For the past 14 seasons, it has been incumbent Voice coach Adam Levine’s dream to win the show with a country contestant — and, of course, rub this victory in the smug, 5 o’clock-shadowed face of his longtime onscreen rival, Blake Shelton. He’s come close a couple of times, but maybe with his new recruit, Adam will finally get his wish.
Adam seemed in Blake-mocking mode early Tuesday, claiming he didn’t know any of his songs before warbling the chorus of Blake’s “Honey Bee” in a dorky, twangy Hee Haw accent. Thankfully, the former Team Blake contestant who ended up on Adam’s team delivered a better performance than that.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) October 31, 2018
So, on Tuesday’s Knockout Rounds episode, Blake made the grave mistake of pitting two of his strongest country singers, Dave Fenley and Kameron Marlowe, against each other — and Adam was right there to take advantage of the situation. “It’s a horrible decision you’ve made,” Adam gloatingly told Blake. “That pairing was truly terrible.”
Adam admitted that he had made a mistake himself earlier in the season by not turning his red chair in either Dave or Kameron’s audition. He realized his error as soon as he witnessed both contestants’ star-marking performances Tuesday. Dave’s rendition of Lionel Richie’s “Stuck on You” (reminiscent of Lionel’s duet remake of the song with Darius Rucker on his 2012 country album, Tuskegee) was gritty, gravelly, and completely connected. Dave dedicated the performance to his wife back home, and his emotion was authentic; guest key adviser Mariah Carey even told him during rehearsal that she “felt his heart.”
And then there was Kameron, whose soulful, Clapton-esque cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” accompanied by his bluesy electric guitar playing, was a risky, non-country song choice that paid off. Adam was so impressed by both singers he called this a “dead even” match.
Blake ultimately picked Dave, leaving Adam with the opportunity to steal the better fit for his team: Kameron. “I only get one Steal, and I liked seeing a country guy do something out of his usual zone. That shows me that he’s definitely someone that I can work with,” Adam explained. It will be interesting to see what Adam has planned for Kameron in the Live Playoffs.
Two other Knockout pairings aired Tuesday. One was another mostly “dead even” match, and the other was a true TKO. Here’s how that went. …
Team J.Hud: Franc West vs. Tyshawn Colquitt
Both of these singers chose sexy, slow-burning songs with plenty of potential for drama. The Weeknd’s “Call Out My Name” may have seemed like an odd fit for moody rocker Franc, but it showcased his previously unheard vocal range and creativity. Mariah praised Franc’s “artistry” as he rocked up the ballad with his raw, raspy vocals and snarling delivery. This was very “I Put a Spell on You”-esque, and Franc cast a spell on the Voice audience with this breakout performance, for sure.
Tyshawn didn’t take as many artistic liberties with Zayn’s “Pillowtalk,” but even Mariah was impressed with his whistle tone, bowing down to him. (“The only reason that I ever tried to be a soprano singer in school was because of Mariah Carey,” Tyshawn confessed.) Tyshawn was in the zone before the song even started, striking a fierce pose and psyching himself up, and he brought his A-game to the stage. I found Franc more interesting, however.
Jennifer Hudson was torn. “Tyshawn and Franc, they came to knock somebody out. This will be the hardest decision for me to make. … If the voice of God could come down and say both of y’all could stay in this competition, that would be my wish and my prayer!” Unfortunately, that prayer went unanswered, because Jennifer had no Save left — and Kelly Clarkson, who was making all sorts of flabbergasted stankfaces during Tyshawn’s performance, didn’t have a Steal. Jennifer ultimately made a tough but correct call.
Team Kelly: Abby Cates vs. Claire DeJean
This was a showdown between two similar “soulful pop” singers, but it was an easy decision for Kelly in the end. Claire made an egregious mistake going with Shawn Mendes’s wordy and syncopated “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” sounding breathless, rushed, and pitchy throughout. There was plenty holding her back, actually.
Meanwhile, young Abby seemed surprisingly unintimidated performing a Kelly Clarkson song, “Because of You,” right in front of Kelly Clarkson herself (and in front of another one of her childhood idols, Mariah). Her phrasing, tone, and quiet confidence established her as the clear victor here.
On an incredibly sad note, just as Tuesday’s episode was starting to air on the West Coast, news broke that Beverly McClellan, a top four Team Xtina finalist from The Voice Season 1, had lost her fight with breast cancer. Beverly, who was 41 when she competed on The Voice in 2011, always embodied what this show was supposed to be about — the voice, not the cookie-cutter pop image — and her performance of her coach Christina Aguilera’s empowerment anthem “Beautiful” remains one of the finest moments in the series’ history.
Let’s hope that The Voice pays a proper tribute to Beverly when the live shows start. Until then, check out Yahoo Entertainment’s interview with the folk-rocker, along with that stunning “Beautiful” duet, below. Rest in power, Beverly.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
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