The Battle Rounds are over and it’s time to thin The Voice herd once more. While the singers have relied on their coaches’ song choices so far, in the Knockout Rounds they have more of a say in what they sing. And when you get this far, there aren’t really any weak singers, so song choice and command of said track can go a long way in deciding who advances. Not to mention, taking risks can generate big rewards or seal your fate. So who plays it safe, who takes a chance and who will be left standing? Night 1 of The Voice Knockout Rounds starts here:
First Knockout: Angie Keilhauer vs. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake)
The Rehearsals: Paxton Ingram is first out, where he greets Blake Shelton and the Knockout Rounds mentor (and future Voice coach) Miley Cyrus. Paxton swings for the fences, taking on “Hometown Glory” by Adele. His first try captures the coaches, and Miley suggests that he could even go bigger with some of his notes and loves his final low note. Blake tells him to never lose his conviction and urges him to hold nothing back.
Angie Keilhauer goes a different direction, taking on Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time.” Blake questions the choice because a lot of the song is talking, but Angie says she’s ready to make it more melodic. Blake says he likes what she’s added, but she hasn’t totally figured out the beginning of the song. Miley suggests some breaths in certain spots to help with her fall-offs, and more or less adds some things to the arrangement.
The Performances: Angie gets the first shot onstage, and admittedly the beginning is not all that strong, but she nails the melodic chorus and has some powerful moments. Paxton meanwhile, has chosen the more dynamic song that shows off his range. While it doesn’t feel as strong as his rehearsals, Paxton hits some of the big notes needed.
Christina Aguilera credits Angie’s confidence and says she was fun to watch, while Paxton seemed really connected to the song he was singing. Pharrell Williams says the song didn’t measure up to Angie’s potential, but feels that she’s a great entertainer. He credits Paxton’s low notes and control, and leans toward Paxton. Adam Levine gives props to Angie’s passion, while Paxton’s voice doesn’t sound like anyone else’s. Blake says Angie is up to any challenge and never makes it easy on herself, but on the other hand Paxton chose a song that meant something to him. Blake ends up choosing Paxton.
Second Knockout: Owen Danoff vs. Ryan Quinn (Team Adam)
The Rehearsals: Owen Danoff walks in to meet Adam and Miley and she asks if he’s going to play with guitar or without. He picks Billy Joe’s “She’s Always a Woman,” feeling that the melodic vibe is right up his alley. Miley suggests that as someone listening to it, it might feel more real if he kept it intimate rather than going for big notes. Adam says that he wants more confidence out of Owen.
Ryan Quinn also goes the melodic route, choosing Train’s “Drops of Jupiter.” Miley sees that Ryan is vocally gifted and Adam’s note is to sing less and feel more. Miley suggests that he emotes and finds his voice in the song.
The Performances: Owen gets the first performance, and follows Miley’s notes with a more intimate sounding performance as he strums along on his guitar. Ryan, meanwhile, has toned it back a bit too, and does not appear as smooth, but he does hit some power notes that Owen didn’t really have.
Blake says Ryan and Owen both sang great, but he feels Owen was more invested in his song. Christina says that Ryan lost his way a little bit in the rhythm but was so precise with his clear singing, while Owen owned the song. Pharrell says Ryan had two “Star Search” notes, but feels he wasn’t as connected with the song. Meanwhile, Owen was truly invested and Pharrell says his choice would be Owen though he feels both have much more to go in the competition. Adam says he too felt the disconnect from Ryan, while he still can see Owen thinking too much. Adam agonizes but picks Owen. However, Ryan isn’t walking out the door as Christina Aguilera steals him.
Third Knockout: Hannah Huston vs. Malik Heard (Team Pharrell)
The Rehearsals: Malik Heard wants to be an R&B and pop singer and he picks Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely?” Pharrell says he can’t afford to be muted, because people need to get to know him. Miley also offers a few note suggestions.
Hannah Huston chooses something bluesy, going with The Animals classic “House of the Rising Sun.” Miley offers a note suggestion and also a performance idea in that she start with the mic stand then break free from it. Miley says after hearing the performance, she wants to be Hannah’s backup singer.
The Performances: Hannah starts off with some intimate moments, but she’s also a demonstrative performer and the combination of the powerful voice with her stage presence provides one of the night’s standout moments. When it comes Malik’s turn, he’s on his game too. Not only is he soulful and connected to the track, but he’s also taken notes and his stage presence is much more apparent.
Adam says Hannah’s performance was “bonkers” and that she brought the house down, while Malik was completely unfazed and did his thing. Blake says Hannah deserved as standing ovation, while Malik was so entertaining and sang his heart out. Christina says Hannah’s choices were brilliant, while Malik really connected and she loved his performance. Pharrell says Hannah’s performance could not have been any better, while Malik let his voice take the wheel and performed with fire. Pharrell goes with his gut and picks Hannah.
Fourth Knockout: Katie Basden vs. Lacy Mandigo (Team Blake)
The Rehearsals: Lacy Mandigo is thrilled to meet Miley, and she picks The Cranberries’ “Zombie” to sing. It’s a song about war and she’s dedicating it to her grandfather who served. Miley feels Lacy has an edge that she loves. Miley suggests that she leave the opening notes low and picks a few parts that can be improved upon. Blake is thrilled that she’s going rock.
Katie Basden chooses Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy,” one of her favorite songs, and she’s adding her stamp with a few blues rock flourishes. Miley picks out certain parts that can be emphasized more. Blake says that messing with a Fleetwood Mac song is not something he would recommend, but she’s nailing what she’s done.
The Performances: Katie gets the first shot and opens on a more intimate, softer note than the original version of the Fleetwood Mac song, but her arrangement builds and beautifully frames her voice in one of those moments where a risk pays off big. Much like Katie, Lacy starts off with more steady moments but as fans of the song “Zombie” know, the song builds and when it gets big, she truly shines.
Christina credits Katie’s song choice and loves that Lacy got a chance to rock out. Pharrell says Katie’s song had so many sweet spots that highlighted different parts of her ability and he says he would lean toward Katie, but Lacy has all the tools needed to continue. Adam says that Katie was phenomenal and Lacy has so much more to give. Blake says Katie’s song was flawless and beautiful and Lacy is truly talented and just has a thing that everyone loves. Blake says it’s a hard decision, but he rewards the best performance and it was Katie. But just as Pharrell and Adam predicted last week, they would grab Lacy when Blake dropped her. They both make heated pitches, but Lacy will move forward with Pharrell.
Fifth Knockout: Alisan Porter vs. Daniel Passino (Team Christina)
The Rehearsals: Alisan Porter picks Joni Mitchell’s “River” and feels the song connects with her past struggles with addiction. Miley sees the effortlessness in Alisan’s singing. Alisan admits she feels vulnerable singing the song alone with a piano, but Christina suggests looking at the light as it will reflect off her eyes or to look her direction. Miley says the song feels like it was written for her.
Daniel Passino loves Motown and relates to it being from the Midwest, so he chooses The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” Christina tells him to watch his pitch and seeks out if there are notes he can play with.
The Performances: Alisan stands alone at the microphone and her voice shines on “River,” delivering chill-inducing softer moments and hitting some of those power notes that turn heads. Daniel, meanwhile, delivers a soulful and clean version of the Temptations classic, even providing a spin and having fun with some stage moves before finishing out with a killer falsetto.
Pharrell credits Daniel’s ambition and he feels he slayed it, but Alisan is just ready for the game. He gives his nod to Alisan with the caveat that Daniel is something special. Adam says he’s more impressed with Daniel with every performance, and he feels that we’ll be seeing more of Alisan. Blake says Alisan is just magic, but Daniel reacted just as he needed to and he swung for the fence. All things being equal, he leans to Alisan on song choice and connection. Christina says Alisan just brings something different to the table each time. Meanwhile Daniel just put his heart on the floor. She picks Alisan, but surprisingly the coaches allow Daniel to go without a steal. Pharrell admits he would’ve stolen if he had a steal to give.
Sixth Knockout: Emily Keener vs. Shalyah Fearing (Team Pharrell)
The Rehearsals: Shalyah Fearing kind of gets all fangirl on Miley, and Miley is interested to hear what she’s going to do with Martina McBride’s “A Broken Wing.” Pharrell says it’s an interesting song choice because Shalyah’s not a country singer, but her gospel leanings brought something out. He says while it felt good, he calls out her diction. Miley tells her she’s allowed to take some license with the melody to fit what she wants to do.
Emily Keener does the second Joni Mitchell song of the night, taking on “Big Yellow Taxi.” She flubs a little during the rehearsal and Pharrell talks to her about nerves. Miley suggests the first verse should just be Emily with her guitar before the band eventually joins in.
The Performances: Emily starts off with a slow-moving opening vocal that shows the nuances of her voice, before the track picks up and she seems to really be enjoying the performance. Shalyah meanwhile, just kills it with soul pouring out of every note and full throttle vocals in just the right place.
Adam praises Emily’s rendition of Joni Mitchell’s song, but says the real revelation was Shalyah and the confidence in which she delivered the song. Blake says Emily has something special, but he feels Shalyah took this one. And Christina says she was blown away by both performers. She says that Shalyah’s performance was worthy of a finale performance for the win. Pharrell says that Emily took all the notes, while Shalyah swung for the parking lot. It’s a tough decision, but to everyone’s surprise he picks Emily. But given Adam’s high praise earlier, it doesn’t seem amiss at all when he jumps in to steal Shalyah.
So Night 1 of The Voice Knockout Rounds is complete. But how do they stack up? Here’s our rankings:
9. Ryan Quinn (Team Christina)
8. Owen Danoff (Team Adam)
7. Lacy Mandigo (Team Pharrell)
6. Paxton Ingram (Team Blake)
5. Emily Keener (Team Pharrell)
4. Katie Basden (Team Blake)
3. Shalyah Fearing (Team Adam)
2. Alisan Porter (Team Christina)
1. Hannah Huston (Team Pharrell)
Come back Tuesday night at 8PM ET/PT for Night 2 of The Voice Knockout Rounds on NBC.
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