7:35pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Knockout Round Concludes With Final Steal
The Knockout Round came to a close on The Voice tonight with season 10’s key advisor, Miley Cyrus, continuing to bring out the best in the remaining artists. Coaches Christina Aguilera, Pharrell and Adam Levine all used up their steals earlier in the round, but Blake Shelton still had a steal left to give to one lucky artist tonight. “I’m waiting for somebody not like anybody else,” Shelton said at the top of the episode.
The first Knockout pairing came from Team Adam: Brian Nhira and Nate Butler. Levine stole Nhira from Pharrell in the Battle Round. Nhira chose to sing “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. “It’s perfectly in his range, because he’s got such a great tone,” Cyrus said. Butler, who already showed a lot of improvement between his Blind Audition and his Battle, came ready to step it up even more for his Knockout. He decided to sing “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, and Cyrus encouraged him to improvise a bit and do what felt right for him instead of getting too precise and mechanical with the vocals.
In his final performance, Nhira gave a magnetic performance, showing that he definitely has star power and the ability to really excite the audience. On top of that, he had impressive vocals and tapped into the dynamic energy that makes the song great in the first place. Butler followed with a fantastic soul performance. It didn’t quite have the intensity of Nhira’s performance, but his vocals were smooth and his ad libs were strong. “Brian came out here and poured gas on the stage and dropped a match on it,” Shelton said. He added that Butler was “badass.” Pharrell praised Butler’s vocal choices. Levine had a difficult decision to make. He ultimately decided that his team could not survive without Nhira, who is headed for the Live Playoffs. Butler was eliminated.
Blake Shelton’s Mary Sarah and Brittany Kennell were up next. Sarah chose Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough (to Take My Man),” which definitely fit her throwback country sound. As Shelton reiterated, Sarah has a very strong sense of who she is as an artist. Cyrus encouraged her to add some growl to her vocals instead of going sweet with it. Wanting to sing a song by an artist who’s from Canada like her, Kennell chose Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.” It was also a strong song choice for her, and Cyrus helped her shake up the arrangement.
Sarah gave a solid country performance, bringing a fun energy to the ring and really showing off her personality and artistry. Kennell slowed things down, but she had powerful vocals. Pharrell thought Sarah outshined Kennell with all of her energy and sass. Levine agreed that Sarah won the Knockout, adding that Kennell’s performance was understated but strong. Shelton chose Sarah as the winner, and Kennell went home.
Aguilera paired Bryan Bautista and Trey O’Dell, explaining that their similarities mean there is only room for one of them on her team. Bautista chose to sing “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, and Aguilera had some concerns at first, but Bautista proved in his rehearsal that he was ready to make the song his own. Aguilera encouraged him to tap into his falsetto some more. O’Dell chose “I Lived” by OneRepublic. Cyrus helped him figure out how to have a strong presence on stage.
Bautista came into the ring with a lot of confidence and put on a great show. He played with the vocals a lot and whipped out that beautiful falsetto. He put his own spin on the Bieber hit, and it worked very well. O’Dell brought some falsetto to the table too. Though not quite as much of an entertainer as Bautista, he still commanded the ring with strong presence. Pharrell said O’Dell had a moment when he was a bit pitchy. Levine praised Bautista’s well-rounded range of skills. “You’re so versatile,” Aguilera told Bautista. She picked him as the winner, and O’Dell was eliminated.
Pharrell paired Abby Celso and Caity Peters next. Celso chose “Rich Girl,” saying that she considers herself to be a mixture of “pop, jazz and soul.” She sounded strong in her rehearsal, but Pharrell and Cyrus both advised her not to overdo it on the runs and big vocal moments. Peters chose to sing “Leave Your Lover” by Sam Smith, saying she has a strong emotional connection to the song. Pharrell thought it was a good choice for her. She cracked on a note in rehearsal, and he said it was all right because “it was honest.”
In her final performance, Celso definitely took Pharrell and Cyrus’ advice, adding more dynamics to her performance. She sounded great, especially on the low notes, her rich tone putting a lot of power and warmth behind the vocals. Peters followed with a gorgeous performance. She also had a lot of control over her low notes, and she really conveyed an emotional connection to the song. “Do you go with Storm or do you go with Wonder Woman?” Pharrell asked, noting that both bring different strengths to the table. He ultimately went with Peters, and Celso went home.
Jessica Crosbie and Laith Al-Saadi from Team Adam faced off next. Levine stole Crosbie from Pharrell in the Battle Round. Crosbie, who said Cyrus inspires her as a storyteller, opted to sing “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. Cyrus pushed her to really unleash. Al-Saadi picked “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, which was a step in a different direction for him, but Levine thought it was a good choice.
Al-Saadi really stepped out of his comfort zone in his performance, and it paid off, showcasing different shades to his voice but still allowing him to display his guitar skills. Crosbie struggled to really stand out in her performance. Her vocals were technically good, but it just wasn’t as exciting of a performance as it should have been. “I’d give this to Laith,” Shelton said, emphasizing that his vocals were the best. Pharrell said he would go with Crosbie because she has a more expansive range. Levine chose Al-Saadi, and Crosbie went home.
In a battle that wasn’t televised in full, Levine chose to keep Caroline Burns over Katherine Ho.
In the final Knockout of the season, Aguilera paired Kata Hay and Joe Maye. Maye decided to sing “Earned It” by The Weeknd, hoping to make the song his own. Aguilera advised him to really tighten his ad libs. Hay chose “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” by Reba McIntire, saying that even though it’s technically a country song, it’s easy to bring out other rock and soul shades to it. “I just like your version, because it had more attitude,” Cyrus said in her rehearsal.
In his performance, Maye brought a lot of emotion and power to the song. His vocals were complex and stunning, and he succeeded in bringing his own sound to the hit. Hay followed with a gritty and passionate performance. They both had impressive vocals, and it was the top Knockout of the night. “The big surprise for me is Kata,” Levine said, saying that she really took things to the next level with this performance. “Joe, you were the revelation for me,” Shelton added. They both certainly put up a fight. Aguilera was left with the tough task of choosing a winner. She went with Hay. Fortunately for Maye, Shelton swept in and used the final steal of the season on him.
What did you think of the conclusion of the Knockout Round? The Live Playoffs begin next week on The Voice.