrell stole from Blake. This young man on the precipice of puberty chooses "Life of the Party" by Shawn Mendes.
Jacob Performs "Life of the Party" and Lowell Performs "My Girl"
Jacob's performance was an improvement over his previous performances, but he's just not ready for the big time. Can he compete against the likes of India Carney, Sawyer Fredericks and Brooke Adee? No. Is he more entertaining, more polished, more alluring than Lowell Oakley? We're about to find out. Well, it turns out he's not.
Result: Pharrell chooses Lowell
Team Pharrell is complete: Caitlin Corporale, Lowell Oakley, Mia Z and Sawyer Fredericks.
Christina Pits Rob Taylor and Treeva Gibson Against Each Other
Christina says they have comparable falsetto expertise. Rob is the first to meet Nate Ruess. He chose "Love and Happiness" by Al Green for its sheer blues-yness. Christina challenges his to flip even more of his performance into the higher register. Treeva is next up to practice with "Chasing Pavements" by Adele in front of Nate and Christina.
Treeva Performs "Chasing Pavements" and Rob Performs "Love And Happiness"
Rob starts out by tossing a challenge out to the audience with his vocals: I dare yo not to have fun with me! His voice is a bouncing ball of notes. Treeva is next with a performance very different from Rob's. Her voice is lovely, but her strength is not nearly as powerful as Rob's. As for audience engagement, Rob has the advantage, hands down.
Result: Christina chooses Rob Taylor
Team Christina is complete: India Carney, Sonic, Kimberly Nichole and Rob Taylor
Adam's Final Dual is Between Joshua Davis and Lexi Davila
Here we are with the pimp spot of the evening and anyone who loves both of these artists can rest easy. There are no other artists to perform and Christina still has a steal to use to fill that empty slot on her team. The only question remaining is who does Adam keep and who does he forfeit to Christina?
Joshua is up first. His voice is one of my favorites this season. He may not be as dynamic as the top five, but the texture of his sound does something to me. It's soothing and gently powerful. Thank goodness he will be continuing on the the Live Playoffs. Joshua has chosen "Arms of a Woman" by Amos Lee. Lexi practices "Anything Can Happen" by Ellie Goulding.
Joshua Performs "Arms of a Woman" and Lexi Performs "Anything Can Happen"
Joshua romances us with his gravel and a slight sob at the end of some of the lines. As Blake says, he could inspire a fairly masculine man to want to spoon with him. Lexi is the last act of the night in a bright orange red shift. She hoots like a beautiful snow-white owl. Her runs are perfect. I don't quite understand all of her words, but she's pretty awesome as performances go. The coaches says her notes were strikingly accurate. The coaches recommendations are split.
Result: Adam chooses Joshua Davis
Team Adam is complete: Brian Johnson, Nathan Hermida, Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Deanna Johnson and Joshua Davis.
Christina Steals Lexi Davila
After all those compliments Christina heaped on Lexi during the post- performance dissection, you had to know this is how things would go. Joshua is the kind of performer Adam usually goes for. Lexi, on the other hand, is perfect for Christine.
Result: Christina steals Lexi
Team Christina is complete: Lexi Davila, Kimberly Nichole, Sonic, Rob Taylor and India Carney.
All four teams are complete. Next up are the Live Playoffs starting next Monday. First, however, is The road to the Live Playoffs. See y'all there!
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)