The live playoffs are but days away now, so The Voice‘s remaining crop of knockout round contestants have got a lot on the line right now. Coaches Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, and Christina Aguilera have all already used their single steal bids by now, which means now the pressure’s really on for these guys to survive another showdown. Blake Shelton‘s got one steal up his sleeve, but he’s gonna be choosy with it, which means these singers’ destinies are in their own hands — er, vocal cords — tonight.
With the help of key adviser (and future season 11 coach) Miley Cyrus and a few well-timed Pink Panther jokes about Adam Levine’s new hairdo, the deed will get done and seven more will get the green light “GO” treatment to join the top 20.
Here’s how the final round of knockouts go down.
No. 1 (Team Adam): Brian Nhira vs. Nate Butler
Starting the night off on an ultra-tough note is Team Adam’s first showdown, which presents one contestant fulfilling the potential his battle round has promised while another comes out of nowhere with some seriously surprising new oomph.
Brian Nhira, a transplant from Team Pharrell, was promised a spot on Adam’s proverbial pedestal, and he certainly steps up to it as he channels Bruno Mars for “Grenade.” As Adam notes, Brian doesn’t accomplish an exact replica of the original performance — though it’s not far off the mark at all — but he does earn the same effect of instant and complete audience ownage.
Meanwhile, Nate, who seems a little blasé during the rehearsals (really even tracing back to his uneven blinds performance), is apparently the best note-taker known to mankind. Because while Brian comes out, “pour[s] gas on the stage, and drop[s] a match on it” (in the very true words of Blake), Nate is a master flame-fanner himself with a surprisingly groovy and multi-faceted rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” Yow.
Nate’s song choice is meant to serve as a bit of subtext to encourage his continued working relationship with Adam, but he puts in so many unexpected new runs that his coach is convinced that the song’s originator himself is proud of what he’s done with it here. But it’s the knockouts now, and unless Blake’s gonna get fast and loose with that steal (spoiler: He doesn’t quite yet) someone’s gotta go home.
It’s no longer just about who Adam can mold going forward because that’s clearly true of both of them, but he’s going with the singer he just “can’t live without.” That’d be Brian, who’s more technically skilled and a bound-to-be fan fave without question. Respect to Nate for going down swinging with that performance, though. Many praise hand emojis for that grand exit.
Winner: Brian Nhira
NEXT: Strap up your boots for this throwback rodeo…