The Voice 8 – Live Blog and Recap – The Knockouts, Part 3 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 8, “The Knockouts, Part 3”! Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera finalize their teams for the live shows as the Knockout Round comes to an end and the final Steal is used!
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. It’s the last night before live shows begin!
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be posting results, videos, commentary, and more as the night rolls on.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with a recap of everything that’s happened so far, before getting right into the first battle of the night…
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: BARRY MINNIEFIELD VS. TONYA BOYD-CANNON
-Tonya has a blast singing “Love’s In Need” by Stevie Wonder with Adam and Nate during rehearsal, and I wish we could get more cool, off-the-cuff moments like this. Speaking of Stevie, Tonya is singing “I Wish,” which is a song she feels a personal connection to. However, Adam feels she needs to find a balance between making the song her own and being respectful to the original. Adam thinks Tonya has a great voice but he needs to feel it more. For his part, Nate feels that Tonya is more than up to the challenge. Tonya says she’s here to show the world that she is The Voice, and that she’s not ready to go home just yet. Meanwhile, Barry is singing “What You Won’t Do For Love” by Bobby Caldwell, which is an AWESOME song choice for him. Adam is impressed with how Barry attacks the high notes with finesse. But Adam and Nate bring the song up half a step to force Barry out of his comfort zone. “They’re bringing out an artist I never knew existed,” Barry says, realizing he could do things he didn’t even know he could do. He’s still nervous though, comparing Tonya to Muhammad Ali. But he feels he can win if he does everything Adam suggested he do. I don’t like his chances, but I’m actually pulling for him, even though I like Tonya.
-Tonya is up first, and it’s a surprisingly easygoing vocal in the early portions of the song. But she picks up the power as it goes on, and her tone remains as impeccable as always. However, I do admit to being a bit disappointed that it never picked up the full power and force that Tonya’s other performances have had, since this is especially one song that called for it, in my opinion.
-Barry absolutely slayed this, to me, and it wasn’t even close. This was his best vocal of the entire competition so far, as he hit some crazy notes, and showed off a surprisingly expansive vocal range. I also felt this far more than I felt Tonya’s performance. He just has this smooth, old school cool vibe. Tonya is probably the better singer overall, but I would actually go with Barry.
-Blake has no idea who is going to be chosen, and says he’d quit before choosing. Christina praises both artists, but seems to be leaning towards Tonya. Pharrell notes the tone of Barry’s voice and his soul, while essentially tipping his hat to Tonya in the same way, noting her church background. He wishes he had a steal remaining, because he feels they both deserve to advance. Adam loved that Barry hit the notes with his full voice, with no falsetto, while also giving Tonya props for delivering such a solid vocal. Adam makes his choice…
TONYA BOYD-CANNON WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!
-Barry thanks Adam for the opportunity and leaves with a hug. I’ll miss him. Backstage, Tonya praises Adam’s name, and he appears backstage to agree with her. Then, in a funny little moment, he goes to Blake’s seat while he’s away and screws with it, knocking the button and stealing the seat cushion.
-Back from break, with Adam returning Blake’s cushion to him, albeit in lopsided fashion. I love their interactions, although I feel this is more their show than any of the contestants’ (or even any of the other coaches’).
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: BROOKE ADEE VS. KELSIE MAY
-Kelsie is starstruck to meet Nate Ruess, saying she’s sung “We Are Young” a thousand times, and it’s one of her favorite songs. She has a hard time getting over meeting him, actually, and it’s kind of adorable. She says she’ll be singing “Tim McGraw” by Taylor Swift, which Blake compares to Fun doing a song called “Maroon 5”. Kelsie runs through the song, and it’s pretty rough, actually. Blake picks up on how sharp she sounds, and notes that while this is a nice song, it doesn’t really offer her a moment for a big note. Nate agrees with Blake’s assessment, and says it’d be better for her to be flat than sharp. They both advise her to do her best to get over her nerves. For her part, Brooke is thrilled to have Nate Ruess as an advisor, noting she’s proud to have an indie artist mentoring her. Is Fun really an “indie” act though? Anyway, Brooke will be singing “Electric Feel” by MGMT to change things up from all the ballads she’s done, and I love the song choice to absolute pieces. Blake is torn because Brooke just blew him away, so this could end up being a pretty close battle.
-Kelsie sounds nice here, but she doesn’t sound like a star. If she wins, it’s only because Blake made up his mind to keep her around before the battle even began, because this wasn’t up to her usual standard. In fact, it sounds like she’s over-emphasizing her country twang a bit. Or, at the very least, it sounds like she’s trying to mimic Taylor’s inflections on the song. It’s just very distracting. I think it all comes down to song choice, and this was just the wrong one.
-Brooke’s performance isn’t perfect either, needlessly extending every note of the song for reasons that completely elude me. But it’s the better of the two vocals, and it’s not even close, to me. Brooke just sings the absolute hell out of this, particularly towards the end of the song. I think she has far more versatility than Kelsie, but I could still see Blake picking Kelsie just because he sees her as Danielle Bradbery Mk. II.
-Christina feels this is very tough because both girls have qualities in different areas. Brooke has the better chest voice, while Kelsie has sweetness to her voice. Blake and Christina get into a minor argument when she refuses to say which singer she thought won the battle. Pharrell, meanwhile, tells Blake that he should base his decision on who he feels can go on the journey with him. Adam echoes some of Pharrell’s sentiment, but ultimately says he would go with Brooke, which frustrates Blake since the only person who gave him an answer was the one person he didn’t care about hearing from (HA!). Blake says Brooke is a great vocalist, while Kelsie has something he can’t explain. He wishes one of them could be older than 16 so he wouldn’t feel so bad about crushing the other’s dreams. Pharrell notes he’s never seen Blake so torn, but Adam enthusiastically declares he loves it, because of course he does.
BROOKE ADEE WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!
-Brooke is thrilled to advance, while Kelsie is overcome with tears as she thanks Blake for believing in her. And with that, Team Blake is set for the live playoffs!
Team Blake Shelton: Sarah Potenza, Hannah Kirby, Corey Kent White, Meghan Linsey and Brooke Adee. Wow, only one dude on the team, and only two straight-up country artists.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: INDIA CARNEY VS. JOE TOLO
-India is stoked to learn from Nate Ruess, since she listens to him a lot. She’s chosen “Big White Room” by Jessie J, and while Christina thinks she’s a fantastic vocalist, she isn’t feeling enough emotion. She feels India needs to be open and honest, and really pull on the heartstrings. India asks for advice on going for higher notes, and Christina tells her she has such control with her voice that she shouldn’t doubt herself over dipping into that upper register. Joe, meanwhile, will be singing “One of Us” by Joan Osbourne, since he sang a lot in church as a kid, and he wants to be able to touch people with his music in the same way music touched him. Again, this is a case of engagement with the audience, as Christina and Nate feel that if Joe can win over the audience, he’ll have this in the bag. As one of the only guys on Christina’s team, it’d be a bold move to cut him and go into battle with an all-female team (would it be the first all-female live show team in the history of the series? My Voice history is terrible, as a result of so many damn seasons in such a short period).
-You know, Joe just might be able to stand up to India. It’s a powerful vocal, that shows how strong his tone is. He also has a great sense of drama, really communicating the story of the song to the audience. Was it a winning performance? I’m not entirely sure. But when I saw this pairing, I figured it’d be a cakewalk for India, and now I’m not so sure. So that should probably count for something.
-I wish India would take a page out of Joe’s playbook and be a little more subtle in her performance style. Her voice is absolutely incredible here (although the excessive vibrato really shows her opera background), but I wish she’d dial it back with the theatrics. She’s so overdramatic that it’s actually kind of hard to focus on anything else. But on a show called The Voice, this wasn’t even close. India wins this in a walk.
-Pharrell says this was a breakthrough moment for both singers, noting he never heard Joe sing like that before, and adding that India brought a theatricality to the performance unlike any he’s seen. He’d give it to India. Meanwhile, Adam is uncertain what to even say other than to wish Christina luck in her choice. Blake praises Joe for his “extremely powerful voice” that “fills every crack in this room.” But he says India has a voice that’s simply something else entirely, so he’d give it to India. Christina says Joe really pulled her in, showing off notes she didn’t even know he had. Meanwhile, she felt India blew her away. Her decision is fairly obvious here…
INDIA CARNEY WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!
-India is ecstatic and thankful for the opportunity, grinning from ear-to-ear at getting to go to the live playoffs. Back in studio, Joe thanks Christina for helping him with his confidence issues, since he now believes in himself thanks to her. Backstage, Christina embraces India and her family, and says she wants to take India to the end.
TEAM PHARRELL: JACOB RUMMELL VS. LOWELL OAKLEY
-Lowell considers Pharrell a life mentor, not just a coach, and he wants to prove himself. He’s excited to meet Nate, since he’s won Grammy Awards and sold tons of albums. He’ll be singing “My Girl,” and he has a girl back home he’ll be thinking about during this performance, which Pharrell loves. In a terrific moment, Lowell’s voice cracks while running through the song, and expresses his frustration by purposefully cracking again and telling Pharrell “I’m gonna keep going!” Nate says Lowell’s vulnerability makes him unique, but he still needs to have confidence. Pharrell says he believes in Lowell, and Lowell believes in him. Jacob, meanwhile, will be singing “Life of the Party” by Shawn Mendes, since he feels the song has a message a lot of teenagers need to hear. Nate, however, doesn’t feel he’s showing enough emotion. “There’s so much more to what you have, as a performer,” Nate tells him. Pharrell adds, “You cannot camouflage into the stage,” telling him he needs to connect with the song in a big way, and really deliver its message.
-Jacob does a good enough job with the song, but it’s kind of bland, which is a shame because this could have been a real moment for him. I think he still has a lot farther to go before he finds his niche as an artist, and I’m not sure Pharrell can afford to give up a spot on his team while Jacob finds out.
-Lowell delivers one of my favorite performances of the Knockouts. He really acts it out up there, breaking out into laughter at the start of the song as part of the bit (this seems to annoy Adam, for some reason). He borders right on the edge of making this too theatrical, but much like India’s theatricality is saved by her awesome voice, Lowell’s theatrical performance is bolstered by his solid vocals.
-Adam thinks there are skills Jacob has skills we haven’t seen yet, whereas he felt Lowell’s theatricality unfortunately overshadowed his vocals. Blake was super impressed with Lowell, while also praising Jacob for having a great voice. Christina feels Jacob came across as someone who sings because he loves doing it. However, while she does like Lowell’s voice, she thought he overplayed it in places, particularly when he forced the laugh. Pharrell agrees that the giggle was uncomfortable, but he knows Lowell can sing from the rehearsals. He seems to be leaning more towards Jacob, but when the decision comes in…
LOWELL OAKLEY WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!
-Jacob thanks the coaches for the opportunity, and Pharrell says that although Jacob had the stronger vocal, he still felt like he was holding back. Backstage, Lowell says he tried to let loose, but Pharrell tells him as long as he has fun, it’s all good. He just needs to have fun focusing on the vocal. He reminds Lowell that he saved him twice because he believes in him. “You need to start believing in yourself,” he tells Lowell, adding that he’s special and he deserves to be here.
-And with that, Team Pharrell Williams is complete: Caitlin Caporale, Koryn Hawthorne, Mia Z, Sawyer Fredericks and Lowell Oakley.
Hmm, that’s actually a decent team. At the very least, it’s a team with more winner potential than last season.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: ROB TAYLOR VS. TREEVA GIBSON
-Rob is eager to work with Nate, since they have similarly broad vocal ranges. Rob has chosen “Love and Happiness” by Al Green, and Christina loves it. Nate says Rob has great energy, and loads of confidence, which it’s great to see him embrace. Christina, however, does want to take it a bit higher, which I think might actually be a mistake, since his voice seems particularly thin the more he works it out in that upper register. But I suppose that is something that could be worked on. Either way, I’m confident Christina knows what she’s talking about, particularly when she says that Rob is more than just a voice. He shows some cool stage presence up there, and Christina feels that could be key. Meanwhile, Treeva has chosen “Chasing Pavements” by Adele, since it relates to her situation. Christina is impressed, but she worries about Treeva bouncing between falsetto and head voice. He wants her not to hold back, and Nate agrees, going as far as to show her how she should perform it onstage. He admits he probably moved a bit too much in his demonstration, but he feels Treeva can use the song to find rhythm and cadence in her performance style. Christina suggests Treeva practice in her room to get used to moving around, since she needs to be a storyteller up there, not just a singer.
-Rob delivers his best vocal of the competition here. Just a wonderful, confident, engaging performance. I’ve always been impressed by Rob, but this was at another level entirely. I’m not sure if he can actually go that far in this season, since there is a lot of competition for the R&B/Soul vote, but I think he’d be a great addition to Team Christina, and provide her with a male vocalist who can stand against the considerable roster of females on her team.
-You know something? This is Treeva’s best vocal too. I thought this was absolutely beautiful, to the poijnt where I’m actually rethinking giving this to Rob. I’m not sure she has any better chance of winning this thing than he does, but she really brought the fight here, delivering one of the most pleasant surprised of the Knockout Round. Seriously, I loved this.
-Pharrell thought Rob’s vocal was effortless, while saying that although Treeva was shaky in places, he thought she delivered a good vocal overall. However, he’d still give it to Rob. Adam is impressed by Rob, but he’s also intrigued by Treeva, saying she had moments in her vocal that should force Christina to take notice. Blake seems to be going with Rob, although he says Treeva sounds like her age, but still has something about her that draws him in. Christina praises Treeva to big cheers from the audience, while also saying that Rob made the song his own. She makes her choice…
ROB TAYLOR WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!
-Treeva fights tears as she thanks Christina for believing in her. Christina hugs her and lets her know she will have a chance in the future to show what she can do as a vocalist. Pharrell even throws in a hug, despite the fact that she wasn’t even one of his acts. Dude is downright adorable. Meanwhile, backstage, Rob flips out at getting to go to the live shows, while Adam continues screwing with Blake’s seat in the studio (and even steals Christina’s seat cushion too!).
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: JOSHUA DAVIS VS. LEXI DAVILA
-In a funny moment, Nate pretends to be Taylor Swift, returned for the Knockouts. Joshua will be singing “Arms of a Woman” by Amos Lee, and while Adam is happy to have Joshua here, Nate feels there needs to be more of an explosion at the climax, emotionally. However, he does note that Josh has a lot of natural soul and peace to his voice, and that’s a big advantage for him, since he doesn’t need to do a whole lot to convey emotion. Meanwhile, Lexi will be singing “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding, and Nate has a lot of advice to offer since he’s covered this song before. Both he and Adam stress that she needs to overcome nerves, and it becomes more pronounced after the first run-through, since he feels Lexi can do the opening better than she did. They both lose their minds at one part of the song where she lets herself loose. They’re incredibly impressed, and want to hear her do that again. You know, I like this song choice. If Fifth Harmony ever needs a singer in a pinch, I imagine they could do far worse than getting Lexi on-board.
-This is a lovely vocal. That said, while I think there’s definitely a place for Joshua in this competition, I’m not sure how far he can go doing the peaceful, Harry Chapin folk singer routine. But then, it’s not as if this wasn’t a great performance. There’s something chills-inducing about the emotion behind his voice, and the fact that he doesn’t have to push himself very hard to convey that depth of feeling.
-Lexi is great, but in a different way than Joshua was great, as one offered a gentle, folksy vocal while the other offered a powerful, pop-infused performance. With that said, I feel like it sounds a little bit similar to Ellie Goulding’s original, but I can’t really front on this vocal. It’s easily better than her Blind Audition, and a far sight better than a lot of the vocals from the Knockout Round overall, in my opinion. That run towards the end is downright terrific, to the point that Pharrell stands up and asks Adam what on Earth he’s going to do. I found myself wondering the same thing. She really brought it here. Puerto Ricans represent!
-Blake wasn’t sure about the performance at the start, but felt something change at the halfway point, and he left impressed. He then tells Joshua he really wanted to spoon with him, which prompts Adam to tell Blake to stop harassing his team. Blake would give it to Joshua. Christina, meanwhile, says Joshua really draws people in, whereas Lexi really surprised everyone. She credits Adam’s coaching, which causes him to gush. As for Pharrell, he thought Joshua gave a masterful performance. He then notes that Lexi performed the song with such accuracy that he has to give it to her. Adam knew Joshua was going to be consistent, but expresses his surprise at how well Lexi listened and overcame her nerves. She made this really hard on him, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. That said…
JOSHUA DAVIS WINS THE KNOCKOUT BATTLE!
-Joshua is thrilled that Joshua has this level of faith in him, and he’s stoked to be going to the live playoffs. Back in the studio, Lexi fights back tears as she prepares to bid the competition farewell, when…
CHRISTINA AGUILERA STEALS LEXI DAVILA!
-Christina and Blake rub it in Adam’s face, saying he’s dumb for letting her go. And who knows? This could prove to be a big mistake for him. Had you asked me a week ago, I wouldn’t have thought so, but now I’m not so sure.
So now, ALL teams are finalized. To recap, the Top 20 for The Voice 8 are…
Team Adam Levine: Nathan Hermida, Deanna Johnson, Brian Johnson, Tonya Boyd-Cannon, and Joshua Davis
Team Pharrell Williams: Caitlin Caporale, Koryn Hawthorne, Mia Z, Sawyer Fredericks and Lowell Oakley
Team Christina Aguilera: Kimberly Nichole, Rob Taylor, India Carney, Sonic and Lexi Davila
Team Blake Shelton: Sarah Potenza, Hannah Kirby, Corey Kent White, Meghan Linsey and Brooke Adee.
Some pretty strong singers, although I’m not nearly confident enough to predict a winner from this group. Maybe Sawyer?
What do you think? Did the coaches make the right choices? Sound off in the comments! Until next week’s live playoffs, thank you for reading and hanging out! Goodnight!