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Super-Heros and Mega Mentor on THE VOICE Season 17 Knockouts Week 1 Recap

NBC’s The Voice had it’s final night of Battles for season 17 on Monday night. Coach Gwen Stefani had the first pairing of the night. While Blake Shelton still had one Steal left. The Knockouts started in the second half of Monday night’s show, and continuing into Tuesday’s episode. Super-star artist Taylor Swift returned to “The Voice,” in the Knockouts this time as a “mega Mentor.”


Gwen  paired them because their both rockers. Said Jake has a voice from the 70s or 80s.  He formed a rock band.  She said she turned because he has a lot of character in his voice.Caroline is 16 and Gwen said she’s so far along for 16 years old.  She loves 70s and 80s rock music and so does Gwen, so it’s a good match. She has a duo.  Gwen wanted to do a song that has a rock personality but a little bit current.  The Pop song was  – “Just Like a Pill.”Caroline said being 16, she has a lot of doubts, but told herself that she can do this. Gwen warned that the song is “rangy.”  Gwen said if Jake can hit all those notes, everyone will be blown away. told Jake Rock needs a voice like his right now, and he’ll record him even if he doesn’t win.  During rehearsals, Gwen told Jake she’s like to see him without the guitar because it looks like he’s backing-up Caroline.

Pictured: (l-r) Caroline Reilly, Jake HaldenVang — Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC

After their performance, Kelly stated that it’s when Caroline’s voice broke is that’s what’s magical about her.  But, they don’t have anyone like Jake, and his voice is like Stephen Tyler and impressed by this performance.  She voted for Jake. Blake said that song was a mouthful for anyone, he went with Caroline.  John said he likes how Jake does things that are unexpected like runs.  Most rockers don’t do runs.  He voted for Jake. 

Gwen said today is the tip of the iceberg to what Jake can do.  Caroline is such an incredible singer. She made her decision based on how she feels inspired right now.  The winner was Jake.

BATTLE WINNER: JAKE.  Gwen said she wanted both of them desperately.  Jake is a talented singer and very unusual.  

MANDELEYEV vs. PRESTON C. HOWELL (Team Legend / Usher)

Preston is 15-years-old from Miami with a Michael Buble crooner sound.  He said just because he’s 15 doesn’t mean he’s not serious.  he sang at the U.S. Open.  He said at his ‘Voice Blind Audition, he blacked-out a little bit.  Mandeleyev grew up in the mountains in Santa Barbara, raised by hippies.   Mandeleyev sings folksy,  So James Taylor “Fire and Rain” song was a happy medium for John to select from them.  Usher felt that Mandeleyev was more comfortable with the song.  Ll said the song is really out of his comfort zone. Usher advised the two to “make it an intimate conversation” concerning their performance of the song.   John advised the he wanted a little bit more sweetness at the end of the song.  Usher advised not to imitate, but interpret James Taylor.  John said it will come down to who delivers the song the best.  

 Pictured: (l-r) Mendeleyev, Carson Daly, Preston C. Howell — Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC

Gwen said Mandeleyev has some original choices. Overall, Preston is 15 years old with a pretty tone and is curious what more he can do.  Kelly told Mandeleyev , amazing and he can sing real low.  He impressed her in the Blinds.  Kelly said she loves Preston and nailed a song that is nothing like his sound.  “That shows versatility.”  Blake pointed out that they’re both 4 chair turns.  He went with Preston because he liked his voice more.  John said Mandeleyev’s tone is so rich and beautiful and brought everyone in.  Preston has a great range, poise and controlled.  John chose Preston as the winner.

BATTLE WINNNER – PRESTON.   John said he sees elements in Preston of how he was when he was 15.  Mandelyan thanked John for the opportunity.  John said he feels like Preston has more range.

MORE BATTLES – Team Blake’s RICKY BRADDY vs. JORDAN CHASE.  Blake went with “someone with the experience and confidence.  He chose RICKY.

Gwen’s final Battle pairing was CALVIN LOCKETT vs. BRENNEN HANSON.  Gwen went with the person she was most curious about.  That was CALVIN.  Gwen stated that Calvin has star quality and is “intriguing.”   

Pictured: (l-r) Brennen Henson, Carson Daly, Calvin Lockett — Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC

HELLO SUNDAY vs. LAUREN HALL  (Team Kelly / Normani)

Kelly paired the singers because she said what Hello Sunday has, Lauren has as one person.  Lauren said she wants to prove herself not only to Kelly, but to the rest of the coaches.  Hello Sunday – Chelsea and Myra are 13 and 14 years old.  Adviser Normani said she was that age when she started-out as well.  Kelly gave them Wrecking Ball because she felt like they could handle the range and can sing it separately.  Normani said Lauren is “a powerhouse for sure.”   

Lauren said she felt intimidated by Hello Sunday because he had braces at their age, and they’re on “The Voice.”   Kelly advised Hello Sunday that they are “powerful in different ways.”  Lauren has been auditioning for “The Voice” for seven years and stated that she intends on using those emotions in the song.  Kelly said it will come down to who handles the nerves and finding that line of intimacy and the big bold moments.  

Pictured: (l-r) Hello Sunday, Lauren Hall — Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC

After their Battle performance, Blake told them it was an incredible performance overall and did a great job working together.  They also had great moments individually.  He didn’t chose.  John said he thoroughly enjoyed it and told Lauren that her tone is beautiful.  She’s passionate.  He said with Hello Sunday, it wasn’t as technically as sound.  But, his daughter looks for girls that inspire her.  John didn’t tell Kelly who he thinks she should pick.  Gwen said today was another level for Hello Sunday.  “It’s exciting and I want to see more on the show.” With Lauren, Gwen wants to hear her voice on a record.  Coach Kelly said Lauren and her are really similar, and all of them would be a dream to work with.  “My team has been so stacked,” stated Kelly, and said she’s never been so fearful of losing someone who can beat her.


STEAL – Blake stole Lauren.  She told Blake that it means so much to her that he Stole her.  Blake said Lauren is going to be a threat and “the winner is on my Team.”


This season’s Knockout Round welcomed back ten-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift.  Taylor said she had fun on the show last time and wanted to come back.  However, now she’s being called a “Mega Mentor.”  Taylor joked that, the title will go straight to her head. In the Knockouts, the coaches get only one Steal.

Blake said Taylor is perfect because she’s experienced everything in front of the world.  Taylor told Blake that she wrote about meeting him when she was a teenager.


Cali chose to sing The Game” by Chris Issac. She said it’s about obsession and sadness.  She grew-up in Salem and “nobody knew I was gay,” Cali stated.  Blake said Cali always keeps you guessing.  Taylor said the depth and control to Cali’s voice is really emotional.   Cali said Marina is a “power-house.”  Marina chose song “I Who Have Nothing” by Tom Jones because it was one of her father’s favorites.   Blake advised Marina to “lean into a little more.”  He said Marina knows what she’s doing when it comes time to pick a song.

Then, Taylor gave an impressive performance of the States song to Blake.  He joked that it was his favorite performance!

 Pictured (l-r): Cali Wilson, Marina Chello — Photo by: Tina Thorpe/NBC

John said they both look like they belong up there.  He told Cali it was so beautiful, settle and pitch perfect.  He told marina when she hit those high notes, it was “astounding.”  Gwen called the song “sexy” and showed everything Cail is as an artist and felt she showed who she is tonight.  She said Marina is like a powerful doll and Blake will have a hard time.  Kelly liked that Cali did her own spin on the song.  Kelly told Marina it was sensitive and her vibe that you can’t teach, “God-given.”

Blake said this moment is horrifying for him because they both deserve to be on the radio.  He told Cali that she made every emotion on that lyric come to life.  Blake chose Cali.

KNOCKOUT WINNER – CALI. Blake said Marina did what we thought she’d do. But, Cali did what no one thought she’d do.  Gwen thought Blake made the right choice and Cali’s performance was “magical.”  Blake called it “painful” to choose one.


Taylor told Kelly she went to her concert in 2005. Kelly paired Jake and Melinda because they’re both powerful singers and good story-tellers.  Jake chose “Cover Me Up” song.  He said it makes him think about going through his divorce, but with his new girlfriend, it’s had it’s blessings.  He said his daughter represents the positive things in the song.  Kelly and Taylor said he has a traditional Country sound in the traditional sense.  He delivers and emotional performance.  Taylor suggested to relay  a message with his hands.  Melinda’s brother is Taylor’s biggest fan who was going through open-heart surgery while she was rehearsing.  Melinda chose “Always Be My Baby” song by Mariah Carey.

Taylor said Melinda has an amazing voice that’s powerful.  Jake agreed and couldn’t be more “honored and terrified” to go against her.

Jake Hoot, Carson Daly, Melinda Rodriguez — Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC

Blake warned Kelly she’s going to make a huge mistake no matter what she does. Blake joked that Jake will make a great Country singer “Hoot and Hollar” with a sponsorship from “Hooters.”  John told Jake he loves Jake’s voice which is gorgeous, and this performance would have been a four-chair-turn.  He told Melinda it was her best performance and hit it out of the park.  Gwen told but Jake is one of her favorites and called it incredible.  Kelly said her Team is “staked.”  She told Melinda that she “nailed it.”  She liked that Jake was being just Jake.  She considered her Team for the lives when making her choice as the winner which was Jake.  She said he’s one of the best Country singers on the show ever and thinks he’ll be in the finale.  

Melinda gave an update that her brother Chris had a successful heart transplant and is recovering.


Taylor has gotten to perform with John before.   Katie, who got a four-chair-turn, chose “Piece of My Heart.”   She stopped performing music at age 14 because people made fun of her and didn’t re-enter music until her 30s.  She chose the song because it relates to her journey.   “I’m stronger than I’ve ever been,” said Katie.   Taylor told Katie she morphed into a super-hero on the stage after she saw her perform in rehearsal.  Max was definitely intimidated to be up against Katie.  

Max chose “When the Party’s Over” song by Billie Eilish.  He thought it would be cool to show a more vulnerable side to him.   He said he connects with some of the lines in the song and resonates because “the person might be seeing somebody, and i’m not…it’s just hard,” said Max.  John called it Max’s best performance in the rehearsal.  Taylor called it intimate and powerful.  She said he has a great intuition about what to do on stage.  She told him is made a good choice to go with the introspective.   John noted that it will be a tough choice to decide and called Max the underdog.

Gwen called it crazy, and there’s a star quality to Katie,  She called Max “gorgeous”  He’s so strong and emotional.  Kelly said Katie is just magical and great song selection for both of them.  She said none of the coaches would want to perform after Katie.  Kelly expected Katie to be Wonder Woman, but didn’t expect Max to be Super man.  Blake said that song was basically chewing someone out.  He said after she sings, they need to repair the roof.  He would pick Katie.  John said they picked perfect songs for themselves and executed them so perfectly.  He told Katie she has so much potential and is super-star.  He chose Katie  

BATTLE WINNER – KATIE.  John called Katie electric and powerful.  He can see her going very far on the show.

STEAL – Kelly and Gwen used their only Steal on Max.  Kelly thought Max was so incredible.  Gwen said he moved them with his personality and stage presence. She would love to work with him.  Max chose TEAM KELLY.  He said in the Blinds he was between John and Kelly. But, Kelly was Blocked.  


“The Voice” entered the second night of the Knockouts round.  Artists that win this round will move-on to the Live Shows.

Team Legend had the first Knockout of the second night on Tuesday’s episode.  John said he likes that the artists get to pick their own songs in this round because “you get a sense of what kind of music best represents them as an artist.”  He told Mega Mentor, Taylor Swift, that his goal is he wants three people to get stolen from his Team.


John paired James with Khalea because they are both soulful singers.  He said James has a big voice, while Khalea is savvy.   John stole James from Team Gwen.   James currently does accounting for a store, it’s also where he practices his vocal.  He chose “Stay” by Post Malone.  Taylor advised James to “really focus on hitting those notes.”  James hoped to show-off his range and high register.  Khalea chose “Because You Love Me” song by Celine Dion.   Taylor said Khalea chose a really vocally difficult song, and “she nailed it.”  Khalea thought of her mom who passed away before she turned 15.  Khalea’s mom is the reason why she’s on “The Voice.”   John advised her to “have a little bit more recklessness” in her performance.   This Knockout “will come down to who puts together the best performance” stated John.

After their performances, Gwen reacted “wow, wow!” Then stated that James left her. “You really tried to break free..maybe a little over-sung.” She told Khalea that she can’t believe how effortless she was.  Kelly told Khalea that she made Celine Dion sound easy.  She James that it’s cool that he sang Post Malone and that was her favorite.  Blake was surprised by James and didn’t know he had those cards to play.  He told Khalea that when she’s singing and in the zone, she’s as powerful of a human being on the planet.  Coach John told James that he nailed it 100% and hit that high note.  He told Khalea that she reminds him of Whitney Houston with her ballads mixed with Gospel and how Kahlea performed the song.

KNOCKOUT WINNER – KHALEA.  John called Khalea “perfection!”   John said he wants her to show more emotion and “let loose just a little.” 


Gwen paired Jessie and Kyndal because they are both emotional singers and they have their own style and personality.  They were over the moon to see Taylor Swift ad their Mentor.  Jessie said he came from a dark past in group homes.  Gwen said she could hear his pain in his voice which is why she turned for him and he connects with people.  Jessie chose “Dancing with a Stranger” by Sam Smith and Normani. Gwen said that song seems very comfortable to him.  She wants to see more of his personality.  Taylor agreed.    Gwen Blocked Blake from getting Kyndal.  She has a raspy voice.  Kyndal chose “Elastic Heart” by Sia.  Gwen said Sia sent “Elastic Heart” for her to do.   Kyndal said the song is close to her heart.  It’s about rejection and heart break that she’s gone through.  Her parents getting divorced and her having feelings of abandonment which lead to depression.   Taylor said her voice has so many different complexities and “it’s amazing.”  It was “legitimately interesting” Taylor told Kyndal.  She suggested to start the song defeated, then triumph at the end.   Gwen advised her to simplify it.Gwen compared that Jessie has great stage presence while Kyndal has a magical voice which will make her decision difficult.

After their performances, Kelly told Jessie that it was “breathy and raspy in all the right spots.”  She told Kyndal that she performed the hell out of the song, but sounded too close to the original artist.  Blake agreed with Kelly, but Kyndal “voice is really special.”  He told Jessie that when he went for the big note at the end, they could see him. But, he went with Kyndal.  John told Jessie that he proved the power and emotion of his voice.  But, the song choice didn’t allow him to do it while Kyndal chose a perfect song for her voice.  He thought Kyndal had a stronger performance.    Coach Gwen thought Jessie did great and knows how to work a stage, while Kyndal was “so emotional.”  She chose Kyndal as the winner.

KNOCKOUT WINNER – KYNDAL.  Gwen said Kyndal sings from her heart and has so much style to her voice.


Blake paired Joana and   because they’re so expressive and knows they’ll bring the fireworks.  Joana chose “California Dreaming” song.  Joana, at age 15, wants to prove to Blake that she can compete against adults who sing for a living.  Blake said Joana sings notes that blows his mind.  Taylor gave Joana advice on how to work the stage during her performance and “sell the emotions too.” Ricky chose “She Talks to Angels” by the Black Crows.  Blake had compared Ricky to the lead singer earlier and Ricky took that into account in his song choice.  Blake said the song “has too much finesse in it.”  Taylor advised against Ricky singing with his guitar.  Ricky decided to perform without his guitar and sing it “authentically.” 

John told Joana that his favorite parts about her voice are the “higher parts.”  He really liked Ricky’s stage presence and has a great tone. John voted for Ricky.  Gwen thought Joana was impressive and chose her.  Kelly turned for both of them in the Blinds and noted that they picked songs that showed their strengths. She thought Ricky showed more experience and chose him.  Blake stated his thoughts were “empty.”  He told Joana that he’s shocked and blown away by her talent.  Ricky is his only four-chair-turn and respects that Ricky wants to be coached.  Blake chose Ricky as the winner.

KNOCKOUT WINNER – RICKY.  Blake said Ricky is not only soulful, but he also rocks and can rely on him in the live shows.  

STEAL – Gwen said she always wanted Joana since the beginning when she turned for her in the Blinds.



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