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Exes and James Taylor on THE VOICE Season 18 KNOCKOUTS Week 1 Recap


For “The Voice” season 18 Knockout round, the show acquired rock artist James Taylor, who’s sold more than 100 million records worldwide and is inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as the Mega Mentor. Apparently, “The Voice” has been trying to get James Taylor on the show for a while now. Nick Jonas mentioned it to him during his Team’s rehearsal session when he joked that Taylor finally said yes only because Jonas is now on “The Voice” now.

James Taylor said he’s been impressed by the level of talent on “The Voice.” Blake said its a big deal” for the coaches for Taylor to be the Mega Mentor. John Legend reacted that the coaches are so lucky to have a “huge icon” that is James Taylor as the Mega Mentor this season.   Kelly described him as one of the best singer/songwriters “in all of the universe.”  Nick said “It is unbelievable to be in his presence.” Taylor said it’s a real inspiration for him that “The Voice” is part of a community.  

The coaches each got one Steal during the Knockouts round.  Nick said he loves the Knockouts because they get to see the artists “get that much better.”  Team Blake was the first Knockout of the night.

 Pictured: (l-r) James Taylor, Blake Shelton — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC


Blake paired Levi and Joei because they have a similar energy about them and are young artists.  Levi is 14-years-old.  Joei said it’s insane to see James Taylor because she grew-up on his music and her dad is “going to be so jealous.”   Taylor was excited to hear that Joei was singing a Linda Ronstadt song.  Ironically It was a song that Taylor worked on. Joei does MMA fighting and body building, which she got into because her dad was a body builder.

Taylor said Joei is capable of doing everything that Linda Ronstadt did with the song while also adding modern touches to it.  Blake said it was a great song for Joei, for her range.  Taylor compared her bravado to Cher and Dolly Parton.

 Levi sang a Waylon Jennings song “I Ain’t Living Long Like This,” a song about an outlaw. Blake was shocked by this.  Levi said the song talks about love.  But he’s never been in love because he’s 14.  Levi loved seeing James Taylor playing the guitar in front of him during his rehearsal.   Blake advised Levi to figure out a way to become the character in the story of the song, which is an outlaw.  Blake said Levi has incredible control and Joei has a huge range.  Blake is looking who can handle the pressure of the live show best is who’s going to win.

Pictured: (l-r) Joei Fulco, Levi Watkins — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

John reacted that they both gave perfect performances.  If he were to decide “there’s something about Levi.”  He gave it an extra “it factor.”  Nick said with Levi, he was “perplexed” by Levi’s song choice and “well-done.”  Nick said he enjoyed watching Joei grow and she pushes herself, and her coaching “is NOT bad,” as he looked a Blake.  He went for Joei.  Kelly was impressed that Levi even knew that song, “you’re so cool.”  Kelly said she had to go with Levi for that.  She said Joei showcased how big her voice is by singing Linda Ronstadt.  Coach Blake loved that Levi is 14 years old and singing about being in prison, and he sold it.  He thought Joei did a great job at honoring the Linda Ronstadt version of the song.  She picked her moments, and didn’t over do it, not “over-singing it.”  Blake chose Joei as the winner. 

KNOCKOUT WINNER:  Joei Fulco.  Blake said it was a hard decision to make and wants to explore that Country-rock edge that she has and it’s a great lane for her. 


Kelly Stole Cammwess from Team Legend.   Megan chose the song “Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson. Kelly asked her to please say she doesn’t relate to the song, but she did.  Megan said she could relate to her because at age seven, her dad left and her grandfather stepped-in and picked-up the pieces.   Taylor told her to remember “look up” at the audience and when she understated, it’s really powerful. 

Both Kelly and Taylor advised her to add a pause at the end.  Kelly advised for Megan to change the song however she wanted, but make it relatable to her.  Kelly said there’s something inside of Megan that’s so “beautifully broken, and pure and raw.” 

Pictured: Megan Danielle — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Cammwess was a core music education major in college.  He was gigging on the weekends and decided to drop-out of school to make it work on “The Voice.” Before Kelly Stole him, he thought it was over.  Cammwess chose “Say Something” by A Great Big World.  It was one of the first songs he learned how to play and sing at the same time.  He was 17-years-old when he committed to play on the piano. “It was one of those songs that reached-out and grabbed me.”   It’s the last round before the Lives, Cammwess said “we all have the moment in our lives where we need some form of validation.”  Cammwess came up singing in church.  

Pictured: Cammwess — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Cammwess said being on “The Voice to him means validation.  Taylor said with Cam, you get a sense of quiet and peace from him,  and that it’s coming from the heart.  Both Cam and Megan are understated. It’s going to be difficult to decide between Cam and Megan. 

Blake called it a “close, neck-and-neck competition.”  Blake said what Cammwess did was had his big moment right now, and so did Megan. He went with Cammwess.  John said Megan has such an interesting tone.  She did a great version of Kelly’s song.  Blake jumped-in that she “killed the original version” while looking at Kelly.   John called Cam a “tour de force.”  Nick said Cam “crushed it” to show that John made a mistake in letting him go.  Nick told Megan that it was bold for her to pick the song and must have had a personal connection to it.  Coach Kelly said she cried during both of their performances and they picked a song that meaned something.  Kelly stated that she was strategic in her choice by picking Megan.  Kelly said Megan “is special to me.”  How she conveys and there’s something about her pain and how she conveys it.  “Her genuine self is so different from everybody else on this show,” stated Kelly.


STEAL:  John and Nick both pushed to Steal Cammwess.  Nick compared John trying to Steal with the same as getting back with an ex, “why…why would you do that?”  John said some times  they get back together and get married and live happily ever after.   Nick replied “No.”    Nick said Cam has the potential to win this thing.  John said he loved Cam’s voice and he “was born for this Team.”  

Cam decided to “go back home” with Team Legend.  John said Cam’s performance was the best of this round.  He has a cool bravado and beautiful tone.  Nick said that’s okay and he hopes he’s happy back with his ex!


John Legend met James Taylor previously when they sang together at Obama’s inauguration.  John said Darious, from Chicago,  is “very spiritual” and really nailed the Battle round.  Mike sang James Brown and it was “stunning and breath-taking.”   Both are R&B singers that can be versatile.  Darious chose to sing “Me and Mrs. Jones” song. Taylor said Darious is a powerhouse and called him “an easy and fluid singer,” and articulate.  John advised Darious to think about the pain you feel because you can’t be with the one you want to be with.  John told him not to “let it ring a bit” and not to fall off from it .  He said let it be big.  

Mike chose “Versace on the Floor” by Bruno Mars.  Back at home, Mike is a cruise ship entertainer.   John told him he wants to feel “the full Mike.”  Mike said he feels he’s grown since the Blind Audition.  John said “it’s not an easy song to sing.”  John noted that there were a couple of moments where Mike was flat and pitchy.   John said Mike and Darious are both very different ranges and vocal style but both “soulful, vocal styles.”  

 Pictured (l-r): Darious Lyles, Mike Jerel — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Nick said this is a Knockout that just “blows you away.”  Two powerhouse vocalists, incredible control.  He told Darious that he performs with confidence and swag.  Nick said Bruno has one of the biggest ranges of any male artist.  At moments, it felt that Mike wasn’t quite comfortable.  Nick chose Darious.  Kelly said they are both really gifted and portraying the messages of the songs, “and John is screwed!”   Blake said he based it on “the moment.” He thought Darious explored his range, so he picked Darious.  Coach John said Darious was so intentional with body movement.  He was being natural but also had a plan. Something exciting and exceptional about Mike’s voice.  It wasn’t easy to decide.  He chose Mike.  John said he feels like “Mike has a fire in his voice and America’s going to love him.”



Nick said he was raised on Stevie Wonder, Carol King, and of course James Taylor.  Nick paired Roderick vs. Tate.  Nick said Roderick is like a Luther Vandross.  “He has a flawless, breathy tone.”  Tate has this ability to walk in with blazing confidence, and “just goes for it.”  Roderick chose “Redbone” song by Childish Gambino because he used to sing the song to his son and he’d stop crying.  Roderick said it’s hard to be away so far from his song and staying on “The Voice” would get him to a place where he could support himself and his family.  Taylor said Roderick got him to appreciate that song. 

Tate chose “The Scientist” by Coldplay.  His dad took him to a Coldplay show.   Taylor said Tate is a prodigy and is curious to see where he goes.  Tate was excited to play the piano in this performance.   Nick said Tate has this ability to draw you in and reminds him of himself.  Nick said he would make his decision based on the person that has taken the advice he’s given the best.  

Pictured: (l-r) Roderick Chambers, Tate Brusa — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Kelly said he has this falsetto, then chest-voice falsetto.  Then he got bigger. She told Tate that she can’t believe that he’s 16, and even at 24, he’d be impressive.   Kelly said Roderick might be the better choice, knowing that there won’t be any wavering in the performance.   Blake said with Roderick, there might be more of a connection with Nick.  But  with Tate, he does a performance like this, a performance that sets the stage on fire.  John told Roderick that his range is so stunning. John said it was so impressive how Tate put his spin on it. But, he chose Roderick.  Coach Nick was watching the audience watch Tate and said there was an urgency with Tate.   Roderick , there’s a humility and he made it his own.  Nick went with his gut and picked Roderick as the Knockout winner.  Nick said Roderick blew him away and his willingness to get better is why he chose him.

KNOCKOUT WINNER: Roderick Chambers.


Cam sang “Rumor” by Lee Brice.  He chose it because there’s a love story to it and he’s in love currently with his girlfriend.  Blake said there’s a pocket.  Taylor advised him to have more grit.  Blake said Cam’s got a surprising range and it’s good to find out in the Knockouts and thinks he’s grown since the Blinds.   Todd chose “Anymore” song by Travis Tritt.  Blake said his voice is perfect for this song, similar to Travis Tritt.   Blake told Todd that inside of him there’s always a marching band so it’s hard to get Todd to settle down.  Blake said Cam and Todd are his favorite two artists and it will come down to who can get lost in the moment and can really sell this performance.

 Pictured (l-r): Cam Spinks, Todd Tilghman — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

John noted some pitch problems with Cam.  He said with Todd, he imagined himself in church and he felt it.  Nick told Todd that he certainly brought them to church with that performance.  Nick said he’d like to write songs for Cam, but went with Todd.  Kelly told Cam that he didn’t give his voice enough credit to have room in a song.  Coach Blake said it’s crazy to see talent like this undiscovered.  Blake said Todd is just a happy guy.  “It’s amazing,” and is an “animal that feeds off of energy.” The winner was Todd.  Blake said Todd is so energetic and can show that side of him.

KNOCKOUT WINNER:  Todd Tilghman. 


John said Zan has a beautiful tone and has everything she needs as a vocalist.   Joanna said when she moved to St Louis, music helped her find community.  She started with piano, then guitar. Joanna chose “Angel from Montgomery” song by Bonnie Raitt.  Taylor said he’s toured with Bonnie and she would sing that song.  John said Joanna is a little bit more soulful and can hear her do R&B songs.  Taylor said Joanna brings a modern sound to that song.  Taylor said Bonnie would approve.  Zan chose “The Story” by Brandi Carlile song because she connects with Brandi who came to her school once. The song is about being misunderstood by people.  Taylor noted that Zan set herself “a major task” but she did it with control and opened-up on high notes.  John said Zan has so much control and Joanna has a great bravado.  He said it will be his most difficult Knockout.

Pictured: (l-r) Joanna Serenko, Zan Fiskum — Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC

Nick said he loves Joanna voice and now regretted not picking her in the Battles.  Kelly said Joanna’s voice is really pure and Zan has this freedom when he sings.  Blake said he learned more about Joanna vocally today.  He noted that Zan is a great combination of a singer and an artist. He went with Zan.  Coach John said it was cool to hear Joanna’s settleties.  and when Zan sings big, it’s piercing.  The winner of the Knockout was Zan.  John said Joanna did a beautiful job but Zan is a powerful vocalist.


STEAL: Nick and Blake both pushed to Steal Joanna!  Nick said he made a comment before about getting back with an ex.  But, he had a sudden change of heart and would love “to complete the circle here,” and would be great for them to get back together.

Blake said he believed in her since the beginning and doesn’t play games on her like Nick does.  Joanna said she just needs to move on, and she chose Team Blake.  Blake said she has a star quality and has an incredibly beautiful voice.  He can honestly say as a 43-year-old man that a girl left Nick Jonas for him.

NEXT WEEK: “The Voice” has it new Four-Way-Knock-Out which brings back each Team’s Saved artists to go head-to-head and viewers will vote to decide which artist will move-on! The four artists are: Michael Williams (Team Nick), Samantha Howell (Team Kelly), Nelson Cade III (Team Legend), and Todd Michael Hall (Team Blake). “The Voice” airs Mondays at 8 pm PT on NBC.

Pictured (l-r, counter clock-wise): Michael Williams, Nelson Cade III, Todd Michael Hall, Samantha Howell / Photos courtesy NBC



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