The Voice Recap: Don't Act Like You Forgot — Coaches Call the Shots!

So you go out to dinner and you order the mushroom cheeseburger with truffle aioli and shoestring onions. Your mouth is watering and your stomach is growling, but then the waiter comes out 20 minutes later and shakes his head.

“I’m so sorry. The mushroom cheeseburger with truffle aioli and shoestring onions fell on the floor and it’s covered in kitchenskank*. And it was the last one left. But you’re going to absolutely go nuts for this spaghetti squash entree. Don’t scowl — just try it!” (*Not a word, but should be.)

The above is my attempt at expressing my feelings about Night 1 of The Voice‘s Season 9 Knockout Rounds through the ancient art of the food metaphor.

To put it another way, I sat down craving some of my faves from the Blind Auditions and Battle Rounds, but wound up savoring entirely different flavors I didn’t even know I’d wanted.

A few performances wound up sounding uglier than Mike Huckabee talking about the legality of my marriage. Others were so sublime they had me wanting to write strongly worded Yelp reviews demanding everyone go out and get some.

However you felt about the half-dozen showdowns — and their outcomes — there was one element of Monday’s telecast that was indisputable: Special advisor Rihanna was Michelin Star-level terrific, giving specific notes (sometimes about specific notes), zeroing in on areas for improvement and rarely stooping to the level of fawning pablum that’s become all too commonplace for the regular lineup of coaches. (Could someone at NBC please draft Rihanna for Season 11? K. Thanks.)

But let’s not turn this recap into a Riri lovefest — although it must be said she somehow managed the impossible by making a sleeveless denim jumpsuit somehow less than hideous — and instead rank the six Knockouts in order from least- to most-promising winner:

6. Team Blake: Ivonne Acero, “Part of Me” defeats Chance Peña, “Demons” | Ivonne sounded like a really solid second-place finisher at a mid-sized high-school talent show. Poor Chance sounded like he was performing a one-man play called Journey to the Center of My Kidney Stones. Yet despite Blake weighing in on the right side of the one-on-one showdown, I’m not sure anyone involved came out of this looking or sounding like winners.

5. Team Gwen: Braiden Sunshine, “Feeling Good” defeats Ellie Lawrence, “Cool for the Summer” | Braiden won the night’s “Most Improved” trophy — but only because his Blind Audition and Battle Rounds vocals were pretty dismal. The good news was that while the kid still struggled with breath support — there was simply too much gasping for my tastes — he mostly stayed on pitch and didn’t ever look fully terrified to be there. Ellie, on the other hand, chose a song that didn’t showcase any of her natural grit — and then failed to put any kind of distinctive twist on it (the polar opposite of her glorious “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” audition). Even if, as Internet rumors have hinted, laryngitis hampered her pitch, there’s still no acocunting for the wrong-mindedness of all Ellie’s other Knockout Round decisions. If I’m being honest, I still might’ve declared her the winner — based on her overall body of work — but given Gwen’s clear adoration for 15-year-old moppet Braiden, I won’t be surprised if she uses her Live Playoffs save to get him all the way to the Top 12.

4. Team Blake: Barrett Baber, “Colder Weather” defeats Blind Joe, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” | Rihanna gave some excellent advice to Barrett (which he didn’t fully embrace) about bringing the same level of electricity to his softer moments as he does his big, belty notes. I wish she’d also told the sorta-kinda country ham to open his eyes and not pull “emotion face” when he falls into a melody, but there’s no denying Barrett has a solid sense of pitch and muscular pipes with which to execute it. Blind Joe, on the other hand, watched his technique fly out the window —along with his confidence and any shot at the title — on a performance that cemented him as more of a club-night honky-tonker than as a vocalist ready to transition into prime time.

3. Team Adam: Blaine Mitchell, “Hold Back the River” defeats Andi & Alex, “Stupid Boy” | The twin-sister duo should’ve known better than to pick the same exact jam that provided Cassadee Pope with her breakthrough Voice moment — especially seeing how their solo lines exposed their heretofore unacknowledged weaknesses in pitch and tone. Even at their best, though, I’m not sure they’d have beaten Blaine, whose powerful, deliberate verse gave way to a plaintive, passionate howl on the chorus. As corny as his “Old Time Rock and Roll” was in the Battles, his “Hold Back the River” came across thrilling and relevant this time around.

2. Team Adam: Jordan Smith, “Set Fire to the Rain” defeats Viktor Kiraly, “If I Ain’t Got You” (Viktor stolen by Gwen) | If I’m being hyper critical, I’d have to ping both Jordan and Viktor for gilding the lily on their respective covers of Adele and Alicia Keys’ anthems — Jordan in the way his speeding high note scraped up against the guard rails, and Viktor in his not-fully-necessary falsetto riff. But there was plenty to like about these fellas, too. Jordan stayed right in the pocket through the verse, showcased a rumbling grit that pegs him as a more versatile vocalist than we’d been initially led to believe, and proved there’s a Mack-truck-sized engine fueling the whole situation. Viktor’s lower register, meanwhile, proved rich and succulent and dripping with real emotion. As long as he doesn’t overbake his delivery in an effort to one-up more peacock-y competitors, he could make Gwen look like the smartest person occupying a red spinny chair in Season 9.

1. Team Pharrell: Madi Davis, “A Case of You” defeats Amy Vachal, “A Sunday Kind of Love” (Amy stolen by Adam) | I fully expected Amy to annihilate Madi, but Rihanna’s advice to the latter singer about rounding her tone paid huge dividends: She painted a full portrait of romantic longing with brushstrokes totally different from Joni Mitchell’s original — managing to deliver intimacy, character and enviable power, sometimes all at once. Rihanna’s critique that Amy’s physical stiffness made her fantasy love story less believable got stuck in my head — making me focus on her stiff lower body and her hunched-over posture through most of her performance. That doesn’t mean her tone isn’t easy, breezy, beautiful — but her special advisor had a point that it’ll take more than a surface-level reading for her to go all the way in Season 9.

OK, your turn. What did you think of Night 1 of The Voice’s Season 9 Knockout Rounds? Who were your faves? How did you feel about Riri as advisor? Take our poll below, then sound off 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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107 Comments
  1. SaraPo says:

    I rarely comment on here anymore, but had to come and leave ONE comment, and that is OHMYGODMADI. WOWWWWWWW. Amazing.

    • Greta says:

      A note to Slezak: “Stupid Boy” was not Cassady Pope’s breakthrough moment on the show. That would be her cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Over You.”

  2. analythinker says:

    I think the winners are all the correct ones, except in Madi vs Amy case, but we all know Pharrell always keeps the lesser ones to make room for a steal. That’s how predictable this show is.

    • Jasper says:

      Madi was incredible, though.

      • analythinker says:

        I have to agree, in that song. But I still give the overall edge to Amy. There’s just something about her.

        • Nemma says:

          I agree. Madi chose a really good song. She’s very talented but I think in the long run Amy could offer a different flavor to the competition that America would love. It’s Korin vs. Madi now in terms of the alternative genre and I’d still pick Korin over Madi (for now). But we’ll see if Korin would deliver the same amazing performance in her KO.

          • JM1 says:

            I was kinda annoyed at the “Case of You” song choice. I hate when a lesser-known song has a big “moment” on the show (in this case, when James Wolpert did it), so then subsequent singers start trying to steal the thunder. Sorry, but Joni Mitchell has a huge catalog to choose from. Pick a different Joni song. I feel that way all the time on this show btw, it’s just my first time airing out that gripe. If I griped about it every time, I’d be on here constantly. Hehe.

          • Timmah says:

            I totally agree JM1. There are tons of Joni songs, so why do one that was pretty much done to perfection (IMHO) by Wolpert. Plus I didn’t really care for Madi’s interpretation.

          • Alan Dvorkis says:

            Agree with JM1, Joni Mitchell has more good songs than most. I think the beautiful but rarely played, Michael From Mountains would have been a better choice.

          • Guest says:

            I agree with Timmah. Wolpert did it to perfection. I didn’t care for last night’s version at all. I did not like Madi.

          • Don says:

            I preferred Madi’s version to James Wolpert. I felt she did more with the song. But I agree with JM1 that Joni Mitchell has a lot of other songs that could have been chosen.

    • dan says:

      How the hell could he let her get away, though? Nuts.

      • analythinker says:

        Strategy. It’s been like that with Pharrell. Adam, on the other hand, tends to pair up his #1 and #2, always picks #1 with the hope that #2 will get stolen. They have a formula. Which is why I like Gwen a lot this season, because she picks the best, not the favorite.

        • Jasper says:

          I was about to write her off after sending Lyndsey home, but then Braiden sings the crap out of Feeling Good and gets an amazing makeover, and I’m just like, “I’m not even mad anymore.”

      • JM1 says:

        Pharrell has someone else who’s his favorite, so he did the kind thing by letting Amy go b/c she’d clearly get stolen? He’s done it before!

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      i went into that one thinking Madi would get destroyed by Amy, but it was the other way around. Amy is showing her limitations, whereas Madi is showing her versatility. Amy is very good though. It was a well-deserved steal.

      • analythinker says:

        Tone-wise, I liked Amy more, though. But I think Madi will continue to show versatility because I don’t think a lot of songs suit Amy’s voice. Limited genre, but nice to see people enjoy it.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I normally do not like the small-voiced women this show has. Like, I nearly always hate them. It’s these small sounds with highly affected tones and obstructionful (yes, I know that’s not a word) singing that leads me to hit my mute button. Caroline Pennel and Melanie Martinez immediately come to mind.
          All that being said, Amy is actually singing. Yes, it’s a smaller sound, but it doesn’t bother me at all because she’s singing honestly and naturally, and I’m buying what she’s doing musically. I really like her. She’s an amazing jazz singer and she needs to stick to lighter jazz fare. The band will kill her if she tries to do anything too big.

          • Wild child says:

            Pretty ironic coming from the person who spent ALL of last season bashing the vocally limited Sawyer. He may not have had the biggest voice but he touched people in a very special and intangible way. Amy is pretty much in the same category.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            You’re confusing small voice with an inability to sing. Amy can sing. Sawyer cannot.
            And I wasn’t bashing him. I simply wasn’t joining the love fest.
            It’s been several month, chica. Give it up.

    • Paige says:

      That was very transparent, and although it was nice for Madi, I feel Pharrell just lost his shot at winning this season. For some reason, i think Gwen has the best team this year.

    • TC says:

      Madi won that round hands down. Glad Pharrell recognized that

  3. Xox says:

    My wife rihanna did an amazing job

  4. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

    My favorites were Jordan, Madi, Amy, Ivonne, and Viktor. These 5 really brought out different aspects of their artistry, especially Madi, wow. Her performance was probably my favorite along with Amy and Jordan. I am still saddened over losing ellie and Andi & alex, both frontrunners that got saddled with rough song choices. I waiting for Shelby, Kota, Korin, Regina, Morgan, Jeffery, Mark, Siahna and Evan!!!

    • kevstar says:

      They didn’t get saddled with their songs. They chose them.

      • Florence+TheMachineRules!!! :) #MariahSlays says:

        Whoops, couldn’t find the right words, meant choose wrong. My bad 😁

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          I went into the Amy and Madi knockout ready to be completely pissed off at Pharrell because I had heard through the grapevine that he dropped Amy. But after the performance, as much as I love Amy, I was completely blown away by Madi. IMO one of the best performances on the show in two seasons. Amazing that at 16 she was able to use her unique voice and different phrasing to transform the song beautifully, and make it her own. I knew Amy would be rightfully saved, so now I have dual favorites which eases the sting from some of the unjust eliminations in the battle rounds.

  5. Kim Moores says:

    Madi, Amy, then Viktor. That’s all tonight was about.
    Jordan is an excellent singer and his vocal ability is undeniable, but that’s it. Objectively he has a great voice, but nothing about his singing draws me in or entices me. Viktor gave a better knockout because I felt drawn in. Whereas with Jordan I felt the entire performance was just idly sitting by being competent while waiting for that falsetto moment in the middle. No build up in the presence of the vocals. Idk just me.
    Overall I preferred Madi and Amy’s performances much more. Shame Pharrell put the against one another.

    • davmon says:

      I totally agree on all counts. Madi and Amy are both special. Given they were were matched, I was glad both got through. And Jordan and Viktor are both talented, but Viktor seemed to add more life and color to his song than Jordan….The twins made a bum song choice; they should’ve easily gotten past Blaine who is rather plain–sounding. Oh well.

  6. rebecca says:

    I’m really going to miss Andi & Alex. Not a great song choice by them and Blaine was wicked good too. Favorite of the night was tie between Braiden & Madi.

  7. Kaba says:

    Can we make note of the fact that Rihanna (my wife) was just excellent tonight? She’s an absolute breath of fresh air to the panel and she’s so engrossed in it too. Love her and her advice

    • analythinker says:

      Congrats on your marriage! ;)

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      She was surprisingly on point with her technical criticisms too. Like when she was telling Barrett to make sure he felt his chest still buzzing on soft notes. I was all “whoa!” when she said that, because that’s a fairly advanced technical detail that I would have never expected Rihanna to be aware of. And her telling Madi the tone was stuck in her throat and to release it. She was right, then Madi fixed it (mostly) and sounded 10x better. Props, girl.

      • Kaba says:

        I feel as though majority of the excitement in the knockouts comes from wondering whether or not these advisors are actually competent. Then being surprised when they are. I wasn’t expecting Rihanna to be so awesome tonight.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Taylor Swift knocked it out of the park last season. I think Swift set the new gold standard for advisers. She was amazing. And I certainly don’t disagree that Rihanna was amazing too. I wasn’t expecting much.

          • TTorvo says:

            Taylor Swift was all about Taylor Swift. She was clueless about helping the blind singer. All about stage antics and not much about vocal control.

      • analythinker says:

        “Because that’s a fairly advanced technical detail that I would have never expected Rihanna to be aware of” -> exactly! I was pleasantly surprised.

    • Timmah says:

      Rihanna was great, and it really showed in the results. Best show of the season by far.

      • davmon says:

        Coach-wise, she was a revelation. I am not usually a fan, except to notice her statuesque posture, pretty face, and frequent low-coverage “fashion statements”. Hetero male, I confess. But she was more helpful in the edits shown than we normally see from the regular coaches in entire sesons; she was really good! And I actually noticed that somehow, despite the highlight clips of her denuded shoulders and lovely chest arrangement.

        • Tom22 says:

          Yes, exactly my thoughts about Rhianna’s plentiful useful reccomendations. And to get a bit snarky, she said more useful things in one episode that Randy did in over a decade on American Idol.

  8. Nemma says:

    I loved the show tonight because of the surprises. I mean, I didn’t expect Braiden could belt out like that (but please, bring back his curls). My favorite performances were Jordan’s and Amy’s. Madi was great, too. But to me, Jordan and Amy were the best so far (and I hope they go far in this competition!).

  9. analythinker says:

    Braiden was a surprise, because I genuinely thought it would be boring. Ellie… oh well. You can obviously tell Gwen & Rihanna were not impressed by the song choice. By saying “the ability to pick the right song shows that you know the artist you want to be” (or something along that line) to Braiden, I think Gwen purposefully meant that for Ellie, too.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Eesh. Ellie had a good old-fashioned choke. That was not good. Braiden won that easily.

      • analythinker says:

        What a flip of confidence level, eh? She was noticeably nervous.

      • kevstar says:

        I agree. That was so obvious, even to her friends and family watching her. The song she chose was bad. If she wanted to do a Demi song, she should have done the second song she did on SNL.
        I didn’t know Lovato could sing like THAT, and I’m shocked 15 year old Braiden even knew that song.

        • akillesheel says:

          Feeling Good? That might be the most ubiquitous crooner standard in pop culture today, especially after Buble’s cover. I think very few kids don’t know that song. He would’ve impressed me if he’d properly attributed it to Nina Simone, but nope…

      • Timmah says:

        I was rooting for Ellie, but she pretty much ignored all of Rihanna and Gwen’s advice and just did her usual thing, which I knew wasn’t going to be enough given how much the little kid had improved.

  10. Ginger Snap says:

    The only performance I will remember a week from now is AMY.

  11. Betsy says:

    It’s almost 11pm est. and I am watching the itunes pop charts right now. OMG, Amy is leading the pack by about 10 miles. Oh Oh, Pharrell you might have let go of this season’s winner. Amy is not my taste but America is jumping on her bandwagon. Can anyone explain how it’s possible that Amy, Braiden and Madi are all ranking higher than the this season’s voice wonderguy Jordan Smith on the itunes pop charts?

    • analythinker says:

      Because people miss the classics? Or smooth-type music? My theory though: Set Fire to the Rain (or If I Ain’t Got You, for that matter) are songs for vocal acrobatics, people applaud when the singers nailing them, but don’t want to buy because they’d rather listen to the original (being so popular, they want to hear the exact same runs and riffs).

      • Ginger Snap says:

        You hit the nail on the head. I’ve seen and heard the kinds of performances Jordan and Viktor gave a thousand times before and it’s all about the vocal gymnastics.

        Meanwhile Amy sang a song that makes me want to put it on the stereo on a Sunday afternoon and sing along with her.

        • JM1 says:

          ….while curled up under an afghan drinking hot cocoa and looking at the rain outside the window. Which I’ve never done in my life but I want to do now. :-)

          • Paige says:

            JM1 Where I live (lovely Oregon), there are lots of opportunities to curl up under a blanket by a roaring fire while it’s raining outdoors. I prefer Good Earth spicy tea to hot cocoa though… :)

    • The Beach says:

      I wonder just how much weight the itunes charts carry these days. (Taking nothing away from Amy who was wonderful). So much of the music people listen to these days, me included, is streamed from Apple Music, Spotify or one of the other big ones. I don’t think nearly as many people are actually buying the songs as before and I wonder how that influences the chart positions…just curious.

  12. NatasyaF says:

    Looking forward to the updated recap. But even at first hearing, I thought Jordan, beautiful voice and all, totally lacked rhythm/bounce–like everything too smooth, no punches. I wasn’t a Viktor fan before, thought he was too glib previously. But he gave himself good advice: “I’m over-thinking instead of being about the music” and he killed it!

  13. I don’t blame Adam for picking Blaine over A&A, nor blame Gwen for picking Braiden over Ellie. A&A and Ellie were one of my favorites so far but I was really disappointed by their performances and songchoices. It was all wrong with them. I know they could do better but somehow they are going home now, and it’s fair compared to whom they were facing in the knockouts. Blaine did an excellent job and I’m shocked for Braiden come up with that performance, even though there were some flaws. Hope Gwen don’t push him to the live shows like she did with Ryan Sill.
    Well, Madi surprised me with “A case of you” and once again I don’t blame Pharrell for picking her over Amy, who was really good (not as good as Madi, IMO) and deserved the steal.
    I still don’t understand WHY Adam paired two of his best acts together… the clear winner of the knockout was Jordan, but I really think that going to the live shows Viktor would clearly be on Team Adam’s top3. They were both great on their performances and the steal Viktor got was more than deserved. About Jordan, I think Adele is really glad that he made the best cover so far of one of her songs.. and IMO it’s even better than the original.

    • I take back what I said: Madi was really good, but Amy was GREAT!

    • Betty Scott says:

      I was surprised too that Adam paired Viktor and Jordan, but then realized that Viktor will get voted off when “America” starts voting. There’s a huge backlash against ‘professionals.’ Remember Judith Hill? She should have won the whole thing, but instead got bounced a few weeks into the lives. Lots of comments about her Michael Jackson work.

  14. sheindie says:

    keep gwen get rid of christina

  15. Davey says:

    My favorites tonight were Madi and Viktor. I’m pretty sure Barrett is going to be popular on the live shows, he is going to get a lot of women’s votes. I liked Amy too but her song was a bit sleepy. Just not as crazy about Jordan like the judges are.

    • Timmah says:

      Can we all just make a pact to never vote for Barrett? He’s an average singer with a really annoying demeanor. Like you though I fear the women are going to vote him all the way to the finals.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Or how he’s allegedly singing to honor the memory of the plane crash? I normally blame the show for pushing a narrative too hard, but he’s got all the culpability on this particular one.

        • Alan Dvorkis says:

          That is the one thing that makes me turn off what is otherwise good entertainment, people who would rather manipulate, than perform.

  16. Andres says:

    I miss ellie.

  17. Andres says:

    I miss ellie. Also I thought ivonne was good and don’t understand her ranking at 6

    • Jasper says:

      This was a competitive night.
      I would have ranked it as
      8) Barrett
      7) Ivonne
      6) Blaine
      5) Braiden
      4) Viktor
      3) Jordan
      2) Madi
      1) Amy
      Best episode of the season by far.

      • Andres says:

        I am gonna say that there was improvement in braiden but I feel like he needs to show more emotion. I felt like he had a blank face

  18. JM says:

    Sigh. This episode left me asking if the judges are tone-deaf. I disagreed with half of the choices. I’m not even an Andi & Alex fan, but I thought they sang better than Blaine. And Braiden over Ellie??? There are no words. And perhaps Chance’s song choice wasn’t the best for him, but his voice is infinitely more unique than Ivonne’s, whose voice quite frankly makes me cringe. Barrett vs. Blind Joe was a waste of time since they’re both mediocre at best, but at least, Blake did choose the better singer. Madi and Amy are both incredible singers (and, I might add, BOTH are beautiful, NOT just Amy–how rude!), but I did feel like Madi has the stronger stage presence. Viktor was amazing, so I’m glad Gwen stole him, but Jordan is in a league of his own. To me, he’s up there with the Amanda Brown’s of the show.

    • TTorvo says:

      I also did not think much of Blaine’s performance. It was mostly overdone hand gestures and bad vocal tone. Adam’s lame brain idea of having Andi and Alex start out separately was unfair to them as a duet team. They were not on the show as individual artists but rather as a duet act. Why not make use of and emphasize their strength as vocalists, together not as individuals.

      Madi’s version of a classic Song was mediocre when compared with the original. Sounded like a high school talent show singer. Oh wait, she is a high school singer.

      A side note: Sawyer (same sound) Fredericks has a single out entitled “Forever Wrong,” which pretty much captures my feelings about him winning last season. Wrong, wrong and forever wrong.

      • Greg M says:

        I have watched Blaine’s performance about 15 times and it still haunts me – cannot understand how low comments here rank it. Hint – watch the James Bay original – Blaine rocks it over and beyond James. I thought maybe I’m off kilter on this, but go back and watch Riri’s reaction and tell me any one else (except Jordan of course) got her so worked up. Song selection is 75% of the game on this show – if Blaine keeps on making good choices h’s my sleeper choice for final 3.

  19. Katie Killjoy says:

    Word on the street (aka, straight from the twitter files) is that Ellie had hardcore laryngitis during the knockouts.
    That, stacked with that song of all songs to pick… Lol she choked. Shame, I needed her and her pretty hair to make it to the playoffs.
    Clarissa Serna and Holly Henry just gained a new friend.

  20. Angie_Overrated says:

    Most of what I wanted to say has already been said, so just two more points:
    First, Alex & Madi made a huge mistake singing solos. It exposed how weak they were individually. They should have stuck with the county fair harmonies because that’s the only thing they sound good at. Also not a smart choice to sing a song Cassadee Pope absolutely nailed with a far superior voice.
    Secondly, I’m not at all down on Ivonne. I thought she did a great job. It’s a straight pop sound, but she executed well, and I was very pleasantly surprised by her despite expecting nothing.

    • analythinker says:

      While I don’t think Cassadee’s voice was far superior, I did say Alex & Andi would sound weak individually, and it really showed. They should have started the song with harmonies right off the bat. And we agree again on Ivonne.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I think Alex & Andi was our first big disagreement. Well, that and now Cassadee. It was bound to happen eventually. :)
        Question for ya: did you think Jordan beat Viktor? I contend that Viktor beat Jordan. Similar to what someone above said (Kim?), I’m not feeling it at all when Jordan sings.

        • analythinker says:

          We don’t really disagree with Andi & Alex, though, but can’t say I’m not surprised to hear your thoughts on Cassadee. Her voice trembled all over the place over the course of the competition, IMO. But she did have some shining moments, and I don’t hate her. I just didn’t like her winning in a sense that I don’t like the obvious sport teams winning.
          I think Viktor went into the higher gear on the second verse and only by then I started to feel what he’s singing. To my ears, Jordan was straining a bit on his big notes. I’d agree that I didn’t feel anything from him as well.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Agree on Ivonne, I was not expecting much especially when she chose a Katy Perry song(for some reason Katy Perry songs never seem to fare well on these show) but she was surprisingly good, made me want to hear more from her after being kind of ticked off that a save was wasted on her last week.Two of my favorites that were eliminated(the twins and Ellie) deserved to be eliminated so for once I didn’t have a quarrel with the judges.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Yup. I’m not sure why everyone is hating on Ivonne so much. There are pop girls every season who make it to the finals who aren’t as good as that performance was. I truly don’t understand the “second place in a local talent show” comment from Slezak. I’m not arguing that it was earth-movingly amazing, but it was pretty good despite a number of flat notes.

  21. JM1 says:

    I am not at all a Rihanna fan . . .or so I thought. Have to give props, she is an outstanding coach.

  22. analythinker says:

    iTunes:
    54 Amy
    109 Braiden
    113 Madi
    114 Jordan
    183 Viktor
    204 Blaine
    239 Barrett
    271 Ivonne

  23. Timmah says:

    I’m probably alone in this opinion, but I thought Madi’s interpretation of that song was a rambling mess. Jordan won the night for me, followed by Amy. And Blaine was surprisingly good.

    • analythinker says:

      I think she tried to put in dynamics in her interpretation, but it felt like the music was just not agreeing with her. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it was off to me. I meant to write “odd”, but “off” works too.

  24. Andy says:

    I was shocked when Andi/Alex and Ellie were out in the first two Knockout Rounds, without even a steal. I thought those were each the respective guarantees for Team Adam and Team Gwen. Truthfully, though, I thought the right people won.
    I loved Chance Pena in his first two performances, but he was pretty terrible tonight, which was disappointing.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      Chance’s poor song choice and subsequent butchering off, was far and away the biggest disappointment of the night.

      • Lee says:

        Agree. He said he’s a folk rock singer. Why didn’t he sing Mumford & Sons, Lumineers, X Ambassadors, etc. IMO Imagine Dragon songs aren’t even that good. They lack memorable melodies.

  25. jw says:

    Blaine’s performance may have been the strongest for me. Clear, powerful voice and great stage presence. But Jordan and Madi brought tears to my eyes, their performances were that powerful. And Braiden was kind of awesome. Great night of performances. Best of all, everyone….coaches and contestants….are trying to make the best music possible, supportive and enthusiastic for great performances, even among competitors.

  26. Carfield says:

    I think this knockout premier is pretty good, and 100% agree that Rhianna is just an amazing coach. She should be in one of these red chairs in the future. As all the coaches reiterate, song choice is the key here, and some of the favorites fell because of poor song choice. Of course it is good to be adventurous, but you need to be realistic too. But I also want to remind everyone that it is not always easy to get your top song choice pick, as many of the former contestants have shared. “A case of you” is an amazing song and James Wolpert’s version is still something I listen to from time to time, but I have to give credits to Madi because she really brings something completely different from James’ version. Of course I agree with others that it will be nice to sing another Joni Mitchell’s song, but maybe the show has issues getting other songs clear. Talk about songs that should be retired… “Demons”… I love this song, but really don’t want another person to sing it unless they can bring something really new to it. I still don’t understand why Adam puts Jordan and Victor together, but give credits to Victor for not giving up at all. Anyone must know that they are doomed when pitch against Jordan, but Victor shows that he is a seasoned pro and will not just give up and has to go out in a boom. Thankfully Gwen finally makes a smart “steal.” I am getting excited about the playoff two weeks from now.

  27. Linda says:

    I actually thought Braiden did very well.

  28. I liked Viktor the best. He has a voice like butter and I thought he won the night. I liked Amy too but I feel both were let go because the both judges thought their competition has the best chance to win. Gwen might have a chance to be the first female winner with Braden and Viktor

  29. Lauren says:

    Michael: You wrote, “Blind Joe *watched* his technique fly out the window . . . .” (emphasis added). Um…

  30. About the Amy/Madi KO….I think Amy should have won because Madi’s delivery of that song was rushed. It seemed like she was always ahead of the music and it was distracting, even though she sang it really well. That should count for something. Listen to Madi’s KO over again and you will see that it was rushed.

    • Guest says:

      Yes finally someone says it. She was either ahead or behind the music. They were never together. It was distracting. And I really do not like the hat. What is the point? It sits on the back of her head and does nothing, but distract as well.

  31. Betty Scott says:

    I was surprised Adam paired Jordan and Viktor because I thought both had huge potential to go far. But when it gets to the “America votes” part, Viktor is doomed because there’s a huge backlash against ‘professionals’ (remember Judith Hill?) so Jordan has a better chance of winning.

  32. VJ says:

    I didn´t watch live but checked Twitter during Braidens song. People were going crazy.
    I was disappointed to see Andi & Alex go although I understand the desicion. During their Blinds and the Battle round I had chills, but not today and Blaine was way more entertaining.
    When I read that Jordan and Viktor were paired up against each other I couldn´t figure out why, because they were – for me – locks for the live shows. I saw the preview of the Battle on youtube and while I wanted Viktor to be better I was underwhelmed up until he went into his falsetto. Lastly: I was so happy that Amy was saved, I thought she should have won the Knockout but comes down to taste, I think.

  33. akillesheel says:

    1. Amy
    2. Viktor/Madi

    3. Jordan

    4. Blaine
    5. Ivonne
    6. Braiden/Barrett

    I’ve probably got Barrett low, but both his incessant pushing of the plane crash and his cheesiness mark him down for me.

    • akillesheel says:

      I can never make my formatting work right on this server. There should be a small gap between 2 and 3, then a chasm between 3 and 4.

  34. Buddy says:

    What is wrong with all of these female singers voices?? They all sound like Nora Jones on helium but with mashed potatoes lodged in their throats!! It is HIDEOUS!! When did this affected sound become the new way for females to sing?? That said, Viktor has the most soulful voice on the show and should win but of course he won’t.

  35. danin says:

    The refreshing surprises of the night for me…Braiden,Blaine&Yvonne.

  36. Gigantor says:

    Amy picked the wrong coach to steal her. Adam’s team is stacked while there are several contestants in Team Blake that Blake can easily get rid of for her.

  37. pdamico says:

    Jordan possesses crystalline vocal skills, but I’d never buy/listen to a full album of music by him. He seems like he’s got a big, gentle soul, but he’s never conveyed that with his voice or the lyrics. All skill/no feel. Viktor conveys mega skill + the lyrics, and there’s no comparing stage presence between the two. I think voters won’t care about Viktor’s professional background as long he loses a few of those lounge-y type hand movements and song choices. His tone is so smooth and rich and unaffected, it would be a shame if he doesn’t take advantage of this opportunity to challenge himself with more artistic song choices.

    I thought Ivonne showed immense growth and Blake was wise to pick her. No doubting Blaine needs a makeover, but I did not like the boy band hairdo. The kid is talented, but unlike Madi, he hasn’t shown any sense of knowing what kind of singer he wants to be. Chance was a big disappointment for me. I really, really liked his voice, but he committed singer-suicide with that song choice.

    Madi deserved to win that KO. She wasn’t perfect, but when two so closely alike singers go head to head it’s all about song choice and interpretation. I think we all knew that Amy would be stolen, but I think she made a BIG bad mistake in not choosing Blake. He has an intuitive affinity for female singers with breathy, airy styles, and he’s shown he knows how to the coach them despite being a country artist. I think she’s going to regret choosing Adam (who I bet has a tired Stevie Nicks song already picked out for her). And, for God’s sakes, let her keep her guitar.

    I’m fully aware of all the historically critical stuff said about Ri’. So much always being said about how she can’t sing Live! I wasn’t much of a fan of her stylized pop music… until I saw/heard her gorgeous Grammy performance of “Stay.” That is a *hard* song to sing, she stunned me that night (no dramatics/no gimmicks, just a beautiful performance in a lovely, classy black shift dress). Plus, she’s worked with just about every major star in music. So, I was not at all surprised at her technically on-point coaching. I’d love to see her, instead of Christina (who, in all fairness, seemed re-invested last season) on the panel. She’s earned it.

  38. Mary says:

    I like your column but could you please give a rest to calling people ugly who disagree with gay marriage. Your are essentially calling almost half the Country ugly. That comment did not belong in your column. Write a political column and use it there.

  39. Rebecca dixon says:

    Ivonne is a force to be reckoned with, I don’t think she will win, BUT i Do believe, like Jennifer Hudson, and others that she will DEFINITELY have a career after she leaves the show!