‘The Voice’ Review: The Knock-Out Makes History with the Steal

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THE VOICE -- "Knockout Rounds" Episode 511 -- Pictured:  (l-r) Season 5 Knockout Rounds Teams -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

Last week, viewers got the chance to see what Battle Rounds are all about on the Emmy Award winning, The Voice, but for the first-time, the Knock-out competition will have a new spin; and that spin is the added twist of the “Steal”, which was featured in the battles.

Last night’s show was full of either stellar performances or performances that didn’t manage to stand out.  I love the knockout rounds because anything can happen in them; you, the viewer can get another chance to see something new from the artist that is performing, and you get to see first-hand just how hard it is on a coach when it comes time for them to make their final choice. Last night’s performances were full of tough choices.

Christina Aguilera has a pretty decent team, and let’s be honest, she’s not focusing so much this time around on the power-house female vocalist that can be a carbon-copy of her. I loved Amber Nicole choosing Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” because for someone who is just seventeen year’s old, she has such maturity you forget completely about how young she is.  I loved her sassiness on stage, so I was very connected to her performance. Christina’s second contender for the knock-out, was Josh Logan, who selected Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City”. I’m a huge Stevie Wonder fan, so I wanted to see if Josh could do the song some serious justice; because let’s face it, when you’re choosing a song from the Stevie songbook, you better do it just right. Can we just say Josh was bringing it? He deserved to move on to the live shows coming in the next few weeks.  As for our soulful Amber, she’s not out of the competition either; she’s moving on to Cee Lo Green’s team.

Kat Robichaud’s performance from Team Cee Lo freaked me out a little bit. She was getting so into her performance of Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”, that I thought she was going to put a hurting on someone from across the stage. The minute she sang “I Got the Music in Me” during her blind auditions, I knew she would be sticking around.  Monika Leigh went for a more bluesy sound with “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles.  I liked her performance; she did well, but she needed to be great in order to beat out Kat. Kat, as Adam Levine pointed out, just has a natural way when it came to her performance. I’m glad that Cee Lo saw that Kat was the stronger person that could possibly garner him a win come finale time.

I’m going to say it; I have to say it, but I love Nic Hawk. I have to give it to Blake Shelton for stealing him to his team, because Nic had so much more to give in terms of performances.  He is a true artist and the way he rearranged Christina’s hit “Genie in a Bottle” just had me on the edge of my seat. Nic brought a flavor of soul to it and honestly, Holly Henry’s knock-out performance of Radiohead’s “Creep” was no match. She didn’t hold my attention with her performance, and that was very unfortunate, because I liked her during the blind audition and battle round. As for Nic, his advancing to the live shows gives those who are watching a chance to see what he comes up with next.

 

One of the best knock-out performances came from Ashley DuBose and Tessanne Chin from Team Adam.  This is where when a performance is evenly matched and that great, it becomes hard for the coach to choose. Ashley selected Train’s hit song, “Hey Soul Sister”, admitting to wanting to do a song that was more fun and up-tempo. When she took to the stage, you can just see her eyes light up when she performed.  I still hear a little bit of Rihanna when she sings certain notes of a song. When it comes to Tessanne, she tore a page out of the Kelly Clarkson songbook with her choice of “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You}” and she owned it. Most performers who choose a Clarkson song, wind up either singing it so much like her or they go over the top with the song so much that it’s unrecognizable. Tessanne, didn’t do any of that; she made the song her very own by taking it to another level. I loved Tessanne’s voice the minute she hit the blinds with her take of Pink’s song “Try” and it was hard to see two of my favorites battling for a spot on the live shows.  I was greatly disappointed that Ashley didn’t get saved to go on to another team, because she still had so much to offer as an artist.

I was all for Shelbie Z during her knock-out against Briana Cuoco. I actually closed my eyes during their performances and I got to tell you, I agreed with Blake when he said that Shelbie was the stronger singer during the knock-out. Shelbie took on the song “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood, and just like Christina’s girl, Amber Nicole, Shelbie gave the audience some sass as she performed. She’s just draws the crowd in, and that confidence she has just won out.  Briana, who sang the song “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, just seemed so nervous, and it showed when she sang. Her pitch was off; and there were a few notes that just seemed a bit strained.  Blake made the right decision to go with Shelbie because she was just the best performer.

I was somewhat disappointed that James Irwin didn’t stay in the competition. The “Comeback Kid” did a great job on his performance of “Breakeven (Falling to Pieces) by The Script. He came a long way from the first time he went into his blind audition from season four and his being on Team Adam gave him the chance to grow musically.  I liked Grey’s performance of “Already Gone”, another song from Kelly Clarkson, but she didn’t move me the way that James did.  I thought James was a bit more consistent but I could see where Adam was going when he chose Grey to advance. He wanted someone that was already transitioning as they perform, therefore, even though I wanted James to stay, Grey would get him a bit further in the competition.

From Team Christina, Olivia Henke and Destinee Quinn both has a bit of nerves fighting them when they took to the stage. Destinee, who chose the song “See You Again” by Carrie Underwood, dedicated to her cousin Brandi who died shortly after the song came out. You could hear the emotion in her voice, which could have been why she may have felt the need to rush the song from time to time. As for Olivia, who sang Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good”, she gave a good performance, but she tends to jump the gun to hit the big notes and embellish a little with certain notes. Regardless of all of that, Olivia was the stronger performance in order to stay.

The final performance of the night was that of Johnny Gray and Cole Vosbury from Cee Lo’s team. I loved listening to Cole as he sang Passenger’s song “Let Her Go”, which, he truthfully said isn’t that well known.  The melody was just so beautiful and he has such an easiness when he sings. Johnny, who selected “We Can Work it Out” by the Beatles, just makes it look so easy. His comfort level on stage shows the enjoyment he has when he’s singing; and that’s what draws the audience in. I liked both guys performing, therefore, I was glad to see that Cee Lo kept Johnny, while Blake and Adam both fought over stealing Cole.  I will be truthful when I say that I’m very glad that Cole decided to go with Blake, strictly because his style of singing is right up Blake’s alley in helping develop and nurture.

Tomorrow is another two hour episode of The Voice and the promos show these knock-out performances can’t be missed. Tune in Tuesday, 9/8 C time to see who stays and who will get a steal.

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