Last night of the Knockouts; last night of Taylor Swift’s wisdom; last chance to make it to the Live Rounds. Oy, it was a big night with some killer–like, seriously killer–song choices making the judge-y coaches (coach-y judges?) really hem and haw over their final decisions.
Before we get down to brass tacks (aka what went down on the episode), can we discuss how this week we discovered the red chairs have SEAT WARMERS?!? We get five and a half seasons and only learn this while watching Taylor Swift half tip out of her seat looking for a switch!? The Voice, you have been holding out on us! Next week we’ll probably learn exactly which Starbucks drink the judges prefer. (Spoiler, Blake’s probably definitely has booze in it.)
The Match-up: Taylor Brashears vs. Allison Bray
The Music: Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” vs. Dixie Chicks’ “Sin Wagon”
The Melee: Bless T-Swizzle for banning heels and convincing someone – in this case, Allison – to just get sloppy in the ring. Both ladies had some pitch issues in rehearsal, but it did feel like Taylor (the contestant one) had less to overcome based on Taylor (the Swift one) and Blake’s ringside advice.
The Victor: Taylor Brashears – the camera cut to Bray during the first verse of her competitor’s song and you could literally see her realize her up-tempo wasn’t going to be enough to cinch it for her.
The Match-up: Grant Ganzer vs. Reagan James – aka Battle of the Babies
The Music: One Republic’s “Apologize” vs. Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style”
The Melee: I’ve literally never seen someone’s jaw drop in real life until Reagan arrived at rehearsal to find Swifters on the stage with Blake. It was cute. And the only notable thing to report from this pairing’s rehearsals.
The Victor: Reagan James – it is almost impossible to fathom that she is 15. FIFTEEN!
The Match-up: Beth Spangler vs. Ryan Sill
The Music: JoJo’s “Too Little Too Late” vs. Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent”
The Melee: This match-up’s outcome was mega obvious. Dreamy boyband-esque 20 year-old trumps all when it comes to America voting for reality TV winners. Even Swifty commented about unleashing “the boy performer charisma,” dubbing it “his secret weapon.” Sorry, Beth. You are super adorable (even in spite of the pink romper that looked a little too diaper-ish in the crotch – front pleats are nobody’s friend!).
The Victor: Ryan Sill – pretty boy swag + smiles + soulful eyes = winner, winner! Even Blake Shelton knows it.
The Match-up: Anita Antoinette vs. Craig Wayne Boyd
The Music: Magic’s “Rude” vs. Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See”
The Melee: Anita basically managed to have a “Rude” sing-along with Gwen and Tay singing and dancing along with her rehearsal. Craig got a little “take us to church” stage presence pep talk from Swifters before Gwen went all TLC’s A Makeover Story/What Not To Wear on us and asked about cutting Craig’s hair and making him look like a man she’d make out with. (Seriously, that was how she phrased it.)
The Victor: Anita Antoinette
OMG! A Steal: Apparently Blake saved his steal till the end just to reclaim an artist! He had let Craig go in the Battles – picking James David Carter over him – only to bring him back to the Team Blake stables just in time for the Live Round. It had to be the hair cut and new leather jacket. Kudos to Gwen, the new look is better (though it’s still very Billy Ray Cyrus circa Hannah Montana).
The Match-up: Chris Jamison vs. Blessing Offor
The Music: Otis Redding’s “[Sittin on] the Dock of the Bay” vs. John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland”
The Melee: Guys, guys, guuuuuuys! Am I the only one that wanted to know what Taylor Swift’s inner monologue is when someone’s singing a John Mayer song? Anyone? (I know you’re all with me.) Blessing’s rehearsal felt like a copycat, average karaoke version of that song. (Sorry, don’t hate me – his performance was waaaay better though!) Chris’ falsetto take on a verse of an all-time favourite song and major classic didn’t instil confidence either though.
The Victor: Chris Jamison – let’s be honest, neither performance was buzz-worthy enough for you to talk about it around the water cooler on Tuesday (if water coolers still were a thing at work). Adam could have flipped a coin off-camera to make this decision.
The Match-up: Rebekah Samarin vs. Matt McAndrew
The Music: James Morrison’s “You Give Me Something” vs Train’s “Drops of Jupiter”
The Melee: Due to some time constraints, we caught a 30-second glimpse at Matt’s performance, before a winner was declared. I demand the Taylor Swift outtakes from rehearsal, NBC!
The Victor: Matt McAndrew
The Match-up: Jean Kelley vs. Menlik Zergabachew
The Music: Sia’s “Chandelier” vs. Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” (an unsurprising choice, if you don’t mind my saying…)
The Melee: T-Swizzle majorly fangirled over Jean’s performance choices from the get go. Menlik was ensconced in the joy of a pure reggae tune till Tay offered up four little words that would be key to connecting with the audience during game time: “Turn the lights on.” Every round in this season was an uphill battle for Menlik given how mainstream America isn’t necessarily rushing out to buy the latest reggae records these days.
The Victor: Jean Kelley – I honestly had to revisit past recaps after watching Kelley bring the house down with this week’s performance and wondering “Uhhh, has she always been THAT incredible????”
Notable Swifty Soundbites:
“This is about a girl having a breakdown and she’s just going on a bender…Look at me! Does it look like I care?! Am I wearing heels?! No, I’m not. And it doesn’t need to be pretty and it doesn’t need to be graceful.” – I officially love Miss. Swift’s description of “Sin Wagon.”
“She [Allison Bray] just needs to sell to the audience that she’s a total mess. Because people love total messes. Come on.”
“I felt, more so, like I was watching an interpretive dancer rather than a singer.”
“That’s the difference between a singer and a performer: a singer sings for themselves, a performer performs for everyone else.” Swifty is all kinds of deep, you guys.
“I would like to see a pass without the jacket on. Because I’m a little distracted by fringe.” Noted, Taylor. Noted.
This T-squared giggle:
Taylor B: I just put all my ex-boyfriends in the audience.
Taylor S: [laughs] I do that allll the time.
And this intimate Mensa meeting:
Blake: Mo-MENT-toe? It’s not mo-ment-OH?
Taylor: Is it a moment-toe? MO-MENT-TOE.
Blake: Ment-oh is a breath mint.
Taylor: Mento is a breath mint.
Blake: That’s what you just said.
Taylor: A MO-MENT-TO.
(Note: The word “memento” no longer has meaning to me. Nor can I figure out where the emphasis went wrong with those two. Let’s split the difference and call it a “keepsake,” okay you two?)
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC and CTV Two.