In the last night of the knockout rounds, I was shocked by the easy decisions Usher and Blake had to make.
Some criticized the coaches last night for pairing weak performers with each other, leaving the strong performers to battle it out against each other.
Tonight did not feel like that at all.
Blake seemed to pair his team of mostly country artists in a way that the strong outshined the weak.
In the first pairing of the night, Savannah Berry sang against Justin Rivers. This was really the only strong vs. strong pairing of the night.
Savannah has so much experience, and I expected her performance of “As Long As You Love Me” to blow Justin Long’s “The Climb” out of the water.
She was shaky, but had a strong ending to her performance. I felt Justin was one-dimensional in his performance, but that consistency was a strength.
Blake selected Justin to move on to the live shows, sending the experienced Savannah home.
Usher’s first matchup was between Josiah Hawley and Jess Kellner.
Neither performance was earth-shattering.
Josiah Hawley has one thing going for him, though. He could grab the teenage girl vote with his good looks.
I think Adam said it best for these two – Josiah should have performed “You Give Me Something” and Jess should have performed “Back to Black.” But the opposite happened and left the viewers with flat performances by both.
Teen girls will get an opportunity to cast a vote for Josiah Hawley, as Usher selected him to move on to the live shows.
Blake pitted his one non-country artist, Luke Edgemon, against country powerhouse Holly Tucker.
This is a real example of where it felt like Blake was pairing the strong against the weak. Holly performed “Live Like You Were Dyin,” while Luke performed “Teenage Dream.”
Holly has an incredible voice, and when she hit the high note at the end of the song, I think it really moved the audience. Luke felt like a less-talented Justin Timberlake.
While Blake said the choice wasn’t easy, I think it was for viewers who saw Holly perform. Holly became Blake’s second live show contestant.
Usher’s next pairing was between Audrey Karrasch and Michelle Chamuel.
Karrasch performed “How to Love.” Her mid-range needed depth and she lost a note toward the end. Michelle Chamuel really delivered a knock-out though, with her performance of “Raise Your Glass.”
She had energy and excitement, and her ability to keep her breath while truly performing was remarkable. It was an easy win and she moves to the live shows.
Blake matched Danielle Bradbery with Taylor Beckham for his third knockout round.
Danielle’s performance of “Jesus Take the Wheel,” had one minor pitch problem with one note. Otherwise, it was consistent and she has a strong voice.
Taylor chose to perform “Russian Roulette,” which may have been her downfall. She was pitchy throughout and Blake gave the round to Danielle. This may be The Voice, but song choice still matters.
Usher said he only had time to work with one R&B artist, so he paired C. Perkins against Vedo.
C. Perkins gave a performance of “She Ain’t You,” and had the crowd eating out of his hand, but this show is still The Voice, and I could barely hear his over the music.
Vedo, on the other hand, focused on his vocal performance of “Everything I Do, I Do It For You.” He delivered an emotional performance of the Bryan Adams hit. Knowing the back story, and his focus on his mom, the song brought tears to my eyes.
Vedo will move on and C. Perkins was sent home.
Blake’s final matchup came between Grace Askew and The Swon Bros.
Grace Askew sang “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” which was a shift from her past country sound. I think it really hurt her in the round. She has been phenomenal in past rounds, but fell flat in this performance.
The Swon Bros sang “Drift Away” and seem to really gel as a duo. The performance was clearly superior and they became the first duo to make it to the live shows in The Voice’s four seasons. They’ll provide an opportunity for fans to really voice how they feel about duos on the show.
READ: 'Muskogee duo advances to live rounds' (http://bit.ly/11UmEKX)
Cathia and Ryan Innes performed the final knockout round for Usher.
It was Cathia’s first time singing a song in English on The Voice. She sang “Mr. Know It All” and gave a strong performance.
Her first English performance beat Ryan Innes singing “I Don’t Want To Be” and she became another stolen contestant to continue on to the live shows.
That’s a wrap. What do you think of Blake and Usher’s live-show teams? For a complete look at this season of The Voice, check out our page dedicated to the NBC hit (http://bit.ly/TheVoicessn4).
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