The knockout rounds on The Voice season eight went on for the second night tonight (March 24) with the help of Nate Ruess, and it's starting to become clear just how unfair this show set up actually is.
For this hour-long installment of The Voice, we had three battles: a country joust from Team Blake, a pop battle from Team Adam and a lady matchup from Team Pharrell. It was a night filled with uneven matchups from half the show, weird decisions from the coaches and one battle where just straight up the wrong choice was made.
Let's see how it all played out, shall we?
Corey White Kent, "Live Like You Were Dying": Corey White Kent has a very personal reason for choosing this Tim McGraw cut, as his grandfather was in the hospital. So, he was really on point, like, more than he has ever been on this show and more than he really had the potential too. Fueled by his family situation, Corey was captivating, finally bringing out his true country tone. Though, I'm not really sure how authentic that is? He never speaks with a Southern accent - so, how country is he, really?
Cody Wickline, "Til My Last Day": Cody Wickline has one of the most buttery, deep and purely country tones that I've ever heard, and it's a throwback sound that helps to really connect Cody to any song. With this Justin Moore cut, he gave some beautiful, soulful runs all while sounding like the future star that he is. The acoustics in the room were a little off, not truly giving this performance that sonic perfection that otherwise was coming out of Cody's mouth, but his passion and authenticity still came through.
Who technically won the battle? Corey White Kent. He fits in more with the modern pop-country leanings of the radio today, first of all. Plus, he really sold his emotions and that will always captivate this batch of coaches.
Who should have won the battle? Honestly, it should have been Cody. This felt like a one-off great performance from Corey, while Cody has always been more consistent and more authentically country. But, really, both of these guys really had the potential to win, which is just a bummer of the way The Voice operates.
Blaze Johnson, "You Found Me": This guy really, truly loves The Fray, which is still slightly hilarious when you look at him (which is the key to The Voice). Blaze Johnson had the passion for this song, but maybe not the right emotions in his face; he was nearly smiling the whole time, while singing about how lost and insecure he was. The misplaced emotions weren't the only problems here, on the high note (which should have been his money), Blaze barely hit it, making the song sound very thin. He still has a nice, soulful tone, which is a good mix with his love of pop-rock... but this performance was a misfire.
Deanna Johnson, "Listen to Your Heart": Deanna Johnson was so nervous in her practice session with Adam Levine and Nate Ruess that they seriously had to tell her to chill. Despite being a shaky ball of nerves, her unique, throaty vibrato was so beautiful and captivating.
Who technically won the battle? Deanna Johnson, despite her nerves, was just the better singer. Her tone is also so unique to this competition and the pop landscape that she had to stick around.
Who should have won the battle? This rightly went Deanna; Blaze's missed high note was just too much to forgive.
Hannah Kirby, "Higher Love": Hannah Kirby has been one of the stars of The Voice season eight for me so far, so what kind of crazy unbridled power could she bring to what may just be the most important rounds of this show. She still brought that attitude and crazy loud throaty voice that helps her to stand out, but this doesn't feel like it was her best performance. Hannah showed off her personality and her range, but she lacked that craziness that helped her get on the show and stick around. But, she's still a winner deep down.
Caitlin Caporale, "Warrior": Such a boring song choice from one of The Voice's most boring contestants. Caitlin Caporale fills the space of this season's much-needed pretty girl who has a strong voice and can sing pop ballads really well but isn't all that interesting in like any other way. Technically, she was pretty perfect, but there was no real sparkle or dazzle or showing of personality here.
Who technically won the battle? Pharrell is choosing to keep around Caitlin Caporale, in a decision that felt more like, "Hey, I know that Hannah Kirby will get stolen so it's chill," and less like a play because he knows Caitlin has a chance of winning.
Who should have won the battle? Oh, Hannah Kirby for sure. Even if this performance wasn't the strongest of hers, she still packs such a consistent punch. Blake Shelton knew this, so he stole her.