The Voice Knockout Rounds Recap: The Heart of the Steal

We begin tonight’s recap of The Voice by congratulating death and taxes on finding a new friend to travel with them down Life’s Certainties Blvd.

Because more unwavering than Xtina’s love of Feria No. 273: Peroxide Blonde and the hardness of Adam Levine’s abs is the way that NBC reality singing competition’s ends every single Knockout Rounds episode with a feel-good “Coaches’ Steal.”

Of course, if The Voice‘s commitment to a tried-and-true formula still leaves you feeling anxious, fret not: Carson Daly will most assuredly announce going into commercial that a Steal is imminent. (What better way to keep The Voice‘s rating of TV-AA… suitable for even your Aged Auntie with chronic high blood pressure?)

Not that there’s anything wrong with building a show’s philosophy around Anna Nalick’s straightforward advice to “juuuuuuuust breeeeeeathe.” Quite the contrary! If anything, The Voice Season 8 keeps giving us option upon option upon option of mega-talented vocalists for whom we can enthusiastically root over the next nine weeks.

With that in mind, let’s get to ranking the night’s three Knockout pairings in order from least- to most-promising winner:

The Voice - Season 83. TEAM ADAM: Deanna Johnson – Roxette’s “Listen to Your Heart” defeats Blaze Johnson — The Fray’s “You Found Me” | I figured all the rehearsal-package discussion of Deanna’s insecurities would be rendered irrelevant by the time she took the stage. But despite a husky “signature tone” (as Xtina called it), there were intermittent pitch issues that stymied her quest for excellence. Luckily for Deanna, Blaze’s utter collapse — complete with shouty chorus and an unwelcome vocal break on the bridge — gave her a free pass to work through her issues in the live voting rounds.

2. TEAM PHARRELL: Caitlin Corporale – Demi Lovato’s “Warrior” defeats Hannah Kirby – Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” (Hannah stolen by Blake) | Caitlin’s got a voice strong enough to lift a cadillac over her head — and while “Warrior” may not be the greatest song ever written, Pharrell’s resident diva imbued it with a wide-eyed, against-ever-obstacle resilience that proved solidly stirring. She’s really talented — but she’s going to need to learn to be interesting, too, if she wants to survive into the Top 10.Hannah’s vocals, in comparison, weren’t quite as precise — and her Elaine Benes-on-Seinfeld choreography made it harder to envision her as America’s next great pop star. But if Blake can find the right kind of gut-wrenching blues ballad to bring out the grit in her vocals, Hannah might prove an astute steal-back.

1. TEAM BLAKE: Corey Kent White – Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” defeats Cody Wickline — Justin Moore’s “‘Til My Last Day” | Cody came into the Knockouts as a fan fave with growing buzz, but his Justin Moore cover had all the intensity and unexpectedness of white ceiling paint. (Yes, it was serviceable and pretty — but it lacked any kind of specificity or intensity.) So when Corey followed up by managing to bring a deep emotional heft even to cheesy lines like “I watched an eagle as he was flying” — with an appealing raggedness of tone and solid pitch — the battle was all but done. Corey’s a little less flashy than some of his Season 8 counterparts, but with Blake in his corner, don’t put dirt on his grave just yet. (Yep, that’s a Nashville reference there for ya.)

Your turn. What did you think of Night 2 of the Season 8 Knockout Rounds? Who were your faves? Did the coaches get it right? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tonight was amazing!!! Really loved Hannah, Deanna, and Corey. But Caitlin gave me the vocal of the night!!! She held on to her notes with such poise and clarity!!! Already loving all of these artist as well as Kimberly, Koryn, Mia, Meghan, Sarah, and India!!! :)

    • pl says:

      Where’s Lowell Oakley? Thought he got picked by Adam in the Hound Dog duet battle.

    • Jaszy says:

      I will not be surprised if this season ends up being all girls…and Sawyer. The girls are KILLING it this season! I mean, compare the final 4 boys of last season to any group comprised of four girls from this season…there is NO COMPETITION!
      We’ve got Sonic, India, Caitlin, Deanna, Koryn, Hannah, Mia Z, Meghan, Sarah, Kimberly…I mean, this pool is DEEP with female talent.
      I’ve always thought that girls/women were just better singers in general than boys/men. This EXCITING season filled with amazing female performers is evidence for that.
      But I would not count pretty boy Sawyer out yet. I would not be surprised if he knocked out all the girls. But they will be tough to beat!

  2. Oh, and wouldn’t forget Tonya, Lowell, and Sonic!!! :)

  3. NEmma says:

    I loved Deanna’s rendition of Listen to your Heart. Her tone is so rich! There were some nerves for sure, but she somehow held it together. So far, she seems to be the only contender on Adam’s team (man, that team is so weak right now). The other 3 teams are stacked with talent so she’s “lucky” that she chose Adam in the blinds.

  4. Lana says:

    My favorite was Cody so I am really bummed everyone else sounds like what we already have so much of now and Cody gave us a breath of old country with new in it, oh well I still have Sawyer who is different and Sara (I think Think thats her name) the one with the wild white glasses. I just want someone who we don’t already have out there already, no matter how well they all sing.

    • HTGR says:

      Cody was fine, but I thought Corey had it allll over him. Of course I don’t really like country so I’m perhaps coming to it from a neutral perspective and not from and old school country born and raised sort of perspective.

    • Dawn says:

      Cody was my choice too. I just don’t like the Rascall Flatts, Hunter Hayes sound. Corey sounds like that to me. That being said, Sawyer is a fan favorite to win. I don’t like his voice either and many disagree. He sounds a lot like John Denver to me and I never liked him either. So what do I know. I only know my taste in music and Sawyer and Cody isn’t it.

  5. Andres says:

    another good night

  6. Esther says:

    I don’t know what is it about Hannah but I adore her performances. She may not have the most stunning voice but she’s so fun to watch on stage and nails every note. I hope Blake and America takes her to the top. Caitlin is probably better vocally but she’s kinda generic to me.

    Another one I liked was Corey. He could have been a generic WGWG but the heartfelt way he sang his song was compelling.

  7. Kim Moores says:

    This isn’t the popular opinion at all, but Caitlin reminds me of a potentially better Christina Grimmie.
    Hits the notes, sounds pretty, but there’s just no fire and it comes across more as someone going through the motions of a song rather than internalizing it and breathing life into it.
    Tonight was pleasant overall.
    Blaze was a nightmare.

  8. Kim Moores says:

    This isn’t the popular opinion at all, but Caitlin reminds me of a potentially better Christina Grimmie.
    Hits the notes, sounds pretty, but there’s just no fire and it comes across more as someone going through the motions of a song rather than internalizing it and breathing life into it.
    Tonight was pleasant overall.
    Blaze was a nightmare..

    • Hey Kim what’s up!!! What do you think the top 12 will look like? Here’s my guess:
      Christina-India, Kimberly, Sonic
      Pharrell-Sawyer, Mia, Caitlin or Lowell
      Blake-Meghan, Sarah, Corey or Hannah
      Adam-Deanna, Tonya, Joshua

      • Whoops forgot about the incomparable Koryn Hawthorne!!! :)

      • Kim Moores says:

        Well I know some spoilers about Xtina’s steal so I dunno how I want her team to shape up.
        The rest?
        Pharrell: Sawyer, Mia, Koryn
        Adam: Nathan, Deanna, Joshua I guess?
        Blake: Meghan, Sarah, Corey

        • I really hope that pharrell is gonna be an awesome coach!!! Especially with the likes of someone as unique but strong as Koryn. I would love for her to sing some jazmine Sullivan, or maybe some beyonce. What do u think? :)

          • Kaba says:

            Jumping in on this omg koryn HAS to do some Beyonce.
            Her voice strikes me as so similar.
            ‘I Was Here’ or ‘Best I Thing I Never Had’ or ‘Pretty Hurts’ or even ‘Sweet Dreams’ has to happen.

          • Kim Moores says:

            Yes to miss Jazmine and Queen Bey. Yasssssssss yasss yasss.
            I wanna hear her on some rock. She’s got a guttural vibe to her voice that’s great.

          • The Beach says:

            Just please no “Drunk in Love”. That song is so boring and tuneless. I love Bey but no.

      • HTGR says:

        Man it’s going to be awful because at least a few teams will lose someone who could’ve made the semis or probably even finals in most other seasons. awful.
        I guess I hope:
        Blake: Hannah,Meghan,Corey (a shame to lose Sarah though)
        Pharrell: Mia,Koryn,Caitlin (a shame to lose Sawyer, it will never happen though which means a truly awful loss of one of the first three and we can not just hope not two, since guys tend to get votes more easily)
        Adam: Deanna,need to think about it
        Xtina: need to think about it
        I wish Xtina had made some different choices, like keeping Koryn over Kimberly and made Pharrell’s team less overpacked with my favorites.
        Really the females on team Pharrell+Hannah+Deanna are probably my favorite five of all.
        Man it’s going to be a hideous awful blood bath :(.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I’m with you on Caitlin. Very pretty voice, but there’s something missing for me. I’m not sure why I’m not more into it even though on paper I should be. I feel like with all the female pop/R&B singers this season, she’s not going to stand out because there are several who are better than she. Koryn, Kimberly, Meghan, India, Sonic, and Mia come to mind.
      Man, this season is good.
      And man, Adam’s team is awful. He is so dead in the water here.

      • Kim Moores says:

        Thankfully I feel she can find that je ne sais quoi potentially, but right now I can’t see her beating out any of the other female singers.
        Well…Adam has…Deanna? Nathan?…
        I got nothing.

          • danin says:

            Sorry,my phone kicked out. Caitlin didn’t seem very supportive of Hannah in their round.She turned me off.Vocally she was pretty good but she had a B face.Hannah can’t dance but she had a good time and put her whole self into it,much the same way as Koryn but of course vocally different than Koryn.

  9. Evan says:

    COREY!!! Woah. He just became a contender.

  10. analythinker says:

    Never thought I’d say this, but I shed a tear when Cody was eliminated. Having said that, Corey won that battle, fair and square.

    • Dawn says:

      Seriously? I can’t agree. Listen to their performances. Corey was very breathy. He ruined a great song by Tim McGraw. He wasn’t near the voice that Cody has. It was all about the sob story. Had the story of ole sick granpappy not been told, would anyone even think anything of him? I think not. I believe that if he had not told his sob story, everyone would’ve been saying how awful, breathy and shaky his voice was in that song. But instead, those words are replaced with how emotional it sounded.

      • Moria says:

        Then he won and – miracle – granddad all better. Wasn’t actually that serious. What a coincidence!

        • Kathy says:

          Actually, Moria, Corey’s grandfather passed away. Please, have some respect!

          • Dawn says:

            There is no way of her knowing that his grandfather passed away. Corey, himself, said that his grandfather was all better right before the judging. So it looked by some just as Moria saw it. There is no disrespect here. It was all the information we had at the time. Therefore, Corey is the one that made it sound not serious at all by his last comment. Personally, his grandfather’s passing has nothing to do with who the better performer was. I feel it was Cody. Others feel it was Corey. It is a matter of old country (Merle Haggard, George Jones, Hank Williams) vs. new country (Hunter Hayes, Rascal Flatt) sound.

      • Candace says:

        Going by the performance, I think Corey won, but going by the totality of each of the guys, I probably would have picked Cody. Just the uniqueness and range of his voice is something very special.

        • tvlover44 says:

          yeah, i’m not a big country fan, but i absolutely loved cody’s voice and was the most shocked by his elimination of all of them. in trying to come up with a reason – other than that all of the steals may have actually been used by the time that knockout actually took place – i wonder, did TPTB not want another long-haired(ish) country guy to win again? because his voice is seriously awesome.

          i liked corey’s performance ok and give him props for emotion, but man, having cody gone is such a loss. and in a field so crowded with fantastic female singers (koryn’s my fav), it would’ve been cool to have had some variety from the remaining guys.

      • analythinker says:

        We’re both two different people, Dawn. And I didn’t even pay attention to the grandpa story. For me, Corey was feeling it so I was too. IMO, Cody was trying a little bit too hard to be current but his voice is classic so it didn’t really suit the song.

  11. Michael H. says:

    Can we just talk about Corey for a second? Just… That man can sing. I’m also happy that the two that I really adored in the blinds, Deanna and Caitlin, made it through once again, delivering incredible performances.

    • Dawn says:

      Since you want to talk about Corey’s performance, I shall. But my hearing is off I guess. I didn’t hear great at all. I heard mediocre. I heard breathy, pitchy, and slurring of words. Emotion shouldn’t be a factor if it hinders the singing of the song. I felt it did here. However, I will concede that I am not a Hunter Hayes fan at all. I actually would rather hear someone scratching their nails on a chalkboard. Therefore, my opinion is based on not liking Corey’s voice. To me, Corey sounds like Hunter Hayes 2.0.

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  13. Jill Moy says:

    Yep, Caitlin is the best!

  14. JM1 says:

    Slezak – you are too correct about the steal thing. Drives me crazy! The only good thing is I can send my kids to bed before the show ends, b/c we know one of the last pair will be saved andboth singers will stay on the show.

  15. Gailer says:

    The knockout rounds suck! That is all

  16. HTGR says:

    OH man, so worried about Team Usher. Not because it’s bad, but because he has three female artists who HAVE to go through, but he also has Sawyer so one totally awesome, 100% beyond 100% female on his team who belongs in the top 12 will go home :( (since you just now that no way is Sawyer not getting votes on a reality show). Ah man they need a wild card 13 sooo badly this season!!!!

    • Jules says:

      If you can’t tell the difference between USHER and PHARRELL, you need glasses, contacts, Lasik surgery and a new TV. Yes, the are both black, insanely cute and talented but that’s about where it ends.

    • HTGR says:

      oops not sure why I wrote Usher, very tired, and someone was talking about him earlier (in my real life), I wrote Pharrell every place else (i hope, pretty sure)

  17. HTGR says:

    Ah man this season is nuts, just females alone we have Mia, Koryn, Caitlin, Deanna, Hannah, Meghan as six winners and it stays strong even from there! I mean damn half the entire top should win just from the females alone. But sadly the team nature means one will probably be eliminated from those even before top 12!

  18. Angie_Overrated says:

    When your coach tells you that your dancing “is… like nothing I’ve ever seen,” then you might want to rethink your choreography. That wasn’t a compliment, Hannah. lol

  19. T says:

    I haven’t been a huge Hannah fan as she’s a bit too quirky for my taste, but I thought she sounded great tonight. She’s probably too much of an oddball to win it all especially with the incredibly deep pool of talent his year, but she could be fun to watch. Objectively, I guess Deanna has a nice enough voice but I couldn’t stand to listen to her rendition of “Listen to your heart” after just recently hearing the version sung by Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff on Glee. It couldn’t even begin to compare in terms of quality. Overall though I can’t say enough how deep the talent is on this season. The next cuts should be an absolute bloodbath.

    • HTGR says:

      I don’t know, I just looked up the Glee version on youtube, it didn’t quite have the punch to me or Deanna (or Roxette). The ultra compressed horrible youtube quality on it didn’t help anyway, but still, I don’t quite see. It did keep the tempo up a bit more though. Deanna did maybe get a touch sleepier with the slowed tempo, but it seemed a bit less generic and, at times, more felt to me, even if there were bits of nerves on second viewing.
      Roxette version is the best of all though.

      • T says:

        I don’t know if the bad quality on you tube does the actual performance. justice. Granted, that version wasn’t performed live but it’s still really good.You also have a point that the tempo in Deanna’s performance is significantly slower and as result to me was kind of drowsy. I guess it comes down to taste…

  20. joe says:

    Cody was the bomb come on blake

  21. analythinker says:

    I wonder who Christina would steal… the only options making sense to me are between Brooke Adee and Lexi Davilla.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      My guess is the little boy who sounds like a really deep girl. Not sure why but something really resonates with me from that kid. He’s got something there.

      • Tori says:

        It’s not him unfortunately.
        Spoilers are out and it’s one of those two girls allegedly.

        • Jules says:

          Crap. I hope that’s not true or I hope Pharrell keeps him, although he’s obviously going up against Lowell, who P loves. I adore Jacob!! I really hope he makes it to lives. He has the most personality of anyone on that team.

      • analythinker says:

        Yeah, he’s the only male I could see her steal.

  22. jc says:

    Oh cory so dreamy lol. Oh and good voice too lol.

  23. Timmah says:

    Caitlin was amazing and easily my favorite tonight. I do give Cory some credit though for taking one of those crappy country songs and making it halfway listenable.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I’m really surprised to hear you liked Caitlin. You typically never like the diva types. What was it about her that brought you into the fold?

      • Timmah says:

        That’s a good question. I think what I don’t like about a lot of divas, at least in my perception, is that they just seem to be trying to show off all their licks and runs. But like one of the coaches said, Caitlin feels the song from the inside. So it sounds more genuine to me. One of the few diva types I really like is Christina, because I find that her style of singing and the way she connects with the lyrics sometimes really moves me, which I feel like I’m getting a bit of a taste of with Caitlin.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I thought Caitlin did very well tonight. Not my favorite of the technical singers (that award goes to Koryn and India), but I can’t deny that she sang well. I’m also probably biased as I’m not much of a fan of the Demi Lovato catalog.

          • Timmah says:

            I didn’t know that was one of Demi’s, and I’m glad I didn’t.. I’m not much of a fan either.

  24. analog says:

    So is Blake winning again this season with a country boy?

    • Dawn says:

      Actually, no. He won’t win this season. He gave up his most popular contestant for a boy with a mediocre voice and a sad story. What some are calling emotion, I am calling bad vocals. Corey’s voice shook, was breathy, and by far fell flat for me.

  25. T says:

    I don’t usually like to comment on contestants’ appearances because that’s so subjective anyway but I have to say it was kind of nice to see Hannah look her age this week. The girl is 20 and her look aged her so much in the blinds and the battles.

  26. rebecca says:

    My favorite was by far, Cody. He was awesome and his voice was unique. Cody, continue singing country music…I love your voice.

  27. Wild child says:

    Maybe I’m alone but I though Cody had the stronger vocal, he just chose a boring song withou the soaring ebbs and flows but I thought he won. I also felt that(intentional or otherwise) Corey was playing the sympathy card and I found it a bit manipulative. I’m bummed Christina didn’t steal him.

    • Blynn says:

      I kind of guessed that Cody hadn’t progressed to the live rounds; he’d done a benefit for a sick child in WV, and he looked dispirited, kind of not good. I said at the time I’ll bet he didn’t go through, and I didn’t want to be right.

      As far as country goes, he’s as country as it gets. While Cory may have won the night, it shows that pop-country once again trumps the read deal.

      I believe Cody had the better voice and was more authentic in the long run. While I hope people rally around Cody in the future, public sentiment is fickle. I hope he doesn’t give up singing.

    • Sharon says:

      Well, I don’t really think Corey played the sympathy card; I think the show did and does. The coaches always ask the contestants why they chose a song, and if there’s anything marketable in the reason, the show returns to it, sometimes again and again, hence the sob-story back stories for contestants. (I mean no disrespect to Corey or his family and their worries about his grandfather when I say that.) It wasn’t sympathy that got him the win on that battle: he sang the hell out of that song, bringing heart to it because of his grandfather apparently, but he was also technically good and had a very appealing tone.

      I am not particularly a fan of old-style country, but I respect its value and authenticity, and I also like Cody and am sorry not to see him stick around. But I think Corey out-sang him fair and square on his Battle, and he really wouldn’t have been Christina’s cup of tea. Too bad Adam couldn’t steal, because I think he might have stolen Cody.

    • Dawn says:

      You are not alone. Actually, if you scour the internet about this subject, (I have. What can I say, car troubles=stuck at home on spring break=surfing the web (; ) You will see that this is one of the few sites that comments support Corey rather than are upset that Cody wasn’t chosen. I guess it boils down to opinion as always but popular opinion has Cody taking the knockout and Blake making a huge mistake. Check out the Voice’s facebook page under Blake’s photo comments to see how overwhelming the support for Cody was.

      • DAWN Hey I just went to that facebook page on the voice and you ARE VERY CORRECT! People are pissed. I only saw one comment in support of Corey, and tons and tons of complaints over letting Cody Wickline go! It is the opposite of what people are saying here!

  28. missvci says:

    Was I the only was to geniuely love Deanna’s performance. Like after she finished I was like she hands down won that battle, because not only was Blaz’s performance meh, butDeanna was great. I didn’t see the nerves the judges were talking about at all.

    • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! says:

      your not the only one, Deanna was GORGEOUS last night!!! Her tone is so divine that it sort of reminds me of Ella henderson and Norah Jones!!! :)

    • Moria says:

      Sorry, will not be voting for her. Don’t like her style if singing AT ALL. Someone (Blake?) made a comment last night like “you don’t hear your style much anymore” and all I could think was – there’s a reason for that. Her looks remind me a bit of Ann Wilson from Heart though.

  29. I agree that Adam has a weak team but that is partly because most of the country singers went over to Blake. They should have known he would have pared them down to his favorite. Adam might have kept a good country singer like the one who got tossed tonight.

  30. Colton Smith says:

    pitch pitch blah blah
    singing is from the heart , and deana sing from the heart ,she moves people
    her voice is gorgeous
    way better than the overated kimberly nichole

  31. Jill Moy says:


  32. Jill Moy says:

    Won’t let me explain about asteric picks won’t post up! I’ll try later on threads.

  33. Jill Moy says: