Compared to the premiere, night two of The Voice season 11 knockouts are a cake walk. There really are no big surprises in these battles. Maybe the producers figured all the shocks from that night were enough for the week!
The downside is that there are only a couple of really killer performances. One of them however, could very well end up being a game-changer! Let’s recap night two of The Voice season 11 knockouts – then talk about who’s left for next week.
Knock Out 1 – Team Blake
Bindi Liebowitz vs Courtney Harrell
Even more than Monday’s episode, advisors Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are really helpful. Faith in particular stands out in understanding not just technical vocal things, but on how to present a song. She gives both singers great advice, but Courtney will take in and use it best.
Both Faith and Tim were blown away by Courtney – as they should have been. I’ve always thought Courtney was a serious contender. Watch Courtney use Faith’s advice to do a slow build in intensity to spectacular effect!
During her performance the reactions from coaches Miley Cyrus and Adam Levine suggests that they didn’t know how good she is. In fact, Miley actually says she didn’t realize that Courtney was a threat to her team!
With Courtney it’s tempting to box her into being another r&b/soul/gospel singer, but she’s also got a rock edge that could open up her audience appeal. Remember Amanda Brown back in season three? She was doing all kinds of soul and r&b music, but her version of “Dream On” by Aerosmith was a game-changer that soared her popularity and kept her in for the top six. These days Amanda’s been touring with Adele – and is getting ready to release her debut album!
This is a season of The Voice where a performer is going to have to be mind-blowing and confident every time in order to advance. Bindi is good, but aside from her blind audition there just hasn’t exhibited a strong sense of herself as an artist. There are hints of there being more than what we’ve seen, but with the level of talent competing there’s no more time to figure that out.
The other thing is that the fire she had in the blinds has been absent ever since. Bindi sang, “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield. As Faith put it, Bindi’s rehearsal performance been vanilla and needed to be rocky-road. All of the notes Bindi got said similar things: she needed to start out super strong and go up from there. It didn’t happen. Miley said she wanted to see Bindi “explode” just once.
Bindi also had some issues with pitch for this song, which hadn’t been an issue before. Overall though, Bindi has coasted on her middle range – vocally and emotionally – and it wasn’t good enough. Courtney whispered this to Bindi when they hugged.
“You are amazing, okay? Hold on to that.”
For Bindi, being on The Voice simultaneously has let her know she does have something special – and that she needs to work on to let her greatness shine. She’s done on The Voice, but If she works on being able to really open up and let go on stage she’s likely to go far in the music industry.
Knock Out 2 – Team Adam
Billy Gilman vs Ponciano Seoane
Winner: Billy Gilman
Ponciano does a decent job singing, “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, but it’s way too mellow a song for a knockout round. He doesn’t work the stage at all and has some vocally off moments in the middle.
However even if Ponciano had done a stunning performance he would have gone home. Look at Monday’s knockout with Riley Elmore and Jason Warrior. Jason clearly won, but Adam sees Riley’s bigger potential under his guidance. Riley’s super unique, and Adam wasn’t about to let him go. The same goes for Billy. Between Billy’s background of experience as a child country music star and his awesome pop vocals as an adult, there’s no way he wouldn’t be going to lives.
It’s cute when Billy shows up to rehearsal and sees Faith and Tim.
I immediately reverted back to my 12-year-old self. I mean, they literally watched me grow up.
Whomever went up against Billy Gilman in the knockouts was going to be eliminated. I wonder if he realized it because Billy sings, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten. It’s a mediocre choice with few dynamics for him to work with. The result is a solid, but uninteresting performance.
Billy’s going to the lives, but song choices like this and phoned in performances won’t keep him in the competition. Hopefully this is a one-off.
Knockout 3 – Team Alicia
Belle Jewel vs. Christian Cuevas
This was the final battle of the night. Alicia says something about their “unique” vocal styles and “individualism” being the reason for the pairing. Right…that describes Belle. Yet, I don’t believe for a minute Alicia was concerned about Belle. The knockout was really a test for Christian.
Belle is a polished artist. If it turned out she needed to let her go, Miley had already expressed interest in her during the battles. With Christian Alicia needed to see if he could really step it up and go from a guy with a big voice doing karaoke to a vocal powerhouse balladeer. If he didn’t step it up, she knew Belle’s performance would be solid enough to keep.
Winner: Christian Cuevas
Christian passes the test – and he gets an “A.” His song choice is brilliant – “Superstar” as sung by Luther Vandross. This shows Christian knows the direction he needs to keep moving towards. The notes he gets during rehearsal are many, but the most consistent are around being centered and letting his emotions pour out in his singing. Here’s how Tim put it:
There’s singing at you, there’s singing to you, and then there’s telling people how you feel.
Christian took all of the notes in and totally nails the performance.
Stolen: Belle Jewel
This is the first time the audience gets to see her do a full song!
What Belle Jewel does vocally and visually is very cool, and very specific. Tim and Faith talked about how they could already image what a show of hers would look like. Alicia calls it a 1940’s jazz vibe thrown over 1980’s hits. Her stylized presentation makes her a perfect fit for team Miley. My only thought is that
if she does this with everything it could start to feel gimmicky. (Maybe that’s why this is the first time we’re seeing her?)
The Wrap Up
That was it for night two of The Voice Season 11 Knockouts! Unlike what we’ve just gone over, the upcoming knockouts will have some tough decisions. For starters, there’s only one steal left and it belongs to Alicia. Even with the prospect of four wildcard spots, there aren’t enough to save everyone. It’s going to be the end of the road for some really talented singers.
Adam has one match left: Nolan Neal vs. Brendan Fletcher. This, is going to be hard. Nolan is someone who didn’t make last season that Adam encouraged to come back. He’s got a great voice. However, Brendan is amazing and between that voice and his looks he could take the whole thing. Because Adam stole a country artist yesterday I’m thinking he’ll keep Brendan and let go of Nolan.
This last battle on team Alicia is another awful one: Michael Sanchez vs Sa’Rayah. For this one, I guarantee whomever goes home will be back as a wild card! There’s no way these two won’t make the lives!
Blake has two more knockouts to go. The artists are: Dana Harper, Gabe Broussard, Karlee Metzger, and Austin Allsup. Austin, like Billy Gilman on team Adam , seems unlikely to be going anywhere, but you never know. Blake could decide he’s gotten enough exposure that Austin’s family connections could carry his career the rest of the way. I’d choose Dana over Karlee, but I also love Gabe…. These will not be fun.
Good grief! Next week is going to be a heart-breaker!