In the Knockout rounds of “The Voice,” coach Blake Shelton pitted four pairs of his artists against each other. He had to choose one singer in each duet to take on to the live shows that start on April 17. And Shelton also stole one of the rejects of the other three coaches.
Shelton has won five of his 11 previous seasons on “The Voice.” Which of his artists to survive the knockouts do you think could win him the competition this season? Below, a description of what each did to get his attention. Be sure to cast your vote in our poll and then sound off in the comments section.
Blind Audition – “You Were Meant for Me” (February 27)
The unique tone of this country singer from Gaylord, MI will make her stand out. Duski, 25, incorporated pop and soul into her performance of “You Were Meant For Me,” which was Jewel‘s first big hit back in 1996. She was able to convince Levine, Stefani and Shelton to all turn their chairs. After a strong debate between the coaches, Duski went the predictable country route in choosing Shelton as her coach.
Battle Round: “Better Man” vs. Brennley Brown (March 20)
Duski did an outstanding job conveying the emotional intricacies of this 2016 Little Big Town tune about a break-up while 15-year-old Brown, whose never had a boyfriend, struggled to connect to the lyrics written by Taylor Swift. After Shelton sided with Duski, Levine and Stefani tried to rescue Brown. Stefani won her over in the end by telling her, “There something about your innocence that I would want to work with.”
Knockout Round: vs. Andrea Thomas (April 10)
Duski went with “When You Say Nothing At All,” a 1995 country hit for Alison Krauss that Irish singer Ronan Keating turned into a pop hit in 1999 when it was featured in the film “Notting Hill.” It worked well for her, especially after Shelton counseled her to concentrate on conveying the lyrics. Thomas opted for a pop version of “Cry” a 2002 country No. 1 for Faith Hill. After Shelton finally chose to go with Duski, Thomas was hoping for a steal from Keys but it was not to be.
Blind Audition – “Blue” (March 1)
Saving the best for last on this episode, Joy was the only one of the seven acts seen that got the support of all four judges. She put her own spin on the 1958 country classic “Blue” by Bill Mack that won LeAnn Rimes a Grammy in 1996. While Joy was open to trying different genres, in the end she chose to go with Shelton, her favorite country singing star.
Battle Round: “How Blue” vs. Ashley Levin (March 20)
This pairing might have been the last of the night, but it was the first in which all three of the other coaches fought to get the loser for their team. Joy and Levin were both outstanding as they crooned Reba McEntire‘s 1984 No. 1 country hit. Before revealing his choice, Shelton acknowledged he had made a mistake with this match-up: “I told you girls from the second I heard you singing together, I wish I hadn’t.” After he opted to take Joy to the knockouts, the others made their case for Levin, who went with Keys in the end.
Knockout Round: vs. Felicia Temple (April 3)
Joy connected with the crowd with her rendition of Maren Morris‘ Grammy-winning “My Church.” With the guidance of her coach, she gave the 2016 country tune an edge. Temple tried her best with “My Heart Will Go On,” the “Titanic” theme song that had been a worldwide hit for battle round mentor Celine Dion in 1997. Shelton had stolen Temple from Keys and she tried hard to show him and us that he had not made a mistake. Even though she made this iconic song her own, her new coach opted for Joy, who had been with his team from the blind auditions.
Blind Audition – “Hound Dog” (February 28)
Though she’s only 15, this powerhouse from La Habra, CA has a lot of experience under her belt already. Moulden showcased her voice with a take on the 1956 Elvis Presley hit “Hound Dog” and convinced Shelton to turn quickly. The only surprise was that it took so long for Keys and Stefani to join him.
Battle Round: “Walking on Sunshine” vs. Dawson Coyle (March 21)
Inexplicably, Shelton chose to showcase his two teen talents with a song that was a hit way back in 1985 for the new wave band Katrina and the Waves. After being denied three full performances in a row, we saw Moulden and Coyle having fun with this dance tune. Shelton opted to keep Moulden, who sounded stronger in the choruses, while Keys opted to use her second and final steal on Coyle.
Knockout Round: vs. Caroline Sky (April 10)
Moulden connected with the crowd with her rendition of Carrie Underwood‘s Grammy-winning”Before He Cheats.” With the guidance of her coach, she gave this 2005 country tune an edge. Sky tried her best with “At Last,” the 1941 big band tune that Etta James made her own in 1960. Even though did a decent job, her coach opted for Moulden, who had been with his team from the blind auditions.
Aaliyah Rose (Steal from Gwen Stefani)
Blind Audition: “Rise Up” (March 6)
Stefani was the only coach impressed by this 14-year-old from Provo, UT who delivered a stirring version of “Rise Up,” a track from Andra Day‘s 2015 debut disc “Cheers to the Fall.”
Battle Round: “Treat You Better” vs. Savannah Leighton (March 21)
Viewers were denied more than a few seconds of these two artists singing this 2016 Shawn Mendes pop hit. “The Voice” producers should have listened to the lyrics and treated them better. Stefani went with Rose. With no coach throwing her a lifeline, 16-year-old Leighton, who had wowed in the blind auditions with Katy Perry‘s 2013 hit “Unconditionally,” was gone for good.
Knockout Round: vs. Brennley Brown (April 4)
Stefani pitted her two 14-year-old girl singers against each other. Brown opted for the 2007 Patti Griffin folk tune “Up to the Mountain,” which was inspired by the final speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. before he was assassinated in 1968. The original “American Idol” champ Kelly Clarkson had covered this to much acclaim on a 2007 charity episode of that talent competition. Brown did herself proud, structuring the tune so that it built to an emotional climax. As Rose got her start as a YouTube star with her covers of Meghan Trainor tunes it made sense for this teen singing sensation to pick Trainor’s 2015 top 10 hit “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” as her knockout song. After Stefani went with Brown, her fellow Shelton used his one steal on Rose, “because she’s got this incredible presence; she’s got this old voice to be only 14 years old, and it’s just fascinating to me.”
Blind Audition: “Take Me to the River” (March 13)
This Richmond, VA native made Al Green‘s 1974 hit “Take Me to the River” sound like a contemporary tune with his unique song stylings. The 29-year-old went with Shelton over Adam Levine as he liked his endorsement of his sound.
Battle Round: “In the Midnight Hour” vs. Josh Hoyer (March 27)
Shelton pitted two of his strongest artists against each other on this 1965 hit for Wilson Pickett. Not surprisingly, TSoul connected with this similarly styled song as that of his blind audition and was Shelton’s pick. Although Stefani praised Hoyer neither she nor Levine used one of their steals on him.
Knockout Round: vs. Enid Ortiz (April 4)
Ortiz had gotten Shelton to turn for her in the blind audition with “All I Ask,” a track off of Adele‘s Grammy-winning album “25.” She returned to that disc in this round and went with the No. 1 tune “When We Were Young.” While she delivered an emotional rendition of this ballad, TSoul stole the show with his powerhouse performance of the 1962 Otis Redding classic soul song, “These Arms of Mine.” With Shelton choosing to take TSoul to the live shows, Ortiz needed Keys to thrown her a lifeline but it was not to be.