Idol Chatter, Knockout Round, Season 3, The Voice

Inside The Voice: Next up — knockout rounds

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The battle rounds ended. Now come the brand new knockout rounds on The Voice.

Yep, the hokey boxing ring returns.

But no more duets. This time singers perform solo, a song of their own choosing.

The twist: They won’t know whom they’re paired against until moments before they sing.

And no more steals. In the words of Blake Shelton: “Go big or go home.”

By the end of the round, the 10 singers on each team will be pared in half. And those will be the artists advancing to the live shows.

Since the knockout rounds were already taped, some of the advancing artists from Team Adam and Team Blake were asked last week which proved more difficult — the battle rounds or the knockout rounds.

Musically, Michaela Paige of Team Blake and Joe Kirkland of Team Adam said they found the battle rounds more difficult.

The reason is simple: Singers were often forced to sing songs outside their comfort zone. And they had to sing the song with another artist.

Michaela said that happened to her. She got a song a little more rock than she expected (Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You”) and an unexpected foe (young country singer Kelly Crapa).

“Being able to battle each other and complement each other at the same time was really tricky,” said Michaela, a 16-year-old pop/punk/rock singer.

In contrast, in the knockout round, “you’re able to go up there and perform a song by yourself and you’re able to be yourself.”

While agreeing, the 25-year-old Kirkland said the knockout round “is very high intensity .. and it’s going to be something that’s really cool to watch.”

Then there’s the do-or-die nature of this part of the competition.

The mental preparation for that is every bit as difficult as the musical preparation, said Nicole Nelson, 34, of Team Adam.

“You’re eliminating another person every time you perform,” she said. “And it’s somebody who really wants to be there and deserves to be there.”

The resulting feeling “of sort of dread” is “really hard to shake,” Nicole admitted.

“It becomes a mental game of just trying to get it out of your head about the fact that you’re on a television show which so happens to be a singing competition — which is so bizarre — and just let it be about the music. The mental game of that took up most of my time.”

The knockout rounds air Monday and Tuesday night in two-hour episodes of The Voice. Both begin at 8 p.m.

Check back then. Weather and satellite dish permitting, I’ll be live blogging through both.

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