By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Tonight, the Season 12 Knockout Rounds began!
Before we get to the recap, here is where our teams stand:
Team Adam: Johnny Hayes, Mark Isaiah, Jesse Larson, Josh West, Malik Davage, Hanna Eyre, Autumn Turner (stolen from Team Alicia), & Davina Leone (stolen from Team Gwen).
Team Alicia: Anatalia Villaranda, Lilli Passero, Quizz Swanigan, Jack Cassidy, Vanessa Ferguson, Chris Blue, Ashley Levin (stolen from Team Blake), & Dawson Coyle (also stolen from Team Blake).
Team Blake: Lauren Duski, Aliyah Moulden, Casi Joy, TSoul, Enid Ortiz, Andrea Thomas, Felicia Temple (stolen from Team Alicia), & Caroline Sky (stolen from Team Gwen).
Team Gwen: Johnny Gates, JChosen, Stephanie Rice, Brandon Royal, Troy Ramsey, Aaliyah Rose, Brennley Brown (stolen from Team Blake), & Hunter Plake (stolen from Team Alicia).
For the first time in Knockout Rounds history, the remaining artists had to watch their competition perform at rehearsals. That’s right…instead of having one-on-one time with their coach and superstar advisors such as Taylor Swift, Nate Ruess, Rihanna, or Miley Cyrus; the pressure was on the artists to watch how their opponents were going to execute their performance.
Adding to the intense environment was that all the coaches each had one steal remaining. Who succeeded and were awarded a trip to the Live Playoffs? Who was saved from elimination? Read my Knockout Rounds: Night One Recap on to find out!
The first artists to face the new version of the Knockout Rounds was Team Alicia’s Chris Blue and Quizz Swanigan. The artists were shocked when they were going to watch each other rehearse with Alicia. Chris chose Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” while the youngest artist remaining in the competition chose former Team Christina advisor Nick Jonas’ “Chains.” Chris has been one of my favorite artists this season, and I thought that he tore this song up vocally. I hoped that Stevie Wonder heard that performance. Chris received the first four coach standing ovation of the round. Meanwhile, Quizz channeled his inner Chris Brown and Jason Derulo as he delivered one of the better performances of the season. Gwen admitted that she is one of Chris’s biggest fans and liked Quizz’s full sound. Adam stated that Quizz gave a “superhuman response” to Chris’ performance. Blake reminded everyone that Chris was the last artist to audition for them and added that Chris “could win The Voice this year.” It all came down to Alicia’s decision, and she chose Chris Blue to represent Alicia in the live rounds. Meanwhile, Quizz got a second chance when Gwen used her only steal of the round!
As Adam led the audience in yoga, the second Knockout Rounds pairing was Autumn Turner versus Hannah Eyre. Autumn chose a monster of a song to perform: Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Meanwhile, Hannah chose Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love.” I loved Autumn’s sassy vocals, and I think the Queen of Soul would be impressed with her cover. As for Hannah, I could not connect with her performance. I believe that this is a challenging track to sing and I feel that there were times that the band was louder than her. I am a little disappointed that Adam chose Hannah over Autumn because I think that Autumn would go farther than Hannah in the music industry.
Team Gwen’s first Knockout performance was Hunter Plake versus Johnny Gates. Hunter chose Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is,” while Johnny chose Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons.” I will be completely honest with you, if you want to watch a perfect cover of this Foreigner hit, watch America’s Got Talent alums DeAnna DellaCioppa and the CraigLewis Band rock out with their perspective covers. Hunter’s version was just pure abysmal karaoke! Johnny Gates’ “Million Reasons” gave me instant goosebumps and made me cry! I loved every minute of it, and his version would have been a number one hit on rock radio. I think that Gwen lost her creditability as a coach when the future Mrs. Blake Shelton chose Hunter over Johnny because Johnny could be the breakout rock star of the show that got away.
Blake paired Kansas City native Casi Joy and Felicia Temple together for his first Knockout Round pairing of the evening. Casi chose Maren Morris’ “My Church,” while Felicia chose Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Despite hitting that one bum note in the beginning, Casi blew me away with her spectacular show-stopping cover. However, Felicia looked like a real recording star as she sang the classic Titanic anthem. Both Alicia and Gwen admitted that Felicia gave her chills, while Adam stated that he would pick Casi Joy to move on and Blake listened to his veteran coach and picked Casi. While I am happy for the Kansas City native, I wished that someone stole Felicia because she would have been one of the artists in the Season 12 finale.
It was a battle of rockers on Team Adam as Johnny Hayes and Josh West faced off in Adam’s second Knockout Round performance of the evening. Johnny chose the Allman Brothers’ “Statesboro Blues,” while Josh West took a chance and performed Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son.” (Author’s Note: This was my first time I heard Josh perform because I missed his Blind Audition and Battle Round performance.) Johnny continues the tradition of Eric Clapton-B.B. King blues-infused rock, and he surprised me. However, Josh shook the Universal Studios Hollywood soundstage to the core. Plus, he could give Team CeeLo alum Kat Robichaud a run for her money with his high-octane kicks. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us in the Live Playoffs.
The “No One” singer-songwriter pitted her newly stolen artist Ashley Levin against Lilli Passero. Ashley kicked off the round with her interpretation of Reba’s “Fancy.” There was a lot of Reba’s vocal influence in Ashley’s voice, and I felt like it was a carbon copy vocal and there was not a lot of desperation in her voice. Plus, there were a lot of notes out of place. Meanwhile, Lilli countered with Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own.” From the first note, I loved Lilli’s vocal performance, and her delivery was flawless. I could see Scott Borchetta sign Lilli after the show. During the coaches’ comments, Gwen stated that Ashley’s voice sounded very seasoned and added that Lilli played the part very well. Meanwhile, Adam said that Lilli could win the whole season and Blake agreed that Alicia should pick Lilli as well. At the end of the evening, Alicia chose Ashley to represent her team (I believe Alicia’s decision is going to come back to haunt her) and Adam and Blake fought over Lilli (who might win this whole thing). Lilli decided to enlist in Team Adam.
Tomorrow night, the Knockout Rounds continue!
I do not own the “America’s Got Talent” clips. They belong to NBC, FremantleMedia North America, and Syco Entertainment.