Staff WriterThe Voice: Season Seven Knockouts are slowly winding down! Before we get to the recap, let’s look to see who will be representing their coaches when the show goes live next week....
Team Adam: Damien, Mia Pfirrman & Taylor Phelan (stolen from Pharrell)
Team Blake:James David Carter & Jessie Pitts
Team Gwen:Bryana Salaz, Taylor John Williams & Ricky Manning (stolen from Pharrell)
Team Pharrell:DaNica Shirey, Elyjuh Rene, Luke Wade & Toia Jones (stolen from Gwen) Several fan favorites (Toia Jones, Katriz Trinidad, Griffin and Alessandra Castronovo) have fallen thus far and more fan-favorites fell due to their song choices! However, all eyes were on Blake Shelton, as the three-time winning coach had the last steal. Did Blake use his steal? Read on to find out... Our first battle of the night belonged to Team Blake! He chose to pair his vintage country girls, Allison Bray and Taylor Brashears, together. For Allison Bray, it was do or die for the second timer as she sang the Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon”. Key advisor Taylor Swift advised Allison to take her shoes off and wanted her to be sloppier with some performances. For Taylor, she hoped to leave the food truck behind and hoped that “Landslide” would be her ticket into the Live Rounds. Taylor advised Ms. Brashears to pick one person and sing the song to a random audience member. Allison’s “Sin Wagon” showcased the “I Don’t Care” attitude that Taylor Swift mentioned earlier in the pre-battle package. The Dixie Chicks hit has a quick tempo and Allison did not disappoint as she hit all the sweet spots with such ease. On the other hand, Taylor Brashears was a little quieter with her interpretation of one of my all-time favorite Fleetwood Mac songs. I was a little disappointed with her delivery and very disappointed with Blake’s decision to eliminate Allison and move Taylor to the Live Rounds. Gwen’s first battle of the night was Beth Spangler and Ryan Sill. The engineer turned a cappella alum chose Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent.” Meanwhile, Beth chose to perform JoJo’s “Too Little Too Late.” Gwen was worried about Beth’s over singing turning off the audience. The reason why I did not like Ryan’s performance is that we have too many artists in the blue-eyed soul/pop category on the radio (Justin Bieber, Cody Simpson, David Archuleta and Sam Smith). Also, his vocals were way too painful to listen to. While I was not familiar with this track, Beth made it her own and she gave me chills! During the Coaches’ Commentary, while Adam praised his former contestant... he stated that Ryan won the fight. But, both Blake and Pharrell declared it a dead even tie! I also thought Gwen made the wrong decision choosing Ryan over Beth! The final Team Pharrell knockout belonged to former Team Gwen alums Jean Kelley and Menlik Zergabachew! Jean chose Sia’s “Chandelier” and she chose it because it was a beautiful yet sad song. This is a huge order because Emily West delivered the best cover of the song on AGT this past summer! For Menlik, he stuck with his guns and chose Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” Menlik delivered an impeccable performance and I loved hearing those powerful long notes. I think he would have made Bob Marley proud. As for Jean, in all honesty... Emily West ran circles around Jean, but she delivered a nice poignant performance! During the Coaches’ Commentary, former coach Gwen said that Jean had mixed styles, but added that Menlik had grown so much under Pharrell! Adam liked Menlik’s power and Blake added he liked Jean’s dramatic style. However, Pharrell had the final decision. While he was utterly confused, chose Jean as his final member of his team. Adam’s four-chair-turns, Blessing Offer and Chris Jamison were paired together! Blessing chose John Mayer’s “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and I am glad that he chose this song! While Adam would have not recommend the song in the first place, he impressed Taylor Swift. Chris picked a monster song: Otis Redding’s “Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay.” In all honesty, I could not connect with Chris; he chose the wrong song. No one does it better then Otis! As for Blessing, he breathed soul into one of John Mayer’s lifeless songs. I strongly believe that he could be the next Ray Charles and he has a bright future ahead of him. While Adam chose Chris, I think Blessing would be bigger than him! Blake’s final battle of the Knockout Rounds belonged to Reagan James and Grant Ganzer! Grant was starstrucked by Taylor Swift but once he was calmed down, he chose OneRepublic’s “Apologize”. I was impressed with his lower register and Taylor thought that he would definitely get the girls going! For Reagan’s final choice before the Knockout Rounds, she chose Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops)!” The only artist that has ever successfully conquered this song on a Reality TV competition was Nic Hawk from Season Five...and while there were some screechy moments in her performance, Reagan did a great job with the scatting and really shined as an artist. Grant left it all on the stage with his performance of “Apologize” and like Reagan... there were some pitch problems (especially up in his falsetto), but he had strong notes! However, it seemed like Blake and the coaches favored Reagan (and Blake chose her to represent him in the Live Rounds). The final battle of the Season Seven Knockout Rounds (and the two contestants that Blake had waited very patiently to steal) was Team Gwen’s Craig Wayne Boyd and Anita Antoinette! Anita returned to Season Seven by storm after unsuccessfully getting the coaches attention in Season Three. Anita chose Magic’s “Rude” and it definitely showed her roots with her performance. She slayed the song and showed so much personality on the stage. For Craig, his challenge was too take Gwen into his world and he picked the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See”. Gwen modernized Craig’s look and it made Craig a better artist and performer. He made the iconic country band proud with his performance and it put Gwen in a very difficult position! In a surprising move, Gwen chose Anita and Blake used his final steal on Craig. Next week, The Voice: Season Seven goes live for a three-night event!
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