The Knockouts, Part 1
With the blinds and battles in the books, the surviving 32 artists report for duty to the Voice stage. Tonight they'll face the knockout rounds, a head-to-head sing-off, where each coach will make a final, fatal decision about who moves on. There are no more steals.
Tonight, Adam and Shakira's teams will be in the elimination spotlight. Carson Daly introduces the night's proceedings, and Adam announces his first matchup: Amber Carrington up against Midas Whale. The singers work on their presentation and musical plans of attack. Amber will sing "I'm with You," and Midas Whale will tackle "Higher Ground."
Amber's up first, and she owns her song from the start, taking each verse to a more powerful place. It'll be a tough act to follow, but the quirky duo Midas Whale seems undaunted. They combine funk, folk and soul into a unique, fun musical melange. Still, it's not enough to overcome Amber's pyrotechnics. Adam's going with Amber.
Shakira steps up next, pairing Garrett Gardner and Tawnya Reynolds in her first knockdown fight. Garret's up first and starts a tender take on Alex Clare's "Too Close." Soon enough, he's uncorking a more throaty, raw side of his voice, putting a punch into each lyric. Tawnya takes the stage next. With a guitar strapped around her, she delivers "Hell on Heels" in a full twang. They're both impressive, yet completely disparate performances. The coaches are all impressed, though Blake feels that Tawnya yodeled too often. Pressed to make a choice, Shakira chooses Garret to move on to the live rounds.
Adam's back in charge and chooses to pair Amy Whitcomb, who'll sing the classic "The House of the Rising Sun" and Caroline Glaser who'll deliver Of Monsters and Men's "Little Talks." Adam works with them individually, and then they all meet again on the stage for the big night. Amy's up first and comes charging hard out of the gate, pushing the song to its edges, showcasing her strong, confident voice.
Caroline's got a tough act to follow, but she stays inside herself. Her take on "Little Talks" lacks the firepower of Amy's performance, yet she makes it her own. Her pitch quavers a bit on a few of the higher notes, but she pushes on with confidence. In the aftermath, Adam's complimentary to both of them, but he feels Caroline's performance was the stronger one.
Shakira's team is back onstage next; it'll be Kris Thomas versus Mary Miranda. Kris chooses the classic "What a Wonderful World," while Mary pick's the Police signature, "Every Breath You Take." It's Mary's first Voice performance in English. Kris is up first, and his take is sweet and soulful; he decorates the lyrics with his effortless falsetto. The crowd loves it. Mary steps into the spotlight and also makes a mark with her performance. Her vocals are breathy and heartfelt; she clearly connects with the song's emotional center. She nails the tune's difficult bridge section, bringing it back to the main melody and resolving the song with grace. It's a tough call for Shakira, but she picks Kris.
Next up, Judith Hill and Orlando Dixon prepare to square off. The two outstanding singers are among Adam's strongest, and they've pickled songs they hope will vault them into the live rounds. Judith starts it off, delivering a torch-song take on Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind." She commands the ballad from start to finish, responding as the audience cheering throughout. Orlando comes out next, hoping to take his "All My Life" over the top. His energy is evident, and his delivery is long on passion and energy. Still, it can't quite compete with Judith's tour de force performance.
Karina Iglesias and Monique Abbadie are announced as the next pair who'll face off. Shakira counsels them individually, letting them each know there is no tomorrow. Karina sings first, putting her own snarly edge on Lenny Kravtiz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way." Her fierce delivery plays perfectly off the song's driving beat. Monique is up next; she takes a completely different tack, singing Celine Dion's "The Power of Love." It's also an apt showcase for her musical talents; she takes the ballad to new personal heights. But it also reveals that her voice is not as powerful as Celine's, and in the end, Shakira chooses Karina to move on.
Adam's back in the driver's seat for the next face off, pitting Warren Stone and Sarah Simmons in the next knockout. He works with the singers, bolstering their confidence and refining their techniques. Warren steps to the stage first, delivering a haunting version of Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight." He builds the song layer by layer, taking it to a powerful climax. Sarah counters with a Stones' classic, "Wild Horses." The tender ballad is a perfect platform for her powerful but lyrical voice. She stays inside the song's gentle beginning, then opens it up to deliver a powerful yet delicate finish that has the audience on its feet and cheering. Adam's got a tough choice, but ultimately, he chooses Sarah.
Shakira's got the final showdown of the night. She'll pair Sasha Allen singing "At Last" against Shawna P. singing "Maybe I'm Amazed." Sasha sings first. Her control and power are quickly in evidence as she works her pitch perfectly all over the song's musical foundation. Soon, the audience is bursting into applause at her every run. She brings the song home with a spine-tingling high note; it's a flawless performance.
Shawna's got a daunting task on her hands, but she's unafraid. She grasps the song from the start, finding an emotional center that showcases her own unique vocal instrument. The coaches are all impressed; Blake declares it the best knockout yet. Shakira's forced to make her call. Citing her command and range, Shakira picks Sasha. Two of the teams are now complete for the live round.
Adam and Shakira each breathe a sigh of relief. Whittling their rosters has clearly taken its toll, but they know they're heading into the live rounds with four strong singers each. Carson Daly bids the audience good night and reminds them to return the next night for another set of head-to-head showdowns, this time featuring Blake and Usher's singers.