The Voice 5th Judge: Why Blake Is 'Quitting Right Now' -- Plus, Unbelievable 'Hey Ya!' Performance

“The Voice” moved into the Knockouts round, but it’s Knockouts like you’ve never seen before!

For the first time ever, it’s a three-way Knockout, which means three acts enter the ring but the Coaches can only pick one to keep. Beyond that, they each have a Steal to target someone on another team. But on their own teams, it’s going from nine to three in a hurry!

There’s also no mentor for this round, giving them valuable one-on-one time with all of their remaining singers. For the round, the singers choose their own songs, which allows them to fully express the kind of artist they envision themselves as.

Tonight, the new round kicked off with some seriously brutal match-ups. And we thought it was stressful picking the best of two! One match-up pitted three young teens together, who’d grown close during this process on their Team. It was so adorable and uplifting seeing how supporting they were of one another — but they were also deeply impressed and intimidated, too!

While the night featured some truly jaw-dropping and chill-raising performances, we can’t stop thinking about this incredibly audacious, bold and mesmerizing arrangement of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” It managed to stay true to the song while at the same time twisting it so much as to put heartfelt emphasis on some of the lines.

Is watercooler talk still a thing? If it is, this is the moment people will be talking about, and pulling up the video to share. And yes, it really is that special!

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.

(bodie – “Better Now,” Post Malone) bodie is just cool, that’s all there is to it. He’s got this great tone to his voice and he doesn’t even have to try. We loved that he kept so much of this in his pocket, even when he started switched up the melody a bit. It’s like he knew he didn’t have to show off, because this was warm butter sliding all over our bodies and we were putty in his hands. Then, just for fun, he threw some spices in there with some big notes and moments. It was so tastefully arranged and beautifully performed.

(Kevin Hawkins – “This Woman’s Work,” Kate Bush [as performed by Maxwell]) Blake’s note was for him to cut back from mostly falsetto, but we fear he may have cut back too much. It really did make the performance so unique and special; not to mention his falsetto is rich and gorgeous all on its own. His vibrato up there sounds like divinity singing. The overall arrangement actually lost us a bit when he was in his chest voice for so long, though it was still incredibly well sung.

(The Dryes – “Chasing After You,” Ryan Hurd & Maren Morris) The love between this 15-years-married couple should have poured through their voices and into our hearts, but that didn’t quite happen. Derek stepped up with a bigger and more compelling voice than we’ve ever heard, but Katelyn missed a big note and their harmonies missed that big emotional punch the chorus seemed to be asking for.

Of the three acts, it really felt like The Dryes just didn’t rise to the occasion of their counterparts. It’s a tougher call between bodie and Kevin, though, because both of them are just incredible singers. Kevin brought way more tricks and masterfully displayed them all, leaving us blown away with his technical skill. But bodie was so clean and easy to listen to with what he does so artistically, it almost felt like a toss-up. Ultimately, though, Kevin got our ever-so-slight win.

Results: bodie wins (Camila, Gwen Steal Kevin) [Kevin joins Team Gwen]

(Chello – “Hold On,” Justin Bieber) Chello said this is more in line with the kind of music he wants to be performing, but this wasn’t working at all. His first two lines ended with warbly vibratos and then he sounded shrill when he first hit the chorus. There were moments where he had a lovely texture in his voice, but it came through during less than half of this performance. Camila kept hyping him up and checking her fellow Coaches, but they clearly weren’t in it, either. That was our read, but then John said this was his favorite performance.

(Morgan Myles – “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” Jackie DeShannon) Morgan took to this song like it was her anthem and she was celebrating the 40th anniversary of when she first released it. She tastefully played with the melody, really put beautiful emphasis on the lyrics in just the right places to push for equality and love for everyone. It was palpable because she took Camila’s note to use her body to help sell the power of her vocal message, though Gwen was right she may have oversold it just a hair.

(Orlando Mendez – “Live Like You Were Dying,” Tim McGraw) Orlando chose this song to pay tribute to his uncle, who’d passed away three weeks prior. The real emotion he was feeling was so powerful through the opening verses, but it did lose a bit of resonance when he reached the chorus. His voice is powerful enough and he sounded great, but there was a little something missing on the chorus that was bringing us to tears on the verse. It’s hard to explain that slight disconnect, but it was there.

Because of that disconnect from Orlando, he went from really give Morgan a run for her money in our eyes with his ability to rend emotion from heartbreaking experience into his artistry to falling just behind her. His performance was still strong, and were it he against Chello, it’d be his. Chello kind of fell apart for us on this one and we think it was a lot to do with his song choice. As for Morgan, she had a bona fide “moment,” and those are just about impossible for anyone to overcome.

Results: Morgan Wins

(Parijita Bastola – “I’d Rather Go Blind,” Etta James) The only criticism we could think of for Parijita’s performance was that it felt like she was still building to some incredible crescendo when it ended, and we know Etta reaches that point where we’re all knocked back in our seats. That said, her voice had so much richness, she was like an old soul in a teenager’s body up there. It was such a mature performance, and yet it still sounded like it could be released right now and become a hit all over again.

(Peyton Aldridge – “Forever After All,” Luke Combs) Peyton really needs to work on his stage presence, as pacing back and forth wasn’t really working for this. He hit his sweet spot in the chorus and luckily stayed strong through the end, but the opening verses weren’t really hitting as hard for us. They were still solid, but it felt like he was working the kinks out of his voice still, rather than confidently hitting the arrangement.

(Valarie Harding – “Weak,” SWV) Valarie put on a vocal showcase, but it left us not really feeling anything from her. We also weren’t completely enamored with her lowest notes. On the upper end, though, she had us by the throat and wouldn’t let go. She has an incredibly powerful instrument, but it wasn’t used with consistent command throughout. For us, though, the biggest thing was that for a song she was singing about her husband, we didn’t feel any of that.

None of them completely nailed this opportunity, but Parijita was the only one that didn’t do anything wrong, by our reckoning. Valarie faltered on her lower notes and lacked conviction, and Peyton struggled a bit in the opening bars and lacked good stage presence. Parijita had this beautiful rise throughout, she just never gave us the payoff we wanted. Still, for the consistency and quality of her voice, she’d get our pick.

Results: Parijita Wins

(Kique – “Hey Ya!,” Outkast) This was one of the most awe-inspiring performances in the history of any singing competition. The arrangement was easily among the coolest artist tweaks we’ve ever heard, with so much heart in those opening lines before breaking it out for a dance party at the chorus. He got all the Coaches on their feet but the energy was just that kinetic. His range from bottom to top was insane, as was the precision with which he hit each note. This is a repeater for sure.

(Destiny Leigh – “Impossible,” Christina Aguilera) Destiny wasn’t quite as precise with her notes, but her performance had so much attitude and presence, you could almost forget and forgive. We also felt there was maybe a bit more growl than necessary throughout. Christina parses it out in her performances so it adds extra emphasis at key moments. It can be an effective tool that way. It felt as if she was a bit intimidated by following Kique, as this didn’t sound up to even her rehearsal moments. Did she get in her head a bit?

(Rowan Grace – “Vienna,” Billy Joel) Most of tonight’s artists were stronger in the chorus with their bigger voice, but Rowan was just the opposite. Her softer voice on the vocals is just so pretty, she can draw you in doing so very little. There was a lot of believability in her voice on this classic track well older than her 16 years. It was performed with deference, respect and class. She didn’t go for tricks, she just told the story, which is about the best way you can honor a Billy Joel song.

The sweetest thing about these three teens was watching how supportive and in awe of one another they were during rehearsals. They all bring something really different, but they were killing it even then! We honestly thought this was going to be a tougher battle coming into the actual performances, but it seems like they may have gotten into each other’s heads a bit after watching those incredible rehearsals. Kique mastered this moment more than the young women, and he really brought something special to the stage. How could you not want to see what he’ll come up with next?

Results: Kique Wins (Blake Steals Rowan) [Rowan Joins Team Blake]


“Wait a minute, you didn’t even pick anybody.” Blake (after Camila doesn’t offer her choice)“I’m a little bit rusty, it’s my first Knockout.” — Camila“How can you be rusty if you’ve never done it before?” –Blake“I take responsibility. That’s why that happened. Thank you. I’m a great man!” –Blake (about Kevin singing in less falsetto)“I quit. I’m quitting the show right now.” –Blake (not wanting to choose)“After 22 seasons, thank you!” –Camila (all Coaches applaud)“I love these lyrics!” –Camila (unfamiliar with Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”)

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

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