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‘The Voice’ spent 2 hours closing out the Knockout Rounds on Tuesday night, with the Top 20 taking shape. The show finally presented the big performances I had been waiting for, and some serious contenders emerged. Here’s how the contestants did.
Lina Guadenzi vs Preston Pohl. Lina sang “I’d Rather Go Blind,’ wanting to showcase the more soulful side of her voice. Adam instructed her to go softer instead of louder, and changing up the arrangement allowed her to do that. Preston went for “No Woman, No Cry,” a perfect song choice for him. The performance was pretty laid back, but effective. Both Lina and Preston earned a lot of praise from the coaches, but Adam had to go with his gut and chose Preston to go on to the Live Rounds.
James Wolpert vs Juhi. James picked the classic rock staple “More Than A Feeling” for his performance. James really tested his range on this one, and though he struggled a bit in the beginning, he picked it up in the middle. He might be this season’s Terry McDermott. Juhi took on Creedence Clearwater‘s version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” She sounded ok, but for me there was a lack of energy, and if she hadn’t said that she wanted this to be a revenge song directed at Cee Lo for cutting her during the Battle Rounds I would have felt better about the whole thing. Neither were as good as they should have been, and Adam wanted the other coaches and audience to know that James was better in rehersals. Which signaled that he was pushing for him and still saw his potential. So James goes on to the Live Rounds while we say goodbye to Juhi.
E.G. Daily vs Ray Boudreaux. Though she is known for voicing some famous cartoon characters, E.G. wants people to recognize her as an Adult, Country, Rock artist. She does that the type of voice for that, and showcased it on “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” There’s something very 80’s about her voice. It instantly makes me think of the song “Eternal Flame,” if that makes sense. She stumbled at the end with her last note, but did try to go a little softer, as Blake suggested. Ray sang Otis Reddings‘s version of “Hard To Handle.” I don’t know why all the contestants this year are so attracted to songs with fast verses. The whole performance was a little safe, but he didn’t have E.G.’s pitch problems so Blake picked him to move on.
Austin Jenckes vs Brandon Chase. Austin wanted to change Edwin McCain‘s “I’ll Be” into a song that reflected the relationship between a father and son. Blake suggested he use a band instead of taking it on by himself. Austin has a big voice, so I think he would have been fine doing this acoustically, but he certainly wasn’t overshadowed by the band. Brandon sang “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” by Eli Young Band. Brandon was shaky from the start, and only got in a couple of good moments. So Blake had to choose between the high and low and decided to stick with Austin.
Anthony Paul vs Jacquie Lee. Christina wasn’t really behind Anthony’s song choice, Jason Derulo‘s “The Other Side.” I have to agree that it just didn’t allow him to really show off his voice, and he struggled with pitch. I understand that he wanted to show how versatile he was, but this performance cost him a spot in the Top 20. Jacquie had an interesting choice, “Stompa” by Serena Ryder. If she was going to pull this off, she had to work on her stage presence, and she seemed more comfortable on stage than she has before. I think everyone was really rooting for Anthony, his old coach Cee Lo even told him that he was a better singer than that, but chalk this one up to bad song choice. Jacquie moves on the Live Rounds.
Matthew Schuler vs Will Champlin. Making much better song choices, Matthew sang Florence + The Machine‘s “Cosmic Love,” while Will chose “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. Both guys played to their strengths, and in following Xtina’s advice of preserving their voices and allowing moments of vulnerability, they had two of the best performances on the show so far this season. It didn’t really matter which of the guys Christina declared the winner, it was Matthew, because obviously Cee Lo was going to use his Steal one of the guys. They both deserve to be in the competition, and with Matthew, Christina could be the coach to beat this season.
Team Cee Lo
Stephanie Anne Johnson vs Tamara Chauniece. I can appreciate Stephanie wanting to go against the grain and do the opposite of what is expected of her, but I wasn’t feeling her performance of Norah Jones‘ “Don’t Know Why.” It was a huge plus for her to play the guitar, and she technically sounded good, not much like soul food, but more like a lukewarm to-go dinner from The Olive Garden. Tamara put a reggae twist on Alicia Keys‘ “No One,” wanting to get away from her Gospel roots a bit. It worked for her, but not so much for me. I think she would have done better with the original arrangement of the song, but it secures her a spot in the Top 20. Just when it looks like Stephanie is about to hit the road, Christina steals her back.
George Horga Jr. vs Caroline Pennell. Carolina made a safe, but good choice in Ingrid Michaelson‘s “The Way I Am.” I expected this to be a straightforward performance of the song, but she changed it up and showed that she does have some power behind her voice. George has a pop ready voice and Ne-Yo‘s “Because Of You” was a good choice, maybe the song that Anthony should have picked. George is cute, and he probably could have coasted on that, but he needed something to push his flat performance to another level. So it wasn’t a difficult decision for Cee Lo, he chose Caroline to continue on in the competition.
The Knockouts are over and the Live Rounds begin next week, which means that the fate of the singers will be in our hands. ‘The Voice’ will be airing three nights next week, because this show makes NBC a lot of money, and the Top 20 has to be whittled down to 10.
Did your favorites make the cut? Let us know!