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'The Voice' recap: Tessanne Chin rules first knockout round

Tessanne Chin advances on the first night of

Tessanne Chin advances on the first night of knockout rounds on "The Voice" Season Five, after singing "Stronger." Photo Credit: NBC / Tyler Golden

The first of the knockout rounds once again shows the importance of picking the right song. Because we’re not at the point where the coaches will veto the singers’ choices, they’re on their own. And that actually turned out to be a bigger problem than you’d expect.

Here’s how the night shook out:

TEAM CHRISTINA: Amber Nicole vs. Josh Logan
This battle may have been over as soon as the 17-year-old Amber Nicole chose Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best,” even though she did an excellent job with the song. However, Josh Logan easily surpassed her by holding his own with Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Amber Nicole’s talent set off a battle between Blake Shelton and CeeLo Green to steal her, leading to one of the best tell-offs of the season, as CeeLo tells Blake, “You’re right, there is no talent on your team.” Amber (smartly) picks Team CeeLo.
CHRISTINA PICK: Josh
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Josh

TEAM CEELO: Kat Robichaud vs. Monika Leigh
This seemed like a matter of another bad song choice, as Kat Robichaud ill-advisedly went for an Alanis Morissette impression for “You Oughta Know.” Yet, her over-the-top passion, ending up in a heap on the floor, won over coach CeeLo. Monika Leigh, on the other hand, smartly went for a spare, Lana Del Rey-esque take on the Ray Charles classic “Hit the Road, Jack.”
CEELO PICK: Kat
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Kat

TEAM BLAKE: Holly Henry vs. Nic Hawk
In another ill-advised song choice, Holly Henry picked Radiohead’s “Creep” and did OK. (Picking the signature songs of unique artists in an attempt to show you’re unique doesn’t work.) But Nic showed how to truly be unique by creating a neo-soul “Genie in a Bottle” that no one else would have thought to attempt.
BLAKE PICK: Nic
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Nic

TEAM ADAM: Ashley DuBose vs. Tessanne Chin
“This really is a battle of power,” Adam says, though it seems like a mismatch based on song choice, as Ashley picks Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” while Tessanne goes with Kelly Clarkson’s powerhouse “Stronger.” Ashley’s take on Train is a little too cutesy, though her strong voice helps. Tessanne positively nails “Stronger,” making a tough song even tougher to sing and still making it seem effortless. She’s a front-runner and she delivered.
ADAM PICK: Tessanne
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Tessanne

TEAM BLAKE: Briana Cuoco vs. Shelbie Z.
In rehearsals, Blake tells Briana that her version of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” is “too much icing and not enough cake.” That was actually being kind, seeing as her performance was behind the beat and way too flowery and pitchy. Shelbie Z.’s take on Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name” was a bit pageanty, but still powerful and entertaining.
BLAKE PICK: Shelbie Z.
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Shelbie Z.

TEAM ADAM: Grey vs. James Irwin
Adam tries to get the technically good singers Grey and James to be more passionate. Grey’s take on Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” was pretty, but still a little too studied. James’ take on The Script’s “Breakeven” was good, but also not believable enough. Neither one will set the world on fire until they are able to let go more.
ADAM PICK: Grey
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Grey

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TEAM CHRISTINA: Destinee Quinn vs. Olivia Henken
Destinee Quinn’s stumbled a bit on her take on Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” and seemed to lose her way about halfway through. Nerves? Emotion? Either way, there were too many mistakes to ignore. Olivia Henken’s version of Linda Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good” was still a little too ornate, even after Christina’s notes, and, as Blake pointed out was a little sharp. But it was good enough to move forward. “I don’t want to do this show any more,” Christina jokes. “Can Shakira come back please?”
CHRISTINA PICK: Olivia
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Olivia

TEAM CEELO: Cole Vosbury vs. Jonny Gray
It’s the battle of the hats! Cole goes with Passenger’s “Let Her Go” and stays very close to the original until the end, where he makes an impressive mark. Jonny Gray takes on The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” and also impresses at the end. He has more stage presence, but the way he ends his lines is weirdly Dylanesque. Cole touches off an incredibly entertaining battle between Adam and Blake to steal him. He goes with Blake.
CEELO PICK: Jonny
SHOULD’VE PICKED: Cole

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