This is it, the final night of The Voice before the live shows begin. This is the last chance the coaches have to make their teams as strong as possible and prepare for the often times harsh and unyielding American public. The Knockouts of season 10 are coming to an end.
Thankfully, the final episode of the Knockouts is far more satisfactory than the lackluster edition that preceded it. The night does end on a head-scratcher, but more on that in a bit. Overall, The Voice does a nice job preparing for the live shows, in spite of the horrible voiceover lines that Carson Daly performs in his grating Carson way. This might be season 10, but Carson still sounds like he has never heard the words he is saying before in his life. You would think the colony of alien lizards controlling his meat suit would have caught on by now. In any case, let’s move on to the recap!
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Brian Nhira (“Grenade”) vs. Nate Butler (“Let’s Stay Together”)
I didn’t expect anything from Nate and I don’t think Adam did either. Nate’s not perfect; he sounds far better than he looks. (I understand Nate is trying to take Adam and Miley’s advice to look cool and natural while singing, but his “dance” moves are awful.) Nate definitely gets the award for most improved here.
However, you just can’t stop Brian. Brian’s performance is a little bit less exciting than Nate’s because it is expected. It’s a given that Brian was going to sound great. There is no arguing about the pedigree of Brian’s performance being so much higher than Nate’s, though.
Result: Adam chooses Brian
Mary Sarah (“You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)”) vs. Brittany Kennell (“You’re Still the One”)
I think it was given that Mary Sarah would win this Knockout. You only need to look at her previous performances compared to Brittany’s to see the winner. Brittany’s whole journey on The Voice seems to boil down to the fact that she vaguely sounds like Gwen Stefani and is on Blake’s team.
Honestly, though, I think that Brittany would have lost to anyone with this particular performance. She does something different with the original, but it’s not particularly interesting. Brittany’s voice quavers several times and it’s a misstep. Even if this is the weakest of Mary Sarah’s performance, which I think it is, she is leagues ahead of Brittany.
Result: Blake chooses Mary
Bryan Bautista (“Sorry”) vs. Trey O’Dell (“I Lived”)
It doesn’t take much in my book to beat Justin Bieber; however, Bryan’s version of “Sorry” is so much better than the original. There’s no changing the lyrics, which are moronic, but the arrangement and changing the song into an almost reggae tune is really inventive and fun.
As for Trey, he is a hot pile of mistakes. It’s a shame because not only was Trey a Steal, but he also seems like a perfectly likable guy. There doesn’t seem to be a single moment where Trey isn’t pitchy despite the coaches’ comments to the contrary. Bryan easily wins this one, but looking at the remainder of Team Christina, he was basically ensured a spot in the live shows regardless.
Result: Christina chooses Bryan
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Abby Celso (“Rich Girl”) vs. Caity Peters (“Leave Your Lover”)
I’m honestly exhausted watching Abby’s performance — and not in a good way. Abby attacks her song but in a way that’s off-putting. There’s nothing about “Rich Girl” that requires the extreme nature that Abby employs. She really seems to relish saying “bitch” like a 6-year-old learning her first naughty word. It’s Hall and Oates; you need to chill.
Caity does all right with her Sam Smith cover. It is not something that wows. It doesn’t annoy me either, in quite the same way that Abby’s performance did. It’s not the best way to look at a Knockout, but I feel like that’s been the case for most of Team Pharrell’s Knockouts. It’s becoming abundantly clear why Pharrell is sitting out season 11 of The Voice. The man is tired.
Result: Pharrell chooses Caity
Jessica Crosbie (“Wake Me Up”) vs. Laith Al-Saadi (“In Your Eyes”)
Adam’s decision to use one of his Steals on Jessica has always been one of the weirdest decisions of the season. Jessica is a good singer, I can’t deny that, especially after this Knockout. There is just not a single memorable thing about Jessica. If you put her side-by-side with Team Christina’s eliminated Kristen Marie, I can’t tell the difference.
Laith just oozes memorability in every strand of his magnificent beard. The coaches don’t respond well to Laith’s performance, which is puzzling, but at least there’s never a doubt (in my mind) that he’s going to win this round.
Result: Adam chooses Laith
Joe Maye (“Earned It”) vs. Kata Hay (“Why Haven’t I Heard from You”)
Remember what I said about Abby’s Knockout being exhausting in a bad way a few paragraphs ago? Both of these Knockouts are 500 times more exhausting and it is still not in a good way. Joe and Kata are both so melodramatic and over-the-top. Christina has been good in season 10 on controlling her worst impulses about making her singers go all style with little substance. Everything that has been pent-up comes out in this Knockout.
Joe’s wavy, apparently sexy, dance moves are so distracting. Kata uses her guitar as a comically large prop more than an instrument. If I had to choose, gun to my head, it would be Kata even if she screams more than sings. Unfortunately, though, I will have to suffer through both of these contestants in the future because they are both going to the live shows. At least Christina makes a somewhat reasonable decision picking Kata as the winner. I can’t fathom why Blake would use his Steal on Joe.
Result: Christina chooses Kata; Blake steals Joe
The Voice season 10 airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)