The Voice Knockouts Recap: Hear the Singer Who Won Blake's Last Steal

Monday’s episode of The Voice wasn’t just the end of Season 23’s Knockouts, it was also the end of the road for four more contestants, including one whose performance was raw enough to make even grumpy ol’ me go misty-eyed. Whose was it? Read on; we’ll get there, and along the way, we’ll also cue up the Fleetwood Mac cover that inspired Blake Shelton to hand over his last steal ever.

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Team Niall: Michael B. singing “When You’re Gone” (Grade: B+) defeated EJ Michels singing “Trip Switch” (Grade: C) | As cool as it was that EJ switched things up by covering Nothing But Thieves, it was the wrong move for him as the indie-rock number called for a bigger voice and greater stage presence than he was able to deliver. Next up, Michael landed an exceptionally well-modulated rendition of Shawn Mendes’ hit that showed off both his control and his range. At some point, the coaches may have to stop looking at him as a dark horse in the contest. Don’t they?

Team Chance: Jamar Langley singing “Cruisin’” (Grade: B+) defeated Magnus singing “Ordinary People” (Grade: B-) | You ever have self-serve frozen yogurt and make a little swirl as you’re finishing filling your cup? That’s the way that Jamar deftly handled the runs on his Smokey Robinson cover: with a delicate flourish. That, plus the fact he’d turned out what Kelly had called “baby-making music” while demonstrating the ease with which he could flip from one voice to another, made him tough impossible to beat. Especially since Magnus’ cover of John Legend’s hit was vocally smooth and rich and yet… also kinda forgettable, right?

Team Blake: Grace West singing “Here You Come Again” (Grade: B) defeated Neil Salsich singing “Takin’ It to the Streets” (Grade: B+) — Neil stolen by Kelly | Although Grace’s vocal was occasionally swallowed by the band on her Dolly Parton cover, what we did hear was mostly lovely — strong and crystal clear. And you know I’m going to give her a few bonus points for performing with that twinkle of personality. Up second, Neil wasn’t at his best; if he’s usually a bottle rocket, here, he was more… a sparkler. Still, knowing the oomph that he can pack into a song — and the dynamo that he can be on stage — I’d have given him the win.

Team Niall: Ross Clayton singing “Dirty Work” (Grade: A-) defeated Jerome Godwin III singing “Someone You Loved” (Grade: A) | Jerome called it in rehearsal: On Ross’ Steely Dan cover, he sounded like a record that had already been mixed and mastered. Maybe not the most exciting song selection ever, but he sure sang the crap out of it. Following him at the mic, damn! Jerome didn’t just rise to the challenge of opening up emotionally, he catapulted right over it. Tell ya what, it is rare that I’m type-type-typing a recap and a singer gets me emotional enough to even come close to shedding a tear, and Jerome did. Even the imperfections in his vocal only made his performance feel more genuine and vulnerable to me. The coaches, however, strongly disagreed.

Team Chance: Sorelle singing “Blame It on the Boogie” (Grade: A) defeated Tiana Goss singing “God Is a Woman” (Grade: B-) | I love Tiana, but once Sorelle hit the stage with those harmonies and the little dance moves, I started bracing myself to have to lose her. Sorelle was just so good, so fun, so energetic. They were irresistible and undeniable in equal measure. For Tiana’s part, she delivered a classy, stripped-down rendition of Ariana Grande’s smash that — I hate to say it — kinda lost my interest midway through. 

Team Kelly: Holly Brand singing “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Grade: A) defeated Rachel Christine singing “Rhiannon” (Grade: B-) — Rachel stolen by Blake | In one of the season’s most spirited performances, Holly put a brilliant new shine on Patsy Cline’s golden oldie, going from a stunning a-capella beginning to a personality-filled, yodel-tastic middle to, finally, a “What can’t she do?!?” whistle note to top the whole thing off. For her part, Rachel was good, if a little pitchy here and there, and maybe better than I’m giving her credit for. Blake was certainly impressed; he used his final Steal on her. But coming after Holly’s “OMG” turn at the mic, Rachel’s felt, by comparison, just “OK.” (Hear for yourself below.)

So, was it just me who was so moved by Jerome? Were you surprised that Blake picked Grace over Neil? Sound off in the comments after voting in the poll below.

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