The Voice Season 15 Knockouts
The Voice season 15 Knockouts begin tonight with coaches Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton and Carson Daly as host. We’re live blogging all the performances and results here.
Coaches will pair up the remaining 32 team members who will each perform songs of their own choosing. The coach chooses the winner, who advances to the Live Playoffs. The loser is eliminated OR can be stolen by a fellow coach. Each coach has ONE steal to use during the round. Also each coach will have ONE opportunity to SAVE an eliminated contestant.
The Knockouts key adviser is…Mariah Carey. The ex-American Idol judge will assist all four coaches with their team members performances.
Mariah says she wanted to do the show because there isn’t “shows like this with mentors.” So should we begin a drinking game? Down one every time Mimi tosses out a veiled American Idol diss! Heh.
Keith Paluso vs Tike James – Team Adam – Adam calls Keith a “raw singer” and Tyke a “vivid personality.” In other words CANNON FODDER.
Keith Paluso – You are The Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne – He wants to dedicate the song to his wife, who has been so supportive. Keith is currently a park ranger. Mariah suggests he starts off softer. Adam is discovering his voice is stronger than he thought. Keith’s performance features a pleasant rasp. His delivery is effortless, although he doesn’t bring anything brand new to the song. Some nice phrasing in there, however. OOH. HIGH NOTE. Kelly is having a moment. Several moments, actually.
Tyke – Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash – He’s a surfer and sings at a taco truck in Hawaii. He chose the song because it was one of the first that inspired him. Both Adam and Mariah want him to darken it up. They also want more energy. Erm. He’s a surfer dude from Hawaii. Good luck with that! Tyke’s performance: The beginning is a snooze, but thankfully he picks it up on the second verse. Surprisingly, there is some urgency in his delivery, which I was not expecting. So maybe I take back what I said before. But not completely. Blake says at first he was picturing him on a surfboard. He calls it a “cool” version of the song. He tells Keith he did a great job. Kelly calls Tyke “fearless.”
Adam chooses Tyke. Really? And then Adam Saves Keith. BUT Kelly Steals Keith. Adam chose Tyke, because he’s been with him from the start. But Keith has improved drastically. Kelly thinks Keith has many gifts to showcase. OHH. Keith rejects Adam! Keith Chooses Kelly
Kymberli Joye vs Zaxai vs Natasia Greycloud – Kelly put them together because they all had giant voices. They all flip out when they see Mimi. “Divas in the building!” gushes Zaxai.
Nastasia Greycloud – Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton – She moved to Nashville with her sister to pursue her career. She was stolen by Kelly and is excited to work with her. She sang her song pick at her sister’s wedding. Kelly says Jennifer will regret letting her go. Kelly and Mimi loves when she sings in her upper register and encourage her head voice. “I have the greatest team,” Kelly screams.
Kymberli Joye – The Middle by Zedd and Maren Morris – She’s a gospel singer and has sung backgrounds for Childish Gambino. She chose the song because she wants to prove she’s a gospel singer who can sing pop. Mimi is “blown away” and calls her a “true talent.” Kelly compliments her control.
Zaxai – Cruisin’ by Smokey Robinson – He picked the song because his dad is a big Motown fan. Kelly stole him from Team JHud. Kelly loves how smooth is voice is. But Zaxai wants help with his falsetto. Mimi urges him not to hold back. Kelly gives Mariah one of her red team jackets.
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Blake says he has a plan for his steal. Jennifer reminds everybody that Kelly blocked her from Kymberli. “It’s Team Jhud on the stage!” She tells Natasia not to be afraid of her gift. Kelly calls Kymberli’s talent “innate.”, Natasia “a force” and Zaxai “incredible.” Kelly chooses Kymberli Joye and Zaxai. Kelly hemmed and hawed on the second name. I would have picked Natasia, but maybe that’s just me. But luckily, Blake says “I lied” about having a plan for his steal. Blake Steals Natasia. YAY.
MaKenzie Thomas vs Mike Parker – Team Jennifer
Mike Parker – Breakeven by The Script – He’s choosing a song out of his comfort zone.
He’s turning it into a worship/soul/pop song. Jennifer loves his vulnerability, but notes some pitch problems. Mariah notes his nerves. His performance is emotional. He doesn’t hold back. It’s a nice arrangement of the song.
MaKenzie Thomas – How Deep is Your Love by Bee Gees – MaKenzie is the singer who didn’t get a turn last season. Jennifer has helped her so much with her confidence. She re-arranged the song as a jazz guitar ballad. Mariah Carey is moved to tears. “She’s so musical,” Mariah says about MacKenzie. “I think you have more voice in there,” says Jennifer. This is an easy listening version of a song that’s already pretty easy listening. I’m not loving his arrangement. There is, however, some tasty phrasing here and there.
Kelly calls Mike’s song selection “cool.” Kelly loves MaKenzie’s riffs. She gave her a “leg cramp.” Adam thinks Mike has come a long way. Blake has loved watching her journey on the show. Jennifer calls MaKenzie a “skilled” singer and Mike a “smart” singer. Not sure what she means exactly? Kelly reminds them that JHud did not win the show that shall not be named. Kelly Chooses MaKenzie. Mike is Eliminated. I’m a little surprised. But then, Jhud has noone on her team like MaKenzie.
RADHA – I’ll Be There by Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey – Mariah talks about singing the song live and then releasing it as a single. RADHA is in college, but wants to take her career to the next level. Mariah notes it’s a hard song to sing. “She needs to focus on singing it from her heart.” Adam urges RADHA not to imitate Mariah. It probably bugs her that RADHA can actually hit the high notes. /catty. RADHA’s performance: I don’t like her vibrato. There’s too much and it’s distracting. She’s got a growl and can hit the high notes. But her tone is a little unpleasant.
Reagan Strange – Dancing on My Own by Robyn (Calum Scott) – Is 14 and has been watch The Voice since she was little. Mimi loves Reagan’s tone. “It reminds me of when I was first starting out.” Adam is ready to cry. I think Reagan is the chosen one in this matchup. The Voice loves young, precocious talent. Reagan is a giggly teenager off stage, but once she opens her mouth to sing, her deep rich tone is mature. Adam is not letting this one go.
Blake notes RADHA’s “fast vibrato” comparing it to his gal pal Gwen Stefani. JHud compares her to Celine. RADHA was nervous singing in front of Mariah! Kelly would choose Reagan because she loved her song choice. Adam calls Reagan’s song choice “gutsy.” Adam Chooses Reagan because she “dazzled” him. And Adam Saves RADHA
Katrina Cain vs Funsho – Team Blake – Don’t Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers feat. Daya – Mariah says she suspects that Blake is a “weisenheimer.” Yes, she actually used that word. “What does that mean?” says Blake. Katrina admits that the first couple of songs she performed weren’t really in her genre “electro pop.” Mariah suggests that she play with the melody more. She’s got a voice made for features. But can her ethereal voice win a singing show? She struggles a bit pitchwise on the high notes.
Funsho – Earned It by The Weeknd – Blake calls Adam a “trainwreck” for letting Funsho go in the Battles. Funsho calls the song soul with pop energy. His family came to America from Nigeria. Maria suggests he not push as hard when he sings softly. He’s having pitch and dynamics issues. Kelly is on her feet for this performance. He doesn’t bring much new to the arrangement, but his phrasing is right on. This is a deceptively hard song to sing. He hits a few nice high notes. He’s got this. I can’t imagine Blake letting him go.
Kelly calls Katrina “captivating,” and Funsho “a beast.” Adam calls his former team member an “exciting performer.” Bad news: Blake has NO IDEA what electro pop is. He has no clue where she’s coming from. He’s “blown away” by Funsho, however. He took Mariah’s notes. He’s impressed. Unsurprisingly, Blake Chooses Funsho. Katrina is Eliminated. They cut away before she can even give a thank you speech. Poor little cannon fodder.
Franc West vs Tyshawn Colquitt – Team Jennifer – Because the two are both old school, and “sing with a vengeance” Jennifer paired them together.
Franc West – Call Out My Name by The Weeknd – He grew up in Cleveland and sang with the orchestra their. He moved to Atlanta eventually, but it was tough. He was homeless for awhile. He considers The Weeknd a “multi-genre artist” just like himself. “It fits like a hand in glove,” he says. Jennifer is impressed. She wasn’t expecting him to put his own spin on it. Mariah calls him an artist. She’d buy his stuff! She’s also impressed that he writes his own songs. His phrasing is compelling, coupled with great tone–he knows how to interpret a song. He’s got a hard rasp in spots, but he makes it work. It’s kinda nasty, but in a good way.
Tyshawn Colquitt – PillowTalk by ZAYN – After watching Franc, Tyshawn realizes he’ll have to come with his “A game.” He and his mom own a pound cake business. Attending a performing arts high school saved his life. The song is his sister’s favorites. He wants to show his range here. And indeed he does. It’s a bit much. Jennifer likes the range, but feels he needs to add more to the interpretation. Bring out the softer tones, Mariah says. It’s a solid performance. But I think Franc outsang him. He’s just a more interesting singer. The high notes are a bit out of his range.
Kelly calls Tyshawn range “insane.” She gets Franc for the first time. Adam says they both gave infectiously great performances. Franc may be further along in artistry (YES), but he’d call it dead even. Jennifer compliments Tyshawn range and presence, while Franc’s voice cuts like a knife. Jennifer Chooses Franc. RIGHT DECISION JHUD. “He’s got an extra kick in his voice,” she says. Tyshawn is Eliminated. Aw. He brought pound cake. And he’s totally eliminated. Jennifer and Kelly say they would have used a save if they had one to spare.
Abby Cates vs Claire Dejean – Team Kelly – Kelly paired them together because they both fill the soulful pop lane, and she’d rather only have one moving forward.
Claire DeJean – There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back by Shawn Mendes – Back in Texas she was gigging in coffee shops, working in musical theater. She chose the song because it’s “fun and flirtatious.” But it’s hard to sing! Shawn is one of her favorites. BREATH BREATH BREATH says Kelly. She suggests the background vocals carry some of the load. Mariah thinks she needs to focus on the dynamics in her voice. Ohh. Honey. This performance is pitchy. She has a nice tone, but the song is beyond her. She needs more experience. A few more years, for sure.
Abby Cates – Because of You by Kelly Clarkson – She picked the song because she loves it and has been singing Kelly’s music “forever.” She started posting videos on her Instagram in 8th grade. Now she has a ton of followers. Mariah thought it was a bold song choice and she did a beautiful job. Kelly gives her some pointers on holding back in spots. Mariah says “give the song space to show people your soul.” Kelly shares that the song is about her broken home situation. It completely changed Abby’s interpretation. One bar in, and Abby is the obvious winner. Her intonation, tone and dynamics are ALL there. Her phrasing is REALLY nice. She really makes the song her own. So so clearly the winner here.
Jennifer thinks it’s a hard decision. Naw. Adam agrees with Jennifer. He felt they both delivered. “All three of you,” Carson begins waving. Kelly is a little confused. Heh. Kelly says she’s basing her decision on ALL the performances. Kelly Chooses Abby. Of course she does. That was actually an easy decision, but no coach would ever admit that.
Dave Fenley vs Kameron Marlow – Team Blake – The two are Blake’s “country guys” who sing with a lot of grit. He wants to move forward with only one of them. Blake jokes they had 200 dollars left in the budget to pay Mariah for a day and a half. I say now we know where the budget for the iTunes recording went. Amiright?
Dave Fenley – Stuck on You by Lionel Richie – Dave has listened to every single she’s put out. Really. He said that. He was raised on country, but his mom and dad loved the song. He misses his wife back in Tennessee, so the song correlates. Blake thinks the song could have been a country hit if released today. Mariah felt his heart. Blake also appreciates his connection. Not much criticism for Dave. It’s a great song pick for Dave. He really knows how to imbue a song with feeling. Connection is his strength, for sure. But also, he’s a great interpreter of songs. Beautiful phrasing.
Kameron Marlowe – I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley – Kameron feels the song can show a different side to his voice. Blake calls it a “lake song.” He plays it when he’s out on his pontoon boat with Gwen. Kameron wants to prove to Blake that he’s more than a country singer. He quit school to help his mom after she had a back injury. Blake thinks the song is a risk. “You look uncomfortable,” says Blake. But Mariah feels his vocal performance was strong. She feels when artists cover songs, they should steer too far away from the original. Hmmm…. David Cook re-arranged “Always Be My Baby” almost into a completely different song when she mentored on Idol, and she did not seem to mind. Kameron accompanies himself on electric guitar. This owes more to Eric Clapton’s cover, actually. Kameron is super soulful here, and is totally sitting in the pocket. It’s a cool, growly interpretation. Reggae songs are deceptively hard to sing.
Jennifer would choose Dave, but she loved Kameron’s energy. Kelly thinks they both have beautiful tones. Adam mentions that he didn’t turn for either. Kameron was every bit Dave’s equal, Adam says. He’d pick Kameron. Blake calls Kameron the 21 year old version of Dave. Blake wouldn’t have thought of “Stuck On You” for Dave, but now that he’s performed it, he thinks it’s perfect. “Neither one of you screwed the pooch,” says Blake. But unsurprisingly, Blake Chooses Dave because his vocal performance was so “dead on.” And Adam Steals Kameron. Saying he would choose him gave it away. Adam appreciates his range and versatility.
Coach Blake Shelton has a difficult decision ahead when Dave Fenley croons Lionel Richie's "Stuck on You" in his Knockout with Kameron Marlowe, rocking Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff," on The Voice