Night one of the Knockout Round on The Voice
Two of the first three winners on The Voice — Cassadee Pope and Javier Colon — got all four judges to spin for their blind auditions.
So it’s natural to look at the contestants who did the same on Season 4 as the early favorites.
The Morgan Twins were sent home last week after a battle round we didn’t see, leaving seven four-chair turn-around acts remaining in the Season 4 cast.
They are: Judith Hill, Sarah Simmons and Midas Whale of Team Adam, Monique Abbadie and Sasha Allen of Team Shakira, Ryan Innes of Team Usher, and Holly Tucker of Team Blake.
Of course, Sasha is a recent addition to Team Shakira, having been stolen after losing her battle round to Amber Carrington.
In fact, as tonight’s Knockout Round begins, eight of the remaining 32 contestants are on new teams.
Having trouble keeping up with who’s who and who’s where. Head here. I’ve sorted it all out for you, complete with individual profiles and pre-Voice music.
Knockout Round 1
Amber Carrington: Amber sang “Good Girl” to snag the final spot on Adam’s team, then scored an upset win over Judith Hill in the battle round. She’s going to sing Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” and give it a country turn. Amber looks stunning and is off to a great start on this song. She’s also showing a great deal of range and a big voice. She’s certainly not making it easy for Midas Whale. Grade: B
Midas Whale: As previously noted, Midas Whale got all the judges to turn around in the blind audition, then scored a narrow win over Memphis singer Patrick Dodd in the battle round. They’ve chosen to sing “Higher Ground.” These guys are jokesters away from the stage, but they’re all business when the music begins. Jon Peter Lewis, of course, is an Idol veteran. That wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the folk type sound we expect from them either. If they win, it’ll be because they were different. Grade: C+
Adam’s decision: Amber wins. Wow, I’m surprised.
Amy Whitcomb: A veteran of another televised singing competition, The Sing-Off, Amy has been part of montages in her blind audition and battle round. She prefers pop-rock and likes to “channel female Steven Tyler,” she told the media last week. She’s singing “House of the Rising Sun.” Shame on The Voice for not showing us Amy before. She just went from sweet to rock mode in a heartbeat, showing off a really big voice, not to mention one heck of a glory note. Except for one spot where it seemed like she was shouting, that was pretty good. Grade: B
Caroline Glaser: She’s the coffee house singer who landed on Team Blake. She lost the battle round to Danielle Bradbery, but was stolen by Adam. She’s singing “Little Talks.” I really like Caroline’s voice. But be forewarned, she’s not going to deliver the vocal fireworks we just got from Amy. She sounded great every time the chorus came around, especially on that ending. On the verses, she occasionally sounded a bit shaky. Grade: B–
Adam’s decision: Caroline wins. Love that outcome. Caroline has one of the most unique voice’s on the show.
Judith Hill: She’s the young woman who sang background with Michael Jackson and contributed 10 songs to a Spike Lee soundtrack. Her battle round match with Karina Iglesias was one of the best. She’s decided to sing Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind.” Bye-bye, Orlando. This is sublime from the first note. Not a song I would have predicted Judith would sing, but absolutely the best vocal we’ve heard so far tonight. Grade: A
Orlando Dixon: A graduate of the Berklee School of Music, Orlando lost to soul singer Ryan Innes in the battle round, but was picked up by Team Adam. He’ll sing “With All My Life.” Wow, I can’t imagine what it’s like to take the stage after listening to Judith, but Orlando begins his song very strong. But something seemed to go slightly awry near the end of the song. Grade: C
Adam’s decision: Judith wins.
Knockout Round 4
Warren Stone: He’s the firefighter from South Carolina and a country artist who chose Adam instead of Blake. In the battle round, he defeated Michael “Big Country” Austin. He’s chosen a rock song, “Died In Your Arms Tonight.” Adam considers it a bold choice. Warren’s doing a nice job of changing it up, and his performance sure doesn’t lack passion. And he delivers a very nice ending too. But he’s up against some very tough competition. Grade: B
Sarah Simmons: She’s been impressive in both of her first two rounds, getting all four judges to turn around for her blind audition and defeating Duncan Kamakana on Lady Antebellum’s “Wanted You More” in the battle round. She’ll sing “Wild Horses.” Yep, one of the best singers not named Judith on the show. And they’re both on Team Adam. She can go crystal clear on high notes and still deliver that kind of rasp in the same song. Grade: A
Adam’s decision: Sarah wins.
Knockout Round 1
Garrett Gardner: He’s the guy who came back after failing to turn a chair in Season 3. In the battles, he defeated J’Sun on “How You Like Me Now.” He’s going to sing “Too Close.” Look at Garrett. He’s looking much more confident on stage, guitar and all. Decent vocal. Unfortunately, I’m not sure he picked the best song to showcase his voice and he had trouble outsinging the background music in spots. Grade: C
Tawnya Reynolds: A country singer, she sang “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” thinking she’d entice Blake to turn around. Instead, she landed on Team Adam. Then she beat Mark Andrew singing “The Chain” in a battle round we didn’t see. Tawnya, unlike Garrett, picked a song ideal for her voice. And she delivers a very nice vocal. She changed the melody in a way I wasn’t thrilled with at one point, but delivered a very smart ending to that Pistol Annies tune. Grade: B
Shakira’s decision: Garrett wins. Wrong choice.
Kris Thomas: Shakira was the only coach to turn around when Kris sang a Whitney Houston song in the blind audition. He’s released a couple of country singles. He’s singing “A Wonderful World.” Not at all sure about this song choice. It gives him a chance to show off his high voice. And he threw in a couple of nice runs near the end. But he couldn’t find a more contemporary song to do that on? Grade: C
Mary Miranda: Mary Miranda sang Spanish songs for her blind audition and in her battle round. A veteran of a Spanish TV singing show, she has chosen “Every Breath You Take” for this round. The gal Shakira referred to as “cotton candy” starts this off with ballad-like bliss, but stumbles as the song goes on. Her voice just wasn’t powerful enough to pull off the power portion of that song. Grade: C–
Shakira’s decision: Kris wins.
Karina Iglesias: We just heard from Judith, now we get to hear the other half of that amazing battle round. Karina was originally a member of Team Adam. Her song choice: “When Are You Gonna Go My Way.” She hits the stage in full rock mode. Well, there was nothing subtle about that, was there? Karina was in full attack mode through the entire song. Certainly the most rocking performance we’ve seen so far tonight. Grade: B–
Monique Abbadie: She’s the former child star who got all four judges to turn around when she performed a Shakira song in the blind audition. In the battle round, she beat Luke Edgemon singing “You and I.” I’m a little worried about that song choice for Monique. But, hey, brilliant opening. Wow, no need to be worried. She pulled it off much better than I would have suspected. She certainly selected a song that showed off her voice very well. Grade: B+
Shakira’s decision: Karina wins. That was not based on those performances. Monique did better.
Knockout Round 4
Sasha Allen: The former Broadway star turned all four chairs in the blind audition, but was defeated by Amber Carrington in the battle round. That’s how she landed on Team Shakira. She’s singing “At Last.” Sasha, looking angelic, is going to deliver an absolutely pitch perfect version of this song. And she brings the crowd to its feet with a big note mid-song, then brings Shakira to her feet with an incredible note near the end of that performance. Grade: A-
Shawna P.: The veteran singer got two judges to turn around for her blind audition, then defeated fellow rocker Brandon Roush in the battle round when they performed Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” She’s decided to show off the softer side of her voice by singing “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Hey, don’t consider this over. Shawna P. is starting very strong, too. And she delivers a very fine performance as well. Even with a softer song, the grit in her voice is evident. Grade: B
Shakira’s decision: Sasha wins.