The Voice 5th Judge: One Coach Rejects Best Singer, Gambling Others Would Steal Them

For the Three-Way Knockout Round on “The Voice,” there is no Coach’s Save, but there is a Steal. So one Coach took a huge gamble this week!

Rather than pick the best singer from their Knockout battle, they counted on their fellow Coaches to step up and Steal that person, leaving them to stand by a personal favorite instead. Was it the right move? Did it work or did they send a great singer home? Either way, they were going to lose that singer, which is kind of a slap in the face.

With just an hour tonight, we got short-changed hardcore on one of the battles, only seeing the winner’s performance, and not even all of that. We so wish “The Voice” would follow the lead of “SNL” putting cut sketches online and show us these full performances as online exclusive bonuses!

We can’t even get them to put up all the performances from these Knockout rounds. When did putting content online become a bad thing? There are no time constraints and it draws more eyes to your product. It baffles us every time we see this decision for various shows like this.

Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Blake Shelton, Camila Cabello, Gwen Stefani, and John Legend. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.

(Ian Harrison – “Cough Syrup,” Young the Giant) Ian didn’t have much in the way of stage presence, mostly just standing there with his free hand half-heartedly extended to the side. Vocally, it was more of a mimic performance than one that told us anything about who he is. There were a couple of moments where we almost got something, but the whole performance felt really safe and like really strong karaoke, which isn’t enough.

(Omar Jose Cardona – “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons) Omar did more with the word “inside” than Ian did with his entire performance. He had nonstop physicality throughout his performance and each line hit you like a punch in the eardrum. With incredible range and conviction, he powered his way through most of this, which is why it came as such a surprise when he practically purred a quieter moment. Omar showed off every tool in his arsenal, seemingly, with this one and it was undeniable.

(Morgan Taylor – “I Got You (I Feel Good),” James Brown) Morgan didn’t try to do what James did on this song and it paid off with a beautiful, sultry and breathy performance that was unexpected and yet made perfect sense. The vixen’s take on the lyrics, breathlessly satisfied in her love and life, purring her satisfaction. The audience even had to quiet down to hear her at the start, but the fact they did showed that she pulled them into the unexpected intimacy of her performance. Omar went big, but Morgan proved you can be effective in other ways, too.

This came down to a two-way race between Omar and Morgan as Ian just didn’t stand out as much for us. He had a great sounding voice, but the other two both brought a little something extra to their performance. Omar had power and layers and tricks everywhere, while Morgan had this whole new approach that felt invigorating. Still, we’d have to give this one to Omar after a genuinely show-stopping performance.

Results: Omar wins

(Eric Who – “Ex’s & Oh’s,” Elle King) We were a little underwhelmed at the top of this performance as it seemed to lack the punch we were looking for, but that picked up as he went along and finally put some grit and attack in it. As Eric’s was the only performance we were allowed to see from this battle — we suppose he must have been the best right?

Results: Eric Wins

(Bryce Leatherwood – “Colder Weather,” Zac Brown Band) Just pure, good old storytelling country music right there. He’s got the name and he’s got that gift that makes you feel the lyric and message of what he’s singing. He’s got a classic smoothness to his tone, as well, that feels as familiar as … well, old leather. It’s warm and nurturing. He spent most of this performance in that pocket, but when he did belt a later chorus, he nailed those moments, too. He’s so ready.

(Jay Allen – “Prayed for You,” Matt Stell) Jay came on a little stronger than necessary in the first verse, and then he started struggling with the words. We thought he’d get better when he abandoned the guitar, but then he lost half a line again. He’s got a great voice with a lot of power behind it, but he wasn’t quite using it properly for the song. There are nuances that different songs require to sell their message or convey a feeling. He was too aggressive throughout. If he’d have showed off his power vocals sparingly, it would have been more effective.

(Kate Kalvach – “Anyone,” Justin Bieber) Blake gave her a good note to stick with her chest voice through her full range because it was so much more impactful when she took us on that journey. Her softer voice at the start was so beautiful and enticing. Then, she took it to the next level, gaining confidence in herself in real time that was undeniable. There were a lot of moving parts on this song to navigate, and she handled each section beautifully. That was an unexpected performance.

For this round, Jay kind of fell apart — he revealed he got emotional with his fiancee in the audience, but you’re supposed to channel that into the music — and out of the running for us, leaving Bryce and Kate. Bryce made it look so easy, while Kate surprised us about every fifteen seconds with the next thing she was doing. Both were fantastic, and yet so very different. The warmth of what Bryce does is rare and commercial and so ready right now, whereas Kate feels like she’s still finding herself. She has a vision for that path, but how exciting to see how much further down it she could go. We’d probably go with Kate, but only because she stood out differently for us. As for Blake, seeing how the rest of the panel reacted, he “rolled the dice” with his pick.

Results: Bryce Wins (Camila, John Steal Kate) [Kate Joins Team Camila]

“The Voice” continues Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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