The Voice Recap: The Knockouts put 5 singers for the depend – Plus, the star twist that Kelly Clarkson broke
Participants fell like microphones as The Voice Season 19 knockouts resumed Monday. Five – count them, five – potential winners have been sent wrapped. At least if They include the one poor guy whose performance was completely cut off from the show. Read on, and we’ll go over all of the KOs that we were able to see and hear in full. Then you can read up on the trainers’ tips and whether the ear cleaning I gave myself after panning Payge Turner’s gig last week worked any good.
Team Kelly: Desz with “Can We Talk” (Class: A) defeated Sid Kingsley with “Make It Rain” (Class: A) – Sid stolen from Blake | When Desz delightedly got over the fact that Usher’s eyes really sparkled – of course she snorted – she impressed him with the fact that she could go as deep as a tenor. The newly stolen Sid tackled a Foy Vance number I had never heard of but immediately loved. Damn it, that was hot – and it was perfect for Sid’s rasping voice. Usher advised him to divide his fullness of soul between his voice and his piano playing. Desz did a fantastic job on stage. She had the presence, the voice and the holy crap! That key change! She not only lived the moment, she loved it and her joy was contagious. I said, “Good luck, Sid.” But he didn’t need luck. The moment he opened his mouth, smoke came out. There should be steam coming from this man because his voice was as hot as an Atlanta sidewalk in August. Personally, I preferred his brave, bluesy performance to Desz, funny like hers, but I assumed it would take the win; It was more of a crowd puller. What a relief that Sid was stolen and decided to go with Blake instead of former trainer John. Sid’s whole vibe kind of reminds me of the True Blood theme song.
Team Blake: Jim Ranger with “Humble and Kind” (grade: A) defeated Jus Jon with “Finesse” (grade: B-) | Before bringing in his candidates, Blake stated that he paired them up in a knockout because, despite being on very different tracks, they were his most soulful team members. Jus Jon was especially nervous about singing in front of his idol and all. Usher advised him to include more variation and “fat” in his performance. He also rhymed many of his suggestions: “Don’t hide it, share it,” he recommended. (Has he always done that?) “Jim is a jam,” Usher decided after hearing him run through Tim McGraw’s classic. What impressed me the most was that I didn’t hate it because I was just as in love with Addison Agent’s season 13 version; Jim made it feel like a completely different song. When the time came, Jim did it. Also stapled, taped and sewn. He began lovely and gentle and invited us. When he got big and scratchy, he made us float on every note he sang. Absolutely winning. When it was Jus Jon’s turn, bless his heart, he was a little stiff. He loosened up towards the end of the knockout and looked like he was having fun, but I thought he’d already lost by then. His voice was strong and clear and didn’t sway no matter how much he moved, but it didn’t feel … special. If Jim hadn’t had it in his pocket, he would surely have turned the tide when he choked and explained to the coaches what the song meant to him and his “Knucklehead” boys.
Team legend: Bailey Rae with “Let Me Down Easy” (grade: A-) defeated Lauren Frihauf with “Cry Baby” (grade: A) | At rehearsal, it sounded like Bailey had picked an ideal number. John’s only worry was that she wasn’t physically telling the story she was singing. Lauren, on the other hand, had chosen a song that did not show her strengths. She has a sweet voice, and heaven knows that “sweet” is not the word you automatically associate with Janis Joplin’s hits. So John and Usher tried to help her rearrange the number so it would better suit her. In the spotlight, Bailey sounded record breaking, but the only new physicality she seemed to bring to her performance was moving her free hand with pretty much every syllable she sang. It didn’t matter, however; It was as solid as the broadside of a barn. When it was Lauren’s turn … all right. She made me look up and lean in. Her verse had a cool cowboy junkies vibe that prepared her well for success in the larger chorus. Did she actually win this thing? To my astonishment it was. Bailey is probably the stronger and better singer overall, but Lauren’s performance was much more interesting. It wasn’t perfect, but the rough little mess in it worked – as if it were a tribute to Janis that only Lauren could have done.
Team Blake: Ian Flanigan with “Beautiful Crazy” (Grade: B) defeated James Pyle with “In My Blood” (Grade: B +) | Before Ian’s run through, he told us that he “created a lot of alcoholism in my life” on the bar scene before meeting his partner. Blake advised him not to delete lines before the lyrics were done, and Usher advised James not to be ahead of the beat. First, Ian took us, as he is used to, to the parlor on the outskirts of town until two in the morning. It wasn’t the most flashy performance ever, but there was an intimacy that worked in Ian’s favor. And I’ll be damned if it doesn’t sound like he’s singing some of the more urgent lines right to his partner. When it was James’ turn, wow, he made the hand even more than Bailey Rae. But his performance was explosive. He didn’t sing the chorus so much as he pushed it out of his body. If only I had judged by that knockout, I could have kept James, but if I were Blake and knew what overall Ian is capable of, I would have kept him. “Do you drink boiling water?” Blake asked him. That was how unique his voice was. Just don’t let go of this.
Team Kelly: Madeline Consoer with “Die From a Broken Heart” (grade: A-) defeated Kelsie Watts with “You Oughta Know” (grade: B) | When Madeline realized she was going to compete with Kelsie, she admitted that it got inside her head. I couldn’t say I blamed her; Kelsie is a singing animal! But something about her Alanis run wasn’t working. Maybe her voice was so pretty, so perfect, that it didn’t sound angry enough? Madeline sounded like pronunciation was going to be a problem. Usher challenged her to be more emotional in her performance, even if it took her back to her own heartbreaking past. Basically the same problem as with Kelsie: It wasn’t about the grades, it was about the feeling. On stage, Kelsie sang through a perfect grin and “played” the song a lot. And on the one hand it worked: I couldn’t take my eyes off her; Her anger was palpable. On the other hand, it didn’t work: that rage felt like an Atlantic City revue made, not an authentic rock performance. All in all, it was like a cake that could use up an additional 10 minutes in the oven. It just wasn’t quite … finished. When it was Madeline’s turn she sang with a beautiful clarity that immediately made me say, “Well, hello!” Her number was far less bombastic than Kelsie’s, but it was a much better showcase for Madeline’s singing. And the vulnerability she could show must have won, I thought. I believed Madeline here, I didn’t believe Kelsie.
Team Gwen: Carter Rubin with “You Say” (Grade: A +) defeated Chloé Hogan with “Weak” (Grade: A-) – Chloé stolen from John | Carter revealed at rehearsal that he chose Lauren Daigle’s song because it appealed to him as a kid, which is a bit different and which was selected for that fact. (Dang, the kid is ready, right?) Music teacher Chloe said she chose the SWV classic in part because it was so significant in black music history. Usher advised her to be more relaxed and dynamic in her voice. “If you’re in your head,” he said, “you’re dead.” In the moment of truth, it turned out that Carter was a performance so polished, powerful, and thoughtful that I wish Voice contestants would become superstars more often. It was spectacular. “I can’t breathe,” Kelly gasped afterwards. He was so good. When it was Chloé’s turn, she brought out a voice as silky as anything hanging in the cloakroom. I was just about to type her fall, she would probably show less range than Carter when … boom, she quickly changed clothes and grew up. In the end this was a much more dynamic Chloé than I had seen / heard before. This was a potential contender. Still, I didn’t think she could compete with Carter. As John noted, in some ways their song wasn’t built for this competition. And I doubted I was the only one who could listen to what Kelly could have said about Carter’s performance: “It broke me in amazing ways.”
Shipping in no time – argh, what’s the rush? – Joseph Soul defeated Van Andrew to stay on Team Gwen. And while we heard Gwen’s thoughts on the winner’s performance, we didn’t even hear a note from Van singing. (Good Lord, how bad could it have been?)
What do you think about knockouts on Monday? Vote for the standout in the poll below, then hit the comments with the elimination that stung the most. (Kelsie for me, although her Alanis was a bit of a “You Oughta Know” go.)