Monday night marked the beginning of the knockout rounds on NBC’s The Voice. The format is similar to that of the recent battle rounds, but with a few key differences.
The artists are again paired with a teammate for a duel in front of the studio audience. But unlike the battle rounds, the contestants are allowed to choose the song they will perform. Their coach picks the winner, and the loser is sent home, with no opportunity to be “saved” by the other coaches.
Ultimately, four artists from each team will advance to the live playoffs.
On Monday night, contestants from Adam Levine and Shakira’s teams took the stage. Blake Shelton and Usher were on hand to offer their critiques.
The first matchup in the knockout rounds featured Team Adam’s Amber Carrington, 19, and Midas Whale, the male duo that includes season-three American Idol finalist Jon Peter Lewis. Amber sang Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You,” while Midas Whale performed a gritty version of “Higher Ground” that was closer to the Red Hot Chili Peppers cover than the Stevie Wonder original. Adam praised Midas Whale for their unique style, but he declared Amber to be the winner.
Next up were Garrett Gardner and Tawnya Reynolds from Team Shakira. Gardner played the Alex Clare hit “Too Close” on his guitar, and Tawnya brought her country stylings to Pistol Annies’ “Hell on Heels.” Blake and Shakira had a minor disagreement over Tawnya’s yodeling during her song. Shakira, noting Garrett’s growth during the competition, selected him over Tawnya.
Amy Whitcomb and Caroline Glaser, the latter of whom was stolen from Blake by Adam in the battle rounds, went head-to-head for the Maroon 5 frontman. Amy showed off her soaring vocals on The Animals’ "The House of the Rising Sun." Caroline followed up with “Little Talks” by the Icelandic rock band Of Monsters and Men. Adam felt both sounded better in rehearsals. Caroline advanced.
Shakira pit Kris Thomas against teen singer Mary Miranda. Kris delivered his rendition of "What a Wonderful World," and Mary covered The Police classic “Every Breath You Take.” Shakira said Kris has a voice that’s one of a kind, and while she also complimented Mary, she was concerned about Mary’s lack of experience. Kris is moving on in the competition.
Adam Levine protégé Judith Hill, a former background singer for Michael Jackson, stepped onto the stage to duel Orlando Dixon. Hill performed Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind,” and Orlando sang K-Ci & Jo-Jo’s R&B hit “All My Life.” The general consensus on the panel was that Judith outshined Orlando. So it’s no surprise that Judith remains on Adam’s team.
Karina Iglesias, stolen from Adam by Shakira in the battle rounds, was paired with former child star Monique Abbadie. Karina sang “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz, and Monique chose Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.” Blake and Usher both stated that Monique showed more range. But Shakira went in a different direction, and selected Karina.
Warren Stone and Sarah Simmons faced off for the right to continue with Team Adam. Warren rocked out with the ‘80s song "(I Just) Died in Your Arms" by Cutting Crew, and Sarah belted out The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” Sarah is headed to the live playoffs.
For the final knockout round of the night, Shakira had Sasha Allen and Shawna P. go at it. Sasha performed Etta James’ “At Last.” Shawna P. chose Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Shakira said Sasha gave her goose bumps, and she also loved Shawna. Sasha was declared the winner.
The knockout rounds continue Tuesday night with Blake and Usher’s artists entering the spotlight. The two-hour episode begins on NBC at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
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