The Voice recap: The emotional performances stand out during the Knockouts
Usher Raymond is really bringing some great Usher-isms to his role as The Voice’s season 19 Knockout round Mega-Mentor. Currently, my favorite is “if you’re in your head, you’re dead,” but “just because you know it all, doesn’t mean you need to show it all” also has some major everyday life applications, too. He’s helping our remaining contestants be the best they can be both vocally and spiritually, you know?
We’re getting closer to the Live Playoffs, which honestly seems insane, and tonight we have six more Knockout pairings to watch play out. We also get a brief look at Team Gwen’s Joseph Soul ousting Van Andrew because Joseph’s tone “melts” Gwen Stefani and she thinks he seems more ready to take on the Lives than Van. Who will be joining Joseph Soul in the next round? Let’s take a look.
Team Kelly: Desz, “Can We Talk” by Tevin Campbell vs. Sid Kingsley, “Make It Rain” by Foy Vance
Desz is Kelly Clarkson’s powerhouse performer and Sid Kingsley, who Kelly stole from Team Legend in the Battles, has a soulful storytelling tone that continues to wow the coaches every round. Basically: Kelly's screwed herself over here and she knows it, Usher knows, we all know it. Desz is doing a lot with this Tevin Campbell song and Kelly and Usher advise her to scale it back just a bit, mainly so that the woman can find a place to breathe. They tell Sid that his performance is missing some of the emotional ache the song calls for. Both artists take those notes and sing their faces off in front of the coaches. Blake Shelton tells Desz that she is continually raising the bar and John Legend calls her performance, in which she shows off a truly ridiculous range (her low notes made my heart grow three sizes), a “stunning tour de force.” Meanwhile, Gwen tells Sid that the soul in his voice is “natural and pure” and Sid’s former coach John Legend says this was Sid’s “best performance yet.” Kelly is torn, but also knows there are steals still available, so, like, not that torn.
Steals: Both John and Blake hit their button to try to steal Sid. In the end, Sid decides he might as well work with as many musical superstars as possible and joins Team Blake.
Team Blake: Jim Ranger, “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw vs. Jus Jon, “Finesse” by Bruno Mars
Most of Blake Shelton’s Knockouts this season seem like foregone conclusions from the get-go, this one included. Unless Jus Jon does something undeniably epic, you know Blake’s going with Jim Ranger. Jus Jon tries his hardest! With some tweaks from Usher about making the song more dynamic and upping the performance value, Jus Jon gets the coaches dancing and singing along in a way that seems effortless and natural; Coach Blake calls himself “a huge fan.” But Jus Jon is up against Jim Ranger doing something emotional and intimate, and that, paired with his soulful rasp, really draws the coaches in. He never goes overboard, but still manages to tell a dynamic story with the song. Gwen tells him he “could win this show.” Blake praises Jim’s ability to move people. The emotional performance overshadows everything else.
Winner: Jim Ranger
Team Legend: Bailey Rae, “Let Me Down Easy” by Billy Currington vs. Lauren Frihauf, “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin
Well, Lauren Frihauf’s rehearsal doesn’t go as well as one might hope. She’s a huge Janis Joplin fan, but as soon as she’s done both John and Usher have some reservations about the song choice. Her “sweeter tones” aren’t able to come through in this song and to John, it sounds like Lauren’s pushing way too hard. The song doesn’t sound like her. They work on the arrangement and when the performance comes around, there’s much more of Lauren’s stamp on “Cry Baby.” There’s a lightness to this version and more stylization. Still, she’s facing off against John’s first ever country artist, Bailey Rae. As John notes, Bailey is pure country through-and-through and this is a fun, new challenge for him. It doesn’t hurt that Bailey sings with such clarity and performs those country dips with such authenticity. It’s never a bad idea to go into the Live Playoffs with a country singer on this show, and John Legend knows it.
Winner: Bailey Rae
Team Blake: Ian Flanigan, “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs vs. James Pyle, “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes
Apologies to James Pyle, the next contestant to be sacrificed in order to get Ian Flanigan to the Live Playoffs. Like Jim Ranger before him, there’s no way Blake isn’t moving Ian forward. He’s obsessed with that deep, gravelly voice that, in case you thought we’ve run out of ways to describe, has Blake asking Ian if he “drink[s] boiling water” in order to make that sound. This time around John notes that, yes, everyone “marvels” at Ian’s gravel, but the guy also has range and “sounded great up top.” Kelly describes Ian’s style as having “an urgency” that is compelling. Meanwhile, James Pyle does his thing over in the pop lane and while he shows off his powerful range, this song choice doesn’t reveal anything new that would put him over the top against Ian. Still, John Legend is jealous he can’t hit some of the high notes James can, and Blake finds him to be an exciting performer. It still won’t be enough.
Winner: Ian Flanigan
Team Kelly: Kelsie Watts, “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette vs. Madeline Consoer, “Die From a Broken Heart” by Maddie and Tae
In rehearsals, both Kelsie and Madeline are given the same basic advice: They need to be vulnerable to portray the emotion of both of these songs. One gets to that vulnerable place a little better than the other. Taking on Alanis’s rage anthem “You Oughta Know” is a big risk and Kelsie’s version of it is a little too theatrical, instead of brimming with that authentic, raw anger of the original. But the girl does have some power in her vocals. Meanwhile, Madeline gives her best performance of the competition yet. We’ve seen her do various genres, but she seems at home here in this pop-country lane, so much so that after her performance, Blake wonders why she isn’t on his team. John notes that aside from being on-point vocally, Madeline was completely “connected” to the song. Kelly is presented with two very different singers, but it seems clear that Madeline is the type of performer who would do well in the Live Playoffs.
Winner: Madeline Consoer
Team Gwen: Carter Rubin, “You Say” by Lauren Daigle vs. Chloé Hogan, “Weak” by SWV
It still remains astonishing that Carter Rubin is only 14 years old. More than his vocal power and musical choices, it’s the way he can emote through a song that makes him seem much more mature than you’d assume a 14-year-old could be. He shows off all of his tricks again here with a song that is both perfect for singing competitions and overdone. He’s so moving, in fact, that Kelly is a complete mess throughout. She calls it a “finale performance.” But don’t sleep on Chloé Hogan, friends. She comes out on stage a more confident performer than we’ve ever seen from her and she owns this SWV jam. John Legend notes just how difficult it is to pull off a song like that, which isn’t necessarily “built for this competition” the way “Say” is. He is “stunned” by some of the “cool, unexpected things” she did with “Weak.” Even Blake says he wishes he “had a steal” for Chloé.
Winner: Carter Rubin
Steals: John made it pretty clear he’d be stealing Chloé and thinks that the “flawless” and “stylish” singer will fit in perfectly on Team Legend.
Team Kelly: Desz, Madeline Consoer
Still to sing in Knockouts: Tanner Gomes, Marisa Corvo, Ryan Gallagher
Team Gwen: Payge Turner, Ben Allen (steal), Joseph Soul, Carter Rubin
Still to sing in Knockouts: Larriah Jackson
Team Legend: Tamara Jade, Bailey Rae, Chloé Hogan (steal)
Still to sing in Knockouts: John Holiday, Julia Cooper, Cami Clune
Team Blake: Worth the Wait, Sid Kingsley (steal), Jim Ranger, Ian Flanigan
Still to sing in Knockouts: Taryn Papa