Monday's episode of NBC’s “The Voice” had some surprises as the singing competition wrapped up the Knockout Rounds and finalized the top 20 performers for the upcoming live shows. But Tuesday’s one-hour show won’t be the kickoff to those rounds. Instead, it will be a “The Road to the Live Shows,” a recap of Season 8 thus far. So here's a look at what happened in the final Knockout Rounds Monday night and at what the top 20 will look like.
Going into the last six Knockout pairings, only coach Christina Aguilera had a steal remaining, so no matter who the artists were teamed with, everyone was playing to her all night.
Team Adam kicked things off with the pairing of Tonya Boyd-Cannon and Barry Minniefield in one of the more even matchups of the competition. Minniefield sang first with Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do for Love.” The song had a lot of energy and gave Minniefield a chance to show off a higher vocal register for the first time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to topple Boyd-Cannon's soulful and fun performance of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.” Coach Adam Levine chose to move Boyd-Cannon forward.
Blake Shelton team members Brooke Adee and Kelsie May took the stage next. Both chose difficult songs, but only one made it work. Hoping to show her emotional side, May chose Taylor Swift’s early hit “Tim McGraw.” As Entertainment Weekly noted, Swift’s early work is not known for vocal range. May fumbled through a pitchy performance that made no one jump out of his or her seat. Adee chose “Electric Feel” by MGMT, a difficult song to perform live. But with the help of guest mentor Nate Ruess of Fun, she made the song her own and walked away with a spot in the top 20. Aguilera sat on her hands regarding her final steal.
Team Xtina was next at bat with India Carney and Joe Tolo. The two clashed in the age-old coach's dilemma of whether to choose consistent talent or incredible potential. Carney sang first with Jessie J’s “Big White Room.” She gave a significantly memorable performance but it wasn’t necessarily the good kind of memorable. Tolo gave a technically proficient but forgettable rendition of “One of Us” by Joan Osborne. It didn’t quite give him the chance to prove that he belonged in the top 20 and he was sent packing by Aguilera.
Eyes were dried and Team Pharrell Williams' Jacob Rummell and Lowell Oakley stepped into the Knockout ring. Rummell performed first and, as his rehearsal showed, his issue was confidence. Although Shawn Mendes' "Life of the Party" was the perfect choice for his soulful voice, his performance was lacking compared with the competition. Oakley leaned right into his own storm and chose the Temptations' "My Girl," which allowed him to show off his high register and prove to his coach that he made the right call in stealing him during the Battle Rounds. In the end, Oakley advanced and Rummell went home.
With all four judges throwing one of their teammates to the wolves, it was Team Xtina up once again, this time with Rob Taylor and Treeva Gibson. The two showed off their higher ranges, especially Taylor with his falsetto version of Al Green's “Love and Happiness.” The performance was solid and his vocals were on point, but something still seemed missing. Gibson took the mic for Adele’s “Chasing Pavements.” Unfortunately, the powerhouse vocals of Adele were too much for Gibson; Aguilera sent Taylor forward.
In the last performance of the night, Levine put Lexi Davila and Joshua Davis together. Davila sang “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding and, as the Hollywood Reporter noted, she showed dramatic improvement from her rehearsals with Ruess, especially in her confidence while performing. Davis sang “Arms of a Woman” by Amos Lee. The vocals were sound but the performance lacked that spark that says “This is the next winner of ‘The Voice.’ ” Ultimately, Levine moved Davis forward and, surprising no one, Aguilera stole Davila.
Now that the teams are solidified, the top 20 performances kick off live Monday at 8 p.m. EDT. Which team do you think has the best shot at wining this year? Tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy.