Normally, Miley Cyrus‘ appearance on The Voice would be worth a few jokes and passing references. Now that Miley has been announced as one of the coaches for season 11, her appearance on The Voice season 10 becomes something much more. This is fans’ first look at the newest coach and how she will fit in. I’m not a Miley fan at all, but I think she does a stellar job in her role as adviser. She looks ridiculous, but that’s just par for the course. What matters is Miley’s skills as an adviser and she excels at that, giving great and constructive criticism.
The biggest surprise about the first night of the Knockouts has very little to do with Miley, though. Instead, it is the coaches’ pairings. On all of the teams, some of their best talents are pitted against one another. It might make for some interesting and great performances. It seems like a huge strategic mistake by all the coaches. The point of the Knockouts is to separate the best of the teams from the rest of the pack. It is not to highlight the best artists, get rid of one and have the other be stolen by another coach. This is, however, what happens at the start of the Knockouts.
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Paxton Ingram (“Hometown Glory”) vs. Angie Keilhauer (“Take Your Time”)
The moment I saw Paxton going up against Angie, there is no doubt in my mind who was going to win. Paxton is one of the few artists on Team Blake that is at all memorable. Not to mention, he has one of the best voices in the competition on any team. I just didn’t expect it to be this much of a blow-out.
Angie had to be trying to lose by picking this Sam Hunt song. You don’t pick a song that is 70% talking in the original version for a singing competition show! Not even Miley — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — can fix this stinker of a song choice. Paxton deservedly wins this one.
Result: Blake chooses Paxton
Owen Danoff (“She’s Always a Woman”) vs. Ryan Quinn (“Drops of Jupiter”)
Speaking of trying to lose, Adam must be trying to blow up his team. This is an insane pairing for Adam. I’m not even that big a fan of Ryan, but I can’t deny he has a great voice. Owen is my absolute favorite in the competition. So this is really a lose-lose situation for Team Adam. The one benefit of this pairing is it helps me ignore everything weird going on with Miley’s outfit(s) because I’m too consumed by trying to figure out Adam’s logic.
As far as the performance goes, Ryan is fighting an uphill battle (for me) because I abhor “Drops of Jupiter.” Both artists do exactly what I would expect, though. They are really, really good. If there was any doubt that there’s a method to Adam’s madness, these performance disavow that notion. Adam is a plain idiot for putting these two together. Thankfully, he does guarantee Owen’s continuation on the show by picking him. It’s not a surprise when Christina uses her one Steal to save Ryan.
Result: Adam chooses Owen; Christina steals Ryan
Malik Heard (“Isn’t She Lovely”) vs. Hannah Huston (“House of Rising Sun”)
On the surface, this might seem like as big a mistake as Adam’s blunder. Malik and Hannah are both really good singers, but I do see what Pharrell is going for here. Both of them seem like they are holding back a bit, and pairing them together does bring them out of their shell. Maybe it’s just me looking through my rose-colored Pharrell tinted glasses. I think the man can do nothing wrong, but whatever; this is a risky but still oddly smart move. Speaking of the performances, I love Hannah’s wail almost as much as Miley does — probably the only thing we have or will ever have in common. Malik’s okay, and even great, at times. Hannah easily wins this one for me.
Result: Pharrell chooses Hannah
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Lacy Mandigo (“Zombie”) vs. Katie Basden (“Gypsy”)
I know Katie was one of Blake’s Steals, but I wasn’t really impressed with her Battle Round performance. I was especially underwhelmed by her Blind Audition, so this really comes out of nowhere. Katie is amazing in this Knockout performance.
Lacy might have been a part of one of the best Battle Rounds of the season, but I completely forget everything I like about Lacy when Katie is done singing. Lacy almost wins me back when she follows Katie, but the damage is pretty much done. Katie rightfully wins, but I won’t begrudge Adam and Pharrell’s Steals, which I both saw coming a mile away. I am slightly surprised that Lacy chooses Pharrell. Obviously, I don’t blame her, but it seems like she is more of a Team Adam artist.
Result: Blake chooses Katie; Pharrell steals Lacy
Alisan Porter (“River”) vs. Daniel Passino (Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”)
No one but me will probably see this as a mistake. Granted, Christina does have a greatly talented team, but Daniel really impresses me. He deserves much better than being sacrificed at the altar of Alisan. Seriously, there is no way that Christina was ever going to choose anyone but Alisan in the Knockouts. She is basically packing Daniel’s bags by pitting him against Alisan. Personally, I enjoy both Alisan and Daniel’s performance here, probably Alisan a smidge more. It’s just really distracting how Alisan is the clear favorite here and Daniel the hopeless underdog. Christina really should have chosen one of her other unremarkable artists like Kata or Joe to go up against Alisan. It shouldn’t have been someone as talented and likable as Daniel.
Result: Christina chooses Alisan
Shalyah Fearing (“A Broken Wing”) vs. Emily Keener (“Big Yellow Taxi”)
This Knockout is exactly what Emily needed after the disaster that was her Battle Rounds performance. As for Shalyah, she is already riding high on that wave from her amazing Battle Round. With Emily’s comeback and Shalyah proving she is more than one-hit wonder, the result is one of the best two-hit Knockouts of the night.
Shalyah is doing a lot of heavy lifting, true, but Emily is still perfectly enjoyable. Emily’s performance isn’t fantastic in terms of vocals, not like Shalyah’s, but it is so much fun. As mentioned, Shalyah goes all out in her Knockout. Once again, she leaves everything and a half on stage. Pharrell totally picks Emily to make sure Shalyah gets stolen, but that decision is justified by rose-colored Pharrell tinted glasses. He is the most selfless and caring coach The Voice has ever had on the show.
Result: Pharrell chooses Emily; Adam steals Shalyah
The Voice season 10 airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)