By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
The Knockout Rounds are back!
While it sat out last season in favor of a second round of Battles, the Knockouts usually predict who does well in the Live Rounds. Amanda Brown’s “Paris (Ooh La La),” Amber Carrington’s “I’m With You,” Kat Robichaud’s “You Oughta Know” and both Matthew Schuler and Will Champlin’s “Cosmic Love”/”When I Was Your Man” have set the standards so high that I am afraid that a bulk of the artists might perform abysmally.
Luckily, superstar and former Team Usher guest advisor Taylor Swift visited each team to help each performer get ready for their battle!
However, the stakes are higher than ever! Adam, Blake, Gwen and Pharrell each have one steal left and their standards are at their all-time high! Which fan-favorites went home? Who did the coaches steal? Read on to find out….
Up first…. Team Gwen! The No Doubt front woman paired Sugar Joans and Bryana Salaz together! Gwen stated that both of them needed to know who they are as an artist. Bryana chose Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack,” while Sugar chose a monster of a song: Beyoncé’s “Love on Top.”
While I was surprised with the strategy of not starting out full voice, the high school graduate held her own and shared her flavor that would make the former X Factor USA judge proud. I thought Sugar shouted too much during her battle…but there were some nice notes! During the coaches’ commentary, Adam stated that he likes Sugar’s taste, but would have chosen Bryana. Pharrell stated that Bryana was ready and primed to steal Sugar. Gwen chose Bryana to move forward in the Live Shows and Pharrell kept true to his promise and stole Sugar right away!
Team Blake’s first Knockout Round belonged to Griffin and James David Carter! They represent the most experienced artists on his team. James chose to James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend,” while Team Blake newbie Griffin performed Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me.”
I thought that James already dug his grave when he chose this song…. in the Knockout Rounds, artists need to deliver showstoppers and I honestly thought that it was boring! Griffin, on the other hand, delivered an outstanding cover of the Biebs’ hit that brought the crowd to its feet. During the Coaches’ commentary, both Gwen and Adam stated that they preferred James and he agreed with his fellow coaches.
Two of Team Pharrell’s powerhouses dueled in the third battle of the night! DaNica Shirey chose the late Whitney Houston’s very first number one hit, “I Am Saving All My Love For You,” for this round! While Team Pharrell’s youngest member dedicated her battle round performance of Alicia Keys’s “Superwoman” to her mother.
From the first note, DaNica hypnotized me…her performance was pitch perfect and I thought I was watching a master class performance. With Katriz, she left her heart and soul on the stage and it was going to be very tough on the “Happy” singer to decide. Pharrell decided to stay with his unicorn (and current frontrunner) DaNica!
The Maroon 5 front man gave his soul singers a chance to battle! Damien took a huge risk and chose LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live.” The newest member of Team Adam, Toia Jones, chose Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love.” Damien’s cover gave me a music orgasm! It was pure brilliance and I got chills! With Toia, it was a tall order to sing this Beyoncé track because Cody Belew’s epic cover during Season Three! Toia gave an impeccable performance and worked the room with her raging vocal range! During the coaches’ commentaries, all three coaches edged towards Toia, Adam decided against their advice and thought that Damien was ready for the next round!
Second chances dueled for one final chance to move forward into the Live Playoffs! Former Team Gwen member Jessie Pitts chose the Ellie Goulding take of Sir Elton John’s all-time classic: “Your Song.” Meanwhile, Tanner Linford chose Train’s “Calling All Angels.” Jessie oozed out joy and gave me chills when she belted out Bernie Taupin’s lyrics! As for Tanner, he made a bold choice to cover Pat Monahan…but he rose to the challenge. While Blake chose Jessie, I think that Tanner could easily conquer American Idol XV!
Pharrell’s final Knockout Round involved two four chairs turns: Luke Wade and Taylor Phelan! Luke chose Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl,” while Taylor chose Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne’s “Rather Be.” While Luke had the edge song wise, I could not connect with his cover (I still prefer the Brewer Boys’ cover of the song over Luke’s). However, Taylor delivered a rousing cover that brought his coach to his feet.
Seconds after Pharrell declared Luke the winner of the Knockout Round; all three remaining coaches were ready to Taylor! After hearing all pitches from Adam, Gwen and Blake…Taylor decided to go with Adam!
Tomorrow night, the Knockouts continue!