Last night began the Knockout Rounds on The Voice. No more steals. No more drama (well, okay… maybe just a little) because these rounds are leading up to who will make it to the live shows. And this is serious. Over two days 40 hopefuls will be slashed to 20. Hopes will be dashed, egos shattered, and dreams left in pieces on the floor but in the end someone will be crowned “The Voice.” And of course, they’ll win some money too.

On the first night of the Knockout Rounds, coaches pit two singers against each other with different songs of their choice, but only one goes on to the next round. In the end, each team will have five singers who will go into the live shows. Up first is Team Adam followed by Team CeeLo. Which means we have to wait until tomorrow for Teams Xtina and Blake. To the recap!

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Joselyn Rivera vs. Kayla Nevarez

This is the throw down of the young pop artists and the first ones out of the gate to perform.

Joselyn Rivera singing: “Love On Top” by Beyonce

Joselyn said in the prerecorded interview that she felt like she had an advantage simply because she was stolen and has now worked with two of the four judges. Beyonce’s song was a big and ambitious choice which impressed Adam. Xtina was impressed with the performance overall, Blake seemed giddy and CeeLo quietly bopped his head.

Kayla Nevarez singing: “Shark in the Water” by VV Brown

Kayla’s song was a fun choice but you could tell something was a little off. It seemed as though she held back a little. Nerves maybe. Still a strong performance overall and everyone enjoyed it.

You’d think the judges would be split or at least change things up for interest- but no. They all thought that Joselyn was the winner and they were right.

WINNER: Joselyn Rivera

Joe Kirkland vs. Bryan Keith

You’ve got a working class hero type pitted against a guy in skinny jeans. One wears Levis- the other Abercrombie & Fitch. Pick a side and let’s get the ball rolling.

Joe Kirkland singing: “Mean” by Taylor Swift

Joe’s voice has great grit and he took a big risk singing a song written by Taylor Swift. So, could he make it his own? Yes. You easily forgot who the song was by and his version could be impacting Top 40 radio tomorrow. Trust.

Bryan Keith singing: “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams

Adam’s only pre-battle critique was to be careful because this was a big song but he still thought it was a good choice for the working class hero. Xtina was impressed when Bryan hit the high notes, Blake seemed giddy and CeeLo quietly bopped his head.

It’s a toss up. The judges are split.  Will it be the guy who sang a teenage girl’s song or the guy who sang a song by a dude who spells his name the same way. This is a tough one.

WINNER: Bryan Keith

Amanda Brown vs. Michelle Brooks-Thompson

Xtina summed it up best by saying this was the “singers battle.” Two powerhouses go head to head with two totally different song choices.

Amanda Brown singing: “Paris (Ooh La La)” by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals

Amanda was stolen from CeeLo previously and Adam was excited to have her on his team. She turned “Paris” into a rock song and- she rocked it out! Big vocals and fun to watch. She owned the stage and took Adam’s advice about “creating a moment.” Her performance was that moment.

Michelle Brooks-Thompson singing: “Spotlight” by Jennifer Hudson

Not to shy away from the big songs Michelle chose “Spotlight” which was a great choice for her because of her big voice. She wanted to make sure that she made the song her own and asked creative advice from Adam. While able to hit all the notes and then some, she just seemed a little disconnected from the audience. However, Xtina really seemed to like Michelle’s vocals, Blake seemed giddy and CeeLo quietly bopped his head.

Now things start to get interesting. All the judges sign up for what Michelle was selling but Adam picks Amanda anyway.

WINNER: Amanda Brown

Loren Allred vs. Nicole Nelson

It’s the wedding singer pitted against an everyday singer and ladies and gentlemen, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. It seemed as though the battle was over before it began because Adam was singing Nicole’s praises. So what happened?

Loren Allred singing: “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse

Loren chose Amy Winehouse to show her “sultry side” but during the battle she didn’t stop there. She changed things up and went for a solid high note that brought Xtina and the crowd to their feet.  Everyone was shocked at what she threw down and again created the perfect case-in-point to Adam’s advice of creating a moment. Blake even said we just saw a star being born.

Nicole Nelson singing: “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys

Nicole wasn’t going to fight sitting down. This polished singer took on Alicia Keys and nailed it.  Nicole is one of those people who you know will definitely continue on after the show no matter what. She knows who she is as an artist and this isn’t the last we’ll see of her.  Xtina was impressed with the performance, Blake seemed giddy and CeeLo quietly bopped his head.

This time the judges are all on the same page and it’s Loren’s book they’re reading. So Adam follows suit.

WINNER: Loren Allred

Melanie Martinez vs. Sam James Melanie

Martinez was the last to be paired up with someone so automatically she was pitted against Sam James. Sam shared a nice story about listening to his song choice a lot as a kid so that’s why he picked it, but outside of that I’m struggling to remember much about him. Not good. Anyhoo…

Melanie Martinez singing: “Bulletproof” by La Roux

Melanie had to have been voted “Most Unique” in high school because she is just so stylized as a person and a singer. Her take on “Bulletproof” was unlike anything that has ever been heard before.  Now, that could be good or bad.  Adam did tell her that she was a little “breathy” and that was probably due to nerves but she still managed to mesmerize with her unusual twist on her song choice. Blake was impressed with the performance, CeeLo seemed giddy and Xtina quietly bopped her head.

Sam James singing: “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohen

Sam was having trouble in rehearsal pronouncing the word “Memphis”- which could be a challenge since it IS the title of the song and a part of the chorus.  Adam worked with him on it and eventually he stops saying “Memphees.” During the knockout round though, it works it way back in near the end.

Just to keep things interesting the judges are split on this one. Is Adam going to go into the live shows with only one guy? The short answer is yes.

WINNER: Melanie Martinez

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Avery Wilson vs. Cody Belew

Avery brings a lot of talent to the table being able to both sing and dance but he needs to be able to stay focused and hit the notes. Where as Cody needs to be able to win over his coach CeeLo who is worried about his song choice.

Avery Wilson singing: “Yeah 3x” by Chris Brown

Avery shows that he can dance but his singing pays the price. He’s pitchy and as Adam says he’s, “all over the place.” But will past performances remind the judges what he can really do?

Cody Belew singing: “Jolene” by Dolly Parton

Cody comes out swinging and nails the song. He really connects to it and you can hear it in his voice. During his pre-performance interview he assures CeeLo (who is on the fence about this song choice) that it was Jack White who sang the song and empowered him to do the same. The performance is intense and powerful.

It’s a no brainer. The judges have gone country and pick Cody. CeeLo sides with them.

WINNER: Cody Belew

Mackenzie Bourg vs. Daniel Rosa

It’s the hipster showdown.

Mackenzie Bourg singing: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

Mackenzie takes this over saturated song and turns it on its head by giving it a coffeehouse vibe. It works. The singer/songwriter/musician proves he’s a force to be reckoned with. It was one of the more surprising and enjoyable performances of the night.

Daniel Rosa singing: “Back to December” by Taylor Swift

Daniel says he wants to show his sweet and sensitive side even thought we are all aware that he is vulnerable. His song choice is sweet and sensitive but pretty much stops there. His confidence is growing but just not enough to really command the stage.

The the coaches give it to Mackenzie but Adam has a soft spot for Daniel and gives him the win. In the end though, there’s safety in numbers and CeeLo sides with the gang.

WINNER: Mackenzie Bourg

Terisa Griffin vs. Trevin Hunte

Possibly the best performances of the night. The connection and respect that these two competitors have for each other is palpable.  CeeLo concludes that the person who connects with the audience the most will win the knockout round.

Terisa Griffin singing: “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston

There is no denying that Terisa is a talent. She gave a performance that would make the late Whitney Houston proud. It was flawless.

Trevin Hunte: “Against All Odds (Take a Look At Me Now)” by Phil Collins

Trevin shares that his song choice is dedicated to those who didn’t believe in him earlier in his life and he gets emotional while rehearsing with CeeLo. He’s told to work on his confidence and keep it together during the knockout round. He does. Barely.

It’s a tough call to select a winner but the deal is sealed when Xtina says she wants to co-coach Trevin. Sorry Terisa.

WINNER: Trevin Hunte

Mycle Wastman vs. Nicholas David

These gentlemen are paired together for their soulful voices. CeeLo tells Mycle that he’s a breath of fresh air but is looking for someone adaptable. Will that be Mycle or perhaps it’s Nicholas.

Mycle Wastman singing: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John

Mycle seems to do an okay job. All the judges are bopping their heads except Adam, who is actually singing along. Out loud. The performance overall though was really kind of- meh.

Nicholas David singing: “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae

This guy looks like a bass player from the 1970s but he can still sing. You just gotta get past his look. The judges described him as “special” so I guess that sums it up pretty well.

So who stays and who goes? CeeLo can’t decide but when it’s all said and done he opts to go into the live shows with an all male team.

WINNER: Diego Val

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-Jennifer Markham, Energy 103.7/ San Diego