'The Voice': Rihanna Continues to Push Artists to New Heights

Blake Shelton used his steal to bring an artist back to Team Blake.
Courtesy of Trae Patton/NBC
The Voice

The Knockouts continued on The Voice tonight, with more artists advancing to the Live Playoffs as the coaches struggled with whom to cut and whom to keep. There to help the artists evolve and discover their potential was Rihanna, and once again, she didn’t miss a beat in rehearsals.

First up, Gwen Stefani paired her young artists Korin Bukowski and Summer Schappell. Bukowski decided to sing “All I Want” by Kodaline, hoping to show off her range to Stefani. Rihanna encouraged her to just lean into her weird side and be herself instead of holding back. It was her personal best performance so far in the competition. Schappell, Team Gwen’s resident country artist, chose to sing “Little White Church” by Little Big Town, which Rihanna said was one of her favorite country songs. Schappell gave the more dynamic performance, but they both sounded great. The coaches described Schappell as a firecracker, but Stefani surprised by choosing Bukowski as the winner. No one opted to steal Schappell, and Adam Levine assured Stefani that she made the right choice.

Read more 'The Voice': Rihanna Helps Season 9's Artists Unlock Their Abilities

Next, Levine paired Keith Semple and Dustin Christensen, whom he stole from Blake Shelton in the Battle Round. Christensen decided to sing “Free” by Zac Brown Band. He gave a solid performance, but it wasn’t a particularly exciting one. Semple chose Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” and Rihanna helped him figure out how to handle the hook without straining his voice too much. Semple’s vocals were strong, but more than that, he very clearly incorporated the feedback he received during rehearsal and showed growth. Levine chose Semple as the winner, which was definitely the right choice. Christensen was not stolen, so his Voice journey came to an end.

For the final battle of the night, Pharrell paired Darius Scott and Morgan Frazier, whom Pharrell stole from Shelton in the Battle Round. Scott chose to sing “On Broadway” by George Benson, which was definitely the perfect song to showcase his control over really intricate runs. In his Knockout, Scott had command over the vocals and the stage. Scott has a throwback sound that makes him a very interesting contender in the competition. But Frazier is also a very strong asset to team Pharrell. She sang Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” and Pharrell pushed her in the rehearsal to really connect with the emotional side of the performance. She was so moved by Pharrell's and Rihanna’s encouragement that she was moved to tears in rehearsal. But she remained strong in her performance, finally letting loose. She worked hard and showed real improvement, leaving Pharrell with a tough choice. He went with Scott, who is definitely the better fit on Team Pharrell. But it wasn’t the end of the road for Frazier, who was stolen back by Shelton, bringing Frazier back to Team Blake, where she belongs.

Next week, it’s more Knockouts! Rihanna continues to help the artists be the best they can be, and the coaches make their final decisions before the Live Playoffs. Which team is your favorite at this stage of the competition?

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