The Voice recap: Which artist makes Taylor Swift cry?
Some of our heavy-hitters and one-of-a-kind artists take the stage during part three of The Voice Knockouts, which makes for a less-than-thrilling evening of television viewing since you can see the winner on a lot of these matchups coming from a mile away. That doesn’t make the sting of losing some good people hurt any less! Let’s see how things shake out:
Team Gwen: Rose Short, “Big White Room” by Jessie J vs. Destiny Rayne, “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato
Poor Destiny Rayne. She lost her Battle to Katie Kadan, one of the biggest and best voices in this competition, only to be put back in the game thanks to Gwen’s steal. And then in the Knockouts, she’s put up against Rose Short…another one of the biggest and best voices. Girl can’t catch a break. And even though Gwen and Kelly seem impressed by Destiny in rehearsal, she really has no shot up against Rose. It becomes abundantly clear during the performances, too. Rose is just so connected to her song and the audience, and through all of that emotion, she never loses technical control. I loved Kelly’s note that Rose’s performance “was about the song, not her voice.” Destiny’s performance isn’t one of her best — it’s not a great song choice for her. She needed to be flawless against Rose, she was not.
Winner: Rose Short!
Steals: No one steals Destiny, but I think Rose stole America’s heart once again when she told us she hugged Taylor Swift and “it felt like money.” Rose for everything!
Team Kelly: Shane Q, “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young vs. Kiara Brown, “The Bones” by Maren Morris
Oh boy. Once you start getting the “I love your energy” and “you’ve grown so much in a short time” critiques after your Knockout performance, you know you’re toast. Kiara Brown surprised everyone in the Battles with her powerful Bob Marley duet, so she had a lot of momentum going into this…but then she was put up against Shane Q. Shane has such power behind his voice and the ability to do insane runs, unless you’re perfect, it would be hard for Coach Kelly to let Shane go. Shane isn’t without some issues — there’s not a ton of emotional connection here, which is a little shocking since the song is all emotion. Kelly tells her artist that he needs to let people in. Still, he can do so much technically with that instrument of his. Kiara’s good, too, but this song choice doesn’t allow her to surprise us all like the last round. At least she knows four of the biggest names in music like her spirit? Is that a good consolation prize?
Winner: Shane Q!
Steals: Sorry, but no.
Team Blake: Kat Hammock, “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer vs. Lauren Hall “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
Man, Lauren Hall is brave. She just got booted from Kelly’s team and now, after being stolen by Blake, she’s going to sing a big ol’ Kelly Clarkson song. While in a bedazzled catsuit! I’m here for all of this. Unfortunately, this is yet another matchup where one person is just so talented and so unique and SO READY TO GO TO THE FINALS, there’s no way a coach would give them up. In this one, that’s Kat Hammock. Blake has been obsessed with her voice since the Blinds, and it only gets better. Guys, as a person who grew up watching She’s All That, I thought I never wanted to hear “Kiss Me” ever again…and then Kat sings it in her angel person voice with all these gorgeous melodic changes, and suddenly I want that song on repeat. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by anything in a world where a person can remove her glasses and become hot, but sometimes I forget.
Winner: Kat Hammock!
Steals: No steal has made an appearance yet!
Team Legend: Zoe Upkins, “I’m Gonna Love You” by Meghan Trainor ft. John Legend vs. Will Breman, “I Don’t Care” by Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
How! Is! Zoe! Only! Sixteen! I can’t get over it — and neither can anyone who hears her sing, including Taylor Swift. Everyone seems impressed with her poise and control, not to mention the fact that she gets up and sings a John Legend song with the emotional maturity of someone twice her age. I mean, she also nails it technically, but the emotion she brings is most impressive. Too bad she’s going up against Will Breman, who is a legit surprise every time he gets on stage. Taylor basically says he’s adorkable, which is not wrong. But mostly, he’s special because he gets the audience into every performance. When Will started off it sounded too much like an Ed Sheeran imitation, but by the end, this was Will’s party. This is a tough choice for John, who is impressed with Zoe but cannot get enough of Will’s unpredictability.
Winner: Will Breman!
Steals: Kelly wants to steal Zoe and her crazy control so badly, alas, she has already used her one steal.
Team Gwen: Jake HaldenVang, “Powerful” by Major Lazer ft. Ellie Goulding vs. Royce Lovett, “Wake Me Up” by Aloe Blacc
Ah yes, the classic case of “each artist has what the other needs.” In Jake’s case, his critique post-rehearsal from Tay and Gwen, our blondie queens, is that he needs to connect with the audience more, he needs to have some stage presence. It’s a bit strange since he’s been fronting his rock band for so long, but performing on this platform has the guy spooked. What Jake has going for him, however, is that he very much knows what kind of artist he is and hits that rock god sweet spot every time he sings. Royce, on the other hand, is trying out a different genre than his typical reggae and it confuses the coaches, but the guy has stage presence for days. Judging on vocal performance alone, though, it’s 100 percent Jake. He hits some crazy high notes and then gets some deep rocker growls in. It would be hard for Gwen to pass on Jake, especially when Royce doesn’t sell his voice as much this go-around.
Winner: Jake HaldenVang!
Steals: You know they’re saving the steal for the final performance, right?
Team Kelly: Alex Guthrie, “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith vs. Hello Sunday, “Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande ft. Nathan Sykes
My favorite part of this entire episode is the cut to Alex’s face after Hello Sunday’s rehearsal performance. Taylor’s crying because seeing young artists who know who they are makes her weep, Kelly is fawning all over them because DANG their harmonies continue to be great and, in that moment, Alex knows his only chance is to be so undeniably good, another coach will have to steal him. Guys, that’s exactly what he does! Alex has had trouble standing out in this stacked field, but hi, hello, that one run he does at the end of this song gave me chills that will last for weeks. I get why Kelly has to keep Hello Sunday: There is no one else like them in the competition and if she dropped them another coach would definitely pick them up and these young ladies are real contenders. Still, Alex is an excellent, extremely soulful vocalist and if he can figure out a way to distinguish himself, he’ll be in good shape.
Winner: Hello Sunday!
Steals: John Legend eats up Alex’s performance, so you know immediately he’ll be pushing his button. You know what? This is a great move for Alex, he’ll feel at home on Team Legend.
And so ends a fairly predictable evening of Knockouts. Who are you saddest to see go home? Who has surprised you? Remember when Rose said hugging Taylor Swift felt like money? Bless.
A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.