For some reason, NBC’s The Voice opened up with coaches Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Blake Shelton singing Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” while Adam Levine rolled his eyes in mock exasperation.
Perhaps the reason for the sudden a cappella performance was because nothing was going to stop the second night of knockouts from continuing with superstar Mariah Carey acting as the key adviser. And Team J-Hud got things started with what she called “the hardest decision for me to make.”
Pairing Franc West and Tyshawn Colquitt because of their similar “old school” styles certainly didn’t make things easy for the new coach, and as they rehearsed their numbers—The Weeknd’s “Call Out My Name” for Franc and Tyshawn with Zayn’s “Pillow Talk”—it only seemed to get more difficult.
In fact, following their actual competition performances, Kelly looked at Jennifer and said, “I don’t know what you’re going to do. I ain’t her. I’m so happy. Move on,” while Adam added, “I really do think it was dead even, so I’m not going to try to decide for you.”
It was Franc’s maturity and control that won out and, sadly, Tyshawn was sent home, but not before he treated the coaches and some audience members to his family’s homemade pound cake.
Yes, for real.
Kelly’s team was the next to hit the stage with Mariah. Soulful pop artists Abby Cates and Claire DeJean were picked to face off for Team Kelly, but before they even sang their first note, they got some sound advice from Mariah. “If you want to devote your life to this, then devote it to also having a good time while you’re doing it,” she said, “because so much of it gets caught up by people in the industry and stuff like that.”
In a very bold move, Abby chose Kelly’s “Because of You” for her competition piece and the young teen was given some great direction from her coach—slow down and let the song breathe. Kelly later explained that it was how she had originally intended for the song to be performed. Claire, who sang Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” was given similar instructions, to let the wordy lyrics breathe a bit.
The results were incredible. Both young women were so good that Adam said, “The only person who can make a mistake here is Kelly.” He went on to say, “It’s so nice to be Blake or Jennifer or Adam and that’s pretty much where the list of happy people ends. What I’m getting at here is y’all were great.”
It was obviously not an easy decision, but Kelly said she was choosing who she thought was more ready and she picked Abby to move through to the live rounds.
Team Blake had the last knockout of the night and it was Dave Fenley vs. Kameron Marlowe. Blake said he chose the two because they were his “country guys” and both had similar grit and approaches to performing. However, they went very different routes when it came to the songs they performed. Dave chose Lionel Richie’s pop smash “Stuck On You” and Kameron went with reggae great Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.”
The risks paid off, though. “That’s a hard pairing right there,” Kelly said following the performance. “You both are so different, but you’re so great. The rasp is just lived in. It’s a beautiful, beautiful tone you both have.” Adam was also undecided, admitting, “I actually feel stupid because you guys are two dudes I didn’t turn around for,” however, he leaned a bit more towards Kameron.
When it finally came to choosing, Blake struggled. “I can’t sit here and say that one of the two of you screwed the pooch and so I got to go with the other,” he said. “Neither one of you screwed the pooch.” Then Adam interjected, “Stop saying ‘screw the pooch.’”
He stopped for long enough to declare Dave the winner, but Adam quickly jumped on Kameron with his sole steal of the knockouts. “I like seeing a country guy do something out of his usual zone,” he said, while Blake added, “You didn’t screw the pooch. Good job.”
Mariah is back next Monday and Tuesday to continue the knockout rounds and take the teams one step closer to the excitement of the live rounds. Tune in.