The Knockout rounds kicked off on The Voice tonight, with special mentor and new coach for Fall 2016 Miley Cyrus. Through six rounds we only lost three contestants so the coaches were serious about their steals tonight. For the most part, the battles were pretty well matched if not too matched for my comfort.
Round One (Team Blake): Angie Keilhauer vs Paxton Ingram
I loved Angie early in this process. I thought she had a really authentic country vibe and seemed like a cool chick that I could root for. After getting the montage treatment in the battle rounds, Angie was paired tonight with pop singer and dancer Paxton Ingram. Unfortunately, Angie chose Take Your Time by Sam Hunt and, if I’m being honest, I don’t even like that song when Sam Hunt sings it. There isn’t a lot of melody and most of it is spoken and it didn’t go well at all. Maybe Miley should have given her better advice, as in, don’t do that song. Paxton dared to do Adele’s Hometown Glory and just choosing to do an Adele song shows a certain level of attack! He pretty much nailed it.
Winner: Paxton Ingram
Round Two (Team Adam): Owen Danoff vs Ryan Quinn
This is one of those too closely matched rounds for me. What is the logic in pairing two guys who got four-chair turns against each other? These guys are two of Adam’s strongest and he pretty much just gave one up tonight. Owen chose She’s Always a Woman by Billy Joel and Adam was worried he would overthink the whole thing. Ryan’s choice of Drops of Jupiter made me cringe a little. Owen’s performance started off shaky and yes, you could totally tell where he second guessed himself but when he stopped thinking so much, he was pure and believable and gave the song just the right amount of twisted notes to make it interesting. Ryan did a flawless job of singing an overdone song and it was almost too technically perfect to be entertaining. I know that’s weird and I like the guy but there was nothing real about his performance.
Winner: Owen Dannoff
Steal: Ryan Quinn to Team X-Tina
Round Three (Team Pharrell): Hannah Huston vs Malik Heard
I loved Malik from the battle rounds when he turned it up with Bryan Bautista but he was doomed tonight when preschool teacher/closet diva Hannah Huston took the stage. This girl is coming out of nowhere with a voice and a personality that might give golden girl Alisan a run for her money. Malik did Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely and it was all kind of cutesy and amateur compared to the way Hannah came out and growled and belted House of the Rising Sun. I hope she got a substitute for her class because I think she is around for a while.
Winner: Hannah Huston
Round Four (Team Blake): Katie Basden vs Lacy Mandigo
Both of these girls were Blake’s steals in the battle rounds so he paired them together. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any. Katie has a throwback country voice and tonight we learned that Lacy is a rocker chick. Maybe I missed this information earlier but I did not have her pegged as a metal-head wanna-be. Katie did a slow, not really stripped just slow, version of Fleetwood Mac’s Gypsy and I can see her potential but she didn’t blow me away. Lacy busted out some Zombie by the Cranberries and I just don’t buy it. She is a beautiful girl and has a great voice but she seems vacant. This whole rocker vibe is totally new to me but seemed to be working for the judges. She had a two chair steal round!
Winner: Katie Basden
Steal: Lacy Mandigo to Team Pharrell
Round Five (Team Christina): Alisan Porter vs Daniel Passino
I’m curious if these guys know what they are up against the minute they find out who they are paired with. Poor Daniel, with his Opera training and fascination with Justin Timberlake, didn’t really stand a chance against early favorite Alisan. Her backstory coupled with her song choice tonight pretty much sealed the deal before they even took the stage. Alisan chose The River by Joni Mitchell because when she was addicted to drugs, after struggling as a child star, she wished she had a river to float away on. She is the real deal and so far she is relatable and she connects to every song and unless she really screws something up, I don’t see how she isn’t in the finale. Daniel chose to combat that with Aint Too Proud to Beg and he really did his best but it wasn’t enough. I think he did a few too many dance moves and came off slightly corny but he is a decent performer with a great voice.
Winner: Alisan Porter
Round Six (Team Pharrell): Emily Keener vs Shalyah Fearing
The only thing these two have in common is their age. Both are pretty and young but are completely different vocalists. Emily, who has the same birthday and Miley, chose Big Yellow Taxi and wore a shirt made entirely of pearls (sorry, that distracted me). She is folksy and quiet and enjoyable like Owen Danoff. She threw a couple of quirky twists in her song that kept me awake but made me look twice to see if they were on purpose or by mistake. Shalyah, who is not a country artist at all, chose to do A Broken Wing (which we all saw a few weeks ago on another show) and according to all the coaches, should have been the winner of this round. Adam, at one point, dared Pharrell to let Shalyah go so he could steal her. In typical Pharrell fashion, that’s exactly what he did.
Winner: Emily Keener
Steal: Shalyah Fearing to coach #3 Team Adam
Tomorrow night continues with more Miley, more knockouts and I’m going to predict a lot of montage rounds. We didn’t have any tonight which means they’ll need to pile them on tomorrow to keep on schedule. As a side note, I thought Miley was good tonight. I was too busy voting for the next president over the weekend to read the backlash when she was introduced as a new judge. She will make it interesting and maybe they can cut back on the bromance jokes. Personally, I think it will liven things up to have her around!