This season’s knockouts were fast and furious. Even hardcore fans may have found four hours of viewing a challenge, but if there’s anything I’ve learned about “The Voice” fans – it’s that they like a challenge. Now let’s have a cup of something strong and talk my favorite (and least favorite) moments this week. Warning: this may take a while.
1. Song choice is everything.
Song choice can make you or break you on this show, as evidenced by coach Cee Lo Green‘s pairing of Kat Robichaud with Monika Leigh. Monika’s “Hit the Road Jack” was solid, but the song was too relaxed and didn’t give her enough “moments.” It also didn’t stand a chance against Kat’s fiery “You Oughtta Know,” the perfect vehicle for a high velocity performance that won Kat the knockout. Also? The “dead drop” Kat did at the end would have made Nia on Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” proud.
2. Best burn.
While Coach Christina Aguilera picked Josh Logan as the winner of his knockout against Amber Nicole, Amber’s steal via Cee Lo inspired some of the dirtiest (and most entertaining) bickering of the night. “Best Burn” goes to Cee Lo for his barb aimed at Blake Shelton: “I know your team pretty well too, and you’re right. There is no talent on your team.” Whoa, add that to your burn book, Cee Lo.
3. The Mike Tyson of “The Voice.”
No one bit off any ears (thank God!), but Matthew Schuler tore through “Cosmic Love” like a champion prize-fighter, delivering the best vocal performance and biggest surprise this week. I already knew he was good, but his range, flexibility and power on this song stunned me (and Christina, who gave him the win). He is definitely one to watch in live rounds.
4. Too much icing, not enough cake.
Coach Blake Shelton gave some great, universal advice when he recommended Briana Cuoco focus more on the melody of her knockouts choice “Don’t Speak,” rather than dancing around it. Take note, contestants – this is one of my common complaints. I am all for tricks and affectations as needed, but sometimes listeners just want to hear the melody as written. While Briana heeded Blake’s advice, Shelbie Z. won the knockout with her rendition of”Last Name” – a delicious cake made of sass, wit and plenty of melody.
5. The Lioness.
Ashley Dubose is adorable, distinctive and has star quality for days, but I felt for her when coach Adam Levine paired her against Tessanne Chin. Tessanne is clearly one of the frontrunners this season, and her passionate take on “Stronger” showed off her crazy range, won the knockout and further cemented her status as a favorite to win the whole thing (you could almost see Adam mentally clearing a space for his trophy).
6. Awkward moments with Blake.
Coach Blake Shelton’s pairing of E.G. Daly versus Ray Boudreau provided us with some of the most wonderfully awkward moments of the week. He greeted E.G for her rehearsal of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by squee-ing about how small she was and petting her as if she was a puppy. He then proceeded to tell Ray he made him feel like less of a man during his winning performance of “Hard to Handle.” Blake’s cup of “joy” was definitely overflowing this week.
7. Sweet Caroline.
Caroline Pennell’s charming take on “The Way I Am” was just the right amount of precious – distinctive without being overly affected and charismatic without being melodramatic. Singers in this genre have not always gone the distance on this show, but her strength, range and versatility are her secret weapon, separating her from the pack (and securing her the knockout win this week).
8. “Cause you had a bad day.”
Listen, James Wolpert – it happens to everyone. You picked an incredibly difficult song, nailed it in rehearsals and then faltered a little onstage… but you still sounded great, and you’re moving on to the live rounds! In all your post knockout self-reflection, you seem to forget YOU WON… So, buck up, sailor! You’ve lived to see another week on “The Voice.” How awesome is that?
9. Look into my eyes… look deep into my eyes… you’re under!
The steals have added a lot of excitement to the knockout round, sometimes proving to be more entertaining than the knockouts themselves. Cee Lo’s pairing of Cole Vosbury and Johnny Gray was a perfect example of this. Adam’s urgent plea of “[Blake]’s very charming! Don’t look him in the eye!” was both hilarious and on the money, and Cole’s steal (via Blake) almost overshadowed Johnny’s win.
10. Signs of the Apocalypse.
Wild weather changes, melting ice caps and Blake singing a line of Radiohead (during Holly Henry’s rehearsal of “Creep”) – these are all signs that the end is nigh.
11. Musical chairs.
There were so many games of musical chairs this week! First, Christina stole Stephanie Anne Johnson back from Cee Lo after her loss to Tamara Chauniece (yay Stephanie!). Then, Adam stole Will Champlin back from Christina after his loss to James Wolpert (smart move, Adam!)…reunions and happy endings all around!
Next week: Who are your favorites going into live rounds? Tell me in the comments and I’ll see you next Wednesday!
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