Blake Shelton predicts the winner of this season after one incredible and unexpected performance — with 20 people left in the competition!
America’s voting has begun on “The Voice,” even if it’s just for the 4-Way Knockout so far. At least the contestants made it extremely, extremely hard for you.
Well, we’ll say that three of them made it very hard for you. One contestant really seemed to let the nerves and pressure of the situation get to them. But that doesn’t make it any easier for America, as there were three very different, very compelling and powerful contenders to choose from.
Once again, a Knockout duel left Kelly a dribbling mess during rehearsal, but this time, Snoop Dogg was right there with her. Both of the performers really delivered the goods, touching the superstar artists to the point Snoop lamented that no one told him he was coming on this show to cry!
Thankfully, we’re not as mad with the Coaches’ decisions this week, as some of the performers really did fail to live up to their own hype or stand toe to toe with their Knockout opponent. But we nevertheless lost a few favorites from the audition rounds that we’re sad to see go.
But as a testament to some of the incredible talent that did stick around, we actually got emotionally moved by a part anthem — which has never happened before. That takes a genuinely special artist, to make us feel something while singing about having a good time.
Blake called it, saying that we were probably looking at the winner of this season right there. We’re having a hard time disagreeing right now after that performance and our own unexpected reaction to it.
Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Nick Jonas and Blake Shelton.
And just for fun, I’m going to rank the performances from worst to first to see who my favorites are, and then see how well they do as the season progresses.
Cam Anthony vs Connor Christian [Team Blake]
(Cam – “Feeling Good,” Nina Simone – 19, Philadelphia, PA) Everything from his look — that suit! — to his performance to his voice was just incredible. It was as if this song was meant for him. Even though he’s young, you could feel that he sees this show as a “new dawn” for him and his dreams. There was so much passion and control and just everything in those few moments.
(Connor – “Youngblood,” 5 Seconds of Summer – 23, Gallipolis, OH) Connor was mumbling his way through these verses, so while he had a pleasant tone on it, it was almost impossible to understand him. Then he was flat when he reached the chorus and we just groaned for him. He didn’t match the energy needed throughout vocally, even though his body language was there. This was just a tragic misfire.
Prediction: Cam was on fire from the jump, so Connor would have had to slay that performance, and instead he really bungled it. With an uphill battle, he didn’t even make it to the incline. Cam just owned his performance from start to finish, making smart choices at every turn. This one was the most lopsided battle we’ve seen yet.
Zania Alaké vs Rio Doyle [Team Legend]
(Zania – “If I Were Your Woman,” Gladys Knight & The Pips – 34, Detroit, MI) After a slightly slow start, Zaina hit the heart of this piece with so much gusto and power, she got John and Kelly on their feet, and we found ourselves with the same impulse. She put so much power and meaning into that performance, she delivered the word “No” with incredible impact. That’s the kind of artistry that separates good singers from true performers.
(Rio – “Issues,” Julia Michaels – 16, Adrian, MI) Rio was still struggling a bit with enunciation through the more rapid-fire lines of this song. Her big notes didn’t quite his as strongly as we expected, either. This is a very hard song to shine on unless you’re Julia Michaels, and it felt like Rio got a little swallowed up in its intricacies. She’s got an interesting tone that’s compelling on its own and we loved the attitude she gave us, but we were not feeling this performance.
Prediction: Rio felt like she got a little overwhelmed by her song choice, and she also felt like she’s still a little young and finding her way. Zania, on the other hand, knows exactly who she is and what she’s about. That was like a vocal instructor teaching a student how you do it. Hopefully Rio was taking notes.
Raine Stern vs Jose Figueroa Jr. [Team Nick]
(Raine – “No Such Thing,” John Mayer – 35, Denver, CO) Raine has such a cool vibe, and although we only got a few lines, in those moments, she sounded like no one else in this competition, which is special. It didn’t have a lot of power to it, but there was a sense of fun that was infectious.
(Jose – “Break Every Chain,” Tasha Cobbs – 34, Kissimmee, FL) We only got a few seconds of this, but Jose had a beautiful vibrato and bellowing tone in what we saw, plus we could feel the passion behind what he was delivering.
Prediction: We didn’t get much to work with here, and both of them appeared at the top of their respective games on this one. Raine just came across as the more interesting and innovative artist in what we did see, making her able to stand out more in a lane her own, so we’d give the edge to her.
Avery Roberson vs Kenzie Wheeler [Team Kelly]
(Avery – “Tomorrow,” Chris Young – 20, Rutherfordton, NC) Avery sounded a little bit in his head on this one, so we found ourselves lacking that vulnerability that we needed to really connect with the heart of the song and the longing of the original. He’s got a beautiful tone and he sounded great throughout, but it left us feeling surprisingly empty
(Kenzie – “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” Luke Combs – 22, Dover, FL) This is a party anthem and it’s very hard to shine on this kind of a song in a competition, so why did we have a genuine emotional reaction to Kenzie singing it? It’s because he was that damned good. He is so authentically country, we believed every word of this, because even tough it’s a party anthem, it still speaks of the working-class struggles of blue-collar America, and he had us. He ahd Blake, too, who immediately declared that he’d probably be the winner of the whole season — and bring the mullet back in fashion in the process!
Prediction: We thought Avery would have the edge with such a heartfelt song, but Kenzie just nailed the most unexpected competition song of the season. He’s that authentic and that good, there is nothing he can do wrong. He is country to the bones.
Rachel Mac vs Zae Romeo [Team Nick]
(Rachel – “Foolish Games,” Jewel – 16, Romeo, MI) Rachel took every note and attacked this performance with a vocal maturity well beyond her years. We appreciated the dramatic build to the crescendo preceding the following line, and the beautiful break her voice carried through that final moment. There were moments breathy tenderness and moments full-throated power, and all of them stunning.
(Zae – “Electric Love,” Børns – 21, McKinney, TX) Zae had his work cut out for him following Rachel, but he took this track to the next level, with so many different facets of personality and performance emerging as he navigated through it. We saw falsetto, power, rhythmic movement that pulled us right in. It wasn’t as emotionally palpable as Rachel, but it was technically far more compelling.
Prediction: This was a world-class battle from both performers, with each finding different ways to connect with us and take us on a journey. Rachel had us feeling her heart as she built consistently through that piece, while Zae was more pivoting moment by moment, leaving us breathless in anticipation of his next trick. Ultimately, for the diversity of what he displayed, we’d give him the edge.
Result: Rachel wins; Kelly steals Zae — Team Kelly
Anna Grace vs Gihanna Zoë [Team Kelly]
(Anna – “If I Die Young,” The Band Perry – 20, Milwaukee, WI) Anna stripped the song back, slowed it down and really played into the emotion of it. It did help to know she almost died young herself, giving the song extra meaning for her, but mostly it was the poignancy of her delivery that sold it for us. We’d have liked a stronger moment toward or at the end, but there’s no denying how pretty it was, and the strength of her connection.
(Gihanna – “Glitter in the Air,” P!nk – 17, Redlands, CA) By the time Gihanna hit the “sugar” line, she had us all on the edge of our seats ready for anything she wanted. It was so heartbreaking and powerful. P!nk is no joke vocally, but Gihanna made it look effortless. At the same time, it didn’t sound copycat, with plenty of real emotion in there. It was an incredible vocal performance.
Prediction: Both women really poured their heart and soul into these performances, so it comes down to who did a little more and gave us more to marinate on. As such, the only minor letdown from Anna’s performance for us was that it didn’t feel like it had a satisfying ending, while Gihanna brought it home beautifully. But both performances were stunning in their own right.
Result: Gihanna wins; Blake steals Anna — Team Blake
Emma Caroline [Blake] vs Devan Blake [Nick] vs
Carolina Rial [Legend] vs Savanna Woods [Kelly]
(Emma – “Neon Moon,” Brooks & Dunn – 25, Tuscaloosa, AL) Emma has struggled with nerves throughout this competition, and they got the bite on her again tonight. There was a hesitance that crept into her vibrato and left the whole vocal feeling like she was holding back. She’s got a nice country tone, but she needs to step into it and own it, take out the nerves, get those notes right and she could do much better.
(Devan – “Sign of the Times,” Harry Styles – 36, Denver, CO) He almost tried to put a little too much dressing on this because he absolutely did not need it. Every facet of his voice was on point and he sounded so confident and polished throughout. By the end, he was even feeling himself, knowing that he was absolutely killing this. There’s not a thing more he could have done to impress America.
(Carolina – “Anyone,” Demi Lovato – 17, Ridgefield, NJ) If you get this song right, you’ve got magic because this song is all emotion, all heart, all pain. Carolina made some interesting choices early on that kept her awkwardly (but intentionally) behind the rhythm more than our preference, but she brought it home with an incredible chorus and final tenderness. She’s got the tools and we do appreciate she’s taking on big songs and challenging herself.
(Savanna – “Black Hole Sun,” Soundgarden – 26, Stanwood, WA) There’s such a thing as pouring it all out on the stage and leaving it there. That’s what Savanna did with an incredibly authentic rock vocal. She had the grit and the power, sustaining an incredible final note. We felt the energy of this through our television screens.
Prediction: Honestly, the Coaches made this a hard one for America. Only Emma really blew it, compared to the others. But each of the other three makes such a strong case for their continued journey on this show, and they all brought something so different, it’s almost impossible to think what America might do. We’d give the slightest edge to Caroline, because she really felt that, and we think America will, too. Devan could be a surprise dark horse just because of the depth of talent he displayed, but we fear rock’s notorious struggles on shows like this will doom Savanna. What will you do?
- “As a Coach, I’m always interested in knowing that I can affect change with an artist. And I feel like somehow Nick, of all people, is putting Coaching into motion with you.” –Blake (to Rachel)
- “You’re probably gonna win ‘The Voice’ and that haircut’s gonna be trending.” –Blake (about Kenzie’s mullet)
- “I blocked you on Kenzie.” –Kelly (to Blake)
- “She stole him from you.” –John
- “I feel bad about it. Not when I’m gonna win with him, possibly. Then I’ll be doing my, like, dance in front of your chair.” –Kelly
- “I’m jealous of Martha Stewart.” –Blake (working with Snoop Dogg)
- “The principal emotion I felt during this was deep-seeded hatred for Nick Jonas for depriving me of the opportunity of working with you.” –John (to Cam)
- “Y’all didn’t tell me I was gonna be crying on the show.” –Snoop Dogg (after hearing Anna and Gihanna)
- “There’s nothing you can’t do. I mean, look at your pants. They probably said, ‘Which pair of pants do you want to wear?’ ‘Both.’” –Blake (to Gihanna)
“The Voice” continues Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.