‘The Voice': Blake Shelton Makes Hard Decisions in Knockout Round
Although the country is currently in lockdown due to COVID-19 concerns, The Voice was ready to entertain homebound fans with the start of the Season 18 Knockout Rounds on Monday night (April 13). Coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Nick Jonas pitted their team members against each other in pairs, and ultimately made tough decisions, choosing one person over the other to advance.
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 Knockouts mega-mentor James Taylor was an artist her dad would sing to her when she was growing up. To that end, she announced that 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 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 likes how it's "real energetic."
In the end, as coach Legend put it, both gave "perfect performances," and 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 had another tough choice: 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 airs Mondays on NBC, beginning at 8PM ET.
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