the voice recap knockout rounds

The Voice Recap: Over and Knocked Out

And then there were 20. In The Voice’s final Knockouts of Season 12 Monday, the field of competitors was whittled down by another six vocalists, sending on, among others,Vanessa Ferguson and Lauren Duski to compete with our faves (Chris Blue, Casi Joy) in the Live Shows. How’d they manage to impress their coaches? And which of their teammates sang a premature swan song? Read on, and we’ll review.

Team Blake: Lauren Duski singing “When You Say Nothing at All” defeated Andrea Thomas singing “Cry” | After Andrea intimidated Lauren in rehearsals with her Mariah high note, Lauren landed back on solid ground as she practiced the Alison Krauss song to which she was so well-suited. On stage, Andrea sounded more than ready to stop singing backup for Carrie Underwood and start singing lead. But that high note… gads. It was more of a shriek. By contrast, Lauren’s understated vocals — heartfelt and nuanced and warm as your favorite blanket — worked gangbusters. She wound up making a much greater impact by singing a whole lot more softly.

the voice recap knockout roundsTeam Alicia: Vanessa Ferguson singing “If I Were Your Woman” defeated Jack Cassidy singing “Unsteady” | Even in rehearsals, Jack was sounding nicely emotional — though Alicia thought he needed to loosen up and come unbound a bit more. Vanessa sounded like a million bucks — raw and intense — but again, their coach wasn’t satisfied. During their dueling-pianos Knockout, Jack definitely went for broke, as instructed, but the effect was sometimes froggy and out-of-control. Passionate, yes. But successful? Eh. During Vanessa’s turn, her experience showed, and when she tore into that chorus, it didn’t stand a chance. She absolutely shredded it.

Team Adam: Jesse Larson singing “The Letter” defeated Davina Leone singing “Toxic” | Davina scored points right off the bat in rehearsal by choosing to do her own sexy, slowed-down version of the Britney hit. Then, Jesse reminded their coach that he’s a “beast” by growling Joe Cocker with admirable control. On stage, Davina’s “Toxic” still seemed like a hot idea. Trouble was, she hit so many bum notes that that hot idea quickly got lukewarm and ultimately left me cold. (Imagine what Lilli Passero could do with that arrangement of the song.) When Jesse took to the stage, he did so like a man possessed, his razor-blade howl in full effect. So, in the end, this match-up wasn’t even a contest.

the voice recap knockout roundsTeam Gwen: JChosen singing “Without You” defeated Brandon Royal singing “Redemption Song” | In rehearsal, J revealed that after the Blinds, his mom had had a stroke, and it was to her that his emotional rendition of the song was dedicated. Brandon, meanwhile, dared to take on Bob Marley — and sounded pretty good doing so, too. He was first up in the Knockout, and sang with a sweetness and strength that was hard to resist. When J took his turn, he displayed greater range, on one hand. But on the other, his vocal got away from him a time or two. Ultimately, let’s be real: There was almost no way, regardless of how J sang — and he was fine, just not remarkable — that Gwen could possibly cut him while he was going through what he was in his personal life.

Team Blake: Aliyah Moulden singing “Before He Cheats” defeated Caroline Sky singing “At Last” | In rehearsal, nerves were getting the best of Aliyah, who also seemed to have made a mistake by choosing a song that was a little mature for her. It appeared destined to be a deadly combo. By contrast, Caroline came off pretty calm, cool and collected, and “At Last,” while a daunting number, suited her to a T. During the Knockout, to my surprise, Aliyah pulled it mostly together, belting with the power for which she’s known. There was an off note here and there, but overall, it was a performance that made you sit up and go, “Huh. She’s got something, this kid.” Caroline, in turn… good God. WTF happened? She started off on the wrong foot, then just kept on stumbling. Disasterville.

Team Gwen: Troy Ramey singing “Chandelier” defeated Stephanie Rice singing “Safe and Sound” (Stephanie stolen by Alicia) | This was probably the softest, most reined-in singing we’ve heard so far from Stephanie — and it was a risk, since she’s been so closely associated with raw, gritty vocals and the honesty they imply. But the gamble paid off — she not only sounded lovely, she managed to show off another facet of her talent, too. Troy knew he’d given himself a challenge with the Sia smash, and struggled in rehearsal with sticking to the melody. On stage, he poured on the passion, but to me, sorry, it was like the Nickelback cover of “Chandelier” that nobody had ever asked for. Bad call, Gwen.

Oh, and in an abbreviated Knockout, Mark Isaiah defeated Malik Davage to retain his spot on Team Adam. So, what did you think of Monday’s Knockouts? Best and worst performances? Hit 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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29 Comments
  1. Kimme Moores says:

    I am here for this Vanessa Ferguson slay.
    Had the homegirl written off back when people were more hyped for her than Chris, but daaaaaaamn she did that tonight.
    JChosen’s weakness was exposed tonight ;)
    Aliyah… Danielle Bradberry with some skill realness showed, but still. Vanessa chile.
    What brujeria hit Caroline’s vocals omg lol.
    Troy was trash.

    • Barry says:

      Yaaaaaaaas!!!! That girl slayed tonight. Also props to Stephanie and Lauren. I’ll be so happy next week if JChoosen hopefully gets axed (probably not). Who are you rooting this season, I have about 7 or 8 people that I really love and it’s hard for me to pick one of them.

      • Kimme Moores says:

        The Miss Vanessa Ferguson, officially.
        Chris Blue, my boo, per usual.
        Anatalia, Bruna Mars, Villaranda gets my vote.
        Hunter Plake is a gem and shall be voted for the gem he is.
        Lil’Slay Brennley!
        Lauren is ma homegirl.
        Aliyah has my intrigue.
        Mark is nice to look at so….we need that to last.

        • Barry says:

          Agreed. I’ll add Lilli and maybe Stephanie. Lilli is still my gem even if she is with Adam. I’m not completly sold con Mark, bit he looks just fine so i’ll definitly give you that.

    • Patrick Star says:

      No one is trash.

  2. Barry says:

    Okay, tonight’s performances were really enjoyable, a good note to finish the knockouts. Lauren, Vanessa and Stephanie owned the night. Lauren might be my fave this season, she knows who she is as an artist and has the ability to relate to what she sings plus a killer tone, she blows me away every time she performs. Vanessa… Yes, ma’am. She sang the living daylights out of that songs, period. Stephanie is in a lot of ways very similar to Lauren, and that worries me a little because, I love them both and I want them to go far, she did great but I felt it was a little too affected, she needs to be carefull with that, but I feel that in this particular song it worked, excelent job. Honorable mention goes to Jesse, but he needs to start differentiating himself from Laith Al-Saadi ASAP. I didn’t enjoyed Troy’s take on Chandelier, he had the right idea so I applaud him for having the guts to take chances, but the ejecution was not great, wrong move from Gwen’s part.

  3. davmon says:

    Lauren, Vanessa, Aliyah WERE deserving. So were Davina, Brandon, & Stephanie—but they lost. Glad Steph was saved. Astonishing that half the competitions were poorly-decided IMO.

  4. Gorgonzola Matrix says:

    Wish it was Jchosen that sang Redemption Song… none of those judges could ever write or sing something as perfect and beautiful as Redemption Song. Hope Blake was joking when he said he had never heard it, otherwise he should go home in shame and never make music again.

    Top 20 is decent, wish it included Felicia Temple and Valerie Ponzio.

  5. davmon says:

    Redemption Song has been done several times well on singing shows, so I expected to be underwhelmed. Instead, Brandon was terrific. Meanwhile, JChosen struggled at times. So of course, Brandon was sent home….C’est la vie!

  6. JK3 says:

    If Caroline weren’t 16, I’d be advocating for the “Showtime at the Apollo” clown to come and drag her off with a hook and tbh after that butchering, I’m still considering it. What happened? Even the arrangement was terrible. That being said, I think Aliyah is a great singer, but she knew why she shouldn’t have sung that song, “too young, never had a boyfriend and only has taken high school drama classes” , and she chose it anyway. That is the type of poor judgement that gets every big voiced teen sent home on these shows. I have no need for another Gianna Isabella singing songs that she has next to no emotional connection too.

    • Smokey says:

      It was the arrangement, cutting words to fit the time frame, that slaughtered the chance to get any good flow of the song and melody for Caroline. That is the fault of the crew that worked with her and they should know better – I like Aliyah Moulden as well, but will never vote for anyone (on the lives), who sings “Before He Cheats” —- that’s another way overdone vandalism song on these talent shows, as is “Toxic”.

  7. Voice Fan says:

    Lauren Duski, Stephanie Rice and Alija Molden were my favorites of the night. With Cassi Jo, Lauren and Alija, I think Blake has three powerhouse female singers that may all end up in the finale. The blues singer usually ends up in the finale so Adam may get Jesse to the finale along with Lili Passero. Alicia’s strongest singers are Chris Blue and Stephanie Rice. J Chosen and Troy are my favorites on Gwen’s team.

  8. Majestic says:

    Jesse Larson would pull a Sundance head on us. Gradually he would be a major contender. Vanessa is a king OMG!!! I don’t want to be Caroline sky right now-babe what happened? I disagree a liitle I love Troy even though he wasn’t at his best. He needs to give us an “Aha” moment soon or else his troy effect would wear out on us. Jchosen wasn’t at his best too. I had to go digging for malik’s and marks knocout , they both sounded not good only that Mark was a better version.

  9. Smokey says:

    Itunes at the moment –

    ROCK #75 The Letter Artist: Jesse Larson

    POP #33 Safe & Sound Artist: Stephanie Rice

    COUNTRY #49 When You Say Nothing At All Artist: Lauren Duski

    R&B #19 If I Were Your WomanArtist: Vanessa Ferguson

    R&B #78 Without You Artist: JChosen

  10. loisbea says:

    The calls were mostly right, but I loved Stephanie’s tender and beautiful performance. It was my favorite of the night. But Troy has a monster voice, so I’m glad they both will be live. Vanessa was terrific. I’ve liked her, but I wasn’t happy that she went though instead of Autumn Turner, whose voice is so rich and powerful. Vanessa’s voice doesn’t have that texture, but her performance was pretty great. Lots of talent. I can’t imagine how the live shows will play out.

  11. danin says:

    Vanessa slayed! She totally embodied If I Was Your Woman. Best of the night. I enjoyed what Troy did w/Chandelier. And Jesse is killer too.

    • Smokey says:

      The problem for Vanessa going forward, will be that there are 5 singers that will likely be trying to run the R&B Lane on the track, as well as the voting usually getting tipped toward male singers on these talent shows. I like Vanessa, but don’t think she’ll get anywhere near the top 4…. just my guess, as voting gets split between 2 or 3 in that lane, per show…..

      • OrionOnion says:

        Not to mention R&B never seems to get anywhere on these shows either. For singers in that genre, it is an uphill fight.

  12. Theresa says:

    Monday night knockouts were actually kinda boring. Not as good as last week. to many ballots and not enough mix of different music by the contestants.

  13. J Fisher says:

    Michael miss your twitter feed during the voice

  14. Bob says:

    I agree with you Charlie- 99.9%!

  15. OrionOnion says:

    No way did Troy beat Stephanie. Thankfully Alicia has ears.

  16. OrionOnion says:

    It always annoys me that they only mention one singer of a hit song. The late Keith Whitely made When You Say Nothing at All a hit originally. Fun fact: about ten years ago while I was in Burma I heardvthe same song everywhere I went. A pop somg with Burmese lyrics–finally realized it was When You Say Nothing at All. Monster hit over there.

  17. Lizzie says:

    Stephanie’s voice isn’t great, but she is good, and she did a fine job with Safe & Sound – her voice gets thin sometimes and there are better voices in the competition. Her backstory is being oversold to the point of seeming like a pity party – we don’t need to keep hearing it, and her defensiveness is offputting. Also her “thanks for believing in me as long as you did” to Gwen – you don’t need to stab your coach when someone else beats you, it’s a competition. Shabby behavior. Troy’s version of Chandelier – wow, could not stop listening and played it back again – a real singer.

    Toxic was fairly terrible, and most of these YouTube people have spent far too much time performing in front of a mirror and being wowed by themselves – and Jesse was awesome so there was no contest here. Caroline Sky’s rendition of At Last was also more awful than anything else – don’t sing Etta James unless you’ve got the goods. Her pitch problems were painful, and you don’t stay on Blake’s team if your pitch is that off.

    JChosen’s performance was really, really good – vocally and in stage presence. He went from charming sexy flirty with the audience, to heartbreakingly serious. He wont because he’s a good singer, not because of his personal issues – although his emotion over that added to his performance in every sort of a good way.

    Carrie’s background singer proved in her round that she is a good background singer. Lauren Duski – so good.

  18. Bernadette says:

    I really hate when they give some of the contestant performances ‘the bum’s rush”, like the producers did with the Mark Isaiah/Malik Davage knockout, They do it in the Blinds, Battles and Knockouts and it’s awful. These contestants go through a ton of screening JUST to make it to the Blinds. I understand they only have so much time in the show, but I’d much rather see those performances than the overly long human interest features some contestants and the silly, frequently unfunny bumpers of the coaches in an off-stage huddle.

  19. MAS says:

    I didn’t enjoy Vanessa’s performance. Maybe it was because I didn’t know the song? It just didn’t work for me at all.

    JChosen actually made me tear up. Never had that happen before. Still baffled as to why.

  20. Sonya says:

    Gwen has lost her mind! All I can say let go of the best artist after making him sing a stupid song for him? What’s up with that Gwen? You used to be my hero and now, you are just a mushy mess. Stop acting like a love struck teenage girl and get back to the real you!