'The Voice' Taps Miley Cyrus for Knockout Round

The future coach showed off her producing abilities as the season's key adviser.
Courtesy of NBC
'The Voice'

The Knockout Round kicked off on season 10 of NBC's The Voice tonight, with the remaining artists choosing their own songs to perform in front of coaches Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell and Adam Levine. Miley Cyrus joined The Voice as season 10’s key adviser, helping the artists make creative choices so they could set themselves apart in their Knockouts. The coaches each have one steal during this round, and the artists who advance will sing in the Live Playoffs.

The first pairing was a Team Blake face-off between Angie Keilhauer and Paxton Ingram. First to rehearse was Ingram, choosing to sing Adele’s “Hometown Glory.” Cyrus encouraged him to really focus on the low notes. Keilhauer similarly wanted to tackle a song with challenging vocals, opting to sing “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. Cyrus helped significantly with the arrangement, really showcasing her abilities as a producer. Next season, she will be a new coach alongside Alicia Keys.

In their final performances, Keilhauer and Ingram both showcased their strengths and who they are as artists. Keilhauer seems like the more obvious fit for Team Blake, but Ingram outperformed her, bringing more complex vocals and better storytelling abilities to the ring. Ingram has soul, and the fact that he is so different from the rest of Team Blake makes him stand out. “The song didn’t measure up to your potential,” Pharrell said of Keilhauer. He praised Ingram’s control over those low notes. Shelton picked Ingram as the winner.

Levine paired Owen Danoff with Ryan Quinn, admitting that the two are very different singers. Quinn is a lot more polished, but Danoff has a raw and edgy talent that’s undeniable. Danoff decided to sing “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel, which was a great choice for him. Quinn chose “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, and in his rehearsal, Levine pushed him to sing less and feel more, with Cyrus adding that he needs to emote through a real connection to the lyrics.

In his performance, Danoff really showcased the ability to tell a story, connecting very strongly with the song. His performance was understated but captivating. Quinn conveyed powerful emotions in his performance while simultaneously nailing the melodically intricate vocals of the song. He struggled a bit rhythmically, but overall, it was a strong performance. “You both really have what each other lack,” said Levine. He ended up choosing Danoff as the winner. Fortunately for Quinn, Aguilera went in for the steal.

Team Pharrell was up next, with Hannah Huston and Malik Heard going toe-to-toe. Heard, who Pharrell stole from Team Christina during the Battle Round, chose to sing “Isn’t She Lovely.” In his words, he wants to be an “R&B and pop singer with a splash of versatility.” Pharrell and Cyrus told him in rehearsal that he needs to open up when he sings and let viewers into his headspace. Huston also went a soulful route, singing “House of the Rising Sun” and hoping to put her own spin on it. Cyrus encouraged her to let loose.

Huston brought a lot of vocal and emotional power to her performance, which had just the right amount of drama and grit to it. She's a magnetic performer, and she held nothing back tonight. But Heard gave it his all, too, delivering a charming performance with smooth vocals. “You brought the house down,” Levine said of Huston. “You sang your heart out up there,” Shelton said to Heard. Pharrell crowned Huston as the champion, and Heard went home.

From Team Blake, Katie Basden and Lacy Mandigo went up against each other next. Shelton stole Mandigo from Team Christina during the battles. She opted to sing “Zombie” by The Cranberries, and Cyrus helped her shape the arrangement in order to really highlight her vocal control. Basden chose “Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac, changing up the melody in order to better reflect her own style. She took some risks with her changes, but Cyrus helped her on it, and it really worked.

In her performance, Basden conveyed a strong sense of artistry, accomplishing her goal of making the song sound like her own. Mandigo, on the other hand, played a little too closely to the original version of the song. She gave a fun performance, but she failed to stand out with something special. Shelton said he wanted to reward the artist who sang the best, so he picked Basden as the winner. Pharrell surprised by pressing his button, but Levine also went in for the steal, both coaches fighting for Mandigo. She joined Team Pharrell.

“They both are storytellers,” Aguilera said of her next two artists: Alisan Porter and Daniel Passino. Porter chose to sing “River” by Joni Mitchell, which was a great song for her. She was nervous about how stripped down and vulnerable the performance was going to be, but Cyrus and Aguilera assured her that it was the right choice. Passino chose “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” and Aguilera encouraged him to rough it up a bit with some fun textures.

Porter nailed her performance in all the areas Cyrus and Aguilera thought she would, shining on the high notes and viscerally connecting with the words she sang. Porter’s performance was understated yet powerful. Passino brought the energy up with his more upbeat performance, and he sounded great, too. Aguilera faced a tough decision. “I would give this to Alisan,” Pharrell said, but he added that Passino is “something special.” Aguilera chose Porter, praising her endless range. Passino was eliminated.

The last Knockout of the night came from Team Pharrell’s Emily Keener and Shalyah Fearing. Fearing was stolen by Pharrell after being cut from Team Christina in the Battle Round. She chose to sing “A Broken Wing” by Martina McBride, and Cyrus encouraged her to play with the melody and to really think about the lyrics in order to sing a version that shows who she is. Keener chose “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell, and she messed up the lyrics during her rehearsal, but Pharrell pushed her to overcome her nerves.

Keener was much more confident in her performance, showcasing her rich tone. But Fearing followed with an outstanding performance and the best Knockout of the night. Fearing had total control over her voice and the ring. She rocked a ton of confidence and made the song her own. Pharrell shocked by choosing Keener, but he must have known that Fearing would stay in the competition. Indeed, Levine went for the steal. “She gave the performance of the night,” he said.

The Knockouts continue tomorrow night. Do you think the coaches made the right choices tonight?

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