Reality TV

The Voice 8 – Live Blog and Recap – The Knockouts Premiere, Part 2 (VIDEO)

Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 8, “The Knockouts Premiere, Part 2”! Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera whittle down their teams for the live shows.

Fun frontman Nate Ruess helps the coaches as Key Advisor for the Knockouts, as the respective artists prepare for battle in the round with the highest stakes so far. We’re just one round away from the live playoffs!

Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be posting results, videos, commentary, and more as the night rolls on.

The Voice 8 - Live Blog and Recap - The Knockouts Premiere, Part 2 (VIDEO)

Credit: NBC

Let’s get this show on the road!

RECAP

-We get a hype package for tonight’s Knockouts, and a reminder that Nate Ruess is kicking off a solo career. Was the world really clamoring for a Nate Ruess solo career? It just seems kind of redundant if Fun is still together. Unless he’s somehow being creatively stifled by his bandmates or something. At the studio, Nate and Blake chat about how Blake has apparently gotten fat. I don’t see it, but sure.

TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: CODY WICKLINE VS. COREY KENT WHITE

-Corey recalls his journey so far and says the coaches couldn’t have made his blind audition more suspenseful. He notes that he plans on working his butt off to advance, saying that if he gets outsung, he gets outsung, but he’ll never get out-worked. He’ll be singing “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw because it hits home to him, since his grandfather is fighting for his life. He gets emotional during the rehearsal, and Blake acknowledges that this is something intrinsic to country music that you can’t fake. Meanwhile, Cody will be singing “Til My Last Day” by Justin Moore. Nate says Cody’s voice is interesting to him, since he doesn’t hang out in country bars himself. But he feels Cody has authenticity, which is everything in country music. Blake warns Cody avoid the growl in certain places, since the growl tells him that Cody can’t hit the note. So Cody takes Blake’s advice, but this quickly ends up descending into a discussion on hair care tips. You know, Cody should go hatless more often. Dude has nice hair.

-Cody is up first, and he sounds pretty much perfect here. The acoustics in the building seem a bit off, but that’s really nothing new for The Voice audio team. I swear, I have no idea what’s up with these people in the production truck or wherever they’re leveling the audio from, but this just sounds tinny and a bit hollow. Which is a shame, because I think this is Cody’s best vocal so far. He’s an absolute threat to win this entire competition. Hell, I think they both are. This is the most insane battle pairing so far, in my opinion, in terms of pitting two potential contenders against one another. No matter who wins this battle, I think it’d be crazy for the other not to get stolen.

WATCH: Cody Wickline sings ‘Til My Last Day’ in a shocking The Voice 2015 Knockouts (VIDEO)

-Corey is great here too. Blake has an impossible task ahead of him. I think Corey has wider appeal, but Cody has more of a classic country feel, and I think that speaks volumes to the country music voters. Which isn’t to say that Corey doesn’t have an authentic country appeal of his own, but rather that they both offer different sides of the same country coin. This is the most interesting battle of the competition so far, to me, since both guys just delivered their best, most deeply-felt vocals of this competition.

WATCH: Corey Kent White sings ‘Live Live You Were Dying’ on The Voice 2015 Knockouts (VIDEO)

-Christina notes that both Cody and Corey are solid contenders. Pharrell didn’t know Cody had those notes in him, while he’s always been a fan of Corey as well. He feels Blake has a tough decision since both guys have what it takes to win. Adam feels if it’s about who delivered the most passionate, convincing vocal, Corey takes this one. But he’s still a big fan of Cody. Blake praises Cody for his vocal, and adds that Corey showed him a lot more than he’s seen before, taking a song and turning it into art, which is something you’re born with. Corey reveals that his grandfather flew home today and is on his way to recovery, which is terrific news. Blake makes his decision…

COREY KENT WHITE WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!

-Corey said the fact that his grandfather will be alive to see this means the world to him. Back in the studio, Cody says farewell, and…no one steals him?! Christina explains that she only has one steal left, so she’s being super picky. I feel if either Adam or Pharrell had a steal left, they would have snatched him up, but they used those steals up yesterday on contestants who really don’t have a realistic shot at winning. At least not as much of a shot as Cody had. Seriously, they just let go of a potential winner.

-Back from break with Adam and Nate dueting on “Rocket Man” by Elton John. Nate is really impressed with Adam’s pitch, to which Adam notes he’d better have good pitch since he spends all day telling other people how to sing.

TEAM ADAM LEVINE: BLAZE JOHNSON VS. DEANNA JOHNSON

-It’s Johsnon v. Johnson! (That kind of makes it sound like a divorce case) Blaze flips out upon meeting Nate Ruess, talking about how great it is to work with a Grammy-winning, hit-making artist, and honestly, this sounds like most scripted gushing session in the history of gushing. But whatever, onto the battle: Blaze is keeping his love of The Fray alive, following up his Blind Audition of “How to Save a Life” with this performance of “You Found Me”. He sounds good starting out, but he’s a bit too much of a wanderer onstage, so Adam and Nate anchor Blaze with a mic stand, and the performance improves exponentially as a result. Meanwhile, Deanna will be singing the Roxette version of “Listen To Your Heart,” and while it sounds lovely, her tone is interrupted by her abject terror up there. Nate tells her she HAS to chill out if she’s going to succeed, since she’s even making HIM nervous. Adam and Nate assure her she deserves to be here, with Adam noting that nothing gets you out of the game more than your head. Nate, however, says if he and Adam had their own record label, she’d be the kind of artist they’d want. For her part, Deanna vows to “practice [her] little butt off.” As for Adam, he’s already nervous about who he’ll pick.

-Blaze starts out well enough, but the song sort of gets away from him as the performance continues. His voice breaks in places, including during one crucial long, high note. It’s a shame, because this could have been far, far better than it was, but he sort of overreached on the vocal. He reminds me a lot of Michael Lynche from American Idol 9, since he comes across like he’s just dying to explode, as if he’s trying his damndest to keep all his energy from bursting out onto the stage. And that hurt him, since a performer needs to be able to rein in that sort of anxious energy. I like Blaze, but I think Deanna wins this one no matter what she does next.

-Deanna delivers a stellar vocal. Seriously, her absolute best of the competition so far. It also helps that she is positively STUNNING. I don’t know if that necessarily equates to star power or presence or anything, but she certainly looks like she belongs up there. It’s just icing on the cake of her already sounding like she belongs up there. This would be stupid

WATCH: Deanna Johnson sings ‘Listen To Your Heart’ on The Voice 2015 Knockouts (VIDEO)

-Blake notes that it would be wrong of him not to note how breathtakingly beautiful…Blaze is. He then praises Blaze on his vocal while noting that he heard pitch issues from Deanna, so he’d give it to Blaze. Christina says Blaze is great, but Deanna’s vibrato is unique, so she’s torn. Pharrell thinks Deanna’s tone is beautiful, but she needs to practice, practice, practice to overcome her nerves, but he believes in her and she should believe in herself too. He points out Blaze’s voice cracking, but feels Blaze is more ready, at the moment. Adam loves Blaze’s low register, but he also loves Deanna’s voice. However, he feels Deanna is running out of excuses not to believe in herself, since she never sings onstage nearly as well as she does in rehearsals. But there’s just something about her…

DEANNA JOHNSON WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!

-Adam says Blaze deserved to be rewarded for what he accomplished, but felt there is still a kernel of genius in Deanna. He embraces a tearful Deanna and tells her she needs to start believing in herself. Deanna says she really thought she’d be going home, but backstage, Adam congratulates her once again. Onstage, Blaze states how he didn’t think he’d even be here a few years ago, but he’s made it this far, and he’s thankful. No one steals him, and Blake explains that he’s holding his save for now. I’m sure he has someone in mind, but whom?

TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: HANNAH KIRBY VS. CAITLIN CAPORALE

-Hannah meets with Nate, and he reveals that a performance is drama, and that she doesn’t have to give it all away at once. She notes that Pharrell is also a great coach, comparing him to a “monk”. She’ll be singing “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood, and while I quite like Hannah, I think this is an absolutely godawful song choice for her. Her voice just sounds so nasally and unpleasant here on the chorus. She sounds great on the verses though, and her dancing is absolutely adorable. So I’m torn. As for Caitlin, she’ll be singing “Warrior” by Demi Lovato. She also sounds better on the verses than on the chorus, and Pharrell picks up on it. He notes that she’s thinking too much, and getting too tense. Nate adds that Caitlin needs to enjoy and feel what she’s doing. “If she can do that, she can take anyone down.”

-To her credit, Hannah’s performance here is LEAGUES better here than in rehearsal. Seriously, there wasn’t a single off note in this entire performance that I could hear, and while I still absolutely hate the song choice, I do believe she does a damn fine job making a case for herself. This is another one of those battles I love, where it really does come down to who simply does the better job. Too many battles these days are foregone conclusions, but I like it when they’re relatively even like this. It makes things more exciting.

-This is going to be a close one. Caitlin delivers her best performance since the blinds, and possibly her best overall. I think Caitlin just ekes it out over Hannah, since this was more of a powerful vocal. And also because she went last, and recency bias reigns supreme on this show. Both girls should be proud of what they did though, regardless of the outcome. And hey, the pre-commercial previews basically spoiled that there’s a steal here, so I guess they’re both advancing anyway.

-Adam praises both girls, uncertain of whom to pick. Blake loves how fun it is to watch Hannah onstage, since it’s like someone who isn’t in control of her own body. He also really enjoys Caitlin’s voice. Meanwhile, Christina notes that Caitlin is someone her team will have to look out for, while Hannah is someone with a surprising amount of power. Pharrell says it’s tough because he has two kinds of singers, one who’s a bit reserved and another who lets it all out. But he makes his choice…

CAITLIN CAPORALE WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!

-Caitlin is stoked to have advanced to the live shows, since she’s been watching since Season 1 (so…four years then?). Hannah begins saying her farewells when…

BLAKE SHELTON STEALS HANNAH KIRBY!

-Blake feels he made a mistake cutting Hannah before, and wanted to make things right. For her part, Hannah feels she got the best of both worlds, working with Pharrell and coming to Team Blake as well.

-Aaaaand that’s a wrap! To recap, here is how tonight’s battles played out…

Team Blake Shelton: Corey Kent White defeated Cody Wickline

Team Adam Levine: Deanna Johnson defeated Blaze Johnson

Team Pharrell Williams: Caitlin Caporale defeated Hannah Kirby (Hannah Kirby STOLEN by Blake Shelton!)

So what did you think of tonight’s show? Did the coaches get it right? Did the artists pick the right songs? Did the recipient of the steal deserve it? Who has the strongest team right now? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!

GOODNIGHT!

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