The Voice Recap: Where on Earth's the Magic in the Air?

There’s a problem with Season 9 of The Voice, and amazingly, it has nothing to do with Adam Levine’s decision to shave his head during the Battle and Knockout Rounds.

Nope, the bald pate currently rocked by the Maroon 5 frontman and former People’s Sexiest Man Alive (Whose Name Isn’t Idris Elba) has been a source of endlessly excellent zingers for his fellow coach Blake Shelton: Dr. Evil. The Blue Man Group. Powder. The common grocery-store egg. All of ’em — and many more cueball references — have been lobbed at Adam’s noggin, to hilarious effect, in the last couple of weeks.

The more troubling issue with the NBC reality juggernaut’s latest incarnation is the lack of depth in its talent pool. I’m not sure I’ve been this disengaged by what’s coming through my TV set during NBC’s Monday-Tuesday signal since Christina Millian held residency in the Sprint Skybox.

Is it just me, or is the muscular frame of ennui occupying an invisible fifth chair on the stage this season?

While you ponder that question, allow me to rank Tuesday’s Knockouts in order from least- to most-promising:

3. Team Adam: Keith Semple, “I Want to Know What Love Is” defeats Dustin Christensen, “Free” | Special advisor Rihanna gave excellent advice to both of these fellas — instructing Keith on how to improve his tone by not tightening his jaw, and warning Dustin to dial back on the vibrato — but neither of ’em listened. Yet while Keith’s clenched, karaoke cover of a dated rock ballad didn’t exactly scream “Season 9” champ, at least he hit most of his notes. Dustin’s wobbly pitch and iffy intensity devolved into a white-flag-of-surrender on the final bars — making this outcome as much a foregone conclusion as multiple gasps on Shondaland Thursdays.

2. Team Pharrell: Darius Scott, “On Broadway” defeats Morgan Frazier, “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” (Morgan stolen by Blake) | I wish once — just once — a Voice Battles or Knockouts episode wouldn’t end with a Steal… if only to introduce a tiny smidge of suspense back into the process. In any event, while both Darius and Morgan clearly have monster pipes, they’re also going to need a lot of coaching before I’m willing to bet on either of ’em surviving into December. There was such an excess of vocal showboating during Darius’ “On Broadway” that I lost any/all connection to the lyrics. True talent should exist in its own space, not jump up and down and yell “Look at me! Look at me!” Morgan, on the other hand, brought to life the struggle for artistic success in her Eli Young Band cover, but hit a lot of flat notes on the verse — particularly when she was dialing it in and aiming for something other than big, belty country. That said, I’m not upset that both of ’em advanced to the Top 20 — as long as they follow up with the kind of practice and training that results in an elevated performance level.

1. Team Gwen: Korin Bukowski, “All I Want” defeats Summer Schappell, “Little White Church” | Summer definitely brought out the sass this week, but unfortunately, it was at the expense of her intonation — and with every botched note, she opened the door a little further to allow for a Korin victory. The latter singer definitely sounded better in the Battles, but there’s an ethereal luxury to her upper register that I could listen to all day. Korin’s ability to transition effortlessly between airy and muscular might put Team Gwen in a better-than-expected position headed in the Live Rounds — so long as the “Hella Good” chanteuse can figure out the kind of dynamic (and not overdone) ditties that’ll bring out her artist’s best.

OK, your turn. What did you think of Night w 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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50 Comments
  1. Christian says:

    As usual, Korin was my favorite of the night. I was really disappointed with Megan. It seemed like everytime she went for a high note she was running out of breath or something. It didn’t sound good.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I have a feeling Megan’s voice sounds better live than on our tv’s. I remember thinking during her song that it sounds like it might be a piercing sound (in a good way) but it wasn’t readily apparent on the telecast. Then Gwen specifically referred to Megan’s voice as “piercing.” Some voices just don’t record well. I think hers is one of them.

  2. Kim Moores says:

    Korin and Darius.
    All I want or need to talk about.
    Darius was lovely, I enjoyed that.
    Morgan just…oh boy.
    Also, Rihanna has officially become my favorite adviser for this show. No Tay Tay, no.

  3. Angie_Overrated says:

    So much blech tonight.
    Darius’ high notes are money, but he needs to watch the runs. Less is more. And he had some pitch issues with a few of his runs. Reminds me of Delvin Choice with a less rich voice but equally awful hair.
    Korin last me on her song tonight. By far her weakest performance, but she made up for a lot of that in the final 15 seconds or so. So pretty. I got the chills. Everything before the last 15 seconds? Eesh.
    The other 4… no thanks. That falsetto at the end of Keith’s song. Why?

    • Christian says:

      Your 100% right on Darius.

    • shenelletriplett says:

      Seriously? Awful hair? Both Darius and Delvin have gorgeous dreadlocks. Not sure what you’re seeing when you look at them… But I do agree that he needs to watch the runs.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I remember Delvin fixed his hair midseason, but he was sporting a lobster roll there for awhile. Which then begs the question that you rightly raise: maybe my issue is with dreadlocks in general? Angela Basset and Cosima on Orphan Black rock the dreads, so maybe I just don’t like it on men? Dunno.
        Dreads aside, Delvin was one of my top 3 faves his season. Ditto that for Darius. I think Darius had a slightly off night though.

  4. Kristin Rose says:

    Korin represents all of the “get me the hell out of this box!” people. She’s lovely, different and can actually sing songs I would buy & listen to all day. I thank her for that.

  5. Carola says:

    Can Riri be a future coach in season 11? She is so awesome! Pls make it happen!

  6. what says:

    korin could be a dark horse if she picks the right songs and has her “breakout” at the right time

  7. Cobra says:

    Saw Morgan Frazier at the Grand Ole Opry a couple of years ago. Why she’d want to throw away her talent to be coached by a d****enozzle like Blake Shelton is beyond my comprehension.

    • Coach Taylor says:

      LOL! Do you watch this show? Blake is more invested in his contestants during AND after the show than any other coach on the program. Get a grip

  8. JM1 says:

    Both Keith’s and Darius’ song choices seem dated; I don’t know where there’s a place for them in today’s music. And while Keith’s voice is very good, he skews kinda karaoke for me.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Keith sounds like a generic cover band singer. I’m so not into it. He’s not untalented, but I’ve heard it a million times before.

      • kevstar says:

        Keith and Darius’ songs might be dated, but they are still better than most songs on the radio right now.

      • Me says:

        That’s because he is a generic cover band singer. Oh wait! My bad he was a generic cover band singer. Now he has his own band that plays local bars and casinos around Chicago

  9. Bruce Cavallin says:

    Rihanna should put a sock in it. Her input sounded like a toddler at ToysRus with “I want to hear this & I want that. She was more a distraction to the coaches and contestants than a help.
    One day the other coaches are going to get fed up with Adam’s always open mouth and stuff something in it.
    I’m sorry the twins didn’t get more attention. To me this last show was disappointing, however, I’m grateful The Voice is on the air. A great opportunity for good talent.

  10. Andres says:

    I know it’s a long shot but I think Korin would sound amazing if she sang “Strong” by London Grammer

  11. kevstar says:

    After last night’s Madi and Amy tonight was bound to be a disappointment. Thank God it was only an hour show.

  12. Ginger Snap says:

    Agree with you Slezak. The talent this season is lackluster.

  13. Carfield says:

    Michael… I guess you get what you want next week. With only one steal left, you know NBC is going to put that last steal on the last pair on Tuesday night next week.

    I am actually pretty happy with the results tonight and most of the song choices, and while I actually prefer Morgan to Darius, I am fine with the result. However, I still wonder if the coaches use their steal correctly, and dread which favorites are going to get cut next week.

  14. Ram510 says:

    This season is certainly missing something and I’ve found watching this show such a chore now. There has been awesome moments like last nights final knockout round but almost all of the contestants this season are just meh. Not much interesting to see here

  15. analythinker says:

    iTunes:
    #123 Korin
    #155 Keith
    #279 Morgan
    #306 Darius

    While Amy rose to #31 (since my post yesterday).

  16. analythinker says:

    Do we know next week’s knockout pairings? Nvm, I’m gonna play Guess the Winner game anyway…

    GWEN
    Kota vs Jeffrey -> Kota wins, Jeffrey’s stolen by Pharrell
    Regina vs Riley -> Riley wins, but could go either way

    ADAM
    Shelby vs James -> Shelby wins

    BLAKE
    Nadjah vs Emily Ann -> Emily Ann wins, for obvious reasons
    Zach vs Chris -> Zach wins, also for obvious reasons. It’s Blake, come on.

    PHARRELL
    Mark vs Siahna -> Mark wins
    Evan vs Tim -> Tim wins

    • Jasper says:

      I think that Jeffrey and Regina will win, with Riley getting a steal. I can’t even begin to fathom Tim beating Evan. Good picks though.

  17. Sam says:

    Can some of these overdone tunes be forbidden in this show – I Want to know what love Is. That is one overdone song i can’t even connect to the lyrics anymore. I see the performer as as robot singing something.

  18. PatD says:

    Sure, Korin would be the obvious audience favorite. No surprise there. But although her vocals weren’t perfect, IMO, Morgan gave the only memorable performance last night. That girl felt and *meant* those lyrics, and she conveyed that with no histrionics. Just her voice. Blake is one cagey dude. I have a sneaky feeling about that girl. She’s all country, but she appears to have a pretty high music IQ with her interesting song choices and arrangements. Watch out for her.

    It’s a shame, but Keith is going nowhere fast with his tired, classic rock song choices. I’d love to see him do something more indie or interesting. I hear a lot of David Gray in his voice. If I was his coach, I’d push him bigtime to do something like Gray’s version of Soft Cell’s “Say Hello Wave Goodbye,” or something like that. He needs to step away from the karaoke songlist.

    I don’t agree, at all, that there’s a lack of talent this season. I think Michael’s just disappointed at not having several of his favorite genre: beast blasters.

  19. Coach Taylor says:

    The one thing more guaranteed than Adam winning this season of the voice is that this recap is filled with negative thoughts about the show. So predictable

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      He was giving A+’s right and left last season on several of the performances. Well-deserved A+’s I might add. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; this season kind of blows, particularly compared to the crazy talent in the season immediately prior.

      • Coach Taylor says:

        I don’t disagree with what the talent was last year. Maybe it is just me. I did not like Sawyer Fredericks (or Meghan Linsey for that matter) and thought the ending last year was an absolute bore. This year I think there is a lot more potential in Jordan, Shelby, Amy (who I think are all in Adam’s final three if he is smart) and also think those could very well be 3 of the final 4. I wish the voice would change the format up a bit though and eliminate the double (and one triple elim) they do each week. I know the coaches have a schedule and thats why it wraps quicker. I dont know guess I rather see more live shows then taped Battles/Knockouts but the show probably figures that is more unique for the voice than the lives are.

  20. jenni4955 says:

    For me the song choices this season have been more yawn inducing than interesting. The past two seasons I have ordered tons of the songs on iTunes but this season nothing yet. While I do like some of the singers, so far the songs they’ve chosen have not impressed me. I’m looking forward to the knockouts to see if this changes.

  21. Caitlyn says:

    I’m glad Morgan is still around. She will benefit from more mentoring, but has some tools to work with.

    Then again, I never seem to be in sync with what the voters think. Some people have won this show lately, that I thought where pretty average … *cough, cough Sawyer, Josh* …

  22. Randy says:

    Quit watching after twins knocked out! still cant believe it.

  23. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! #MariahSlays says:

    My favorite were Korin, Morgan, and Darius. Korin is a SERIOUS contender. I just hope that she has enough people to vote her through each and every week. She is also CONSISTENT which she has to her advantage as well. Darius can SANG, but I think he might need to dial back on the runs just a little bit, if he can, america will definetly latch on to him. Also, evan though it wasn’t her best, I still see the potential in Morgan, she just needs to pick the right songs that will highlight her style like for example, maybe:
    Romeo & Juliet (Acapella) – Taylor Swift
    Tornado – Little Big Town
    I Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

  24. Elaine says:

    Rhianna was great. She really listened & gave valuable feedback.

  25. Don says:

    I agree that the talent this season is far below what we got last season. I also agree that most of the performances this episode were mediocre at best.

    Within that context, though I thought this was Morgan’s worst performance so far, she was still my favorite of the evening, edging out Korin (who also wasn’t as good as last week).

    Darius has an incredible voice, but he seemed more interested in vocal acrobatics than actually singing the song.