Anxiety was high during the Nov. 5 knockout round of NBC’s The Voice. Coaches Kelly Clarkson, Adam Levine, and Blake Shelton had used up their steals and Jennifer Hudson was holding out to be blown away.
However, “saves” were still plentiful and were put to good use during the final knockouts as the coaches and contestants bid celebrity adviser Mariah Carey thanks and farewell. And heck, she and J-Hud even promised to get together for a writing sesh.
The night began with Team Kelly’s talented teens, 16-year-old Chevel Shepherd, and 15-year-old Sarah Grace. Kelly paired the young women together not because while they are both so young, but because they’re so different. Those differences became more clear with their performances. Aspiring young country artist Chevel sang the Dixie Chicks’ “Travelin’ Soldier,” and blues singer Sara chose “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James.
Their styles are different, but their talent seems to be pretty parallel, splitting the coaches and making Kelly’s decision even more difficult. “You both did pick bold, fearless songs,” she told them. “I only want bold and fearless humans on my team.”
What’s a girl to do? Pick both. After announcing Chevel as the winner, Kelly exercised her save and kept Sarah as well.
It was definitely a night for the contestants to bring their A-game and the coaches were feeling the pressure as well.
DeAndre Nico and Jake Wells from Team Adam faced off next. Indulging his love of country music, DeAndre chose the Hunter Hayes crossover hit “Wanted” and Jake sang Coldplay’s “Yellow,” a favorite of Kelly’s. Following their performances, a frustrated Blake asked DeAndre, “Why in God’s name aren’t you on my team?”
Because he’s on Adam’s team… still. “This dude came to win, it’s like the ultra-competitor, but also super kind, super humble,” he said. “And on top of it, such a crazy bonkers singer with, I think, one of the richest, best tones.”
Team Jennifer also sent her two teenager team members to battle in the knockouts. In fact, 15-year-old Anthony Arya, who chose Jim Croce’s “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)” for his song, admitted that he is so young he didn’t know what an operator was. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Kennedy Holmes performed the incredibly mature “What About Us” by P!nk.
Following their dazzling face-off Kelly was quick to point out, “Y’all can’t drive! It’s crazy!” And Adam chimed in, “This would be impossible to choose. So, I won’t.” As Blake pointed out, though, Kennedy chose a song that allowed her to show off her range and ability a bit more and, ultimately, Jennifer did pick Kennedy to continue on in the competition.
It was Blake’s turn next with Colton Smith taking on Kirk Jay. While both had similar voices, much like Kelly’s teens, they had very different styles. However, before they performed, viewers learned that Colton had suffered severe ear infections as a youngster and that it did affect his hearing as an adult. And while he admitted he was unable to hear himself during his cover of Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” in the knockouts, he still delivered a remarkable rendition.
Kirk, whom Mariah said captivated her from the start, opted to accompany himself on the piano while singing country newcomer Brett Young’s “In Case You Didn’t Know.”
And while all of the coaches sympathized with Colton’s plight, Blake was most captivated by Kirk and moved him through the competition. Since Colton had originated with Jennifer, though, she quickly hit the steal button to bring him back to Team J-Hud.
Team Adam was back up to bat and Delaney Silvernell and Ben Affleck look-alike Steve Memmolo were bringing their A-games, Delaney with Kesha’s “Praying,” and Steve selecting Allen Stone’s “Unaware.”
During their rehearsal, viewers witnessed Mariah coach them to be more vulnerable vocally. She discussed that she had watched enough episodes of The Voice to learn about the audiences’ likes. “What I see when watching the show, what the audience tends to respond to, there’s a lot to be said for holding back,” she said.
Both Delaney and Steve followed Mariah and Adam’s directives, but when it came to choosing who would continue to the live rounds, Adam chose Steve.
Blake had the final knockout of the night and pitted his gravelly-voiced vocalists Chris Kroeze and Michael Lee against each other.
Interestingly, Chris put his unique stamp on country singer-songwriter Cam’s hit single, “Burning House.” Michael, on the other hand, took on The Allman Brothers Band’s raucous “Whipping Post,” delivering it with just as much energy as the original.
Unable to decide, and with his fellow coaches split, Blake pulled a coin from his pocket for a heads-or-tails toss. “Chris, you’re heads,” he said before flipping the quarter and declaring, “Michael, you’re the winner.”
Hold the door! Blake still had a save left and he used it wisely to keep Chris in the competition, as well.
Let’s not forget that Kelsea Ballerini has her own squad of singers that she has been coaching on the Comeback Stage and they, too, had their own knockouts which you can see online.
Next week starts the live rounds of competition, but before that on Nov. 8, NBC will recap the season so far.
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