‘The Voice’ Recap: Knockouts – Part 1: Koryn Hawthorne Stuns The Judges
Pharrell Williams and Adam Levine both used their one STEAL in the Knockout Rounds, saving Koryn Hawthorne and Brian Johnson from elimination on The Voice.
Nate Ruess, from fun, was brought on as an adviser to all contestants going into the Knockout Round. For those who don’t remember: in the Knockout Round coaches pair up two of their artists to perform dueling solos and then pick a winner. Similar to the Battle Round, every coach has one STEAL, and the winners will move on into the Live Shows!
Ashley Morgan vs. Sonic
Sonic, a pro performer, performed Alicia Key’s “A Woman’s Worth,” a sharp contrast to Ashley’s rock song choice, “Heartbreaker.” In rehearsals, Christina Aguilera and Nate encouraged Ashley to work on her stage presence and embrace the sass of the song.
Sonic, on the other hand, had completely different problems in rehearsals: her stage presence was undeniable, but she suffered vocally a bit with some pitchy moments.
Pharrell and Blake were both impressed with Ashley’s confidence onstage, but Christina said she still had some loosening up to do. And, despite some questionable notes, Sonic won the Knockout because of her ability to take risks.
Kimberly Nichole vs. Koryn Hawthorne
Christina paired Kimberly Nichole, a seasoned performer, with teenager Koryn Hawthorne for her second battle of the night.
Kimberly came out with her infections energy and powerful vocals on “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.”
In rehearsals, Koryn impressed Nate with her rendition of Pink’s “Try.” Both Christina and Nate noted her raw power and authentic, unmanufactured vocals.
Kimberly gave a picture perfect performance, but Koryn floored the judges with a powerful, emotional and captivating performance. Everybody was stunned by Koryn, even Kimberly, who rushed to Koryn as soon as her performance is over to gush over her and give her a big hug. Pharrell complimented both, calling it the “toughest knockout,” and Adam agreed, saying, “I feel like we just fast forwarded to the end of the season.”
It was a tough choice for Christina, but she ended up giving it to Kimberly because of her dynamic performance style. When Koryn was put up to steal, Christina got up and ran to Pharrell and Blake asking them to press their buttons for Koryn. And, when Pharrell finally did, she danced around shouting, “It’s a win-win!”
Winner: Kimberly Nichole
Koryn Hawthorne: Team Pharrell
Sarah Potenza vs. Brian Johnson
Blake Shelton paired Sarah Potenza with Brian Johnson because of their powerful voices. Sarah decided to sing Matt McAndrew’s original song from last season, “Wasted Love.” In rehearsals, Matt surprises Sarah and tells her to try to start out a bit slower, so that her belting at the end really comes through emotionally.
Brian chose to sing “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You,” and he suffered a bit in rehearsals with Blake and Nate. It’s not that Brian had any vocal problems, but to compete with Sarah’s intense stage presence, Blake cautions him to make sure to take some risks and add some dimension to his performance.
Sarah’s intense performance style completely won over Christina and Blake, but Pharrell and Adam both gushed about Brian’s runs and smooth performance. In the end, Blake declared Sarah the winner, saying she’s a unique artist in the competition.
STEAL: Adam, impressed with Brian’s performance, decided to take Brian with his Team to the Live Shows!
Winner: Sarah Potenza
Brian Johnson: Team Adam
Meghan Linsey vs. Travis Ewing
Meghan Linsey, the country/soulful girl who was stolen by Blake in the Battle Round, showed off her range on “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Meghan wanted to make clear the kind of artist she wants to be: a “soulful pop artist.” Nate and Blake both warned Meghan that singing that song was a risk, just because she’ll be compared to everybody, especially Aretha Franklin.
Travis Ewing, also a steal for Team Blake, went with a less classic track – Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wan To Be.” Ewing stumbled over the lyrics in rehearsals, especially during the fast paced chorus.
Meghan’s stirring performance had Pharrell on his feet half way through, and while Travis gave his performance ever ounce of power he could, but he fell short vocally and Meghan was declared the winner.
Winner: Meghan Linsey
Nathan Hermida vs. Clinton Washington
Adam Levine paired Nathan Hermida with Clinton Washington, the artist he stole in the Battle Round from Team Christina.
In rehearsals, Nathan’s rendition of “Leave Your Lover” was good, but the singer suffered some pitch problems and was awkward onstage. Nate warned Nathan that, if he fails to engage the entire crowd by moving across the stage, the audience could turn on him.
Clinton decided to perform Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” in the hopes that performing a country track would help him stand out, and Adam was definitely impressed by his range. But, Clinton stumbled in rehearsals with an overflow of adlibs and vibrato, something both Nate and Adam cautioned him against.
It was a tough battle: Clinton’s vocals were accurate and on point, but Nathan’s smooth tone and ability to transition in and out of falsetto impressed Blake and swayed Adam.
Winner: Nathan Hermida
Sawyer Fredericks vs. Mia Z vs. Paul Pfau
Anthony Riley was forced to leave the competition for personal reasons, leaving Team Pharrell one man short. To compensate for the unexpected loss, Pharrell Williams put on the first three-way Knockout with Mia Z, Paul Pfau and Sawyer Fredericks.
Mia Z decided to take advantage of her bluesy powerhouse voice with “Hold on, I’m Comin’.” In rehearsals, Nate and Pharrell helped Mia loosen up onstage.
Paul chose “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” but in rehearsals he seemed a bit too reliant on his guitar. It was hard for him to let loose vocally when he was busy focusing on his guitar playing, something Nate and Pharrell both identified as a red flag.
In contrast, Sawyer chose to perform “Collide” sans his guitar. Leaving the guitar behind allowed Sawyer to embrace the melancholy emotion of the song, and Nate and Pharrell had very few notes to give him in rehearsals.
Pharrell wanted artists who connect emotionally to the songs chosen, and, unfortunately, Paul didn’t make the cut.
Winners: Mia Z and Sawyer Fredericks
The Knockout Round on The Voice continues Tuesday at 8 p.m. on NBC.