Team Blake : Wendy Moten interprétant « Ain’t No Way » (Grade : A+) a battu Jonathan Mouton interprétant « I Can See Clearly Now » (Grade : A) | After sharing how much of an inspiration Aretha Franklin was to her, Wendy blew Ed away so much with her training journey that her only suggestion was that she hold the mic rather than leave it on the stand. She was and is this Well. Poor Jonathan gave it his all, but I didn’t think even reminding Blake of his battle with cancer would give him a pass to the live playoffs, not against Wendy. On stage, Jonathan delivered a magnificent, well-modulated cover (even with Kelly shouting “I love this song!” On him). Now I’m a fan of Jonathan in general, but even I was like, “Well, [bleep]! If he was going down he was going down swinging. The guy was as “on” as “on” gets. In second place, Wendy … well, [bleep] once again! From the jump she redefined control, build, build, build down to such a powerful and perfect chorus that it almost brought tears to my old jaded eyes. Simply breathtaking!
Team Ariana: Raquel Trinidad performing “Valerie” (Grade: C-) defeated Katie Rae performing “Hold On to Me” (Grade: B) – Katie stolen by Kelly | Once Katie went through her cover of Lauren Daigle for her trainer and Ed, he urged her to build the big M capital moment into the chorus rather than singing the whole song. Ariana, meanwhile, offered some hard-earned advice on keeping Katie from sweeping her voice. Training in second, Raquel baffled me, mainly because I wasn’t ready to hear “Valerie” without that Amy Winehouse acidity that I’m so used to. Ari and Ed weren’t bothered, however; in fact, they had more praise than advice for Raquel. Playing first, Katie made it clear that she was trying to take Ed’s suggestion to heart; the problem was that the belt is just kind of his benchmark. She was pretty good too; there was just a similarity throughout her performance and a heaviness that didn’t necessarily serve her well. Second on the mic, Raquel had a voice as thin as I always wanted to be the waistline, so her performance landed with all the strength of a soft noodle. The trainers loved his mini-races, but if his “Valerie” was on the radio, I’d probably check out what was on other stations.
Team Kelly: Gymani performing “PILLOWTALK” (Grade: B-) defeated Kinsey Rose performing “Strawberry Wine” (Grade: D) | In rehearsal, Gymani roughly exploded Zayn’s success, going from something intimate to something raw and expansive. Ed was particularly won over by Gymani’s husky voice. Next, Kinsey explained that she chose a Deana Carter song that had always meant a lot to her late grandfather. After her run, Kelly encouraged her to bring out the yodeling in her voice. When the spotlight finally fell on Gymani, she first treated her voice like an orchestra; herself, her conductor. But something was wrong. She stumbled at first and just didn’t look confident. If she hadn’t bounced back in time to land her last raspy chorus, I think she would have been toasted. Not his finest hour. When it was Kinsey’s turn… eh… she looked pretty but flat. Until she hit the chorus, there was simply no life to her performance. And even then this life was terribly silent. I know it wasn’t, but it sounded like a record played at the wrong tempo. Zzz. In the end, Kelly said her decision was not made because Gymani is the best singer but the best competitor. (I’m not sure if I’m okay with that, considering how good country acts have been in the past, but okay…)
Team Legend: Joshua Vacanti performing “Falling” (Grade: A-) defeated Sabrina Dias performing “Photograph” (Grade: B) | After Sabrina pulled Ed’s tube – playing guitar and drums (not simultaneously) – he marveled that he had never heard it sound so power-ballady. For his part, John wanted to hear his competitor shred his voice a little more. Joshua, who appeared to be wearing a chartreuse painter’s jumpsuit, impressed his trainer and mentor with the emotion of his performance. Keep it simple, though, Ed advised. At the moment of truth, Joshua subdued himself, to great effect. The drama that he seemed to naturally bring to his performances was still there, but he was controlling it rather than the other way around. Strong and slender. After Joshua in the spotlight, Sabrina looked solid but not necessarily memorable. Switching from guitar to drums was a nice gimmick, it just didn’t make her vocals any more exciting. Well, not great.
Team Blake: Libianca performing “whatever I wanted” (Grade: A-) defeated Hailey Green performing “God’s Country” (Grade: B +) | In rehearsal, Hailey looked totally badass on Blake’s hit. All he and Ed wanted was for her to reconsider playing guitar all along; if she needed it as a crutch, fine. But she needed to know that wasn’t going to be the audience’s goal. When it was Libianca’s turn, she had to stop halfway, the urge to cry was so great. Blake wanted her to keep the emotion, just… you know… not so much that she couldn’t finish her cover of Billie Eilish. On stage, Hailey went from “How far can she go?” Lower register to a growling chorus that brought Ari to his feet. And that long note she hit was a total winner. Was it perfect? No, but it’s the Knockouts, and she packs a punch. Second on stage, Libianca was at a disadvantage, I thought, because her song was much quieter. On the contrary, though, because her number wasn’t that big and screaming, we could really hear the little spinning bits she was putting on the notes. His performance was thoughtful and nuanced; less electric than Hailey’s but still superior.
Team Kelly: Girl Named Tom performing “Wichita Lineman” (Grade: A +) defeated Holly Forbes performing “Superstar” (Grade: A) – Holly stolen by Ariana | Hmm. When Holly said she would cover the Carpenters, I got worried. She tends to be an irresistible singer, doesn’t she, whereas Karen (the rare good Karen!) Was more sober. Holly seemed to make it work, however. When Girl Named Tom looked through their Glenn Campbell cover, it was so pretty it made me wish they were doing The Carpenters. What were those haunting high notes that Bekah was hitting! (Something she made up, it turned out these kids – wow.) At the time of the show, Holly produced a stunning take on the golden oldie, less bombastic and more vulnerable than I expected. (although it was much louder than the original). Hers was a heart that wasn’t just breaking, she was being cut to pieces. Closing the evening, GNT sang with breathtaking purity and precision. And as perfect as their voices were, they were nonetheless filled with emotion. Of course I had goosebumps from start to finish.
So who really knocked you out on Monday? Vote in the poll below, then hit the comments with your opinions. Could you believe no one stole Jonathan Mouton or Kinsey Rose?!?