6:29pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': Second Night of Knockouts Ends With Super Fast Steal
The Knockouts continued on The Voice tonight, with season 11’s key advisers Faith Hill and Tim McGraw joining coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys for artist prep. Levine and Shelton used their steals last night, leaving only Cyrus and Keys with steals left as artists fight to make it to the Live Playoffs.
The first Knockout performances of the night came from Team Blake. Bindi Liebowitz faced off with professional songwriter Courtney Harrell. Harrell hadn’t performed solo in over a decade, but her journey on The Voice has been full of highs, underscoring the fact that this is what she’s meant to do. Hill was immediately struck by Harrell, who decided to sing “River Deep Mountain High.” Liebowitz, who also put music on hold when her mom was diagnosed with cancer, has also shown that she’s ready to take her music career to the next level. She started on Team Adam, but Shelton stole her during the Battles. She decided to sing “Son Of A Preacher Man” to show that she is a modern singer with an old soul. “You were vanilla ice cream. Be rocky road,” Hill said during her rehearsal, encouraging her to take more risks and be bold in order to stand out against Harrell.
Harrell got things started, and she indeed proved to be a tough act to follow. Harrell filled the room with her booming but controlled voice and her infectious energy. It set a high bar for the rest of the night. Liebowitz started out her performance with some fun ad-libs. It was an entertaining performance, but she lacked that spark that Harrell seems to effortlessly have, and she had some pitch problems. Cyrus praised Liebowitz’s textures but said she wished she could have seen her explode. In Cyrus’s opinion, Harrell did reach that explosion moment. Levine added that Harrell is one of the best of the season. Shelton acknowledged that Liebowitz has a special presence to her, but he echoed Cyrus’s sentiments that Harrell exploded on stage. He picked her as the winner, and Liebowitz went home.
Next, Levine had Billy Gilman and Ponciano Seoane go up against one another. Gilman, who was the youngest person to have a top country hit but has had to redefine himself as he has grown up and hopes to veer more toward pop music, chose to sing “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten for the Knockouts. He noted that the song is his anthem. “It felt like it was your song,” Hill said. Levine warned him to make sure he’s not too on-the-nose with his interpretation. “Stay connected,” Levine said. Seoane decided to sing “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran. Hill recognized Seoane’s singer-songwriter quality. “If Ponciano can win this Knockout round, he can win The Voice,” Levine said.
Seoane went first, playing guitar and delivering a soulful performance that definitely marked his best vocal performance, but it wasn’t memorable. He has a pretty tone, but it isn’t anything all that special. The song choice didn’t do him a lot of favors. Meanwhile, Gilman followed with a much stronger sense of himself and his artistry. He took a radio hit and made it his own, giving a magnetic performance that had momentum and delivered on the big parts. “That could have been a song that you wrote,” Shelton said about Seoane, but he also acknowledged that Gilman has had a more exciting arc on the show. “I just think your voice is amazing,” Cyrus said about Gilman. Levine chose him as the winner, and Seoane went home. The coaches were being very selective with their steals.
The final and best Knockout matchup of the night came from Team Alicia. Keys put Belle Jewel and Christian Cuevas in the Knockout ring. Jewel decided to sing “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House, putting her own jazzy spin on it. Hill was impressed by her confidence and ease. “You could see her doing a show,” McGraw said, emphasizing how strong her sense of artistry is. Cuevas, who is great at delivering the genuinely emotional performances, chose to sing “Superstar” by The Carpenters. Hill and McGraw both encouraged him to really feel while he’s singing instead of thinking too hard.
Jewel got the Knockout started with her original, captivating performance that really told a story and showcased her unique sound. There certainly is no one else like her in the competition. But Cuevas wasn’t going down without a fight, delivering a performance that also played to his strengths, especially when it comes to having a strong emotional connection the what he’s singing. “I’m obsessed with your voice,” Levine said to Cuevas. “I’m mad at you for putting these two together,” Shelton said to Keys, who did have a lot of trouble choosing a winner. Cyrus said she felt like she was at home watching The Voice and anxiously waiting to see what Keys would do. Keys ultimately went with Cuevas, which was a bit surprising. But then a lightning-fast steal came by way of Cyrus, who jumped at the opportunity to get Jewel on her team without wasting a single second. She will be a good fit for Team Miley going into the Live Playoffs.
The Knockouts continue next week as the coaches make their final decisions for who will represent their teams in the Live Playoffs. Keys is the only coach with a steal left going into next week. What team looks strongest to you right now?