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'The Voice' recap: Live teams are set as knockouts end

October 30, 2013|By Amy Reiter
  • Carson Daly raises Matthew Schuler's hand in victory, as Will Champlin awaits rescue, in the Knockout Rounds on 'The Voice.'
Carson Daly raises Matthew Schuler's hand in victory, as Will Champlin… (Tyler Golden / NBC )

Sixteen more singers offered themselves up for the final pre-live-shows-pruning that is "The Voice" knockout rounds on an extended Tuesday episode. As on Monday's knockouts, there were unexpected stumbles, expected triumphs, surprising steals (the addition of the knockout steal meant coaches could swipe back members of their original teams who'd been stolen during the battles – and Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine did precisely that) and lots of singers sadly sent home.

By the end, each coach had a much tighter, more reliable team of five to take live next week in a three-night vocal bonanza.

Levine paired up former model Lina Gaudenzi and soul-voiced Preston Pohl, whom he had stolen from Team Christina in the battles, hoping to discover which singer was "the most unique." Gaudenzi, singing Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind," was at her most nuanced and Pohl's performance of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" may have been a bit too laid back for such a high-stakes moment. "It's just hard to expand in that type of a song," Aguilera said. But, though Gaudenzi's performance had impressed, Pohl was pretty much a shoo-in from the start. "I gotta go with what my gut tells me," Levine said,  "and the winner of this knockout is Preston."

Team Blake Shelton's E.G. Daily – she of "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" fame – squared off against single dad Ray Boudreaux, and it was one of those clear-choice matches. Daily's raspy voice broke uneasily at the end of her take on Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," whereas Boudreaux made Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" seem anything but that.  CeeLo Green said Boudreaux's performance would have pleased Redding himself. Shelton called it "studly" and chose Boudreaux to advance.

The next match, between two young singers on Aguilera's team -- Anthony Paul, 18, who had begun the season on Team CeeLo, and adorable 16-year-old Jacquie Lee – saw an even more decisive victory. Paul's pitch was all over the place on Jason Derulo's "The Other Side." Lee, who gleefully tore through Serena Ryder's "Stompa," easily trounced him. Aguilera kindly blamed the song for Paul's stage splat, but picked Lee to move forward, complimenting the young singer's precocious soulfulness and saying she reminded her of herself.

The competition between Team CeeLo's Stephanie Anne Johnson, a battle-round steal from Team Christina, and Tamara Chauniece was much closer.  Green said he was looking for the singer who displayed more "power and versatility," and although he contended he and Johnson were a "perfect match," like brother and sister, he was less taken with her guitar-strumming version of Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why" than he was with Chauniece's reggae take on Alicia Keys' "No One," comparing the singer to a "young Anita Baker." Ultimately, though, both vocalists will move forward to the lives – Chauniece with Team CeeLo and Johnson with her original coach, Aguilera, who stole her back post-knockout.

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In one of the evening's most surprising stumbles, Team Adam's James Wolpert suffered a flurry of pitch problems attempting to sing Boston's "More Than a Feeling" as he faced off against Juhi, who'd been stolen from Team CeeLo by Levine in the battles. Juhi ran into a few rough spots, too, on Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine" (the Creedence Clearwater Revival version, she told us).  Aguilera told her she was "so carefree" that it seemed "careless" in places. The other coaches were split on a winner, but Levine was in a forgiving mood, noting that Wolpert had performed his chosen song perfectly in rehearsal. "In my own personal career, I've faltered and come back from making mistakes," he said. "The winner of this knockout is James."

Things improved a little in the next matchup, between Team Blake's Austin Jenckes, who dedicated his performance of Edwin McCain's "I'll Be" to his late father, and Brandon Chase, who performed solidly with Eli Young Band's "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." Aguilera rightly observed that Jenckes' performance lacked dimension; it was "just power, power, power all the way through," she noted. But Jenckes' coach apparently didn't agree. "I know how emotional that song is for Austin at this point in his life," Shelton said after choosing him for the live shows, "and I thought he did a perfect job."

Team CeeLo's Caroline Pennell gave one of the most sparkling performances of the evening – if not the season – with her ethereal version of Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am," arguably improving on the original with her pure, playful style. George Horga Jr., who sang Ne-Yo's "Because of You," didn't stand a chance. Shelton said Pennell's voice made him want to get a cat and a pink blanket and curl up by a fire with a cup of cocoa, and Aguilera called her "effortlessly angelic." Green picked his "Sweet Caroline" over his "Georgie Porgie" to move forward.

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