Season 12 (The Knockouts Premiere)
The knockout rounds began Monday night and the contestants were throwing out all the punches they could with the hopes of securing a ticket to the live playoffs! Instead of having a key advisor for the knockout rounds, the artists that were competing against each other sat in on their opponents rehearsal to see exactly what they would be going up against. This definitely increased the pressure on each contestant, but at least they could make adjustments to the their song to put them one step above their opponent. Monday night got started with a performance that I believe is the best in the history of The Voice!
Chris Blue “Superstition” vs. Quizz Swanigan “Chains”
Two things happened as I watched Chris perform. I couldn’t stop smiling and I was in complete awe of the notes he was singing and the way he moved across the stage. I agree 100% with Blake: Chris Blue will win this season of The Voice. He is unstoppable. His voice gets better with each performance (which is almost impossible because of how good he is to begin with) and the way he performs is on a different level than anyone else who is or has been on the show. Gwen mentioned that she is his biggest fan, but I’d have to disagree and say that I am his biggest fan. Quizz definitely had his work cut out for him, but he delivered an incredible performance as well. His vocals and performance were on point and the fact that he is 13 is unbelieveable. I get annoyed when the coaches focus on contestants age and the fact that they are young, but when it comes to Quizz, a majority of other 13 year olds couldn’t imagine doing what he is doing, and on top of that he’s KILLING every performance. I’m not sure how he truly feels when he’s on stage, but he looks way more comfortable than I ever was. Quizz held his own against Chris but unfortunately even that wasn’t enough to give him the upper hand. Alicia chose Chris as the winner (Obviously my winner of this knockout is Chris too. I may have a man crush on him...) BUT Gwen hit her STEAL button for Quizz, removing his feeling of disappointment after only a few seconds. Wow. What an incredible way to start the knockouts!
Autumn Turner “Respect” vs. Hanna Eyre “Bleeding Love”
I’ve got mad respect (pun intended) for Autumn after hearing her sing this Aretha Franklin classic. With that being said, I would tell most contestants to stay away from Aretha. It’s tough to bring something new to such a classic son. Plus the listener can’t help but compare her rendition to the original. Autumn delivered a great vocal performance, but I didn’t feel like it was enough to push her through to the Live Playoffs. Hanna took center stage next and belted out the Leona Lewis hit with such ease. There were a few notes that were a little under the correct pitch but her great moments definitely outweighed those few notes. Hanna is going to continue to grow and develop as she continues to get more and more comfortable on The Voice stage. Like Adam, my winner of this knockout was Hanna. The live playoffs are a whole different experience compared to the episodes that are pre-taped. Best of luck, Hanna!
Hunter Plake “I Want to Know What Love Is” vs. Johnny Gates “Million Reasons”
I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it: the tone of Hunter’s voice is amazing. He reminds me of Chris Martin from Coldplay and he sings with so much emotion. He brought an older song to 2017 in a very creative way, showcasing his artistry and ability to modernize any song. Considering I sing a lot in my falsetto, I really appreciate the way he approaches that part of his voice. He floats effortlessly from his belt to his higher register, but the musical choices he makes never sound out of place. On the other hand, Johnny’s performance of Lady Gaga’s newest single was really solid. He hit every note and owned the stage as he surprised us with a few of his own embellishments to the melody. There’s no denying his talent and vocal ability, but unfortunately Hunter gave a really solid performance as well, and for me he took the upper hand in this particular situation. Gwen also gave the win to Hunter. That’s the crappy thing about competition, sometimes both sides are really good but there can only be one winner. Johnny, congratulations on a great run. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next. Hunter, I’ll see you in the Live Playoffs!
Casi Joy “My Church” vs. Felicia Temple “My Heart Will Go On”
Maren Morris is a current favorite of mine, so I was pumped to see that Casi chose to sing this particular song. During the performance she was able to showcase the rock edginess to her voice, where as before she showcased more of that classic country sound. It was cool seeing her play guitar and her performance was super energetic. We saw a different side of Casi during this performance and it seemed like she was in her sweet spot because she sang her butt off! Felicia’s performance couldn’t have been any different from Casi’s. She came out in an elegant outfit and delivered the Celine Dion classic beautifully. Like Autumn, I would normally tell people to stay away from powerhouse vocalists like Aretha and Celine, but Felicia pulled it off! She hit every note with ease and her performance was packed full of emotion. She didn’t sing it much different from the original but she nailed the performance, which is tough to do when you are singing such a big song. Because they both come from Team Blake, I think Casi had the upper hand in this pairing. Blake probably wouldn’t say it, but he is definitely going to gravitate to that classic country sound than any other genre of music. Blake chose Casi as the winner of this knockout and I can’t argue with that. Both delivered a great performance, which made the decision extra tough!
Johnny Hayes “Statesboro Blues” vs. Josh West “Carry On Wayward Son”
I put Johnny up there with Chris Blue as two of the most comfortable performers of this season. He effortlessly worked the entire stage while delivering a killer vocal performance. There wasn’t one bad thing about what he did. Every vocal decision he made was spot on and the way he sang made you think he was belting out one of his own original songs. My voice was hurting just watching him belt some of those high screamy notes that are somehow on pitch. It’s pretty incredible! Josh had the tough task of following Johnny but he was definitely up for the challenge. Josh gave a great performance and there is no denying his talent. However, maybe it’s the fact that i’m not a big fan of classic rock music, but I thought Johnny gave better performance. Josh worked the stage and left it all out there, but it was a bit too showy for my taste. Again, this is probably just a personal preference thing, so i’m not trying to take away from the fact that Josh is super talented. I gave the knockout win to Johnny but Adam chose to keep Josh in the competition.
Ashley Levin “Fancy” vs. Lilli Passero “Tears Dry on Their Own”
Ashley definitely didn’t take the easy way out with her song choice! There are SO many words in “Fancy” and she clearly said each words without faltering once. Her vocals were powerful and she truly did showcase that country/soul thing that she has going on. There was one note towards the end of her performance that sounded a little shaky, but other than that she nailed it. She looked super comfortable on stage and stayed in the pocket of the song the whole time (which is hard to do when you are singing as many words as she was). Lilli gave us the last performance of the evening and the one word that kept coming to my mind as I watched her was “mature”. Like Ashley, she was comfortable on stage and the way she performed paired with what she was wearing gave off a classic mature vibe. She also had a few notes that were a little shaky, but she made up for it with her confident performance. Lilli really knows how to deliver the meaning of a song. This was a tough decision for me but my winner of this battle was Ashley! Alicia also chose Ashley but Lilli was in high demand when Adam AND Blake hit their STEAL buttons (I kind of feel like Blake pushed the button just to make Adam mad). Lilli chose to join Team Adam! Welcome to the Team Adam family Lilli.
WOW! What an amazing night of performances. I’ll give you my thoughts on last night’s episode tomorrow but in the meantime, leave a comment letting me know what you thought of the knockout premiere! How are everyone’s teams holding up???