During the second night of Knockouts, three coaches pit unexpected artists against each other. These choices come back to haunt them, though, when they all have to make more tough decisions about who stays and who goes.
First to perform is Team Gwen’s self-described oddball, Korin Bukowski, and Gwen’s alt-country singer, Summer Schappell. These girls’ vibes are about as opposite as you can get — Korin seems capable only of talking about how awkward she is, while Summer bounces around stage like a vivacious exercise ball. But I understand why Gwen paired them up. They both come at their respective genres from surprising places.
Korin chooses to sing “All I Want” by Kodaline, because she says the track will show off her range more than her first two Voice performances. She does rock one striking falsetto note during her Knockout, but “All I Want” doesn’t capture that same uncanny feeling her Battle performance demonstrated. She also clings to the mic stand the entire time, like it’s keeping her afloat.
Summer certainly doesn’t have that problem: During her take on Little Big Town’s “Little White Church,” she never stops moving. She sells this song with everything she’s got (though it gets a little over the top when she starts acting out the lyrics). She looks like she’s having the time of her life, even as the song begins to feel one-note. In fact, both performers’ song choices did little to show off their full vocal capacities. But Gwen says she has to pick the contestant she can do the most with, and this week, that’s Korin.
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Following Korin and Summer come Team Adam’s Dustin Christensen and Keith Semple. Since Adam saved Dustin during the Battles last week, the burly country artist is feeling the pressure to do well. But Keith has an even greater need to prove he can be a successful singer: He and his wife just found out they’re going to be parents again.
Dustin decides to take on “Free” by the Zac Brown Band for his shot at the Lives. It’s a good choice that brings out his storyteller persona to its best effect. Dustin is one of the most straightforward, down-to-earth performers left, and I appreciate his lack of dramatics. His raspy tone is inviting and pleasant, and he also lets out a big note or two, just to remind us he can do that, too. However, on a show like this, his simple performances might not be memorable enough to carry him through.
Dustin didn’t bring a whole lot of drama to his performance, but Keith’s song choice — “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner — more than made up for that. Keith’s “Baba O’Riley” Battle was cheesy enough, but a Foreigner Knockout takes ’80s arena rock to a whole other level. Still, Keith has good reason for picking the song: He says that it contains four distinct parts, each of which shows off a different side of his voice. His strategy pays off. Keith gets in a ton of dynamics, some sweet dance moves, and a climactic high note right at the end. That seals that deal for Adam, who declares Keith the winner of this Knockout.
NEXT: “The most ridiculous vocal mechanic I’ve ever heard in my life”