New round, new outfits. It’s the Knockouts, and the last phase before we reach the live show portion of “The Voice.” And every few weeks when a new round begins, the coaches actually change their clothes.
On Monday, Adam Levine went from t-shirt to a whole suit and tie! Shakira wore an iridescent jacket over a low-cut top, the first Xtina-like reveal of her, uh, assets. Usher dressed up his all-black ensemble with a gray jacket. Blake Shelton probably didn’t change—his black blazer/black shirt thing is pretty much the norm for him.
The contestants choose their own songs to sing for Knockouts, a challenge that almost instantly separates the amateurs from the pros. Then their coaches make a last-minute call about who will face off. One after the other, they sing their song, and their coach cuts the team in half.
Team Adam and Team Shakira were up on Monday; Team Blake and Team Usher get narrowed down on Tuesday.
Team Adam’s Knockouts
First up for Team Adam: Amber Carrington vs. Midas Whale. Tough pair! Adam has definitely shown an affinity for untrained Amber, giving up the ridiculously talented Sasha Allen in the Battle Rounds for her. (Sasha was snatched up by Shakira.) But Midas Whale is one of the most novel acts on the show, and the best duo to ever compete on “The Voice.” So when Amber chose Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You,” it seemed that the obviousness of that song and its emotional chords would knock her out. Midas Whale did Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” and it was clear that they are innovators compared to Amber’s copycattish qualities. But Adam reminded us that he was the only one to spin for Amber during the Blind Auditions, and obviously he saw something in her no one else did. The verdict? Amber.
Next up: Amy Whitcomb against Caroline Glaser. Amy had hardly any airtime till now, so everything about her was pretty much new, from the sourpuss frowny face she does naturally, to the half-shaved head a la Season 2’s Lindsey Pavao. Caroline, though, has had plenty—too much—air time already, and guess what—there’s only gonna be more. Though Amy tore up “House of the Rising Sun,” Adam is always a sucker for those indie girls like Caroline. And Caroline laid it on thick, what with the dark frame glasses and the ridiculous singing accent in “Little Talks.” In the end, Adam called Caroline’s voice magical and said she’s further along as a singer. Which is just not true, but whatever.
Judith Hill vs Orlando Dixon was a no-brainer. There is no way Judith, a backup singer for Michael Jackson, is not moving on and possibly winning this show. Getting paired with Judith was a death sentence for Orlando, who did a boring “All My Life.” Judith actually went a little country with “Always on My Mind,” which drove Blake crazy, of course. Usher tried to refrain from complimenting her on her stellar performance for risk of “adding to the stroking of your ego.” Adam, duh, picked Judith.
Last was Warren Stone and Sarah Simmons. Firefighter dad vs. the girl who sang “One of Us” at the Blinds and killed it. Sarah’s been an early favorite and an amazing weapon in Adam’s arsenal, so no surprise there when her “Wild Horses” overtook Warren’s mumbly “I Just Died in Your Arms.”
Final Team Adam:
Never had a singing lesson Amber Carrington
Hyper affected indie girl Caroline Glazer
Michael Jackson collaborator Judith Hill
Emotional folk girl Sarah Simmons
Team Shakira’s Knockouts
Shakira started out by pairing up Season 3 reject Garrett Gardner and country singer Tawnya Reynolds. Tawnya’s “Hell on Heels” showed that she knew how to work the crowd, but Blake criticized her for too much yodeling. Shakira took the fall for that, saying she encouraged it. And so maybe it’s for the best that Shakira gave up her ill-advised country singer, and chose Garrett to continue.
Kris Thomas vs. Mary Miranda was an easy one. Mary’s the Latina who didn’t know the words to a Shakira song in her Battle. She’s young and inexperienced and picked “Every Breath You Take” which was just plain weird for her. But Kris—the one everyone thought was a woman during Blinds—sang “What a Wonderful World” and once again, everyone gushed about his crazy range. Blake called them both Shakira’s “pets” but there can’t be two pets. Kris is the pet.
Shakira paired two “powerhouse Latinas” with Karina Iglesias vs Monique Abbadie. And Monique basically handed a win to Karina when she chose to sing “Power of Love.” Even Shakira, in training, was like, uh, what are you doing?!? Bad idea! But she stuck with it, to try to show she’s a risk-taker or some such mantra these people tell themselves about why they do what they do. It was bad, so bad that the show only ran about 30 seconds of the performance. Karina, meanwhile, pulled out the swagger for Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” and it was energetic and fun and cute and powerful all at once. None of the coaches praised it fully, but maybe that was just to spare Monique’s feelings after she knew she just bombed. So the obvious choice here was Karina.
Last Knockout of the night pitted Sasha Allen against Shawna P. Sasha was the mom, who lost on Team Adam to Amber Carrington in the Battles. Shawna is the middle-aged country singer who watched all her friends get famous without her. Sasha does “At Last,” and Shakira helps her with the stage presence issues Sasha had when Shakira stole her in the Battles. Sasha’s in a slinky gown showing major leg, and gives an incredibly sexy and beautiful performance. Blake says she’s positioned herself as one of the frontrunners, and he’s right. Shawna does “Maybe I’m Amazed,” and it’s good, but Shakira’s not as amazed as she was by Sasha. Shakira says Shawna had too little room for improvement, but that Sasha grew. And so by keeping Sasha, Shakira has two of Adam’s Battle Round rejects (the other is Karina).
Final Team Shakira:
Returnee from Season 3 Garrett Gardner
Sings like a lady Kris Thomas
Latina rocker Karina Iglesias
Gorgeous mom Sasha Allen