The Voice recap: Goodbye, Taylor Swift and hello, Live Playoffs!
It’s the final Knockouts! And yes, I did sing Europe’s “The Final Countdown” while typing that, how could a person not? Each coach has one more Knockout pairing to get through and Blake Shelton still has his save to use, most definitely in the final matchup of the evening. This all means we’ll have to say goodbye to our Mega-Mentor Miss Taylor Swift, who has been fun, but on the bright side, I’m ready for the pressure of The Voice Live Playoffs to make or break some of these people! The drama!
Team Legend: Preston C. Howell, “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra vs. Marybeth Byrd, “All I Ask” by Adele
Preston C. Howell! I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! I love a good crooner, but as John and Taylor pointed out in rehearsal, Preston needed to take this Frank Sinatra classic and somehow inject a little bit of himself into it, otherwise, it’s just imitation. He sings it perfectly and has great presence, but he needs to show who he is, too. Marybeth is one of my favorite voices in the competition, but this might be my least favorite performance of hers. John and Taylor tell her to really work on her lower register for the beginning of the song, but it’s just not as strong as when she gets into her upper register, where she kills it. Still, Marybeth has much more versatility and that’s what you need going into the live rounds. It’s strategy!
Winner: Marybeth Byrd!
Steals: We should make sure Preston wasn’t literally stolen because as he leaves the stage, Gwen yells that she and Blake are going to adopt him. He has parents, Gwen!
Team Blake: Ricky Braddy, “So High” by John Legend vs. Zach Bridges, “The Dance” by Garth Brooks
It looks like both Ricky Braddy and Zach Bridges love a challenge because Ricky is performing a John Legend song in front of John Legend, a coach who normally isn’t impressed when artists cover him on this show, and Zach is doing one of the most famous songs in country music. No biggie, guys. Ricky is such a talented vocalist that Taylor’s only advice is to start slow and build-up to the big moments — he does this during the performance and it is absolutely the correct way to tackle that song. The huge notes he saves for the end are treasures, and even John “Please Don’t Sing My Songs” Legend is won over. Poor Zach looks defeated before he even goes on, and although he doesn’t look as uncomfortable as he did in front of Blake and Taylor, there’s a lack of connection with the audience that is very needed and his vocals just aren’t as strong as they have been in the past. It’s crazy to think that Blake won’t be bringing one male country artist into the Live Playoffs, but the times, they are a-changin’, ya know?
Winner: Ricky Braddy!
Steals: Only Blake has a steal left and rules are rules!
Wow, The Voice, really doing Calvin Lockett dirty like that. We only get a quick peek at Team Gwen’s last Knockout, featuring Myracle Holloway and Calvin. Myracle was never going home before the live rounds, but still, they don’t even tell us what song Calvin’s singing! Myracle sings Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk?” while wearing a white cape, so obviously, she wins for both of those reasons.
Team Kelly: Damali, “Sober” by Demi Lovato vs. Gracee Shriver, “Leave the Pieces” by The Wreckers
We can kick back and relax with this final matchup: Since Blake still has his steal, we know both of these 16-year-olds are headed to the Live Playoffs. Instead, just enjoy their hauntingly beautiful performances about pain and suffering and heartache. These teens are sad, you guys! Lucky for us, their vocals are anything but. Damali has watched a family member deal with addiction and infuses that personal story into her performance and both Kelly Clarkson and I weep. What else is new? The other coaches are finally noticing Damali and it couldn’t come at a better time. We need a little Billie Eilish type on this season. Meanwhile, Gracee, a Taylor Swift clone (Taylor can’t believe it when she sees the blonde rocking a red lip, a guitar, a dress, and boots while talking about loving breakup songs!), sings a truly underrated bop from The Wreckers with not as much heartache as Taylor Swift and I would like, but she still knocks the coaches out with her tone. Blake has wanted her from day one (Kelly blocked him in the Blinds) and he may have just fulfilled his wish.
Steals: Gracee Shriver, you were born for Team Blake and now you are home.
And that’s that, folks. We have our Top 20 artists to head into next week’s Live Playoffs, where they’ll be cut to a Top 13. It’s all happening! My parting gift: A quick reminder of what our teams look like at the moment. It’s a lot to keep track of and you’re so welcome. See you in the Live Rounds!
Team Blake: Cali Wilson, Kat Hammock, Ricky Duran, Ricky Braddy, Gracee Shriver (by steal!)
Team Gwen: Kyndal Inskeep, Jake HaldenVang, Joana Martinez (by steal!), Rose Short, Myracle Holloway
Team Kelly: Hello Sunday, Jake Hoot, Max Boyle (by steal!), Shane Q, Damali
Team Legend: Alex Guthrie (by steal!), Katie Kadan, Khalea Lynee, Will Breman, Marybeth Byrd