The Voice recap: Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg get emotional again as the Knockouts come to a close
Welcome to the second half of the Knockouts. It seems wild that the next time the season 20 contestants perform, it'll be in the Live Playoffs, but we live in a wild time. Before we get to that, though, we have a few more matchups to get to — including that big Four-Way Knockout at the end — and several more moments in which mega mentor Snoop Dogg endears himself to all of us. He seems to genuinely enjoy working with these singers. And also, should he and Blake Shelton record a duet together? I don't know, I'm just brainstorming here, but what a bromance! You think about it and I'll get into the performances, okay? Oh, and don't forget that both Kelly Clarkson and Blake have their steals, just in case you're keeping track.
Team Nick: Zae Romeo, "Electric Love" by Børns and Rachel Mac, "Foolish Games" by Jewel
Nick Jonas tells Snoop Dogg that Zae, a four-chair turn, and Rachel, a one chair turn (that sounds insane to me now), are both the youngest on his team and his favorites (you're not supposed to have favorites, Nicholas!), so this is going to be a tough one for him. And then he hears them rehearse and it immediately becomes tougher. Nick thinks Rachel is having pitch problems when it comes to her closed-a vowel sounds and Snoop wants her to have a bigger ending. They all work on something together. With Zae, they're impressed by his new, emotional arrangement on this song but want him to lose the accent he's forcing on some of his words. During performances, Kelly can't help but get out of her seat after some cool, unexpected runs from Zae. After his performance, she whispers, "I have been moved." The coaches all agree that Rachel shows growth every single time she performs and her slow vibrato is a great card to play, so she'd be interesting moving into the live rounds. Zae, however, was more emotionally connected according to Kelly and John. Kelly calls him "incredible."
Winner: Rachel Mac!
Steals: Kelly is very pleased when Nick moves forward with his "darkhorse." She barely waits a few seconds before pushing her button to steal Zae Romeo for Team Kelly.
Team Kelly: Kenzie Wheeler, "Beer Never Broke My Heart" by Luke Combs and Avery Roberson, "Tomorrow" by Chris Young
These are Kelly's country boys, but she says she only has room for one on her team. Let's all be real, we know who will be winning this before it even starts. Kenzie gives us classic party song country because he wants to show another side of himself and push his performance skills. Avery sticks to his more intimate, emotional brand of country music. In rehearsals, Kelly notes some pitch problems with Avery and Snoop Dogg wants to add some more "levels and layers," which they do by stripping the song down to a more acoustic version. Unfortunately, when it comes time for the stage, Avery's vocal performance is not great. And he really needed something phenomenal to compete with the country wunderkind. Blake is still so mad that Kelly blocked him during Kenzie's audition (Kelly feels bad too, knowing that Kenzie is a big Blake fan, but oh well!) because he thinks Kenzie could win the show and calls him a "talented S.O.B." John thinks Avery is still holding back, but Nick praises the "emotional texture" in his voice. Still, everyone agrees that Kenzie is a force.
Winner: Kenzie Wheeler!
Team Legend: Zania Alaké, "If I Were Your Woman" by Gladys Knight & the Pips and Rio Doyle, "Issues" by Julia Michaels
John loves Rio's song choice because it has a modern edge to it and that's something that will help the 16-year-old standout. Similar to Rio's critique in the Battles, John wants her to work on her enunciation. Zania steps in front of the guys in rehearsal and blows them both away. Snoop loves that she's taking on a Gladys song, but he thinks the ending needs more power. He wants her to end it how Gladys would. It's a great note that Zania thinks ends up saving her in the actual Knockout. "Vocal coaching from Snoop Dogg was the secret," John says after Zania uh, simply put, lays it down in her performance. She's so effortless and classic and, as Kelly says, made that Gladys Knight song sound like it was from Zania's own record. She was connected and in control and showed off those pipes. The coaches commend Rio, too, because Julia Michaels's songs aren't easy to sing. Blake notes that many people have attempted her songs on this show but he thinks Rio's version was the best he's heard. Still, they all basically point to Zania and say she had the perfect moment at the perfect time. John calls it "masterful."
Winner: Zania Alaké!
Team Blake: Connor Christian, "Youngblood" by 5 Seconds of Summer and Cam Anthony, "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone
This is another pairing with a foregone conclusion. Blake landed Cam Anthony thanks to Nick blocking John and having it still not go his way, and he knows to hold on to this kid as long as possible. It doesn't help that Connor picks a song that doesn't do his voice justice. Connor selected the pop/rock song to push his voice and show growth, but in rehearsals, Blake points out that because Connor is trying to put on a specific tone, it's restricting everything else he can do with his voice. Cam, who informs Snoop that he's also worked with Dr. Dre, nails it from the get-go. Blake is so happy Cam picked this song because it not only shows off his power and range, but makes for an "explosive" performance. During the actual Knockout, as Cam is doing his thing, you can see Blake trying to hold back a smile — Cam knows how to take people on a ride through a song. The end, especially, is a standout when he not only does some scatting but then gets up into his falsetto. Nick says Cam "tapped into something otherworldly" and Kelly thought although Connor's tone is "really cool," Cam made a "smart" and "competitive" decision to open that song a capella. John is still seething that Nick blocked him and he definitely could've been on Team Legend.
Winner: Cam Anthony!
Team Kelly: Gihanna Zoë, "Glitter in the Air" by Pink and Anna Grace, "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry
These girls are coming for all of Kelly and Snoop Dogg's emotions. No, really, once again Snoop Dogg is trying to push tears back in his eyes and says, "Y'all didn't tell me I was going to be crying on this show." Anna Grace's song choice is already steeped in emotion since she almost died a few years prior and it helps her connect. Kelly still wants her to "open up" a little more vocally and show some more power. Gihanna, however, gets both Kelly and Snoop going simply with how moving her performance is. He's especially moved by the "maturity" in her voice. The emotions are apparent on the stage, too. This isn't the best we've heard Anna Grace, but once she gets up into her falsetto, it is so, so good. And the additional power she brings at the end works in her favor, too. But Gihanna steals the show. She's precise with her vocals and a super-connected storyteller. Blake is an Anna Grace fan because he thinks it's important that The Voice continue to showcase all types of voices, but he tells Gihanna that there's "nothing [she] can't do." John thinks Gihanna is so "confident and sure" while performing, he wants to check her birth certificate because she can't be only 17. Kelly finds both her artists "powerful in different ways," but can't deny Gihanna is a "big presence" on that stage.
Winner: Gihanna Zoë!
Steals: Hey, Blake still has his steal and he's very happy to add a female vocalist to his team. Anna Grace joins Team Blake for the Live Playoffs!
We also get a quick look at Team Nick's final Knockout: It's between power ballad singer Jose Figueroa Jr., and quirky rock musician Raine Stern. After all that controversy over Nick picking Raine over Andrew Marshall in the Battles, he ends up cutting her here. Her rendition of John Mayer's "No Such Thing" didn't stand up to Jose's take on Tasha Cobbs's "Break Every Chain." Jose Figueroa Jr. will be representing Team Nick in the Lives. All of which leaves us with…
THE FOUR-WAY KNOCKOUT
Team Blake: Emma Caroline, "Neon Moon" by Brooks & Dunn
Team Nick: Devan Blake Jones, "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles
Team Legend: Carolina Rial, "Anyone" by Demi Lovato
Team Kelly: Savanna Woods, "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden
Per usual with the four-way Knockout, we have four very different vocalists competing for audience votes. Emma Caroline is a mainstream country singer but needs a lot of work on her performance value. It's why Blake waited until the last second to save her in the Battles — he wanted to "scare some stage presence" into her. Unfortunately, it's still lacking here and her vocal performance isn't strong either, especially once the next three artists perform. Team Nick's Devan Blake Jones is more in the pop/soul lane and he always dresses to impress. In rehearsals with Nick and Snoop Dogg, they talk about commanding the stage. He definitely leaves it all out there. Both Nick and John tell him it's his best performance to date. Team Legend's teen belter Carolina Rial picks a song where you cannot hide and she shows off her insane power and range. Honestly, how does she breathe through that song? The Knockout closes with Team Kelly's Savanna Woods, who also demonstrates her vocal power, and with this rock song, she offers up a different option for people. Who will connect with voters, though? We'll have to wait to find out.
TEAM KELLY: Corey Ward, Kenzie Wheeler, Zae Romeo (steal), Gihanna Zoë
Four-Way Knockout: Savanna Woods
TEAM LEGEND: Ryleigh Modig (steal), Pia Renee, Victor Solomon, Zania Alaké
Four-Way Knockout: Carolina Rial
TEAM NICK: Dana Monique, Andrew Marshall (steal), Rachel Mac, Jose Figueroa Jr.
Four-Way Knockout: Devan Blake Jones
TEAM BLAKE: Jordan Matthew Young, Pete Mroz, Cam Anthony, Anna Grace (steal)
Four-Way Knockout: Emma Caroline
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