It’s almost time to vote! And, not just for that election. The Voice‘s live shows are just a few days away after tonight’s knockouts and the coaches are right about one thing: there do seem to be some promising contestants on board for Season 15, even if tonight’s crop is (for the most part) ho-hum.
Let’s take a look at who makes it through in the final stretch of the knockouts.
Team Kelly: Chevel Shepherd vs. Sarah Grace
Kelly Clarkson decides to put her two teen singers against each other tonight and both have their charms. Chevel Shepherd goes pretty literal with her rendition of The Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier,” but it’s a ballad she clearly knows well. She’s got a similar banjo-style reverb quality to her voice as Natalie Maines and puts her range on trial throughout the number. Even if she does have some rattly moments throughout the delivery, this is still a very pretty performance.
Meanwhile, Sarah Grace’s performance is okay enough, too. She’s got a more simpering bluesy quality to her tone — even grimacing for effect during her take on Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Like Chevel, she hits a couple of sick notes that punch things up but otherwise lets the rhythm of this one carry the day. In the end, they’re both on par with one another, and Kelly can’t bear to send either of them home, even if she does (rightly) give Chevel the W.
Winner: Chevel Shepherd
Steal: Saved by Kelly Clarkson.
Team Adam: DeAndre Nico vs. Jake Wells
There are a few artists and bands whose songs really don’t leave a lot of room for interpretation, and Coldplay might just be one of them. Because Jake Wells’ rearranged rendition of “Yellow” is a total wash and even the producers know it — why else would both the rehearsal footage and the performance itself be so abbreviated? Between his wonky falsetto reaches and clunky transitions, it’s just a mess and doesn’t work. Jake might still be a compelling singer, but he’s done himself zero favors tonight.
Meanwhile, DeAndre Nico is basically throwing everything he’s got at his performance of Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted.” He’s infusing some R&B, soul, and even gospel sounds into this country number, and it’s a little chaotic, even after key adviser Mariah Carey tries to distance him from doing too much at once with all of those runaway runs. That said, his voice is much, much cleaner throughout the performance, so by comparison, it’s an easy choice for his coach to make.
Winner: DeAndre Nico
Team Jennifer: Anthony Arya vs. Kennedy Holmes
If you were wondering what happened to Kennedy Holmes after her big blind audition, wonder no more. After being montaged in the battles, she returns to face Anthony Arya, and they’re both such sweet people that it’s hard to know whom to root for. Anthony’s rendition of “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” proves he’s found his sound, and although the song is just a hair too fast for him to really put forward the kind of tender touches we’ve heard from him in the past, his talent and personality are still clear.
But Kennedy’s a force tonight. Mariah and coach Jennifer Hudson warn her not to go too full steam with her performance of Pink’s “What About Us,” so she throws in a few obligatory head notes to bookend the song. But otherwise, it’s all power, precision, and poise. Anthony’s nod as he watches her go is a lot like that worried Jay-Z meme: he knows he’s being outshone and still can’t help but enjoy it.
Winner: Kennedy Holmes