VOICE OVER: The Knock-Outs Hold Lots of Surprises!
The Voice, Christina Aguilera, NBC, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Ceelo Green
On NBC's The Voice, the singers have been through quite a journey thus far. They started out at the Blind Auditions, singing on a stage in front of four coaches who had their backs turned and would only push the red button of destiny and turn around for the singers they thought could take the team to the finals. Once the teams were selected, they moved onto the Battle Rounds. These pitted team mates against each other in duets, after which the coach chose who moved forward. This year, they added a twist, called a "steal," where a coach from another team could steal whomever was not chosen after each battle. So tonight, October 29, they have come to the Knock-Out Rounds, which are the only obstacle between these contestants and the even more important live show. In the Knock-Outs, yet again, team members compete, but this time it's individual, and they get to choose their own songs. Only five from each team advance, so the pressure, as always, is sky high. Tonight, singers from Team Adam Levine and Team CeeLo Green sang, but Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera were still there to give input.
Team Adam's singers performed for the first hour tonight, starting with Joselyn Rivera and Kayla Nevaraz. Joselyn chose Beyoncé's "Love on Top," to show off her personality and high notes, as she told Adam. Christina called this song a, "challenging glass of difficulty," saying, "The range is unbelievable. And you were hitting it!" CeeLo said, "I've got to give it to you, because you did it with such grace and confidence." Adam continued to be amazed by this girl's ambition, choosing such a challenging song at the young age of 17. It was clear that both girls held their coach up on a pedestal of utter respect, knowing that he could help them succeed. Kayla sang "Shark in the Water," which seemed like a very good song choice, especially for her voice. Since Joselyn was a steal, and Kayla had been on Team Adam since the Blinds, it Kayla appeared to have an advantage. Adam alluded multiple times to knowing Kayla better than Joselyn, so both girls were eager to see if that gave Kayla a leg up. After her performance, she received extremely high praise from her coach who simply said, "You killed it!" No one envied his having to choose between these girls, though. With much deliberation, he finally told them, "You guys are two of the best singers in the country; I do believe that. But I have to go with Joselyn." Overwrought with emotion, sweet Kayla couldn't help but start to cry. Her classy coach ran up and, giving her a big hug, offered her some last encouragement, "You're amazing, you're so amazing. Don't be sad. It broke my heart to do that."
Next, Adam had Joe Kirkland face off against Bryan Keith. Joe Kirkland chose an unconventional and unexpected song for his voice: "Mean" by Taylor Swift. This added versatility, but Adam said, "Joe might have the biggest hurdle since he's doing a Taylor Swift song. I think it's courageous." Then he told Joe that he had a "really cool range." It was definitely interesting to see him doing a Taylor Swift song, but he made it his own. He made it actually sound like Hot Chelle Rae, and it was not evident that this is usually a song sung by a girl. He got up there and clearly gave it everything while simply having a great time. Bryan Keith was trying to be sure not to sing his selection, "Everything I Do, I Do it for You," exactly like the original artist, Brian Adams, but at the same time, he knew there was a lot of pressure on for him to do it justice. He undoubtedly had a wonderful voice, but his confident performance seemed to clash with the vulnerable lyrics. After the performances, the coaches weighed in. Christina told Bryan that he nailed it and stole it with the last note. Adam thought Brian wasn't as good as usual tonight, but he was more impressed with Joe. "You're both supremely talented; I believe sincerely in both of you, but I gotta go with Bryan."
Adam's other artist he stole, Amanda Brown, sang against Michele Brooks-Thompson. The former chose her song because, "I'm a huge fan of American rock music," so Grace Potter's "Ooh La La" fit the bill. Adam warned her in rehearsals, "Don't over-rock it; I want to see the control that you had in the Battles. Sometimes you get too excited and it doesn't sound as good." On stage, she had lots of stage presence, and she seemed to feel and move through the music. She was clearly very comfortable with expressing herself in this way. As she was singing, her opponent, Michelle, seemed a little nervous to have to follow such an act. Michelle sang Jennifer Hudson's "Spotlight," but like Bryan, wanted this to be her version, not the artist's. "The most important thing for you is to be comfortable," her coach advised, "This song is about moments." When it came time to give their critique, Blake gave a very country remark, "Michelle just kicked the door in. I'm gonna go with Michelle." Christina said Amanda had great control; CeeLo said there were infinite possibilities with Amanda, but in his mind, Michelle won. Adam had to make the final judgment, "Michelle, you did things that I hadn't seen you do today. But Amanda, I haven't worked with you very much. The winner of this knock-out is Amanda."
More girls from Adam's team, Loren Allred and Nicole Nelson sang next. Wedding singer Loren chose "You Know I'm no Good," by Amy Winehouse. "I liked the sultriness, I liked the attitude," she told her coach. Adam talked about how Winehouse had so much darkness in her life, and he wanted Loren to channel that as much as she could, which would definitely be a change from wedding songs. It was clear that she was trying to channel that pain, so much so, that she received a standing ovation. This was a big surprise, because up to this point, Loren had very much flown under the radar and had certainly not shined especially. I'm sure no one would want to follow her performance, but Nicole Nelson sang a powerful rendition of, "If I Ain't Got You," by Alicia Keys. Adam praised her before the actual performance, "You have such command on the chorus, but on the verses, there are some emphatic moments that I want." Following the performances, Blake said this was one of those moments where a star was born. He chose Loren as the clear winner, as did Chrisitna, who said, "Where have you been all my life on the show, Loren?!" Their coach laid the praise on them, "Nicole, you have never ever done anything other than astonish all of us. Loren, the element of surprise was so astonishing, that I don't know what to do. The thought of letting one of you go is terrible. I'll go with Loren."