This isn’t a secret, but I really don’t care for the "knockout" rounds on The Voice. They have the unique distinction of moving too quickly, but still feeling monotonous. The format is too similar to the battle rounds, with two musicians from the same team sharing the stage to compete for their mentor’s favor. Oh, they’re not singing duets this time so it’s totally different? No, look, I love those yoga skirts from Old Navy and I have like six of them in different colors and I won’t argue that the black skirt and the brown skirt are different on the surface, but when you get right down to it, they fit exactly the same.
The differences between the knockout rounds and the battle rounds are so small that it’s hard to get too excited for them. However, in practice, the knockout competition moves so fast, blowing through two teams in one night, that it’s hard not to feel like you just ran a marathon after the credits roll.
On Monday, Team Cee Lo and Team Adam cut their teams in half. Here’s how:
Joselyn Rivera vs. Kayla Nevarez
I actually preferred Kayla’s rendition of “Shark in the Water” to Joselyn’s “Love on Top,” but that was probably the point. Adam chose to move forward with Joselyn because “Love on Top” is an objectively harder song to perform than “Shark in the Water” and her willingness to take on that kind of risk when she didn’t have to showed she has confidence in her ability, as well as a willingness to be challenged.
Joe Kirkland vs. Bryan Keith
Okay, with this one I have no explanation for disagreeing with Adam—whose choices usually match up with my own so closely—outside of pure taste. Kirkland sang “Mean” and I enjoyed his performance even though I am SO over Taylor Swift. Keith performed “Everything I Do” and it was great, totally, but I was just more into Joe. Christina pointed out that he has such pretty eyes in what was certainly the most enlightened observation of the evening. She brings so much to the decision-making process, doesn’t she? Adam was unswayed and stuck with Bryan.
Amanda Brown vs. Michelle Brooks-Thompson
I was ambivalent during this battle, or knockout, or... whatever. Both Amanda and Michelle rocked “Paris (Ooh La La)” and “Spotlight,” respectively. I was prepared for either outcome to Adam’s decision, I’m just not entirely sure how he MADE his decision and I wish we could get a litte more insight into Adam’s thought process than ten seconds of groaning and hair-pulling before he seems to randomly spout a name as though the internal “Eeny Meanie Miney Moe” he had going on in his head had finally ended. Michelle was favored by most of Adam’s fellow judges. Adam himself said he was more in tune with how to coach Michelle due to Amanda arriving on his team late in the game through The Steal...but then he picked Amanda. I’m not mad, Adam. Just confused.
Loren Allred vs. Nicole Nelson
I was totally bummed to see hippie chick Nicole sent home, but once Loren brought the crowd to its feet with her Amy Winehouse cover, it was game over.
Melanie Martinez vs. Sam James
Both performances were flawed—Martinez was breathy, James couldn’t pronounce “Memphis”—and yet they were both very enjoyable. In the ONE Adam battle last night where he and I saw eye-to-eye, Adam went with Melanie while I cheered from the sofa. She’s just that awesome. However, moving forward, I AM a little bit concerned that her breathy coffee-house style isn’t going to stand up to the belters on Team Xtina once teams start competing with one another.
TEAM CEE LO
Avery Wilson vs. Cody Belew
You guys, Avery Wilson was almost shockingly bad during his performance of “Yeah 3X,” like, mediocre karaoke bad. He seemed super nervous, which is an especially sad way to see someone make an exit on The Voice, especially if you're someone who proved to be consistently awesome in every round leading up to your departure. With that in mind, I’m not sure that Cody Belew’s “Jolene” was particularly mind-blowing, so much as it was simply better than what Wilson offered. It was decent, though.
MacKenzie Bourg vs. Daniel Rosa
MY PRECIOUS! Harry Potter, I mean, MacKenzie Bourg, gave “Call Me Maybe” the John Mayer treatment. Honestly, despite my creepy-old-lady love for Mr. Bourg (Call me. Maybe?) I wasn’t floored by the cover, mostly because I stopped thinking of John Mayer as SO DREAMY around the same time I decided prom is totally lame, and now I just find everything about him grating. BUT STILL, MY PRECIOUS, and, as Blake pointed out, the fact that MacKenzie essentially rewrote the entire song to make it fit his stylistic choice was mucho impressive. Daniel Rosa, meanwhile, gave an admirable performance of “Back to December.” Yes, more Taylor Swift. For a second there, I got excited and thought he was doing a Sugarcult cover because two of their song titles got scrambled in my brain. I was disappointed, but Daniel did well. Cee Lo went with MacKenzie mostly for the whole “rewriting the entire song” thing and participants of The Voice Drinking Game lamented their future sobriety without Rosa’s guaranteed waterworks to look forward to.
Terisa Griffin vs. Trevin Hunte
That was just a cruel pairing, Cee Lo. I mean, I didn’t want to have to choose between them, and my opinion doesn’t even matter. Why would you DO that to yourself? Terisa’s “Saving All my Love for You” was phenomenal, but then Trevin’s “Against All Odds” came along and totally blew it away. There was no question about who Cee Lo would pick, but The Voice opted to cut to commercial anyway because the editors think we’re dense or something.
Mycle Wastman vs. Nicholas David
This was another one of those “I’ll-be-okay-with-either-contestant” battles. I just LIKE Mycle and Nicholas. Mycle went with “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” while Nicholas offered “Put Your Records On.” Cee Lo went with Nicholas, citing “something about him.” Which is accurate.
Caitlin Michelle vs. Diego Val
Well, I guess I’ll have to find someone else's hair to be envious of. My Florence + the Machine channeling girl Caitlin was sent home following her “Wake me Up Inside” Evanescence cover. Mostly, I didn’t realize that Evanescence was still the tunage of choice for angsty women with deep dark souls—I kind of burned out of that phase around the time John Mayer got banned from my car stereo. Regardless, I still preferred Michelle’s performance to Diego Val’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” cover. Cee Lo, however, opted for Diego. Apparently, my spidey senses were off last night.
Heading into live rounds, the teams are as follows:
Team Cee Lo:
Wow, you guys. Team Cee Lo is a total sausage fest. Weird.
What did you think of Monday’s eliminations?