The Voice Recap: They Killed It Like XO

Ohhhhhhh… I got to go! I got to go! I got to go! I got to go!

Oh, sorry, is this recap on? I got caught up — like a Kylie Jenner at the flash of a paparazzo’s camera — by so many of The Voice‘s Monday-night performances that the couch dancing and Gospel-handing off-key caterwauling have been in effect for two straight hours, with no end in sight.

I won’t! Let you! Close enough to hurt me…

Don’t judge. I know deep down you feel me. Season 9’s been a little snoozy — well, that is if you don’t count official Knockout Rounds advisor Rihanna and her technical sharp-shooting/stage-presence workshops. But over the final two hours of TKOs, artist after artist took back the wheels of their own destinies and sang like they truly, madly, deeply wanted to win.

JESUS TAKE THE WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLL… TAKE IT FROM MY HANDS… (I swear on a stack of Bibles, I don’t even like that song!)

Before this recap gets any more ridiculous, let me put the mic down and rank the final round of Knockouts in order from least- to most-promising (bearing in mind I’ll be back in an hour or so with more detailed performance reviews):

6. Team Pharrell: Evan McKeel, “Dare You to Move” defeats Tim Atlas, “Torn” | I’ve enjoyed Evan all season — and I still think he’s a real contender — but his “Dare You to Move,” while in tune, dared me to shut my eyes and take a 3-minute nap. Dude keeps trying to be a rocker, but his particular gifts tell me he’s more of a soul man. Tim, on the flip side, picked the better tune, but his voice sounded completely worn out by the mid-way point, making the outcome a foregone conclusion.

5. Team Pharrell: Mark Hood, “Stand By Me” defeats Siahna Im, “Back to Black” | Wait, I thought Mark heard Rihanna’s advice to hold back on the dramatics ’til the latter half of the song? Instead, he went full cornball right from the opening verse, and then amped up the unnecessary ad-libs in the final refrain. He’s got a nice, gruff tone and (in prior performances) proved his charisma, too, but a stop-and-spin move in the middle of a Ben E. King cover? He’s gonna have to do better if he wants a spot in the Top 12. Siahna’s Amy Winehouse cover, meanwhile, can be most honestly/cruelly summed up by one of the many lines she croaked into the mic: “I died a thousand times!” Oh, child, we all did.

4. Team Blake: Emily Ann Roberts, “Cowboy Take Me Away” defeats Nadjah Nicole, “A Woman’s Worth” (GAH! Nadjah deserved a steal, too!) | I’d probably have given the win to Nadjah, who brought real huskiness and an adult-level sensuality to the stage that stood in stark contrast to Emily Ann’s wide-eyed romanticism. But Emily-Ann’s honey-sweet tone and fearless attack of the melody were rock-solid, too (although Blake needs to teach her that raising one arm toward the sky doesn’t not necessarily signal emotional connectedness). It’s a shame there’s not room for both of these gals in the Live Playoffs, but all Voiceaholics know that’s just the agony of the process.

3. Team Adam: Shelby Brown, “Jesus Take the Wheel” defeats James Dupré, “Sure You Be Cool if You Did” | I got a little stressed out by Shelby’s sluggish pacing on the opening verse — it’s a wordy song, and she made it feel doubly so — but that might’ve just been nerves. Once her voice opened up on the chorus, we got glorious muscularity offset with fluttering delicacy at the top of the kid’s range. She’s going to need some legit coaching — and some song choices with greater edge — but she’s still a serious contender. James, for his part, was fine. But when Blake himself calls one of his own jams “a little laid back” for the Knockouts, you know you’re not advancing.

2. Team Gwen: Jeffery Austin, “Turning Tables” defeats Kota Wade, “Barracuda” | I’m not going to mention Kota’s overly ambitious, intermittently unlistenable attempt to unleash her inner Ann Wilson. Let’s instead lavish praise on Jeffery’s rich, multifaceted instrument. There’s a lushness to his glory notes that’s like Sam Smith without the whininess, but he can also infuse a phrase with gravel and growl that’s unexpected for a blue-eyed soul crooner. Most importantly, though, the guy knows how to finesse a lyric, make you feel the ache in every syllable he releases. Here’s hoping his lack of hype thus far will leave viewers feeling as if they’ve discovered their own hidden gem — rather than passing him over once voting begins.

1. Team Gwen: Regina Love, “Midnight Train to Georgia” defeats Riley Biederer, “XO” (Riley stolen by Pharrell) | If there’s a voice strong enough to lift a car and rescue a trapped child, that voice belongs to Regina. She was really good in her Blind Audition and her Battle Round, but took it to a completely different level tackling Gladys Knight’s greatest hit. The rumbling depths of her lower register threatened to stir up trouble in the San Andreas Fault, the manic passion of “I got to be with him” was so pronounced, even Blake looked ready to testify. This was world-class saaangin, and even if it’s not your preferred genre, there’s no denying that it was A+/best in show/go-directly-to-the-Top-12 stuff. Which isn’t to say Regina will automatically outfinish Riley in Season 9. While I didn’t love the faux reggae inflections the teenager brought to “XO,” she still managed to impress me with her enviable range and keen sense of rhythm. There’s something slightly Kelly Clarkson-ish about the kid’s bubbly demeanor and quiet confidence — which might not be a bad look as The Voice continues in its quest to generate a household-name-level champ.

Shown in montage: Team Blake: Zach Seabaugh defeats Chris Crump

OK, your turn. What did you think of Night 3 of The Voice’s Season 9 Knockout Rounds? Who were your faves? 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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113 Comments
  1. Andres says:

    Hot crap. Regina went super saiyan during that performance. I think it was her best performance up to date and you can see how much she has improved since the blinds.
    I don’t know why but Jeffery reminds of Clark Beckman. He certainly did a amazing job as well. Here’s to hoping that both don’t go before braiden.

    • analythinker says:

      I take it you mean Clark Beckham? To me, Jeffrey is a thousand times more interesting.

    • Adake says:

      If Braiden continues to improve, Gwen will save him before Victor or Regina. Just my hunch seeing how excited she was after “Feelin Good” and how the other coaches responded to him.

      • Vince says:

        I agree.Viktor came in 3rd on Team Gwen last time based on itunes. Braiden seems to be her Ryan Sill. Jeffrey is leading itunes for this pack.

  2. Herm says:

    Jeffrey sang Turning Tables, not Chasing Pavements.

  3. analythinker says:

    Looks like I got 5 out of 7 from my prediction last week. I should have known that Gwen would choose the better singer. She made it evident this season.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Jeffery is Gwen’s secret weapon. That boy’s got some staying power. I think he’s my #1 pick of the season.

      • analythinker says:

        I rather suspect her “getting rid” of the female indie singers to make way for Korin, though. Although Jeffrey’s #1 on her team, imo.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          To be fair, the female indie singers made it easy for her to get rid of them. They were pretty universally terrible. Barracuda? Yikes. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Ellie choked spectacularly as well.

          • analythinker says:

            Oh I agree, but the last time, Gwen mostly chose singers she was more emotionally attached to (or seemingly so), so I guess that’s why I kind of expected her to do that this season, but I’ve been proven wrong, heh.

      • JM says:

        Yes, I love Jeffrey, too! Couldn’t believe only Gwen turned for him in the blinds!

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

    MAN, did Regina and Shelby gave me everlasting life tonight!!! WOW, both are PHENOMENAL!!! Also Jeffery, Evan, and riley really impressed as well.

  5. Christian says:

    I feel like they put all the best singers in one episode. Regina, Jeffery, & Emily were amazing. Really disappointed with Mark though.

  6. Kim Moores says:

    God Damn Regina.
    OHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! #MyMantra
    I like Evan and didn’t like Mark or Siahna at all this time round.
    Thought Nadjha won her knockout and was robbed…
    And…that’s it

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

      Also Shelby was pretty good as well. She is a definite contender, and there is something different between her and other country artists I’ve seen, she seems very exciting and gives me kelly clarkson vibes a bit. I would LUV if she sang either of these choices
      Girl Crush – Acoustic
      A little bit stronger
      Anyway

      • JM1 says:

        Love all those songs! But would hope she’d stay away from Girl Crush since just covered last season, and I don’t like when they repeat songs too much. I love when – like Girl Crush last time – the show introduces me to a new song I’ve never heard. It also allows the singers to sort of claim the songs as their own . . . as opposed to just “putting their spin” on a song we already know. (Does that make sense?!)

      • Shelby needs to sing Hello by Adele

    • Jasper says:

      I actually gave the slightest of edges to Emily Ann in that round, mostly because of the power and accuracy of her glory notes, and I felt like Nadjah could have used more dynamics, but Nadjah was giving me young Anita Baker with that one. Unfortunate that they had to go up against each other.

      MISS REGINA LOVE!!!!! YOU BETTAH SANG!!!

      Sorry, lost my composure for a moment.

    • Mark gave us an extra helping of cheese tonight.

    • Yes, Nadja got robbed definitely. Ughh! Im mad about it. I like Jordan, Keith, Regina, and Nadjha will be missed.

  7. Angie_Overrated says:

    Wow. Finally a night to get excited about.
    Ms Regina Love. Sing, girl. I was not at all into her audition. I believe it was Kaba who referred to it as “holleration” and I was “meh” on the experience. Then she beat Jordan in the battle round (yes, i know Jordan technically won, but let’s face it, Regina kicked his bootie). And then this. I get it now. She’s going the Jennifer Holliday route of devouring everyone in the front three rows of the audience. Yeah, I get it now. Holleration it is.
    Jeffrey might have the best voice this season. I feel like he’s lacking on presentation, but if he can somehow find a way to make the package more presentable, he’s a contender.
    Zach Seabaugh looks like Heidi Klum as Jessica Rabbit.
    Nadjah won her knockout hands down, but in keeping with my 100% disagreement with Mr Shelton, of course she lost.
    Mark’s a great singer, but I was getting all kinds of Six Flags fabulous there.
    Shelby’s wonderful, but I wish she had spent a year REALLY studying music before trying for this. She knows to sing and sing really well, but I can tell she’s a bit clueless on how to make music. Not sure she’s going to be able to overcome that stumbling block.

    • Mytake says:

      I agree that Nadjah won hands down but I knew Blake was going to choose Emily as she was singing. He’s got a “tell”. When he holds his hands to his mouth and looks like he’s chewing on his fingernails, you can bet the farm that’s the person he’s going to choose. Of course with that pairing, even without that tell, and just knowing how that horndog operates, it was a sure thing he was going to choose the young, pretty, blond, white singer.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        [shoulder shrug] I know. As soon as I saw the match up, I knew Nadjah was a goner no matter how the performances went. Both Adam and Blake are predictable like that.

    • Timmah says:

      I thought it was by far the worst night of the knockouts. My finger was on the fast forward button the whole time. Every performance predictable.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Wow, really? You thought this was worse than the night when the best knockout matchup was Korin versus the purple-haired girl singing Little White Church? Cuz that night was showstoppingly dreadful.

        • Timmah says:

          There were some good singers tonight, but no one that moved me or that I felt did something really original with their interpretation. My two cents.

    • In all honesty, I did not like Jeffrey’s cover of “Turning Tables.” It was too cabaret! Daniel Joseph Baker did a WAY BETTER job covering the Adele tune on “America’s Got Talent!” (YouTube the performance) Now that is a great cover!

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      Wow, intelligent comments. Anomalies do occur.

  8. Abi says:

    Jeffrey Austin sang “Turning Tables” as a btw, but this night of the Knockout rounds had a lot of really good singers who moved on!!! Super excited for the Live Shows

  9. Angie_Overrated says:

    Blurg. I wrote a comment that disappeared. Sigh.

  10. Christian says:

    Ok I’m going to attempt to pre live show rank the artists per team.

    Adam:
    1-2.) Shelby Brown & Jordan Smith (interchangeable)
    3.) Amy Vachal
    4.) Keith Semple
    5.) Blaine Mitchell

    Blake:
    1.) Emily Ann Roberts
    2.) Morgan Fraizer
    3.) Zach Seabaugh
    4.) Barret Baber
    5.) Ivonne Acero

    Gwen
    1-3.)Korin Bukowski, Regina Love, & Jeffery Austin (interchangeable)
    4.) Victor Király
    5.) Braiden Sunshine

    Pharrell
    1.) Madi Davis
    2.) Evan McKeel
    3.) Riley Biederer
    4.) Mark Hood
    5.) Darius Scott (who I totally forgot about)

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

      I agree with everything except I think that Morgan should be 1 just because her tone and her musicality is the most formed out of the five. The top 5 in the order that I might put are
      1. Morgan
      2. Barrett
      3. Ivonne
      4. Emily
      5. Zach
      Just my preference.

    • JM says:

      Good rankings, Christian. Agree about Adam’s team. I’d probably rank Morgan number 1 on Blake’s team, but for the most part, I don’t care. His team is by far the weakest, IMO. On Gwen’s team, I’d probably give the edge to Jeffery but agree with the rest. The first four singers on Pharrell’s team are all up-in-the-air for me. Sometimes great, sometimes not, so it’ll depend on how they do on the Live show.

    • Adake says:

      I appreciate the work you put into this. As an alternate thought, I think if you asked the coaches to rank their own teams as of now, it might be more like this:
      Team Adam:
      1. Jordan Smith
      2. Shelby Brown
      3. Amy Vachal
      4. Blaine Mitchell
      5. Keith Semple.
      Team Pharrell:
      1. Darius Scott
      2. Madi Davis
      3.Evan McKeel
      4. Mark Hood
      5. Riley Biederer
      Team Blake:
      1. Barret Barber
      2. Emily Ann Roberts
      3. Morgan Fraizer
      4. Ivonne Acero
      5.Zach Seabaugh
      Team Gwen:
      1. Korin Bukowski
      2. Braiden Sunshine
      3. Jeffrey Austin
      4. Regina Love
      5. Victor Kiraly
      The coaches keep saying they like contestants they think they can help the most, those that can grow with their coaching and also win in the end. I’d be interested in anyone’s feedback. Thanks.

    • Colton Smith says:

      1,ellie laurence 2, krista 3,andi and alex 4. manny , oh wait they were eliminated , crappy year

      • TTorvo says:

        I agree but just maybe some of these excellent young artists will be brought back as “wildcard” contestants during the live performances. Some much weaker singers made it through the so called Battle and Knockout rounds.

  11. JM says:

    Agreed with all the judges choices, except for Blake. Nadjah definitely won over Emily Ann. Guess that oughta keep noncountry singers from picking Blake in the future. So excited for Shelby and Jeffrey–they are my favorites! Also like Regina, Riley, Evan and Mark although the latter two could have sung better, IMO.

  12. Jasper says:

    Why WHy WHY did they montage Zach and Chris? They deserved to have their knockout shown, even if they were terrible. If you’re gonna show Kota, you have to show Zach.

    • analythinker says:

      They had to show Kota, simply because Jeffrey was awesome. It was not a pleasant experience listening to her, though.

  13. shenelletriplett says:

    It annoys me that mediocre singers move on to the next round while someone like Nadjah can’t even get a steal.

  14. what says:

    man riley what happened to “overjoyed” and singing some soul? has potential but the song choices so far………..

  15. kennz says:

    I think in the end I am happy with gwens team even though I miss ellie very much. if I had to pick her top 3 that I want on her team in the live rounds it would be 1.jeffery 2.korin 3. viktor/regina. im worried though because she likes braiden so much that for her 3rd choice she will choose him. not that he is not good but I think he needs a few more years to allow his voice to grow and mature his voice.

    • Adake says:

      I think your suspicions are right, I don’t think she will let Braiden go over her two steals, Victor and Regina. They both may be better singers now but how much can they grow as compared to Braiden.

  16. Piage says:

    Siahna Im,… OH MY GOD she’s so out of tune and horrible!

  17. TheMetGalaTM says:

    This season of the Voice was amazing.

    Was blown away by Siahna Im’s Back to Black,
    Regina Love’s Midnight Train to Georgia, Riley Biederer’s XO, and Mark Hood’s Stand by Me

    Was shocked by Siahna’s elimination, though.

    Rooting for Jordan Smith and Regina Love to make it to the end!!!!

  18. trickster88 says:

    I dont get why Evan is at the bottom of the list. I would have put Mark Hood there

  19. Carola says:

    Can I just say that RiRi keeps slaying as a mentor. They need to put that girl as a permanent coach. She was outstanding with personal advice and great vocal technique tips.

    • davmon says:

      No can do.. She is embarrassingly better than the regs; they will not want her back….unless the ratings are way good due to her loveliness….No, seriously, they should cancel Xtina for next time and sign her up, if she would do it. But probably she is too current and popular to need this as a career vehicle. It is just a nice pit stop to broaden her appeal….She sure surprised me, though; the best!

  20. kevstar says:

    Torn? Seriously?

  21. Joan B says:

    Zach & Chris
    IN MONTAGE??? WHAT!

    Sure seems like a short change for Zach & Chris to me and I hate that.
    It’s not the first time either–really sucks.
    Love Rhianna as a coach!😉

  22. Caitlyn says:

    I wish Nadjah would have been stolen, even though I thought Emily Ann won that round. It seemed like an impossible choice … Nadjah has a great voice, but Emily Ann fits well into a certain niche in country music and will probably go a good ways with her career.

  23. What in the world was Mark thinking? And Pharrell for that matter — reign him in!

    Before tonight, had him advancing to the last 6, but not after that mess.

    I have no idea who is going to win but keeping on the top 6 theme (and I wouldn’t be surprised if I am completely wrong), but I am thinking they will be Barrett, Shelby, Evan, Korin, Jordan, and Madi. With the last 2 standing being Evan and Jordan.

  24. I agree that the good singers were really good and the ones that weren’t were called out by Mr. Slezak and everyone here. Tonight I liked Riley the best. She had something I missed before. Regina was fighting with her powerful voice but her song choice was dated. I still am a Viktor fan. I just am into his kind of confidence and tone. Yet, my choices always lose. Enjoyed the energy tonight

  25. Colton Smith says:

    The best was already eliminated – Manny , krista , andi and alex and off course ellie laurence , such bad choices this year

  26. katedfw says:

    I’m pretty sure that Shelby sang “Jesus Take the Wheel” and not “Jesus RAKE the Wheel”.

  27. Lady Di says:

    Regina love was so phenomenal !¡! She should be voted in to sing ‘midnight train’ at the next Gladys Knight tribute !¡!

  28. Dbrillz says:

    Here’s my team rankings (in order of best overall teams)

    Adam:
    1. Jordan
    2. Shelby
    3. Amy
    4.Blaine
    5. Keith

    Gwen:
    1. Jeffery
    2. Korin
    3. Regina
    4. Viktor
    5. Braiden (but Gwen will likely save him)

    Pharrell:
    1. Madi
    2. Evan
    3. Riley
    4. Darius
    5. Mark

    Blake:
    1. Morgan
    2. Emily Ann
    3. Ivonne
    4. Barrett (don’t get the hype, but he’ll probably make it through anyway)
    5. Zach

    Adam’s team is far superior this year, it looks like his season to lose.

  29. MrTemecula says:

    Oh, Blake, you should have picked Nadjah. She’s ready. You could have provided the confidence she needs. Her vocals are as good as her looks. I expected Pharrell to pick her up, but, of course he was being cagey and knew Regina or Riley would be available. Not sure if that was the exact order of competition, but if it was…

    Gwen, you blew it, too. Regina is good, but she gets to blast at the quarter mark and then gets blastier all the way through. That’s too much. While Riley could probably blow it out, she’s knows how to use her voice for maximum effect. Slezak is right about the Kelly vibe in a sense she probably could sing any genre and knock it out of the park. I expect Riley to be Top Four on vocal talent alone.

  30. cej says:

    Poor Nadjah should have known better than to pick Blake for a coach. When it comes down to it, he always picks the Country singer. But I did love both performances.

  31. Ronnie says:

    Gwen and Adam have the strongest artists. If they pick the right songs that can sell well on iTunes, Regina, Jeffrey, Jordan and Shelby could be your top 4. But we also know that those pesky tweens will ruin everything midway through the competition as they always do, only voting for the cutest artist rather than focusing on the talent. It’s what is know as the “Sanjaya Effect” that first reared it’s ugly head during American Idol and it has followed it’s way to the Voice, especially in the last couple of seasons.

  32. bj says:

    I think it’s rather sad that in a 2 hour show they couldn’t find time to show all the singers. How bad was the poor guy who wasn’t shown at all?

  33. eva says:

    Wow Regina!!! Best solo Voice performance ever, it was as good if not better than the original. She just won the competition with that performance for me.

  34. Simon says:

    My ideal top 12:

    Team Blake: Emily Ann, Morgan, Ivonne. I find Barrett annoying and Zach boring.

    Team Pharrell: Evan, Riley, Madi. I can’t be the only one who finds Mark completely obnoxious. The other guy is talented but I don’t even remember his name. I find the other three more interesting.

    Team Gwen: Korin, Jeffery, Regina. Just personal preference, but Viktor and Braiden did a great job in this last round too, so who knows.

    Team Adam: Amy, Shelby, Jordan. Keith is okay but sounds very strained, and Blaine has absolutely nothing interesting about him. I still can’t believe he chose them over Andi and Alex, who could have won the whole thing.

  35. m4vtcnh says:

    I’m surprised to see no talk of the rumoured wildcard 24-contestant live playoffs allowing each coach to bring back one eliminated singer. Has anyone else heard anything? If it is legit, who are you hoping will come back from each team?

    I’d expect Adam to have Andi & Alex, Gwen to pick Ellie, Blake with Nadjah, and either Tim or Siahna for Pharell given they’re the only contenders I can think of from his team right now. Although I can’t say I’m much of a fan of either after their knockout performances.

    • Jules says:

      Eliminated in only Knockouts or Battles too? Some amazing ones left in Battles. First one that comes to mind is Celeste. She battled Mark. I’d bring her back before Siahna any day of the week.

      • m4vtcnh says:

        I would imagine those eliminated in the Battle rounds too, of course, but the entire concept is yet to be confirmed as far as I can tell. I just imagine that the coaches would tend to pick from those who “progressed” further in the competition. I agree anyone would be better than Siahna.
        Just curious to know who people’s choices would be given the chance!

        • Timmah says:

          It was confirmed on last night’s show that each judge gets to bring someone back, though they didn’t say how far back they can go. I’m hoping to see Ellie and Cole Criske again.

    • Don says:

      If Gwen doesn’t bring back Ellie, then she’d better pick Lindsey Elm. Lindsey did great in both of her performances and never should have been eliminated in the first place. I also hope that Andi & Alex and Nadjah get second chances.

    • Scooter says:

      You expect Adam and Gwen to do the right thing? The producers probably are doing this because the coaches made so many bad decision. Even Blake, who I usually agree with in the past I found myself scratching my head at his decisions. I would be glad if they brought back Andi and Alex and Ellie as well Sydney Rhame and Krista Hughes but I bet that three if not all four that they bring back will be fodder who will gone just as fast as they returned.

  36. JMay says:

    As far as this knockout rounds were concerned, Regina Love was the only one who did anything for me. Let’s just skip to her and Jordan being the last two standing.

  37. danin says:

    Evan,Justin& Regina.

  38. Mary says:

    I cannot believe Michael that you trashed Siahna Im like that. She should have won that battle and the show will be less enjoyable with her gone. Read what Lyndsey Parker said. She nailed it.

    • Timmah says:

      Siahna was a little off that night, but her opponent in that round was the very definition of all sizzle and no steak. I would have kept her for her uniqueness. Also the lyric is “I died a hundred times”.

  39. hope denton says:

    Regina Regina Regina!!!! The Voice has found a new uprising star! The versatility and feelings are in your voice. Your tones carry a lot of weight. What an appropriate name. Regina LOVE! No stage name required!

  40. Mrendy says:

    LOL
    “Jesus RAKE the wheel”