Well, everyone it's here. The ever elusive Knockout Round on "The Voice" is upon us, and I finally understand what that means. Unfortunately you all are stuck with just me tonight, as the better half of this recapping duo, Jaimie, is in absentia due to some inclement weather conditions causing some problems that you might have heard about. Lucky for you guys, I reside on the other coast, where the skies are clear and the power is on! So the show must go on.
Carson finally explains to us what the Knockout Round actually means: Each artist performs a song of their choice individually against another one of their teammates. The coadges have no input on the song choice, but they do choose the match ups. Each team will be cut in half with five people moving on to the live rounds. No more steals -- this is it! Carson informs us that it's a fun surprise as we see who is paired against who. We were wondering why they didn't make a point to surprise us with this during the battle rounds this season. It all makes sense!
As reported earlier this week, the other twist this season is that not every team is guaranteed a spot in the finals. The show will be going a bit more "X Factor" style where people are voted off each week based on America's voting regardless of which team they are on once the live rounds begin next week. I am most definitely on board with this, as I am still not over Jamar Rogers not making it to the finals last season.
So, tonight we will see Team Adam and Team Cee Lo, and tomorrow we will see the rest. It was a night of some shocks, but mostly predictable decisions from Adam and Cee Lo as they whittle down their teams to their Top Five.
Joselyn Rivera vs. Kayla Navarez
Joselyn: "Love On Top," Beyonce
Kayla: "Shark in the Water," V.V. Brown
Adam says that he paired these two teens together because he only has room for one young pop star in the live show, and he wants to see which will take more risks. Adam stole Joselyn from Team X-Tina during the battles, so this is his first time coaching her. He warns her not to push to hard and to watch her pitch problems. Joselyn says she thinks she is at an advantage because she has now been coached by both Christina and Adam.
Kayla is the diva who told Adam, "We better win this" when she chose him as her coadge during the blind auditions. She went with "Shark in the Water" because it is a very "vibey" song (whatever that means). Adam tells her that she should change it up more melodically, and Kayla wants to show Adam that she can grow.
Now we get to see our first performance of the Knockout Round, and this whole set up is so awkward. One contestant literally sits on a stool in the corner of the stage while the other performs a short version of the song of their choice. Why is this a thing? What is the purpose? It's so uncomfortable.
Joselyn sings first and she sounds great even though she chose an incredibly challenging song. I mean, it's Bey. C'mon. But Joselyn has a ton of personality and really rocks it. They also keep showing Kayla sitting in the corner throughout the performance and it's so weird. It's like at the Oscars when the camera forces the losers to politely applaud their competition, but a thousand times worse because it goes on for so long. I'm sorry. I can't get past this.
Kayla's performance starts immediately following Joselyn's, at which point Joselyn returns to the stool in her respective corner. Kayla has an incredible voice, but this performance is not her best. It feels like she's gotten a bit too cocky. She does hit the final note at the end of the song beautifully, at which point the camera pans to Joselyn enthusiastically cheering her on. Sure.
Blake tells Kayla that she played it safer and Joselyn took more chances, so he'd go with her. Christina, Joselyn's former coadge, awkwardly addresses her like someone running into her ex for the first time since they broke up. X-Tina tells her that "Love On Top" is an incredibly difficult song and she hit it perfectly. Cee Lo also gives it to Joselyn. Coadge Adam agrees that Joselyn couldn't have chosen a more ambitious song, and that "says a lot." He then tells them that he knows that they're two of the best singers in the country (OK, Adam), but he has to go with Joselyn.
Winner: Joselyn Rivera
Joe Kirkland vs. Bryan Keith
Joe: "Mean," Taylor Swift
Bryan: "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," Bryan Adams
Adam says he matched these two together because they both have distinct rock and roll voices, but he can only focus his attention on one of them for the live rounds. Adam is surprised by Joe's song choice, though he does think it's courageous. Still, Adam wants more attitude from Joe. I'll be honest --I don't really get the appeal of Joe -- unless it's his likeness to Jorma Taccone -- but I'm no expert. Joe says he needs to make the song his own to show Adam that he has versatility.
Bryan chooses a song by another Bryan, and it seems like a boring choice to me. Bryan says that he needs to do this iconic song justice, while still making it his own. Adam tells him he gave himself a tough task.
Joe is up first for his performance, and his pants are so skinny that I think it is literally affecting his ability to walk and potentially breathe. I'm not the biggest fan of this performance, but Bryan Keith seems to be feeling it from his corner. In my humble opinion, Puck and Beiste did it better on "Glee" last season.
Bryan sounds good on his Bryan Adams song, but it just doesn't feel very special. It sounds better than Joe's performance, but I didn't love either of them. Carson apparently did love it though, because he very necessarily says, "Wow" as the Knockout performance concludes.
Blake thought it was really cool that Joe did T.Swift. Christina cuts Blake off before he can say more to tell us that it's a really tough one. She says she'd go with Bryan because of the great note he hit towards the end, but she also says that Joe reminds her of her boi Billie Joe Armstrong. She also tells him that he has pretty eyes, because she's a creep. Cee Lo gives it to Bryan because of his "working class hero" quality.
Adam tells Joe that his performance "way surpassed" his expectations (I still don't get it) and he tells Bryan that this wasn't his best, but it was a great song choice so that evened the scale, which I personally don't necessarily agree with. This is the VOICE! Adam says that although he was more impressed with Joe today and they are both incredibly talented, he gives it to Bryan because of his ability to emotionally connect with the audience.
Winner: Bryan Keith
Amanda Brown vs. Michelle Brooks Thompson
Amanda: "Paris (Ooh La La)," Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Michelle: "Spotlight," Jennifer Hudson
Adam paired these two ladies together because he wants to see who surprises him and who has more range. These reasons for the pairings are already getting redundant and we're only on No. 3 out of 10 for the night. Oy.
Adam stole Amanda from Cee Lo during the battle rounds when she went against Trevin Hunt. During rehearsal, she looks like she's really trying to make things raunchy with her song choice. Adam tells her that he loves the song choice because it's different from what they've seen, but tells her to be careful not to overdo it because she doesn't sound as good when she gets too excited. Michelle, on the other hand, chooses a much more expected song, but doesn't want to sing it like J.Hud. She wants to sing it like Michelle, and yes, she uses third person, and yes, I gag a bit. Adam tells Michelle that she needs a big moment in her performance in order to really bring it.
Amanda sings first, and is sporting a leather tube top, because apparently that's an article of clothing that exists. She rocks it -- the song, your call on the top -- and Michelle looks very nervous. Amanda is definitely working the sex appeal, and at points, it feels like she's trying a bit too hard with that. Her voice though does sound great. Michelle's choice just seemed boring too me, but she sounds amazing, especially once she gets to the second chorus. Now, Amanda looks like she's getting nervous.
Blake tells Michelle that she got Christina to raise her eyebrows, so it was obviously impressive. All hail Queen X-Tina. Christina tells Amanda that she was trying to get her onto her team for a reason. Cee Lo says there is infinite possibility with Amanda, but Michelle was able to "embellish" upon the high bar already set by J.Hud on that song, so she's the winner in his book.
Adam says that Michelle did things in this battle round (Get it together, bro. It's the "Knockout Round") that he hasn't been able to do for her yet and he also tells Amanda that he hasn't had enough time to coach her yet, and I start to lose track of what Adam is talking about. Both women look stressed, as does Mr. Levine. He chooses Amanda -- who looks shocked -- because he says that he is now bringing both of his steals to the live rounds, so clearly he made the best choices. Because he's Adam and he's perfect.
Winner: Amanda Brown
Loren Allred vs. Nicole Nelson
Loren: "You Know I'm No Good," Amy Winehouse
Nicole: "If I Ain't Got You," Alicia Keys
Adam pairs these two ladies together because Nicole knows who she is an artist and Loren still has a lot left to prove. Doesn't that make this an unfair pairing? Explain yourself, Levine.
Loren is a wedding singer and she chooses her song because she wants to show her sultry side. Adam tells her that they have work to do, and warns her that she sounds too much like a wedding singer. He tells her that she needs to feel the pain in the song. Adam tells Nicole, on the other hand -- who is now being described as a "Vermont free spirit" (cough cult member cough) -- that she has a lot of control and he is impressed by her. Something about Nicole rubs me the wrong way, but Adam seems to love her.
Loren's voice sounds amazing during her performance, but visually she looks really stiff. Maybe that Aztec dress is too tight and too short? Nevertheless, she really brings the house down by the end of the performance, earning standing ovations from both Coadge Adam and X-Tina. Nicole has a look on her face right before she performs that screams, "Sucks to be me right now!" Though Nicole's voice sounds good, she does weird things with her hands that look like she is conducting. I just don't enjoy watching her, but Loren looks on nervously.
Carson is exasperated at the end of Nicole's performance, and exclaims, "WOW! I mean ..." Thanks, Carson. Adam says, "Kill me." I assume this is a reaction to both the decision he has to make, and Carson's existence.
Blake tells Loren that she just became what they're supposed to be looking for on this show, and that a "star was just born on that stage." Christina says it was supposed to be a murder scene (ouch!), but now she wishes she had a steal button to steal Loren. Cee Lo tells Nicole that her voice is like a blankie and a mother's love, and she looks thrilled to receive such a compliment. I find it weird, but again, maybe it's just me.
Greek chorus Carson tells us, "This is not easy for Adam." Adam tells Nicole that she has never done anything other than astonish us, but he's so surprised with Loren now. Nicole keeps shaking her head as if to say "Child, please." Adam ultimately goes with Loren, and Nicole is visibly shocked (and pissed), exclaiming "WOW!" very noticeably. This is not the peaceful girl from the commune that I used to know.
Winner: Loren Allred
Melanie Martinez vs. Sam James
Melanie: "Bulletproof," La Roux
Sam: "Walking in Memphis," Marc Cohn
Carson tells us that these two are "very different obviously" and Adam says that's why he paired them together. I feel like that's a lie, and it's really because they were the only two left, but fine.
Melanie says that she doesn't just sing songs, she feels them. Adam is worried that her performance of this song will be too lackadaisical, and she is worried about being underwhelming. On an unrelated not, she looks great with straight hair! Sam, on the other hand, chose one of my favorite songs of all time, because it is apparently also one of his favorite songs of all time This makes things confusing, though, when he is unable to accurately pronounce the word "Memphis" during rehearsals. Adam says that whatever word Sam is saying sounds like some disease, because he is saying "Mempheez." Then he giggles to himself because he is presumably thinking about Herpes. Sam says that he needs to work on his pronunciation issues.
Melanie goes acoustic for her performance, and it is definitely not my favorite Melanie performance. She sounds good, but not as good as she has sounded in the last two rounds. Sam always sounds like he is trying too hard to me. Also, his eyes are closed for almost his entire performance, and it is not pleasant to watch. He does, however, manage to pronounce "Memphis" correctly, and upon doing so, he smiles at Adam like a little boy who is very pleased with himself for doing as he's told.
Carson tells Adam that he has a "very tough decision," as opposed to all the others. Blake makes his dad joke for the night when he tells Melanie that watching her is like watching a duet with a blonde girl and a dark-haired girl. Ugh, dad just doesn't understand her style. He then chooses Sam as the winner. Christina says Melanie is the winner because she creates a world with her singing. Cee Lo doesn't get an opinion on this one, for whatever reason.
Coadge Adam tells Melanie that her nerves got the best of her, and it caused her to get breathy at points He tells Sam that he needs to come out of his comfort zone a bit. He chooses Melanie because she is so unique, and she cries a lot. She is officially a crier.
Winner: Melanie Martinez
TEAM CEE LO:
Avery Wilson vs. Cody Belew
Avery: "Yeah 3x," Chris Brown
Cody: "Jolene," Dolly Parton
I was so sad about this one. I love both of them so much. Why, Cee Lo!? His answer: They're both born entertainers, but he needs to see which is the complete package. STILL SAD.
Avery chooses this song because he likes to dance and sing. Cee Lo says that the vocal performance is the be all end all, and he fears that Avery's lack of focus on the vocals can be a liability. Cee Lo says that Cody's song choice, on the other hand, is peculiar, and of course he "always appreciates something unique and original," but it doesn't guarantee Cody a win. He also tells Cody that the song is heavy, and his attitude has to match it.
Avery performs first, and has a '90-style flannel shirt tied around his waist serving absolutely no purpose, which I guess is apropos of the Knockout Round in general. Avery definitely focuses too much on his dance moves, which causes his vocal performance to suffer and it's sad because just last week Avery gave us that amazing performance of "Titanium." Cody's performance is much more serious than we've seen from him, but it works well and the coadges are clearly impressed.
Adam tells Avery that it wasn't one of his best, and says that Cody is "really shining through as a unique artist." Blake says that Avery's focus on his dance moves allowed Cody to shine, and that this was the best he's ever heard Cody perform. Christina tells Avery that it was a little much, and she reminds us that, at the end of the day, THIS IS "THE VOICE"!
Coadge Cee Lo tells Avery that he knows he can sing and dance, but the singing has to be the main factor. He tells Cody that it takes a "brave man to sing 'Jolene.'" Avery looks pissed at himself. Christina tells Cee Lo, "It's a tough one. I get it." Thanks for being so understanding, X. Cee Lo goes with Cody. I love Cody and he's so happy, but Avery was amazing and I'm so sad to see him go. He tells Cee Lo that he's sorry he screwed up, and it's heartbreaking. I will now have to re-watch Cody's blind audition freak out multiple times to make me happy.
Winner: Cody Belew
MacKenzie Bourg vs. Daniel Rosa
MacKenzie: "Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepson
Daniel: "Back to December," Taylor Swift
I love both of these guys as well, but I think this was a great pairing. Cee Lo says they're both emotional performers and wants to see which one connects more with the audience. Also, Cee Lo's voiceovers are hilarious.
Mackenzie must really love CRJ, because this is his second week in a row paying tribute to Carly Rae. I don't hate it. (In fact, I LOVE IT.) He puts his own spin on the song and it sounds totally different. Daniel is singing another song by a Top 40 female, but Cee Lo warns him not to keep it too simple. Daniel is worried about being taken out of his comfort zone.
Mackenzie performs the song we all knew and love and subsequently hated in a completely different style on his guitar. It's almost unrecognizable. I like it more as it goes on, but it's definitely impressive that he was able to make a song so overplayed his own like that. He also has an adorable lil' smile on his face the whole time, and I melt a bit. I didn't love Daniel's take on the Taylor Swift song, and he just makes me so nervous because I feel like he's constantly having a panic attack right before my eyes.
Adam tells Daniel that he loves his new confidence (Am I missing something?) so he'd definitely choose him. Blake tells Mackenzie that it takes an artist to do what he did, so he'd go with him. Christina says that Mackenzie owned it.
Cee Lo says that he is proud of both of his boyz. Mackenzie really made a connection with the people, but he also loves Daniel's story. He tells Daniel that he's better than his performance today. Then, Cee Lo quotes Carly Rae Jepson and says, "This is crazy!" He ultimately goes with Mackenzie. Daniel Rosa handles it like a champ, and thanks Cee Lo for seeing things in him that he didn't see in himself. Stop it, Rosa. I might cry.
Adam then applauds Cee Lo for his new technique of using the song lyrics in his explanation, to which Cee Lo proudly responds, "Thank you, Adam. I'll call you from a payphone." Close enough.
Winner: Mackenzie Bourg
Terisa Griffin vs. Trevin Hunt
Terisa: "Saving All My Love," Whitney Houston
Trevin: "Against All Odds," Phil Collins
Oof, this one was emotional. Also, let's discuss Terisa's broken ankle and bedazzled cast and cane. Her doppleganger, Jackee Harry, would obviously approve. Trevin has very mixed emotions about this battle because he sees Terisa as his mentor and mother figure. Cee Lo says that the person that moves him and connects with the audience will win this Knockout Round. No way, Cee!
Cee Lo stole Terisa from Blake, and she tells her new coadge that she felt out of place on Team Blake. How ungrateful! She unsurprisingly chooses to sing a Whitney song. Cee Lo says that she has experience on her side. Trevin chooses the Phil Collins song to dedicate to his eighth grade teacher to told him he wasn't going to become anything. Trevin is very emotional, but Cee Lo tells him to be strong. He understands that he needs to control his emotions "instead of letting them control him"
Terisa performs first, and how the hell is she walking on a broken ankle? Damn, girl. She sounds amazing as well. It takes a lot to rock a Whitney song, and she definitely does the damn thing. Trevin's performance though, HOLY SH**. Cee Lo's crying. I'm crying. It's amazing. Trevin. You are perfection.
Blake tells Terisa that she ended up in the right family (RACIST), but he says that Trevin was the winner because of the level of talent he has at the age of 18. So that's twice now that Blake has dissed Terisa. That's gotta sting. Christina says that she is so jealous that Cee Lo has Trevin on his team.
Cee Lo commends Terisa for singing that song because she did a great job. He tells Trevin that he is so fortunate to have him on his team. I actually feel bad for Terisa, because her performance was really amazing, and she just happened to be up against such an incredibly emotional and mind-blowing performance. Terisa, I give you credit, gurl. I'm sure that softens the blow of inevitably getting sent home, right? You're welcome.
They cut to a commercial break as if to say that this one is actually a cliffhanger. Come on, we all know Cee Lo is picking Trevin. He does, and Trevin is so sad to see Terisa go. It's
creepy cute how close the two of them are. Trevin bawls as he says his goodbyes to Terisa and "Mama-T," as she apparently calls herself, comforts him. Again, cute/creepy.
Winner: Trevin Hunt
Michael Wastman vs. Nicholas David
Nicholas: "Put Your Records On," Corinne Bailey Rae
Michael: "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me," Elton John
Cee Lo put these two "soulful, smooth" singers together because he wants to choose the one that delivers the most passionate performance, which is surprising, because I would have thought he would have wanted the artist who lacked more passion.
Nicholas's facial hair is so absurd and distracting. Also, he's wearing cataracts sunglasses during rehearsal and I can't tell whether or not it's out of necessity. Double also, his hair is pulled back into a sleek half pony. Cee Lo tells Nicholas that he wants him to discover parts of himself that he hasn't yet. Sounds like he wants Nicholas to go through puberty. Hat-enthusiast Michael chooses the Elton John classic because he doesn't want the sun to go down on him in this competition. Very abstract. Cee Lo says that he wants to see some adaptability in Michael.
Michael performs first (he REALLY loves hats!) and his voice has a little too much vibrato for me (I think). Adam sings along, in case we weren't sure that he knew the words. It's a fairly boring performance, and it lacks a big jaw-dropping moment. Nicholas's voice sounds cool as always. I love how casual he is.
Blake tells Nicholas that he's special and that him and Cee Lo are the dream team. Christina says that she understands how Nicholas enters his own world when he sings, but she also appreciates Michael's ability to open up to the audience more.
Coadge Cee Lo says that there is something special about Michael and his performance was very pronounced, but Nicholas is natural and mystic and he cannot be explained. He goes with St. Nick.
Winner: Nicholas David
Caitlin Michele vs. Diego Val
Diego: "Are You Gonna Go My Way," Lenny Kravitz
Caitlin: "Bring Me To Life," Evanescence
Cee Lo says that these two are his rockers, and he wants to see who can rock the stage. That's vague, Cee Lo. It also sounds like something "Toddlers & Tiaras" contestants say before they perform their "Outfit of Choice" routine ... Or so I hear.
As Diego practices the Lenny Kravitz song, Cee Lo tells him that he needs to show more attitude and connect with the audience. (Connecting with the audience is either legitimately REALLY huge to Cee Lo, or the only advice he can come up with because he uses it incessantly in this episode.) Cee Lo stole Caitlin from Adam, and her choosing Evanescence in the Knockout Round seemed SO boring and predictable to me. We get it, you like dark things. She says she needs to do her best. Quite the revelation.
Caitlin performs first -- in crushed velvet, of course -- and her voice sounds great, but it also sounds so identical to the original. She doesn't do much of anything to make it her own (though Diego looks very into it from his stool in the corner). She also holds the last note of the song so long, which is impressive, but also almost seems desperate. Diego, on the other hand, is really lucky that he's South American, because otherwise I would have so much to say about his outfit right now. He sounds pretty decent and it's a fun performance. It's nothing to write home about, but I liked it more than I expected I would. Caitlin, on the other hand, is not enjoying herself. She looks just about ready to faint or cry or murder.
Adam says that Caitlin killed it and he's so glad that she chose that song (lame!). Christina says she did a good job, but it was almost too similar to the original (amen!).
Cee Lo says Caitlin may have been too spot on, but she did well. He says that Diego had a lot of personality but he wasn't thrilled with either performance. He ultimately goes with Diego because he sees something special in him. Caitlin looks frightening, like she's about to lose it, but then she says some very nice things before leaving the stage. Adam tells Cee Lo that he doesn't know what he was thinking with choosing Diego over Caitlin. Oh Adam, stop trying to make yourself feel better about not choosing her.
Winner: Diego Val
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
Follow Chelsey Etkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/savedbythechel