Huntley, Kara Tenae, Ruby Leigh, Lila Forde and Bias scored victories as The Voice knockouts continued Monday night.
Also making the live playoffs via a combination of steals and saves were Claudia B., Noah Spencer, Stee and Kristen Brown.
While Ruby and Kara were certainly impressive, three of the night’s best performances came in the Team Niall three-way knockout between Huntley, Noah and Claudia.
It was only fitting that all three advanced.
Meanwhile, The Voice montaged yet another match, even though Monday’s two-hour episode included just 31 minutes of performance footage.
And could someone please turn off the coaches’ mics while the artists are performing. The oohing and aahing and other comments during the songs are annoying as hell.
So is The Voice’s habit of turning the cameras away from the artists for closeups of the coaches during every single performance.
THE COACH GOT IT WRONG
The match: Lila Forde vs. Stee vs. Deejay Young
The background: Stee, 34, of Bluffton, S.C., turned four chairs in the blinds. So did Lila, 24, of Seattle, Wash. Deejay Young, 33, of Tampa, Fla., turned three. All three won their battles, though Lila was montaged.
The songs: Mint Condition’s “Breakin’ My Heart” for Deejay, James Taylor’s “Fire & Rain” for Lila, Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings” for Stee.
The feedback: Reba loved Lila cover of one of her favorite songs and said she would give the end to her. Niall praised all three artist. Gwen seemed to lean toward Stee. John also had high praise for all three of his singers, saying he felt all three picked thee right song.
The outcome: John named Lila the winner. Stee also advanced to the playoffs thanks to a Gwen Stefani steal. Deejay was eliminated. John said everyone can’t wait to hear a Lila record. Gwen said Stee “just exudes this amazing positivity and joy.”
My take: Stee delivered a standout vocal, did a great job of building the song’s dynamics and showed off great range. Lila displayed a lovely tone on a solid cover of the James Taylor hit, but I still would have given Stee the edge. Deejay showed off nice performance skills, but I didn’t like his song choice. And not every line of every song requires vocal acrobatics. Oh, well, at least Stee advanced anyway.
THE COACHES GOT IT RIGHT
The match: Huntley vs. Claudi B. vs Noah Spencer
The background: Huntley, 33, of Spring Hill, Fla., turned four chairs in the blinds. Noah, 20, of Richlands, Va., turned three. So did Claudia B., 24, of Washington, D.C. Claudia is a steal from Team Legend.
The songs: Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” by Claudia, Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” for Huntley, The Steeldrivers’ “Where Rainbows Never Die” for Noah.
The feedback: Gwen called all three performances incredible. John also praised the performances, saying all three singers deserved to advance. Reba was the only coach to express a preference, saying she’d advance Noah. Niall also applauded all three performances.
The outcome: Niall declared Huntley the winner. He then used his save on Claudia B. John, her former coach, tried to steal Claudia. She opted to remain on Team Niall. Noah advanced too, thanks to a steal from Reba. John competed for that steal as well.
My take: Claudia turns in a deliciously soulful version of the Norah Jones hit, but the song choice was a little sleepy compared to what was to come. Huntley is delivering fire on The Voice stage and picked a great song to show off his raspy. He’s on the verge of becoming the Season 24 front-runner. Not intimidated by what he’d heard, Noah stepped on stage and delivered some rasp of his own, sounding especially great on the chorus of The Steeldrivers’ song. Niall made the right choice in declaring Huntley the winner. But there’s no wrong in having Claudia B. and Noah also rewarded for those excellent performances.
The match: Ruby Leigh vs. Ms. Monet vs. Rachele Nguyen
The background: Ruby, 16, of Foley, Missouri, turned four chairs in the blinds. Ms. Monet, 50, of Pittsburgh, Calif., turned two. Reba was the only coach to turn for Rachele, 17, of Lakewood, Calif. All three won their battles.
The songs: The Emotions’ “Best of My Love” for Ms. Monet, Leann Rimes’ “Blue” for Ruby, Maddie and Tae’s “Die from a Broken Heart” for Rachele.
The feedback: Niall praised all three artists. So did Gwen, but she gave a slight edge to Ruby. John didn’t express a preference, but said Ruby is perfect for Team Reba and said its like she’s “from another planet” given her young age and skill level. Reba said she was proud of all three artists.
The outcome: Reba, not surprisingly, decided to advance Ruby to the playoffs. Ms. Monet and Rachele were eliminated.
My take: Ruby had this in the bag the second she started singing. Talk about a great classic country sound. But The Voice better keep reminding its viewers she’s just 16, because she comes off as much more mature than that on stage. Great ending too. Rachel’s got nice potential, but I had trouble making out lots of her lyrics early in the performance. Ms. Monet brings plenty of vocal fire to the stage, but I would have suggested a more current song for the show’s oldest contestant. And the end of that performance got a little shouty.
The match: Kara Tenae vs. Kristen Brown vs. Corii
The background: Kara, 33, of Riverside, Calif., turned three chairs in the blinds. Kristen, 24, of Roseville, Calif., turned two. Corii, 32, of Moorestown, N.J., turned one and is a steal from Team Reba.
The songs: JoJo’s “Leave (Get Out)” for Kara, Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls” for Kristen, Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun” for CORii.
The feedback: John had compliments for all three singers. Reba gave the edge to CORii. Niall gave the edge to Kristen. Gwen loved Kara’s swag and her attitude.
The outcome: Gwen named Kara the winner. John then stole Kristen, relishing the chance to land a country artist who has done so well on the show. CORii was eliminated.
My take: Kristen has a really nice country tone, but I’m not sure her voice was up to the firepower that song demanded. I wouldn’t have pushed the steal button for that performance. CORii brought the vocal firepower and certainly delivered the attitude. She needed a better song choice. Meanwhile, Kara took the stage with a lovely tone, oodles of sass and a game plan for making her cover work. In other words, she was the clear winner.
The match: Bias vs. Jason Arcilla vs. Jenna Marquis
The background: Jenna, 19, of Simi Valey, Calif., turned three chairs in the blinds. Bias, 23, of Little Rock, Ark., earned two. So did Jason, 34, of Kahului, Hawaii. All three won their battles.
The song: Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave” for Bias. Who knows what Jenna and Jason sang. The Voice didn’t care to inform us.
The feedback: Gwen complimented Bias’s “it factor” as well as his vocals. The Voice, which committed about 25 minutes of airtime to the other knockouts during Monday’s two-show apparently couldn’t bring itself to cut out some of the babble to show us his entire performance. We didn’t get to see an instant of Jenna or Jason performing.
The outcome: Gwen selected Bias as the winner. Jenna and Jason were eliminated.
My take: Gee, think The Voice will care to show the full knockout in tomorrow’s recap? I know. I’m being silly. Why air new footage when you can rehash old footage? Here’s a free tip for The Voice. If you don’t have enough airtime to do justice to a cast of 54 artists, how about just having 48 singers per season? Or 40? I mean, you’ve already reduced the live shows to the point where The Voice is a sad shadow of its former self.