By Kelly Schremph, Hollywood.com Staff
Greetings fellow The Voice watchers and welcome to the Knockout Rounds! Since many of my East Coast colleagues are busy dealing with the wrath of Hurricane Sandy (stay safe, y'all!), I am "stepping up to the mic," as it were, and taking over The Voice recapping duties for the time being. Now to be honest, I've only seen a few episodes of the show here and there, but anything involving the words "singing battles," "knockout rounds," and "Adam Levine" sounds like a good time to me. So let's get started!
With no more steals to fall back on, the pressure was on in full force for the remaining 40 contestants, especially since only half of them (that's 20 for you anti-math fans like myself) will be selected for the show's live playoffs by week's end. Yikes!
Last night featured Team Adam vs. Team Cee Lo
The first two to face off were Joselyn Rivera and Kayla Nevarez. Since both girls have a similar pop star quality sound, Adam wanted to get these two side by side to see which one deserves to advance to the next round. In a bold move, Rivera tackled Beyoncé's "Love on Top" song and managed to hit a wide variety of hard-to-reach notes (well, at least most of them). Nevarez, on the other hand, opted to play things a little safer by giving a cautious rendition of "Shark in the Water" by V V Brown. Though Adam was very pleased with both performances, he preferred Joselyn's risky approach and advanced her to the next round.
Next up was Joe Kirkland vs. Bryan Keith, who also share a similar sound (I think I'm starting to understand the strategy here). In a surprise choice, Joe belted out "Mean" by Taylor Swift, while Bryan went for the swoon approach with "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)" by Bryan Adams. Joe may have had the risk factor in this one, but Bryan's spot-on performance proved that he has the talent to make any song (even the romantic, cheesy ones) his very own. So it's Bryan for the win!
Then came Amanda Brown who sang "Paris (Ooh La La)" by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals vs. Michelle Brooks-Thompson, who performed "Spotlight" by Jennifer Hudson. Talk about two powerhouse voices, these girls have it in spades. Amanda brought sass and vocal firepower, while Michelle showed off some serious artistic range. And while they both seemed to kill it out there (Christina called it a real singer's battle), Adam decided to go with his gut and keep Amanda. Personally, I agree with the choice. That girl's singing chops deserve a proper chance in the spotlight.
Next we had Loren Allred sing "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse against Nicole Nelson, who chose to perform "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys. According to the rehearsal footage, it looked like Nicole was the preferred favorite, however, Loren had a truly stellar performance, making all of the coaches speechless and completely wowed. Adam wanted her to stop sounding like a wedding singer and take on a deeper, darker edge. Well, wish granted! It was a truly incredible breakout moment that left Adam with only one choice: he had to pick Loren. Let's hope there's more where that came from. Loren, welcome to the dark side!
Last up for Team Adam, Melanie Martinez took on "Bulletproof" by La Roux, while Sam James performed "Walking in Memphis" by Marc Cohn. Sam's style was fun, but it lacked the vocal strength necessary to stay in the competition at this point. That being said, I think he is just adorable and I want us to be best friends (seriously, can we make this happen, please?). But regardless, Melanie's albeit breathy performance was far superior, so it's no surprise Adam sent her into the playoffs. Now we just need her to get rid of that hair bow.
Team Cee Lo:
First up was Avery Wilson (singing Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x") vs. Cody Belew (singing "Jolene" by Dolly Parton). It seemed to be an off night for Avery, who was trying to do a little too much all at once when he really should've been focusing on how his voice sounded (thus the name of the show). But instead of giving the guy some leeway, Cee Lo decided to send him packing, sending Cody off to the next round. And just like that, the guy everyone thought would win it all, doesn't even make it to the playoffs! Oh Cee Lo, you really are one unpredictable fella.
Next up was Mackenzie Bourg vs. Daniel Rosa - who both had very unique song selections. While Mackenzie performed Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," Daniel sang "Back to December," making this the second Taylor Swift song of the night - both performed by guys (is this a trending thing now?). But unlike Daniel's rather forgettable rendition, Mackenzie completely changed up the monotonously catchy tune into something that was - dare I say - kinda awesome? I know, you guys. I shouldn't like it, but I did. By the end, even his opponent was singing along. This dude has my vote! And apparently he has Cee Lo's too since he sent Mackenzie on to the next round. (Maybe we should lay off the Taylor Swift songs for a while, gentlemen).
Then came Terisa Griffin who went up against Trevin Hunt in a seemingly flawed move on Cee Lo's part. These are two amazing singers who both deserve to go on to the playoffs, so why pit them against each other so soon? But hey, that's just one girl's opinion. Terisa sang the classic Whitney Houston song "Saving All My Love for You," which was just as emotionally powerful as it was vocally. Seriously, this girl can bring tears to your eyes faster than any Nicholas Sparks book. But then there's Trevin, who did an equally strong performance with Phil Collins' hit "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)." Seriously, why does either of them have to go home? This is like the Sophie's Choice of singing competitions. But sadly, a decision did have to be made and Cee Lo chose to save (drumroll please) Trevin!
The next knockout battle was between Mycle Wastman and Nicholas David, who both have very soulful voices. Mycle went with Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." It was good and everyone loved it, but then again, that could have more to do with the song than the actual performance. Meanwhile, Nicholas sang a lively rendition of "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Bailey Rae, making this yet another guy opting to sing a girl song (was this an intentional theme for the night?). It was fun, but I wasn't overly thrilled. Perhaps now that I've heard Trevin sing, no other guy can match up. Even the coaches seemed split on what to do. But in the end, Cee Lo made the decision to keep Nicholas.
And last but not least was Caitlin Michele (singing "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence) vs. Diego Val (singing "Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz). The song choices were actually pretty perfect for each of their individual styles. There's no doubt Caitlin has the stronger vocal talent, but Diego really knows how to liven up a crowd with all that energy of his. None of the coaches seems all that thrilled with either performance (probably because they're still in shock over Terisa's unnecessary elimination. I'm not bitter or anything). But regardless, Cee Lo chose to advance Diego into the playoffs.
And look - this means Cee Lo has picked five guys and zero girls to go on to the live shows. I'm not sure if this makes him utterly foolish or a complete genius. We'll find out soon enough! But in the meantime, what did you think of last night's eliminations? Sound off in the comments below.
The Voice returns Tuesday for another two-hour Knockout episode starting at 8 p.m. - this time between Team Blake and Team Christina.
Follow Kelly on Twitter @KellyBean0415
[Photo Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC (2)]
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