Producers of “The Voice” have a radical new idea for the Knockout round of Season 18, which begins Monday night. The four saved artist from the previous Battle episodes will compete for one slot in the live shows, which will premiere at an unknown future date due to health concerns. That will give the audience a Top 17 since each coach will carry forward four artists from these two Knockout shows that were already pre-recorded months ago.
The singers competing for this unconventional 17th slot are:
Todd Michael Hall (Team Blake Shelton)
Samantha Howell (Team Kelly Clarkson)
Nelson Cade, III (Team John Legend)
Michael Williams (Team Nick Jonas)
The advisor for all teams in this round will be the legendary, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, James Taylor.
And now follow along with live updating blog below for the episode on Monday, April 13. Keep refreshing for the latest recap details and be sure to make your comments below.
8:02 p.m. – They’re calling him the “mega mentor” and that is the only moniker fitting of someone like James Taylor. For his first bat at the plate he joined Blake for the pairing of Joei Fulco vs. Levi Watkins. Joei chose the Linda Ronstadt version of “When Will I Be Loved” as a way of showing off her little bit country, little bit rock style. James gave her the advice to stick to her vibrato and control in order to let the song progress naturally. Levi decided on “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” by Waylon Jennings because of it’s energy. Here James was able to show Levi how changes in production that give a song new life and make it better fitted to a different artist.
8:08 p.m. – Levi was first up with his performance. For his age Levi managed to give us a deep, smooth rendition of the song in the New Orleans arrangement that James suggested, and though the energy of the song was big Levi’s performance of it wasn’t. He was stiff on stage, perhaps because nerves got the best of him. On the other hand, Joei delivered a confident and engaging performance that showed she has what it takes to step on to a stage and own it, even if her vocal was a bit flat and uninspired with very few flourishes.
8:13 p.m. – In their critiques, John gave the edge to Levi while Nick was more impressed with Joei. Kelly liked when Joei swayed to the rock-n-roll side of the song, but advised Blake to go with Levi because of his age and maturity. But Blake was the one with the final say and in the end he chose Joei so that they can continue to explore the country/rock path in her career.
8:19 p.m. – Next up with Team Kelly’s Megan Danielle vs. her battle round steal CammWess. Megan was first to rehearse her version of Kelly’s teary ballad “Piece by Piece.” It’s a song that Megan relates to on a personal level and so her rendition was packed with the emotional weight that brought Kelly to tears immediately. James gave her the advice to pull back and let the song break in times. For CammWess the song was “Say Something” by A Great Big World. His song also put Kelly in an emotional space after CammWess talked about giving a faith-based interpretation to the song that spoke to him personally. James related to his having grown up singing in church and after their session seemed to really enjoy both him and Megan as artists.
8:24 p.m. – CammWess went first, delivering one of the very best knockout performances I can remember seeing. You could tell he was so deeply enmeshed in the song’s lyric that he was singing from deep within. And what came out of him was moving, dynamic, effortless and traveled from one end of his range right to the other.
8:31 p.m. – But then Megan stepped up and delivered something equally brilliant! She showed just as much range and dove into a heavy song with as much confidence. My only qualm would be that she brought out the growl too often throughout the song, even if it sounded right in spots. Overall, it was a tough match to call after two stellar performances. Blake thought CammWess had his moment of the season and John, as his former coach, also gave his support to him, calling it a “tour de force.” Nick thought Megan’s song choice was bold, but couldn’t pick one over the other. Kelly was proud that both of them chose songs that meant something to them, and in the end her choice to stick with Megan was a “strategic” one. That left CammWess open for a steal and Nick did not hesitate to hit his button, but John wasn’t going to let him go that easy! Nick told him that he has the potential to win and urged him to come to his team for some new blood. John asked him to come back to his team and said that the level of artistry in his performance is something he wants to work with again.
8:41 p.m. – It seems like it wasn’t an easy decision for CammWess, but he chose to go back home and rejoin Team John!
8:43 p.m. – For John’s first pairing of the round he pit versatile R&B singer Darious Lyles against versatile R&B singer Mike Jerel. Darious worked on his song, “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, with John and James who told him to “let the music stay with you” so that he really falls into the song and rides with the lyrics. Mike went with “Versace on the Floor” by Bruno Mars and wanted to bring a “classic” feel to it. John called it a difficult song to sing and noticed some pitch problems in his rehearsal, but felt confident that he’d pull it together for the performance.
8:48 p.m. – Darious kicked the knockout off with a cool, soulful performance that while feeling very naturally fit to his voice also failed to bring any surprises with it. His confidence brought a lot of oomph to the performance though, suggesting that he could be one to watch in the live shows.
8:54 p.m. – On the flip side, Mike was really at his best with that gorgeous falsetto, exemplifying what it means to let your voice do all the dancing. He had a couple big moments that should easily win him the round. Nick found them both to be powerhouses, but he thought Darious was a bit better. While Kelly refused to give either guy the edge, Blake thought that Darious explored his range more and so he, too, would give him the win. John thought Mike’s range was exciting and electric, and that may have been what pushed him over the edge to keep him on his team against the advice of the other coaches!
9:02 p.m. – The next knockout came from Tate Brusa and Roderick Chambers on Team Nick. The two couldn’t be any more different, and that’s why Nick brought them together. Roderick picked “Redbone” by Childish Gambino, a song he used to sing to his son to get him to sleep. James liked the Prince-like choice of song, but he and Nick still thought that Roderick could bring more personality to his performance of it. Tate used to the piano to accompany his performance of “The Scientist” by Coldplay. This was an opportunity for him to show more of his musicianship since he only used guitar on his prior performances. The advice he got in rehearsal was to inject more ad-libs into the song and to stay conscious of his posture to strengthen his voice.
9:07 p.m. – Roderick was first up and he really dug into the song with some grit and rasp to go along with his pitch perfect high voice. If James and Nick wanted personality out of him then he listened and delivered it tenfold. It was an exciting performance.
9:13 p.m. – Tate’s performance was exactly what we’ve come to expect from him: confident and strong. Unfortunately there was too much rasp in his voice that the song never really soared the way it’s supposed to. Kelly and Blake thought that Roderick would be the stronger choice for the lives and because he’s more in line with where Nick is at as an artist, too. Nick liked the “urgency” in Tate’s performance, but his “gut call” was to keep Roderick!
9:23 p.m. – Team Blake was up again with Todd Tilghman vs. Cam Spinks. Cam went with “Rumor” by Lee Brice, a romantic song that he’d sing in honor of the woman he loves. James liked that Cam was “double-timing” some of the lyrics because it was a fresh take on a country song. Todd chose “Anymore” by Travis Tritt, another song that was directed at a loved one. Blake thought it was a perfect song choice for Todd’s voice, but there was some shakiness in his rehearsal that he’d have to calm.
9:28 p.m. – In the knockout Blake was looking for which of the two could get lost in the song and develop a moment for themselves. In that regard, Todd was able to keep it under wraps through the first verse of the song, but once the chorus hit he let all his energy erupt. His grit and texture came through really strongly in that moment and sounded fantastic!
9:34 p.m. – Cam managed to deliver a more consistent performance that hit perfectly from the very first note, but that consistency brought a flatness to it as well, leaving a lot to be desired. John noticed some pitch problems in Cam’s performance and on the flip side completely “felt” Todd’s performance. This was definitely the easiest match-up to call and so Blake made the clear decision to keep Todd around for the lives.
9:43 p.m. – The final knockout of the night was from Team John’s Zan Fiskum and his stolen artist Joanna Serenko. As a singer-songwriter Joanna was keen to show that off with John Prine‘s song “Angel from Montgomery” in the style of Bonnie Raitt. James was into the modern “detachment” that Joanna exhibited and the only notes they gave her was to focus on finding the arc of the song. Zan went with Brandi Carlile‘s “The Story.” On this song John was in love with Zan’s tone and thought the song was a great test of her skill.
9:47 p.m. – Up first, Joanna dove right in to her song with a deep, smooth texture that flowed with a gentle ebb and flow. She had a few really great, surprising moments where her voice broke high and that gave it a sweet richness.
9:53 p.m. – In her performance, Zan showed incredible range and was able to jump from quiet and soft to bold and loud easily. It was a big performance that created a great moment for her and will stand as one of her best of the season, for sure! Nick was able to admit that he regrets allowing Joanna to be stolen from his team while Kelly was on board with the “freedom” of Zan’s performance. Blake would go with Zan as well, but he found Joanna to be a revelation. With the decision in his hands, John stayed true to Zan and kept her around!
9:57 p.m. – That left Joanna available for a steal that both Nick and Blake threw their hats in the ring for! In this moment Nick had to eat his own words about not “getting back with an ex” now that he wanted Joanna to do just that. Joanna delivered the second steal loss to Nick of the round and joined her third team, Team Blake!
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