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'The Voice' recap: Judith Hill rules first knockout round

Team Adam Levine -- Amber Carrington, Caroline Glaser,

Team Adam Levine -- Amber Carrington, Caroline Glaser, Judith Hill and Sarah Simmons -- advances to the live shows on "The Voice" starting May 6, 2013. (Credit: NBC / Trae Patton)

The knockout round started on “The Voice” last night and there was the usual angst as Team Adam and Team Shakira were cut down to the four artists who will face off in next week’s live rounds.

Adam Levine really did have the best team and some of his cuts really were painful, while Shakira seemed to have made a couple of strategic errors where she pit two strong singers against each other.

Here’s how the battles went down:

TEAM ADAM: Amber Carrington vs. Midas Whale
Midas Whale takes Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” on all sorts of unexpected twists, starting out like it’s some sort of demonic folk song and then returning it to its soul roots. However, Amber’s take on Avril Lavigne’s “I’m With You” is sweetly pop-country and very, very expected, so, of course, Adam goes with her. Midas Whale would have been a hard sell once that public started voting, but Adam should have let them try.
ADVANCED: Amber
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Midas Whale

TEAM SHAKIRA: Garrett Gardner vs. Tawnya Reynolds
This was a close one. While Tawnya’s “Hell on Heels” was good, showing off her sass and experience, Garrett’s version of Alex Clare’s “Too Close” showed how much he continues to improve. Tawnya is a fixed commodity, but Garrett is growing by leaps and bounds and Shakira decided to go with his momentum.
ADVANCED: Garrett
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Garrett

TEAM ADAM: Amy Whitcomb vs. Caroline Glaser
Song choice is really important in the knockout rounds and Amy bit off more than she could chew with “House of the Rising Sun.” She was pitchy in places, shouty in others on a tough song to sing. Why would she pick it if she couldn’t nail it? Caroline, on the other hand, picked the small “Little Talks” from Of Monsters and Men and she handled it OK, showing that she can be current and charm even through her nerves.
ADVANCED: Caroline
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Caroline

TEAM SHAKIRA: Kris Thomas vs. Mary Miranda
Kris Thomas’ “What a Wonderful World” was sweet and wistful, keeping his interesting voice in control the entire time. Mary Miranda’s “Every Breath You Take” was shaky in places, but also pretty charming. “Everything I say today is offensive,” says Blake Shelton, when questioning why Shakira pitted them against each other.
ADVANCED: Kris
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Kris

TEAM ADAM: Judith Hill vs. Orlando Dixon
“Why don’t you just come down here and punch me in the face?” Blake Shelton asks Judith Hill, after her stunning performance of “Always on My Mind.” At this point, she is definitely the one to beat on the entire show. Adam Levine states the obvious by saying that anyone going against Judith would be an underdog. Poor Orlando Dixon didn’t stand a chance and his competition just seemed to make him shakier on “All My Life.”
ADVANCED: Judith
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Judith

TEAM SHAKIRA: Karina Iglesias vs. Monique Abbadie
Karina’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” was good, but a little too simple, with no real dynamics to the song. Monique’s “The Power of Love” wasn’t perfect, but it was strong enough for her to show what she can do, which may be why Shakira went with Karina.
ADVANCED: Karina
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Karina

TEAM ADAM: Sarah Simmons vs. Warren Stone
Warren Stone’s “Died in Your Arms” was a Daughtry-fied version of the Cutting Crew ‘80s staple that had more drama than actual vocal dynamics. Sarah Simmons’ take on the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” provided both, offering another example of why she’s one of the show’s front-runners.
ADVANCED: Sarah
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Sarah

TEAM SHAKIRA: Sasha Allen vs. Shawna P.
OK, this one was way tougher than it needed to be. Why would Shakira pair these two? Sasha’s “At Last” was lovely and stylish. Shawna’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” was cool, tough and tender at the same time. Either could have advanced on any team.
ADVANCED: Sasha
SHOULD’VE ADVANCED: Sasha

Tags: The Voice , Adam Levine , Blake Shelton , Shakira , Usher

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