The Knockout Round continued on The Voice tonight, with Kelly Clarkson joining coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus to help prepare season 13’s artists to sing solo performances and compete for a spot in the Live Playoffs. Both Cyrus and Hudson had steals remaining at the top of the night, but Shelton and Levine had already used theirs during night one of the Knockouts last week.
First up were Brooke Simpson and Stephan Marcellus from Team Miley. Simpson chose to sing “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, which was a fitting choice for Cyrus’ overall girl power philosophy this season. She said she was nervous to sing such a powerful classic in front of Clarkson, but she did well in rehearsal.
Clarkson and Cyrus worked with her on her phrasing, but in her final performance, Simpson showed exemplary natural instincts when it came to phrasing. Marcellus chose to sing “Impossible.” It was an fitting song choice for him because of all the obstacles he has overcome on The Voice so far. Despite messing up a little bit in his Blind Audition, he landed on Team Jennifer. And then after losing his Battle, Cyrus stole him, making him the first and only male artist on Team Miley this season. He gave a solid performance, but it wasn’t as memorable as Simpson’s. Cyrus was left with a pretty easy decision: She chose Simpson as the winner, and Marcellus went home.
Next up were Knockout performances from Team Blake. Mitchell Lee chose to sing “I’ll Be,” which kept in line with his pop-country sensibilities. In his final performance, Lee showcased his impressive range and experience. It felt like a very natural performance. Team Blake’s Anna Catherine DeHart was up against Lee singing “Breathe” by Faith Hill. It was a great song choice for her, and it highlighted her gorgeous tone and impressive range. She didn’t change much from the original recording, but it still sounded strong. Hudson said she would choose Lee as the winner of the Knockout, and Shelton indeed went with him. DeHart went home. Team Jennifer’s Jeremiah Miller and Noah Mac followed. Miller sang “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, and in rehearsal, Clarkson helped him on his phrasing and enunciation. His pop sound was great for the song.
In his final performance, he brought his own personal touches to the song and had good momentum. Despite being a young artist, he showcased strong artistic sensibilities and experienced stage presence. Mac, who was stolen from Team Blake, sang “Hold Back The River.” Clarkson was impressed by the young artist. He brought impressive dynamics and a gorgeous lower register to the performance. It wasn’t a vocally perfect performance, but his strong artistry and potential came through. Hudson was left with a tough decision, but she advanced Mac to the Live Playoffs, and Miller went home.
Team Blake was up again with performances from Kathrina Feigh and Keisha Renee. Feigh sang “Girl On Fire” by former The Voice coach Alicia Keys. In rehearsal, Clarkson was immediately impressed by the power Feigh put behind her vocal. In her final performance, Feigh was bold and memorable. The performance lacked dynamics, but she gave it her all, and her passion lit up the stage. Renee sang “I Hope You Dance” and showcased a strong country-soul sound in rehearsal. In her final performance, Renee connected with the lyrics from an emotional place and also sang the familiar hit as if it were her own. It was one of the strongest Knockout performances of the night, and it secured her a spot in the Live Playoffs. Feigh was eliminated.
In a Knockout that was not fully aired, Team Adam’s Jon Mero bested Dylan Gerard for a spot in the Live Playoffs. Team Miley was up next with Knockout performances from Moriah Formica and Whitney Fenimore. Formica sang “Behind These Hazel Eyes” by Clarkson, so it was very intimidating for her to sing it in front of Clarkson herself in rehearsal. But she impressed the superstar, who respected her different take on the song. In her final performance, Formica sounded powerful and original. It was another one of the best Knockout performances of the night. Fenimore chose to sing “Calling All Angels,” which was a less exciting song choice. But she connected with the lyrics through her personal struggle with anxiety, and it was a solid performance. It just wasn’t the best song choice. Cyrus struggled with her decision, but she ultimately chose Formica as the winner.
Team Adam closed out the night with performances from Adam Pearce and Emily Luther. Pearce sang “Smoke On The Water,” which was a strong song choice. He sounded confident in rehearsal and gave a memorable final performance. He isn’t the most exciting member of Team Adam, but he delivers strong vocals week to week. Luther chose to sing “Glitter In The Air,” and her final performance was much more original than Pearce’s. She’s a solid singer with a strong sense of who she wants to be as an artist. Her performance was emotional and memorable. Levine chose her to advance to the Live Playoffs, but Cyrus quickly swooped in to steal Pearce, keeping both artists in play. The Knockouts continue tomorrow night on NBC. What did you think of tonight’s performances?
This article originally appeared in THR.com.