VOICE OVER: The Knock-Outs Hold Lots of Surprises!


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.

Make sure to check out the recaps of the earlier weeks of The Voice right here!

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."

Adam's last pair was Sam James and Melanie Marinez. Sam James sang a favorite of his, and a classic, "Walking in Memphis." Adam got onto Sam big time for his wonky pronunciation of the word "Memphis," but Sam was clearly very eager to learn, and he therefore got lots of good coaching. He, like so many others tonight, was able to make a classic into his own performance. As he was finishing, you could see Melanie Crying, as if she were thinking, "I'm as good as done." The performer who can only be described as unique, Melanie, sang "Bulletproof," in her own laid-back style. Adam told her in rehearsals, as she was trying a few too many tune variations, "It doesn't feel like your best shot at this." Melanie admitted, "Rehearsals started out really shaky." Melanie took his advice and improved for the performance itself, but following it, Adam told her, "You got breathy, because you were nervous." He wanted Sam to get out of his comfort zone and, "That space that's so cozy for you." Making a final decision, he deemed the winner to be Melanie.

After Team Adam showed off their talent, CeeLo's mentees had their chance to shine. First, Avery Wilson and Cody Belew competed. Avery sang "Yeah 3X," and CeeLo cautioned him to remember to focus intently on what he was doing. He sounded off-key most of the time he was singing, and even through in some very odd dance moves which unfortunately did not seem to work in his favor. Cody was the next guy to choose a girl song, with "Jolene." Ceelo said, "I can appreciate the originality, but it might not win the knockouts because of that. This is a heavy song. I think you should sing it like that so you don't get knocked out." He really rocked that and sounded awesome. All of the coaches agreed that this was not Avery's best performance ever, but they also agreed that Cody really stood out with his performance. Not surprisingly, CeeLo chose to take Cody on to the live rounds.

CeeLo's next set of guys each sang a song which was originally sung by a girl: Mackenzie Bourg with "Call Me Maybe," and Daniel LaRosa with "Back to December." CeeLo told Mackenzie, "You have an advantage because you're a singer/songwriter/musician." So he delivered an awesome acoustic version, accompanying himself on the guitar, of course. It sounded almost like a totally different, revamped version of this summer hit, but again, he mastered it. CeeLo told Daniel, who has consistently lacked confidence throughout his life and journey on the show, "I think timing would be one issue, nervousness could be one issue. Connecting with the audience will win this round." He did some great tune variations, which worked in his favor. Adam called his singing "magical and very engaging." The consensus, however, was that Mackenzie took that one. CeeLo told his guys, "Mackenzie, you really made a connection with people today; it's really magical when that happens. Daniel, you are a wonderful wonderful singer. But you are better than you were tonight. I'm going with Mackenzie."

CeeLo put new mentor/mentee pair Terisa Griffin and Trevon Hunte against each other next. Since being on this show, Terisa had become a motivator for Trevon who, though he had a ridiculously amazing voice at only the age of eighteen, struggled with confidence. Nevertheless, they had to put their friendship behind and fight for their own position in the next round. She chose to sing, "Saving All My Love," by Whitney Houston. CeeLo, thought that Terisa may be advantaged because she had some good experience going for her. This performance was utterly incredible. It seemed after her that there was no point in anyone trying to follow that. But Trevon Hunte held his own with "Against All Odds," by Phil Collis. CeeLo had an insanely hard decision to make. But how in the world does one compare these two? They were both incredible. The other coaches could not heap enough compliments on Trevon, and though CeeLo told Terisa she did an exceptional job, Trevon was the clear winner.

Nicholas Davis and Mycle Wastman competed after that amazing duo. Nicholas threw in some dance moves, much like Avery, while singing, "Put Your Records On." It was like kung fu soul, but it worked. Though he neither sang a girl's song, nor danced, Mycle performed what he considered to be a fitting song, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," applying it to this competition. Ceelo advised, "You've gotta take a more fierce approach," which is something Mycle doesn't naturally do. "If you kill it, it's good, but if not, it's just a travesty." But no pressure or anything, Mycle! Christina favored Mycle, while Blake called Nicholas "special," and the combination of him and CeeLo a "dream team." Making the final judgment, CeeLo said, "Trying to think as a producer. I think somebody could figure out what you do, Mycle. Nicholas, on the other hand, is this natural mystery. I'm going to go with Nicholas."

The last knock-out duo was Caitlin Michele and Diego Val. Caitlin, who has always sounded very akin to Evanescence, sang her most famous song, "Bring Me to Life." She had a couple small issues in rehearsal, but she completely made up for it in her astounding performance. CeeLo encouraged Diego to try to connect with the audience as he sang, "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Seeing the two performers perform right in a row, his seemed like the better song choice. Adam and Christina both loved Caitlin, but with the caveat that she almost sounded too much like the original. CeeLo thought neither of his performers did the best job they have ever done, but said, "Caitlin, I think you're a sweet girl, but I think there's something special about Diego." So now Team CeeLo is sending all guys to the live rounds: Cody, Mackenzie, Trevon, Nicholas, and Diego will be appearing on The Voice next week.

Now there is only one more night of Knock-Outs, so everyone is looking forward to the highly-anticipated Live Rounds. Tune in Tuesday night to NBC at 8/7c for the last of the Knock-Out Rounds! 

Visit www.nbc.com/the-voice/artists/ to view the full list of Season 3 contestants, plus their stories, videos, and more. You can download your favorites from tonight's performances at www.iTunes.com/thevoice, or watch them on The Voice's YouTube channel: www.Youtube.com/NBCthevoice. Keep up with The Voice through the week and during the show on Twitter: @NBCTheVoice, #TheVoice.

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Sally Henry Sally Henry is a BroadwayWorld contributor based in Georgia who manages the News Desk on the weekends, including the weekly #SIP roundups. She also writes weekly features ranging from historically-based reflections to interviews with all the cool kids in the industry. She takes pride in her ginger hair and in being *that* friend who actually loves The Scarlet Pimpernel musical.

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