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The Voice: Season 11, Final Knockouts, 10/31/16

November 1st, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

We now know which twenty singers will make the voting rounds on Season 11 of The Voice. Let’s find out how it happened with the final knockout brackets on Monday night. As the show began, faithful fans knew that Alicia Keys was the only judge who could steal, and the steal would come at the final knockout:

1. Team Blake, Austin Allsup vs. Gabe Broussard:   Blake says he paired them because they combine bits of different genres–I’d say mostly country with a Southern blues flavor, maybe some Cajun swamp-pop thrown in. Allsup sings Tom Petty’s “Breakdown.” Fifteen-year-old Broussard sings Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain.”  I don’t think either picks the best song, but their vocals are similar, and Miley even has to tell young Broussard she was fangirlin’ (twice–the second time she pulls him backstage to gush). Blake keeps Allsup probably on the basis of more experience. “My heart’s a little broken,” he says, about having to cut Broussard. We know Alicia isn’t going to steal him because it’s not the last knockout of the season.

2.  Team Miley, Darby Ann Walker vs. Maye Thomas:  “They’re both stylistic,” Miley says, adding that seventeen-year-old Roberts has got “this cool vibe that’s not of this generation.” Darby shows off her warbling quirky notes on “Shake it Out” (a song by Florence + the Machine). However, my opinion is that Thomas, singing “Closer” (Tegan and Sara, not Nine Inch Nails), offers the best package of vocals, personality and experience. Blake even comments Walker’s vocal tricks weren’t all that perfect, giving Thomas an opening. This is Miley Cyrus judging, however, and she keeps Walker (“As Miley as it gets,” Blake said–and that was before the decision was announced.) Alicia lets Maye walk, too, and I think both judges may have made the wrong choice. Maye’s who I would have preferred to see more of.

3. Team Adam, Brendan Fletcher vs. Nolan Neal:  Adam’s two rockers aren’t all that similar. Fletcher’s introverted, while Neal’s got a killer voice in the Steven Tyler mold. During rehearsal, Adam and celebrity guest advisor Tim McGraw consider whether to have Neal play guitar on “Love is Your Name.” The decision is that with the guitar, he’s a singer-songwriter type, but throw the guitar away and he’s a flat-out rock star. After the performance, Blake says Neal “treated this like a knockout round, and took every opportunity you had to swing for the fences.” Brendan’s much more mellow, singing “Soul Shine,” in a singer-songwriter way. Miley says, “Two very different artists–Nolan, I want to go see [but] Brendan, I like your tone.” Adam keeps Brendan, rambling about his vulnerability, but I’m not sure he made the right choice.

4.  Team Alicia, SaRayah vs. Michael Sanchez:  Although it’s a long stretch between R&B diva SaRayeh and piano man Michael Sanchez, both are soulful and have showmanship. When McGraw hears Sanchez rehearse “Just the Two of Us,” he comments, “You don’t expect him to sing with the soul and gravitas he has.”  When the other celebrity guest advisor, Faith Hill, hears SaRayah rehearse Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” she comments, “SaRayah reminded me of Tina, of Areatha.” After the performance, Miley and Adam both think Sanchez won the knockout. Alicia, however, keeps SaRayah, whom Blake calls “incredibly talented.”

5.  Team Blake, Dana Harper vs. Karlee Metzger:  Dana applies her soulful alto to the contemporary hit, “You Give Me Something.” Karlee applies all the power in her young vocal cords to Kelly Clarkson’s “Invincible.” (Blake had an idea he’d find some country in her, but this song is hard to find any country in.) After the performance, Alicia praises Dana’s “folksy smokiness.” Blake must like what he calls her “relaxing warm voice,” too, because he keeps Dana. It’s possible Karlee’s youthful difficulty with handling her vocal power caught up with her.

6. Montage of only one knockout:  Team Miley, Sophia Urista knocks out Josette Diaz. I guess this shows Urista isn’t the producer’s choice for a front-runner.

7.  Team Miley, Josh Halverson vs. Aaron Gibson: Three Team Miley performances tonight, culminating with gravelly aspirate-voiced Gibson vs. soulful country-flavored Halverson. Gibson puts an alt-rock treatment on the country hit, “Die a Happy Man.” Miley coaches him to “go for it” but he doesn’t have a go-for-it voice. It’s a lounge voice, a coffeehouse voice. Halverson picks “Whiskey and You,” a Chris Stapleton composition that Tim McGraw has recorded. McGraw tells him to sing it like a movie scene, and Halverson can do that–when he sings, he’s not just singing the song, he’s acting it. Miley keeps gravel-voiced Gibson and Alicia steals Halverson, who she cut in the battle round.

Tonight we saw Maye Thomas, Nolan Neal, Karlee Metzger and Michael Sanchez walk, but Gibson’s still here. Alicia’s going on about how Halverson’s authentic and the real deal–but she didn’t think so last round. Couldn’t he have at least ended up with Adam or Blake? (I keep saying, they need a rule, if you cut ’em, you don’t get ’em back.)

Who we’ll be seeing in the final twenty:

Team Adam:  R&B vocalist Simone Gundy, country singer Josh Gallagher, Sinatra stylist Riley Elmore, introverted rocker Brendan Fletcher, and former boy soprano Billy Gilman.

Team Blake:  R&B vocalists Jason Warrior, Dana Harper, and Courtney Harrell, country singers Austin Allsup and Sundance Head.

Team Alicia:  Soul singers SaRayah and We, Puerto Rican singer Christian Cuevas, country rocker Josh Halverson, and Kylie Rothfield of the blown-out vocal cords.

Team Miley:  R&B singer Ali Caldwell, gravelly and whispery Aaron Gibson, and female rockers Belle Jewel, Darby Walker, and Sophia Urista.

Tags: The Voice