6:14pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Knockouts Conclude, Blake Shelton Uses Final Steal
Season 17’s Knockouts came to a close on NBC's The Voice on Tuesday night. The top 20 artists who advanced from this round will compete in the Live Playoffs, starting next week. Taylor Swift was once again on hand to help prep singers alongside coaches Blake Shelton, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani. Shelton also used the last steal of the round.
The twist, of course, was saved for last. Team Kelly’s Gracee Shriver and Damali went up against each other with performances of “Leave the Pieces” by The Wreckers and “Sober” by Demi Lovato, respectively. Damali gave a bold performance on both the vocal and emotional fronts, delivering a compelling lyrical interpretation. It was the best performance of the night.
But Shriver also gave an impressive performance, digging into her country roots and accompanying herself on the guitar. She proved herself as a well rounded artist with star quality, and it was already a given that there would be a steal for this final matchup. Clarkson chose Damali as the winner, and Shelton scooped up Shriver with a steal. It was fitting, considering Shelton had been blocked from turning for Shriver in the Blind Auditions. He has wanted her on his team since the beginning.
In other Knockouts from Team John, Marybeth Byrd sang “All I Ask” by Adele and Preston C. Howell sang “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra. They both made strong song choices, singing within their wheelhouses. Howell went first, and his vocals were strong, but Byrd followed with a much more dynamic performance that really tapped into the emotions of the lyrics. Howell may have delivered the more technically tight performance, but Byrd showcased something special, and Legend chose her to advance to the Playoffs.
Team Blake also delivered one last Knockout pairing. Ricky Braddy sang Legend’s own “So High,” and Zach Bridges sang “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. Singing songs originally recorded by the coaches has been a popular choice during this round of the competition, and Braddy took the plunge, giving an impressive and vocally complex performance of Legend’s song. He got a standing ovation from all four coaches. Bridges improved his performance skills after notes from Swift, but he still did not deliver as strong of a Knockout as Braddy, whom Shelton chose as the winner.
The Live Playoffs kick off next week.