It took six days of battles to determine who would go and who would prevail to move on to the knock out round; and on Monday night’s show of The Voice, it was Adam Levine and Shakira who would kick off the most anticipated event for all to see.
Starting off the night was Adam, who pitted folk against country. Country singer Amber Carrington, who chose Avril Lavigne’s “I’m with You” went up against folk duo Midas Whale, who selected Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” During rehearsals, Amber shared with Adam how she wanted to give the rock song flair of country. While Adam pointed out that the song was a difficult song to possibly change, Amber made it all her own when she took to the stage, adding a softer feel to the song. Midas Whale, on the other hand, brought their quirkiness to “Higher Ground,” creatively changing up the tempo of the song. While both artists proved to Adam that they wanted a spot in the live competition, in the end, Adam chose who he felt was the stronger singer, and that choice was keeping Amber Carrington in the competition.
Shakira’s first knock-out pairing was that of Garrett Gardner and Tonya Reynolds. Garrett, who auditioned on last season’s show, and who got Shakira to turn her chair for him in his second chance, selected the song, “Too Close” by Alex Clare for the knock-out. Wanting to hone in on some of the rasp in his voice, Garrett proved to Shakira that he the underdog can come out on top. As for Tonya, who sang Pistol Annies “Hell on Heels” impressed Shakira with her incorporating yodels into the song. While Blake felt that Tonya did too many yodels in the song, Usher felt that it complimented the song and that she had great control over her voice. Proving that the underdog couldn’t be taken out, however, Garrett beat Tonya for a spot to remain on Team Shakira.
Amy Whitcomb took on a huge feat in her song selection of “The House of the Rising Sun,” by the Animals, which seemed to challenge her to choose and maintain her vocal range, whether she could master keeping her falsetto of the song under control. Caroline Glasser, who sang Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks,” proved to Adam in rehearsal that he made the right choice in stealing her. Both women, who happen to also be best friends, both stood side by side, listening to the commentary and pointers from both Blake and Usher. Adam, who paired the two of them to show how opposite they are vocally, shared that although he felt they sang better in their rehearsals, he had to go by who was growing stronger as a vocalist. The win of the knockout round went to Caroline Glasser.
For Shakira’s second pairing, it was Mary Miranda going against Chris Thomas. Chris, who has a genuine sweet and soothing quality to his voice, chose a classic, Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Chris had the ability to bring something different to the song with his unique range and the ability to fully drawn in his audience. Mary, on the other hand, I felt chose a song that was bigger than she was. She made a good effort at singing The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” but as Usher commented, the song didn’t showcase her normal bubbly personality that he was so used to seeing. Going for the person that had not only stage presence but the ability to captivate the audience, Shakira went with Chris to take the win.
It was yet another amazing performance from that of Judith Hill from Adam’s team. Paired up against Orlando Dixon, it was seen just how hard it would be for anyone going up against the former background singer of the late Michael Jackson. Orlando, who chose R&B group, K-Ci & JoJo’s hit, “All My Life,” did his best to show case his vocals and while he did a good job with the song, it was no match up against Judith’s selection of Willie Nelson’s “You Are Always on My Mind.” Judith turned a classic country song into a soulful, endearing ballad, making it clear that she has a right to be in the competition. When it came to the other coaches’ insight, all agreed that it was Judith that had a strong, solid and stellar performance, easily taking the win away from Orlando.
It was craftiness on Shakira’s part in pairing Karina Iglesias up against Monique Abbadie. Wanting to stay in the competition, Karina stuck to what got her to turn chairs in the blind auditions: pure rock. Selecting Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” Karina wanted to showcase her rocker’s edge in the song. Shakira, however, voiced her concerns that Karina could find herself being categorized as just another rocker, rather than a vocalist that can branch out. As for Monique, who sang Celine Dion’s “Power of Love,” she showcased her strong vocals on stage. While personally both songs were, to me, considered safe songs, Karina still maintains the ability to grab the audience with the strength of her voice. It was that strength that kept Karina in the competition.
Warren Stone, the one country singer that Adam swiped from Blake’s grasp, took an 80s hit, “I Died in Your Arms Tonight,” by the Cutting Crew, and flipped the script, turning it into a haunting ballad. His ability to himself to the next level stood out and he gave a great performance during the knock-out round. As for Sara Simmons, she chose nostalgia to sing, by selecting The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses,” a song that her father introduced to her as a young child. Her voice has an ability to shift from being soft to that of a powerhouse, and this song gave her that ability to do both, as well as giving her the chance to do it again in next week’s live competition on The Voice.
The last knock-out of the evening’s show was Shakira’s Shawna P and Sasha Allen. Sasha, who was on Adam’s team, felt a true connection to Shakira, who gave her advice on how to make the song “At Last” by Etta James, be a song that could show case her inner, physical and lyrical beauty . She did exactly that, adding a little flirty flare as she sang. At the end of the song, Sasha brought Shakira to her feet as she belted out her last notes closing out the song. If Sasha has a sweet seductive side to her, then Shawna has pure rocker when she sang “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney. She has grit about her voice that can captivate an audience. Sasha and Shawna both gave outstanding performances, but it was Sasha’s commitment and strength in At Last that sent shivers through Shakira, earning her right to stay on the team.
Stay tuned to watch The Voice tonight to see Team Usher and Team Blake take their teams into the second round of competition.