The ladies ruled the first night of the Knockout Round on The Voice, snagging six of the eight spots available on Team Adam and Team Shakira for the live shows.
In the process, Judith Hill, Sasha Allen and Sarah Simmons established themselves as front-runners in the competition.
Will the guys match those performances tonight?
After all, we’ll be hearing from soulful lounge singer Ryan Innes, who turned four chairs with his blind audition, and the Swon Brothers, the only duo left in the competition.
Ryan will sing for Team Usher; the Swon Brothers for Team Blake as the remainder of cast for the live show is determined.
Savannah Berry: This teen is the country singer who gained fame thanks to her “Stuck Like Glue” YouTube. Three coaches turned around for her blind audition. She’s decided to sing Justin Beiber’s “As Long As You Love Me” to show she can put a country twist on a pop song. And Savannah does a decent job of changing up that song, though it really wasn’t the ideal pick to show off her voice. The ending was particularly strong. Not sure she’s going to turn out to be the best country singer in the competition, though. Blake has several on his team. Grade: C+
Justin Rivers: The former Christian singer with Austins Bridge only got one coach to turn around for his blind audition, but then defeated The Morgan Twins in a battle round upset we didn’t get to see. He’s going to sing one of my all-time least favorite songs, “The Climb.” Well, he can’t sound as bad as Miley Cyrus, right? Justin sounds pretty good on the song, but it isn’t until the big note at the end that the performance became special. That single note might have been enough to outshine Savannah. Grade: B–
Blake’s decision: Justin wins.
Holly Tucker: She’s the four-chair turn-around singer on Blake’s team, who already has two albums and two EPs to her credit. She won a battle round match with roommate Michelle Raitzin, singing “Blown Away.” For this round, she’ll sing “Live Like You’re Dying.” Hey, really nice opening from a gal with a really great voice. And check out how her voice soared on that final chorus. Grade: B
Luke Edgemon: A former Warbler on Glee and a backup singer by profession, Luke was one of the last blind auditioners. He wound up on Team Shakira, but was then stolen by Blake after his battle round loss to since-departed Monique Abbadie. Luke says he likes to sing unexpected songs live. Tonight’s pick: Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” Hmm, what has Luke done to his hair? Well, if the goal was to suck any energy out of the song, Luke succeeded. Grade: D
Blake’s decision: Holly wins.
Danielle Bradbery: She’s the young country singer who auditioned with “Mean” and turned three chairs. Then she defeated Caroline Glaser in a battle round. She’s going with Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” for the knockout round. The Voice has featured several very young country singers through its first three seasons. Danielle might be the best. That was a really, really solid performance. Probably the best Danielle has sounded. Grade: B+
Taylor Beckham: Originally, Taylor was a member of Team Usher. But she lost her battle round to Jess Kellner and was stolen by Blake. She wants to show her softer side, so she’s going to sing Rihanna’s “Russian Roulette.” Weak, weak start, but Taylor came on stronger near the end of the song. Still, I don’t think she was any match for Danielle. Grade: C–
Blake’s pick: Danielle wins
Grace Askew: With two albums and an EP to her credit, Grace auditioned with “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” then won her battle round by singing “Me and Bobby McGee.” She has decided to sing “I Can’t Stand the Rain” in the knockout round. Here’s another singer who’s sabotaged herself with her song choice. I’ve heard several of Grace’s songs, and she’s got a great sound. But it was lost in that performance. Grade: C–
Swon Brothers: They’re the only duet left in the competition and they’re attempting to become the first duet ever to make the live round on The Voice. Singing “Won’t Back Down,” Zach and Colton defeated Christian Porter in the battle round. They’ve selected “Drift Away.” Unlike Grace, the Swon Brothers have picked a crowd pleaser, and they’re solid from the word go. And they nailed the harmonies Blake harped on them about. Grade: B
Blake’s decision: The Swon Brothers
Josiah Hawley: The former model, sang “Sunday Morning” to win a spot on Team Usher. He then defeated Jeff Lewis in the battle round singing “Roxanne.” He’ll sing Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” He starts with a scream, then allows his voice to get drowned out by the background music. Not sure this was the best song choice for him, though he seemed to get a little stronger as the song went on. His voice just wasn’t quite big enough to pull that off. Grade: C
Jess Kellner: She’s a hairdresser who was trying to launch a pre-Voice band called Jess and the Echoes. She defeated teen Taylor Beckham in the battle round; Taylor was then picked up by Blake. She’ll sing James Morrison’s “You Give Me Something.” She says she’ll be singing it to her mother, though most people see it as a love song. She starts strong, but seemed to fall flat on the chorus. That might have been the weakest knockout round performance yet. Grade: C–
Usher’s decision: Josiah wins.
Audrey Karrasch: She’s the former model who shot down Adam during the blind audition. She then defeated Jamila Thompson in a battle round we didn’t get to see. She’s selected Lil’ Wayne’s “How To Love” for the knockout round. Audrey has a distinctive sound, but if I’m looking for a unique female voice, I’ll take Caroline Glaser. Far, far too often during the performance, Audrey sounded like she was straining to reach the notes. Grade: D
Michelle Chamuel: She’s the indie artist who says she has trouble communicating when she’s not singing. Michelle sang “I Kissed a Girl” in the blind audition; then defeated Chelsea M in a battle round The Voice skipped. Her song choice: Pink’s “Raise a Glass.” Michelle has picked a much better song if the goal is pleasing a crowd. And for someone who professes to be nerdy, she seems to shed her shyness on stage. She’s delivering a fun, vocally solid performance. Now that might have been the best performance of the night. Grade: B+
Usher’s decision: Michelle wins.
C. Perkins: We didn’t see C. Perkins’ blind audition. We did see his battle round loss to Kris Thomas on “It Will Rain.” C. — real first name Craig — decided to sing “She Ain’t You.” Uh-oh. Another singer in big trouble from word go. C. might want to do less bopping around and more singing, because the opening of that was very shaky. Problem is, it isn’t getting any better. And I must have missed the high note from the audition. Or else C. skipped it. Grade: D–
Vedo: He’s the guy who auditioned with the blessing of his mom, even though she was suffering from stage four lung cancer. She died after the blind audition. He’s dedicating this performance to her: “(Everything I Do) I Do it For You.” Well, Vedo projects well, so he’s already got a notch up on C. Perkins. This might not be the perfect vocal, but you know it’s heartfelt. And Vedo hits a heck of a glory note near the end that was good enough to win this round all on its own. Grade: B–
Usher’s decision: Vedo wins
Cathia: The teen sang her audition song in Spanish and landed, not surprisingly, on Team Shakira. After a battle round loss to the since-departed Mary Miranda, she was stolen by Usher. Will she sing in English for the first time? Yep. In fact, she’ll sing “Mr. Know It All.” The performance tips from Usher certainly paid off for Cathia, but her phrasing or timing seems slightly off on the Kelly Clarkson hit. That performance was a mixed bag. Several very nice moments, but a couple of others when it seemed like she was shouting more than singing. Grade: C+
Ryan Innes: This guy from Utah has sparkled both times he’s been on stage, wowing all the coaches with his blind audition rendition of “Gravity,” then winning his battle round singing “Ain’t No Sunshine.” This time around, he’ll sing “I Don’t Wanna Be.” Ryan wants to show he’s more than a straight soul singer, by doing a rock-soul song. Not sure I loved that opening. But he’s certainly bringing passion to the performance. Well, folks, that might be a matter of taste. It wasn’t mine, but I’m sure some people will love it. Grade: B–
Usher’s decision: Cathia wins