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The Voice: Season 8: Knockout Round Begins, 3/23/15

March 24th, 2015 · No Comments

Now season 8 of The Voice enters the knockout round, with the judges once again matching up contestants and halving their teams.  Each judge only gets one steal, meaning they need to figure out which one singer is a must-have.

First knockout:  Team Christina, Ashley Morgan vs. Sonic

Christina must choose between her two female pop vocalists.

A.  Ashley goes first and presents herself as a belter, flashing back to the eighties with Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.”

B.  Sonic goes second and shows a bluesy, sultry side with an Alicia Keys song.  Actually this might have been a better match if both women had shown the same style–either edgy retro-eighties pop-rock or something soulful and bluesy.

Christina picks Sonic, explaining later that, “Ashley could have given a showstopper performance and she fell just a little bit short.”  Nobody steals Morgan.

Second knockout:  Team Blake, Sarah Potenza vs. Brian Johnson

Blake says, “These two singers are so powerful it wouldn’t be fair to put them up against any other vocalist.” He later adds, “Whoever can show control over their power” is who he’ll keep.

A.  Potenza explains she can relate to “Wasted Love,” a song introduced on The Voice by season 7 finalist Matt McAndrew, because that’s how she felt when she and her husband were separated for six years. She milks drama out of every word of the power ballad, giving it more of a barroom feel than McAndrew did.

B.  Maroon 5 fan Johnson goes in the direction of British singer James Morrison (not to be confused with Jim Morrison), picking “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You,” giving it an upbeat hip vibe.

Blake picks Sarah but Adam steals Brian. The good thing is, one Maroon 5 fan is united with his favorite frontman. The bad thing is, it’s only the second knockout and Adam’s out of steals.

Third knockout:  Team Adam, Nate Hermida vs. Clinton Washington

Adam pairs two of his edgier male pop vocalists.  He says Nate’s reserved and needs to let it out, while Clinton needs to rein his power in.

A.  Hermida choses gay singer Sam Smith’s ballad, “Leave Your Lover (Leave Him to me),” turning his performance into a statement.

B.  Washington says that, with so many R&B singers on Team Adam, he wanted to go with something different, so he takes Hunter Hayes’ contemporary country hit, “Wanted,” and gives it a jazzy pop-style delivery.

Blake comments afterwards, “Nathan just sang a duet with himself,” noting the way that Hermida can move in and out of his falsetto range.  Adam says he liked how Clinton showed his versatility but, “Nathan, you finally opened up” and “you showed your heart to everybody.” Adam keeps Nathan Hermida. Washington is out.

Third knockout:  Team Pharrell, Sawyer Fredericks vs. Mia Z vs. Paul Pfau

Pharrell calls Sawyer, Mia, and Paul together and tells them Anthony Riley had to drop out “for personal reasons” so three singers will have to compete, with two being kept and one cut. (He’d probably planned to match Paul against Anthony.) All three singers’ song selections show a bluesy side.

A. Mia Z sings “Hold On, I’m Comin'” which was a Sam and Dave song back in the sixties. She’s shrill and nasal and already sounds like she’s got no chance to win–not against this season’s competition.

B.  Maroon 5 fan Paul shows a great classic blues-rock groove with “I Don’t Need no Doctor.”

C.  Sawyer, who at 15, is breaking out as a great natural talent, generating much of this season’s buzz, performs the song “Collide” with his own distinct style. The song isn’t impressive, but his vocals are.  Adam praises the result, noting, “the way you filled the room.”

For some reason the judges prefer Mia.  First Pharrell makes certain nobody else will get Sawyer Fredericks. He’ll keep this guy as long as he can, knowing this is someone every other judge wants. The audience is shouting overwhelmingly to keep Paul, but Pharrell keeps Mia and cuts Paul anyway.  Afterwards he makes some kind of explanation about how he didn’t have anywhere he could go with Paul.  (I’m not sure he has anywhere to go with Mia, either.) Adam can’t steal Paul because he already stole Brian Johnson, this season’s other Maroon 5 fan, and neither Christina nor Blake show any interest.

Fourth knockout:  Team Blake, Meghan Linsey vs. Travis Ewing

Blake pairs Meghan Linsey, who he knows from her days as a signed country artist, with bluesy Southerner Travis Ewing.

A.  Linsey gives “Natural Woman” a country-rock makeover.

B.  Ewing gives Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want to be” a classic rock flavor, turning it into a story-song.

Ewing’s performance was his best of the season but Blake picks Linsey and nobody steals Ewing.

Fifth knockout:  Team Christina, Kimberly Nichole vs. Koryn Hawthorne

Christina must choose between her female R&B vocalists. Nichole’s more like a rock singer in the Tina Turner mold, while Hawthorne’s a case of classic gospel-tinged “old school.” We know both of these singers will be kept because we’ve been teased about a steal.

A.  Kimberly, despite her rock style, picks a ballad, Sting’s “If you Love Somebody, Set Them Free.”  She plays up its reggae aspect, and the result shows some resemblance to Season 5 winner Tessanne Chin.

B.  It’s the 16-year-old Hawthorne who demonstrates she can rock, showcasing her big powerhouse voice (for such a slender body) with Pink’s “Try.”

Christina keeps Kimberly Nichole, thwarting Pharrell’s desire to get that contestant back on his team.  Then she runs to Blake and begs him to use his steal. (Who’s she to tell another judge what to do?) Pharrell pushes his button and steals Koryn Hawthorne. If he can’t have Kimberly, he’ll take Koryn.

Tonight we’ll see six more singers, with three going home, unless Christina or Blake steal one.


Tags: The Voice