The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – The Knockouts Premiere (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 2016, “The Knockouts Premiere”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
Miley Cyrus arrives as key advisor for the Knockouts! But will she prove why she was hired to serve as coach for Season 11? How will Miley do as an advisor?
Also, who will advance? Who will be eliminated? And who will be the recipient of a Steal?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-So we open with Blake talking about what a great mentor Miley has the potential to be, and adds that he’s looking to craft his best possible team for the live shows. Hence…
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: ANGIE KEILHAUER VS. PAXTON INGRAM
-Paxton is up first, and he’ll be singing “Hometown Glory” by Adele. He feels the song will allow him to explore new depths as a singer. Miley advises him to try to go bigger with his vocal tricks, since it’s better to go big and be remembered than to do a bunch of smaller tricks that get lost in the shuffle. Paxton develops the vocal, borderng on straining his voice. But he brings it back down for the finish, which has a very soft, smooth low note. Angie is next to be advised, and she’ll be singing “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. Blake is iffy about the song choice, since half the song is just talking. It’s Sam Hunt’s whole thing as an artist, but he doesn’t know if it’ll work for Angie. Miley advises her on how to work on the cadence, and how to generally produce the arrangement of the song. Angie gets a ton of help from Miley’s advice, and even fights back tears when talking about what this competition means to her and her family.
-Angie is up first in the Knockout, and this honestly works about a thousand times better than I thought it would, considering what a big risk it is to talk/rap through a chunk of the song. Then again, rappers used to be featured on this show (how soon we forget Moses Stone), so it’s not something I’d be opposed to seeing make a comeback. With that said, while I liked this performance, I thought she was a bit sharp in places. If Paxton can stick the landing on his performance, I think he’ll have this won. Unfortunately, when Paxton starts off, he seems a little unsure of himself. I don’t know if that’s the case or not, but it felt that way. However, the vocal picks up and soars with the arrangement. If I have on complaint, it’s that Paxton’s eyes were closed for damn near the entire song. Still, I thought he did a hell of a job with the performance, for the most part. I’d be really shocked if he lost.
-Christina loves Angie’s confidence, and Paxton’s connection to the song. She adds how much she loved Paxton’s rich, low tone. Pharrell felt her song choice didn’t measure up to her potential, since it didn’t allow her to show off the great tones of her voice. But he does feel she’s a great entertainer, and a great vocalist. Pharrell has to give it to Paxton though, praising his low notes. Adam praises Angie for her talent and passion, while telling Paxton that there’s no one in the competition who sounds like him. Blake gets into a mini-argument with Adam that leads to a joking discussion about desserts, for some reason. Blake then turns his attention to how talented Angie has been, and how much Paxton got everyone feeling that song in the room. He makes his choice…
PAXTON INGRAM WINS THIS KNOCKOUT!
-Paxton is stoked to advance to the live playoffs, saying this is everything he dreamed of. Back in the studio, Angie thanks Blake for the opportunity. No one steals her, unfortunately.
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: OWEN DANOFF VS. RYAN QUINN
-WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS, ADAM?! Seriously, either of these guys could go all the way for Adam. It makes virtually no sense to pair them and guarantee you lose one, unless his aim is to avoid having two guys on his team splitting votes with each other. In a show where two artists go home every week, that’s a legitimate concern. Anyway, Owen will be singing “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel. Adam encourages Owen to believe in himself, saying that although squaring off against Ryan is intimidating, he’s got to have faith in his own abilities. Meanwhile, Ryan will be singing “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, noting that he loves melodic music like this. Miley thinks Ryan is “so melodically gifted,” and she kind of wishes he’d take off his glasses and just let loose. But she admits there’s a certain charm to his look right now. Adam suggests that Ryan get deeper into the meaning of the song, noting that Pat Monahan from Train wrote the song about his mother, a deeply personal subject to him. Here’s hoping he finds that connection, because I think Owen has the better song of the two.
-Owen is up first, and I absolutely ADORE this. He’s not just singing the song, he’s communicating the story simply through his facial expressions and body language. It’s not the most perfect vocal in the world, but it’s got an entire universe of feeling within its borders. I just loved this so much, you guys. Strangely, while Ryan’s vocal is note perfect, it doesn’t have anywhere near the depth of feeling Owen’s performance had. Really, this is a contest between a rough diamond and a more polished vocalist. It’s interesting because I’m not sure there’s a wrong answer here. Both guys are just so immensely talented.
-Blake thinks Adam was crazy to put his two four-chair turns against one another (YES! Amen!), but he’s picking the guy who had the most feeling in his song, so he gives it to Owen. Christina feels the same way, giving it up for Owen’s emotional connection with the song. Pharrell praises Ryan’s vocal prowess (calling those crazy notes towards the end his “Star Search notes”), but feels Owen really brought out the feeling in the song. However, he doesn’t see any reason why both guys couldn’t make the final. Adam is torn, because he sees both men as puzzles to solve, since each man has qualities the other lacks. After an agonizingly long deliberation, Adam makes his pick…
OWEN DANOFF WINS THIS KNOCKOUT!
-Owen is overjoyed about advancing, but the real story is when Ryan prepares to say goodbye to Adam. He barely gets out a thank you before…
CHRISTINA AGUILERA STEALS RYAN QUINN!
-I’m surprised no other coaches went in on that Steal, but I guess it was best not to try and rock the boat, since I think he picks Christina no matter who else hits their button. For her part, Christina is thrilled that Adam dropped the ball on this one, and I can’t help but agree. At the rate Christina is going, she has the potential to have one of the strongest teams in the history of this show. It’s to the point where I’d be deeply shocked if she didn’t win this thing. She’d have to really screw up in a big way or put the wrong people through.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: HANNAH HUSTON VS. MALIK HEARD
-Malik will be singing “Isn’t She Lovely?” by Stevie Wonder, and while it’s an awesome vocal, it’s clear to Pharrell that he’s holding back. He asks for Malik to give him the same kind of emotion and feeling he gives to his family. While Miley feels opening up might be a problem for Malik, he has the voice to work it out, and he clearly has the work ethic to back it up. For her part, so does Hannah, who will be singing “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. Miley loves the vocal, but feels she needs to bring out her inner rocker if this is going to work. I would be genuinely stunned if Hannah didn’t walk away with this one, but stranger things have happened.
-Hannah is up first, and this is just terrific. Seriously, it’s a great rock vocal. My only issue is that it was a bit on the theatrical side. Then again, that’s kind of just how Hannah performs. She’s like a more controlled, less histrionic version of Bria Kelly. I really dug this. Malik is up next, and…well, it’s okay, I guess. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. It has some cool little vocal moments with the runs and the even nature of his tone. But those belting notes didn’t really work for him, which is why I think Hannah deserves this one. She gets a standing ovation from the coaches, which pretty much seals the deal.
-Adam thought Hannah’s vocals were crazy, and he felt Malik showed the mark of a true performer. After a back-and-forth with Adam, in which he calls him “Strawberry Shortcake,” Blake praises both singers but gives it to Hannah. Christina leans in the same direction, while Pharrell praises Malik for allowing his voice to take the wheel. But this is naturally a pretty tough decision for Pharrell, who decides to go with his gut…
HANNAH HUSTON WINS THIS KNOCKOUT!
-Hannah struggles with tears when stating how happy she is to remain on Team Pharrell. Unfortunately, no one steals Malik. I mean, I get it. But it’s still sad.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: KATIE BASDEN VS. LACY MANDIGO
-Lacy will be singing “Zombie” by The Cranberries, since it’s a song about war, and she intends to dedicate it to her grandfather. She even fights back tears when talking about him. However, even though Blake is positive on the vocal during rehearsal, I’m not hearing the potential just yet. Miley is, however, and runs through the song again with Lacy, bringing out the potential of tackling the song with breathy, low notes during the verses. The change is instantaneous, and really awesome to see. Seriously, I think people might be overreacting about Miley being a coach next season. Blake is excited for Lacy because no one else in the music business is doing this kind of music anymore. I’m sure I could think of an example in today’s music scene, but live-blogging is taxing on the mind. Or something. Anyway, Katie will be singing “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac, which is not only one of her favorite songs, but a song that reminds her of her father, since it’s the kind of music they used to listen to together. Blake loves the Trisha Yearwood voice in Katie’s voice, saying it takes him back to the 90s in country music, when Miley’s dad was having hits. Miley offers some tips to bring out more of a Stevie Nicks-like quality in Katie’s voice. It’s a beautiful change, and Katie’s got a very clear emotional connection to this song. Then again, Lacy has a certain connection to hers as well. This could end up being one of the most underrated battles of the night.
-Katie is up first and…wow. Honestly, this is even better and more haunting than it was in rehearsal. As she continues, the power and emotion of the song become more evident through Katie’s performance. This is one of the absolute best performances of the season so far, in my opinion. Just a masterful vocal, from front to back. Lacy is up next, and she actually blows me away. This was way beyond what I was expecting, as she not only emotes and connects with the passion and rage and somber tone of the track, she delivers a wonderfully nuanced vocal. I’m starting to think Lacy might have this after all, although I’d still pick Katie if it were up to me.
-Christina thought Katie picked a great song, and delivered a very “clean” performance. She then praises Lacy’s charisma and her rock edge, saying Miley must have loved that performance. Pharrell loved both women, but feels if he had to give it to someone, he’d have given it to Katie. Adam thought Katie was phenomenal, while also noting that Lacy has tons of potential with her vocal ability that can still be revealed. Blake is torn, and makes a vow to reward the person who sang the best here. So…
KATIE BASDEN WINS THIS KNOCKOUT!
-Blake wanted to reward the person who he feels could bring back that 90s feeling in country music. As Lacy prepares to say goodbye in the studio…
PHARRELL WILLIAMS HITS HIS BUTTON!
-Katie goes to embrace her new coach when….
ADAM LEVINE HITS HIS BUTTON!
-So now she has to hear their pitches. Pharrell says there are things she needs to work on, but he’s anxious to bring out her full potential. Adam throws Pharrell under the bus (albeit after letting Pharrell know they’re brothers, and he loves him) by saying that Pharrell basically said he’d rather have Katie on his team than Lacy by declaring that Katie won that battle. This leads to a back-and-forth analogy about Super Bowl teams that results in Lacy just going with her gut…
LACY MANDIGO JOINS TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Adam seemed to know he was boned there. I can’t blame Lacy for the choice she made, since I think placing on Team Pharrell will help bring out the natural performer in her, while also helping her hone her vocals.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: ALISAN PORTER VS. DANIEL PASSINO
-Alisan is stoked to meet Miley, and anxious to work with Christina so she can get one step closer to what is essentially her real dream, as it was never about acting. She always wanted to be a singer. She’ll be singing “River” by Joni Mitchell, which reflects the struggle of her fight against addiction. Miley feels like the song was written for Alisan, saying it came across as though she was singing about her family. Miley and Alisan think this could be great if Alisan strips this down, with Christina using Miley’s concert performance of “Jolene” as an example. Meanwhile, Daniel wants to get back to the roots of his hometown, singing “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” by The Temptations. While he does eventually went to sing Top 40 songs, he wants to show his soulful side. Miley feels there’s a delicate balance, because she doesn’t want Daniel to change up the song so much that it’s not recognizable, yet she doesn’t want him to do a copycat of the record. So Christina suggests throwing some more growls in there, and thinking outside the box, vocally. Daniel feels he learns more and more each time he works with Christina. I feel this is probably the wrong song choice for Daniel, but I can’t pretend he didn’t sing the hell out of it in rehearsal — and all while busting out some cool moves!
-Alisan is up first, and it’s exactly as gorgeous as you’d expect. It’s also deeply emotional, as Alisan clearly connects with this song on a personal level. At the risk of sounding as cliche as coaching criticism often sounds, it doesn’t feel like I’m watching a contestant on a reality singing show at all. It feels like I’m watching an awards show performance from an established artist. It’s not surprising to be impressed by Alisan, but she took a relatively sleepy sounding song and made it compelling. Daniel is up next, and it’s an energetic performance, but the vocal just isn’t there like it should be. He’s just off-pitch for most of the song, resulting in some really wonky moments. I like how much he’s committing to the performance aspect of the song, throwing out some fun little dance moves. But the vocal just isn’t up to the standard of Alisan’s performance, which is why I’m so puzzled that Pharrell gave that a standing ovation.
-Pharrell praises Daniel for his ambition, and states that he slayed that. He then tells Alisan that her performance was masterful, and says he’d give this battle to her, although he says Daniel is something special. Adam is more impressed with Daniel every time he sees him, and feels he now has a confidence he didn’t have before. As for Alisan, Adam thought she was great, and thinks we’ll see a lot more from her. Blake loved both performances, but feels the emotional connection put Alisan over the top. Christina calls Alisan “a gift to our show,” and praises her for knowing how to use her God-given instrument. Meanwhile, she thinks Daniel is “a dedicated, talented man” in his own right. She makes her choice…
ALISAN PORTER WINS THIS KNOCKOUT!
-Alisan states that this is everything she’s ever wanted, noting that it’s been her dream to be viewed as a singer. In the studio, Daniel is too overcome with emotion to speak. Pharrell steps in and lets Daniel know that he killed it up there, and the audience is still on its feet for him. He adds that he definitely would have stolen Daniel if he’d had a steal left, but he understands why Alisan won that battle, since she’s as rare as a unicorn. Man, I’m going to miss Pharrell so much next season.
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: EMILY KEENER VS. SHALYAH FEARING
-Shalyah is thrilled to meet Miley, and stoked about getting a second chance to continue in the competition, since she was really disappointed to have lost the battle in the previous round. She’ll be singing “A Broken Wing” by Martina McBride, a song she feels reflects the struggles of her family. It’s also a chance for her to show her new coach, Pharrell, a new side of her. Pharrell is worried a bit, since it’s rare to see a gospel singer tackle country. But he seems optimistic about Shalyah’s unique talents. Meanwhile, Emily wants to show Pharrell her artistry through her guitar, which she hasn’t gotten to play on the show yet. However, she gets a bit nervous and flubs a lyric. For his part, Pharrell encourages her to keep working, noting that when you’re confident in what you’re doing, you even manage to fail better. This should be an interesting battle, because, despite their differences, I feel these girls are fairly evenly matched.
-Emily is up first, and her rendition is really charming. It’s not the best vocal she’s delivered in this competition so far, but she’s just got so much personality up there, and her confidence appears to be growing by leaps and bounds with each round, to the point where I’m really interested to see what she’ll do in later rounds when her confidence reaches its apex. Shalyah is up next, and she just SLAYS this song! You’d never know she wasn’t a country artist from how she ripped that song to shreds (in a good way). Shalyah just came out of nowhere with this, justifying Pharrell’s decision to save her in the battle rounds.
-Adam liked the honesty of Emily’s performance, but calls Shalyah a revelation. He dares Pharrell to make her available to him. After riffing on Adam’s pink hair again, Blake praises Shalyah for delivering a note-perfect rendition of one of his favorite songs. Christina feels like she was watching the finale, and Shalyah just won. Pharrell thought Emily did a great job, and states they’re both more mature than many adults are in their lives, both musically and personally. Pharrell is going to go with his gut…
EMILY KEENER WINS THIS KNOCKOUT!
-Emily is stunned, and it seems clear to me that Pharrell did this because he knew Shalyah would be stolen, but Emily wouldn’t be. Back in the studio, Adam is quick to hit his button, rescuing Shalyah and sending her through to the live playoffs…
ADAM LEVINE STEALS SHALYAH FEARING!
-Adam is shocked that he has Shalyah, but he’s also very happy about it. Well, of course. Shalyah is one hell of a talent.
-And that’s a wrap! But what did you think of tonight’s show? Sound off in the comments!
Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading and hanging out!