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The Voice: Season 8, Three Knockouts, 3/24/15

March 25th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Last night The Voice showed three knockouts–where the judges compare two contestants’ performances and send one home, unless another judge “steals” to place the contestant on another team.  I disagreed with every decision.  Maybe the judges were thinking too far ahead–they looked to be stocking up with some easy decisions for future cuts. Here’s who was kept and cut and stolen:

First knockout:  Team Blake, Corey Kent White vs. Cody Wickline

Blake matches his two remaining male country vocalists.

A. Cody Wickline shows a sweet voice and romantic side with “Til my Last Day (I’ll be Lovin’ You).” He’s also the more mature and experienced of the two.

B.  Country teen phenomenon Corey Kent White sings Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” for his ailing grandfather.

The judges are divided.  Christina loved Cody’s tenderness and soul, and Pharrell agrees there were “some interesting colors.” Adam, however, thinks Corey could win because of the “passion” he showed.  Maybe that’s why Blake picks Corey and nobody steals Cody. White’s a good singer but he’s an inexperienced singer and I doubt he stands a better chance of winning the season than Wickline would have.

Second knockout:  Team Adam, Blaze Johnson vs. Deanna Johnson

Blake calls this match-up “Johnson vs. Johnson” and that’s as good a reason as any for Adam matching these two.  He says something about they’re both unique–but isn’t that something that can be said of any contestant? (They’re both church singers, maybe there’s a connection there.)

A.  Blaze puts some gospel-tinged soul into a contemporary grunge-rock hit, “You Found Me.” He’s one of the better black R&B singers the show’s featured this season. “Not many guys look like me, sing songs like this,” he says. He shows himself to be a powerhouse comparable to Eddie Vedder.

B.  Deanna at her best has a different kind of power, a versatile voice that may be compared to Linda Ronstadt–but she appears far from ready to win this competition. She sings a shaky “Listen to Your Heart.”  She accompanied by just a piano, so the judges can hear every flaw.

Blake immediately points out Deanna’s pitch issues.  Christina criticizes her performance as well. Pharrell observes, “Blaze, you’re a little more prepared for it.” So Adam picks Deanna and lets Blaze walk. Then he’s got the nerve to hug his contestant good-bye.  Levine’s prattling on about “more to discover” and “some kernel of genius.” Was this a pity vote, or was Levine listening with his eyes, or was he simply wanting to make the next round of cuts easier on himself?

Third knockout:  Team Pharrell, Hannah Kirby vs. Caitlin Caporale

Pharrell must choose between two girl singers with different styles but neither one’s performance shows much style in this round.

A.  TV talent contests almost always have that one contestant who sounds brilliant one round and terrible the next.  On season 8 of The Voice, my candidate for that contestant is Kirby. She was so brilliant on classic rock–but she wants to do a pop song this round, so she makes a terrible song choice with the moldy seventies’ oldie, “Higher Love.” Instead of sounding like a blues-rock hurricane, she just sounds loud and shrill. Blaming the song choice is too easy–great singers can sing anything, but Kirby’s plainly not in her element.

B.  Caporale, on the other hand, is in her element, with a ballad that shows her great dynamic voice. She works the stage better than Kirby, too.

Adam and Blake both rave about Hannah, however, like they didn’t even see or hear what they just heard and saw. Pharrell notes his choice is between Caitlin, who turns inward, compared to Hannah, who “lets all her feelings out.” He rightfully determines Caitlin is “consistent with who she is.” Pharrell chooses Caitlin Caporale and Blake promptly steals Hannah Kirby back. (He has a history of eliminating people, then changing his mind.) He could have stolen Blaze Johnson or Paul Pfau, and singers like Lowell Oakley and Tonya Boyd-Cannon are still on the board.  Maybe Blake’s already thinking he wants to keep Sarah Potenza, Meghan Linsey and one of his country girls, and is going to let the rest of his team walk?

Final knockout rounds continue for three hours next Monday and Tuesday. Christina’s the only judge left who can steal.  We know it can’t be from her team, and she’ll sit on it ’til the last knockout of Tuesday night, if previous seasons are any indication. A look at the board shows she’ll only have a chance with five singers.  Which five?


Tags: The Voice