Alicia Keys is normally the most eloquent coach on The Voice. But as Season 14’s Knockout Rounds wrapped Monday, one performance left her struggling to find the words to describe its awesomeness.
I can’t say I blamed Alicia. As Team Kelly’s D.R. King and Tish Haynes Keys faced off — the former, a rock ‘n’ soul dynamo, belting a fast and furious “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by the Temptations/Rod Stewart; the latter sassing and shimmying her way through a sticky-sweet “Lady Marmalade” — there was a lot to take in.
D.R. was manic and raw and unhinged in the best possible way, and even though “I’m Losing You” came out in 1967, he made it sound modern and fresh. “You took that song to a whole other space that, like, has never been sung before,” Alicia gushed, once she finally snapped out of her fog.
Tish was more old-fashioned, with an unfortunate corporate/wedding band vibe, but there was no denying the effervescence of her performance. This lady was strutting like a peacock and really feeling it. “I love that you had all this sass in your flow and everything. … Your booty was shaking and everything!” Alicia raved.
Kelly Clarkson faced a tough decision. (“In any other situation, D.R. would’ve been the illest thing I’d ever heard in my life, but then Tish had to mess it all up for everybody,” Adam Levine joked.) But, thanks to this season’s new gimmick, the Save, she didn’t have to make it. Instead, it will be up to America to decide D.R. and Tish’s fate, when the top 24 compete live next week.
These were the other final Knockouts of Season 14. …
TEAM ALICIA: Britton Buchanan vs. Dallas Caroline
This Knockout was a total TKO. Britton’s butter tone was on rich, glorious display doing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” and the 18-year-old seemed so debonair, so classic. “You almost have this like old-school, Rat Pack thing about you, that I never saw before,” Kelly noted.
Conversely, Dallas’s rendition of Rascal Flatts’s “Bless the Broken Road” was, well, broken. She got off to a shaky start, and nerves got the better of her throughout. This, frankly, was the sort of performance that wouldn’t have turned a single chair during the Blinds. (“You’re a storyteller, and if you could just rein in that pitch any time you’re pitchy, you could be really cool,” Kelly told her diplomatically.) Dallas is only one year younger than Britton, but the gulf in their confidence and maturity was massive.
TEAM BLAKE: Dylan Hartigan vs. Wilkes
I haven’t been a big Dylan fan this season, but he scored cool points with me for covering Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing.” This wasn’t the best — Dylan is no Sawyer Fredericks, and I didn’t appreciate how he turned this soul/folk ballad into a boy-band pop tune — but his voice sounded sweeter, smoother, and clearer than ever before. So this was a valiant effort.
Wilkes made an interesting choice with “The Climb” — I so wish Miley Cyrus were a coach this season, because I bet she would have loved his folksy spin. His versions was actually kind of LaMontagne-esque!
Blake Shelton wisely went with Wilkes, the real artist of the two — but then Kelly stole Dylan, turning her team into a “fellas club.” I think Dylan is a better fit with Kelly, so everyone won here.
WINNER: Wilkes/Dylan moves to Team Kelly
TEAM ADAM: Gary Edwards vs. Rayshun LaMarr
This was an especially evenly matched Knockout. Gary, doing Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross,” and Rayshun, doing Alicia’s own “Fallin’,” both exhibited a desperation, a manic yearning, and a gospel flavor that made for compelling performances.
Rayshun edged out Gary with his bold decision to cover Alicia’s song, however, a move that Kelly called “ballsy as hell.” Alicia was practically speechless again, telling Rayshun, “I was sitting here, like, ‘Can he actually hit those notes?’ And you did!”
Rayshun was the clear victor, but thankfully, Gary’s impressive efforts did not go unnoticed. There’s room for both of these guys’ mighty voices in the Playoffs.
WINNER: Rayshum/Gary moves to Team Blake
TEAM KELLY: Alexa Cappelli vs. Jorge Eduardo
Alexa probably wouldn’t have made it to the Knockouts if her Battle Rounds partner, four-chair frontrunner Hanna Goebel, hadn’t mysteriously dropped out. But regardless, Alexa made the most of her new opportunity. Elton John’s theatrical show-stopper “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” played to her music-schooled strengths, and she belted it with gusto, proving that she still deserved to be in the running.
Jorge’s cover of Miguel’s sexy bedroom ballad “Adorn” was by design much more laid-back, so it felt anticlimactic (no pun intended!) after Alexa’s go-for-broke performance. The song was a natural fit for him, but in this apples-and-oranges pairing, the apple was just a little bit riper.
TEAM ADAM: Reid Umstattd vs. Jordyn Simone
Reid’s performance of Patty Griffin’s “Let Him Fly” was solid and heartfelt. Jordyn’s performance was … nonexistent. We didn’t even get to see the poor girl — whose audition was also montaged — sing a note this week. You’d think during the two-hour episode, producers could have found the room to include at least 30 seconds of Jordyn screentime. Oh well. Regardless, Reid seemed to do what he needed to do.
TEAM ALICIA: Kelsea Johnson vs. Sharane Calister
This Knockout really knocked me out. Kelsea’s “Rise Up” was phenomenal. So was Sharane’s “All I Could Do Was Cry.” There was no way this wasn’t going to end in Steal — and I knew that before I even did the Voice math and figured out that Adam still had a Steal left in play.
I preferred Kelsea’s raw, raspy take, which Blake likened to last year’s Team Blake winner, Chloe Kohanski. But Adam raved, “Damn, Sharane, you were so connected emotionally to what’s going on. It’s like, there’s no turning back. That’s what makes you great!” So we all knew where this was going.
WINNER: Kelsea/Sharane moves to Team Adam
See you next week for three nights of Live Playoffs! Until then, enjoy Tuesday night’s clip show.
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