‘The Voice': Blake Shelton Makes Hard Decisions in Knockout Rounds
Although the country is currently in lockdown due to COVID-19 concerns, thankfully, The Voice Season 18 was ably ready to entertain homebound fans with the start of its Knockout Rounds Monday night (Apr. 13). Coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas watched their team members pit against each other in pairs, and ultimately made the tough decision to choose one over the other. Mega-mentor James Taylor showed up to make the show even more interesting (who couldn't use a dose of extra star power during quarantine?).
Shelton had his work cut out for him, starting with Joei Fulco and Levi Watkins matching up against each other. "I paired Levi and Joei [because] they have a similar energy about them," Shelton noted. "They're both very young artists. Musically, they can kind of do it all. My heart is, like, racing 'cause I'm excited to see who it is."
Fulco went first, with a nervous gush about how Taylor was an artist that her dad would sing to her when she was growing up. To that end she announced she'd be doing Linda Ronstadt's "When Will I Be Loved"—adding, quickly, "Well, originally by the Everly Brothers," perhaps to show off her vintage cred in front of Taylor. The classic icon approved, noting that her performance was "Somewhat like Cher, somewhat like Dolly."
However, Watkins had his own tricks up his sleeve, showing up with "I Ain't Living Long Like This" by Waylon Jennings. The 14-year-old clarified that he chose the hard-partying outlaw song simply because he liked how it is "real energetic."
In the end, as coach Legend put it, both gave "perfect performances," but Shelton ended up scratching his head over whom to pick. "You're 14 and you're singing a song about being in prison," he conceded to Watkins, but ultimately picked Fulco for her more dynamic range.
Later on, Shelton then had another tough choice, having to decide between Cam Spinks and Todd Tilghman. "Cam's got a very scratchy but very traditional country voice," he noted, while "Todd just explodes."
After the predictable oohs and ahhs over Taylor's mentorship, Spinks decided to perform "Rumor" by Lee Brice. "He's a big dude," observed Shelton approvingly. Spinks tried to live up to the big reputation, but both Shelton and Taylor were a bit hesitant, with Taylor suggesting adding a bit more "growl and grit" to the mix.
Meanwhile, Tilghman decided to do "Anymore" by Travis Tritt. "When I got home from my blind audition, my wife was like, 'If you make it to knockouts, you should really do "Anymore'"for me.' I was like, "What do you mean if I make it? Dang, babe," the singer joked.
When both had finished, Shelton sagely observed: "it's crazy to see talent like this that's undiscovered."
As for his decision? "Cam, in our rehearsal, you had your foot on the gas just a little bit more, where, on the flip side, Todd came out here, and he found a way to push the gas just a little bit more than he did in the rehearsal. He's literally an animal that feeds off of energy," Shelton concluded, choosing Tilghman as the winner.
The Voice will continue to air on Mondays through the rest of the season, so housebound fans can count on tuning in for some fun each week.
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