(LOS ANGELES) — Monday marked the start of the Knockout Rounds on The Voice — the final step competitors must take before making it to the coveted live rounds.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer James Taylor served as this year’s “Mega Mentor,” joining coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Nick Jonas and Blake Shelton to mentor the artists as they head into their biggest challenge yet.
With each coach armed with just one save, the stakes were amplified on Monday as it was revealed that Taylor will hold all four saves’ lives in his hands by coaching and preparing them for the show’s first ever “Four Way Knockout.”
Monday’s show sent two artists to the “Four Way Knockout”: Joanna Serenko and CammWess. The other half will be revealed next week.
Starting off the Knockouts was Team Blake, choosing 14-year-old Levi Watkins to square off against Joei Fulco.
Joei and Levi kicked off the Knockout rounds, with Levi choosing Waylon Jennings’ “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” and Joei selecting “When Will I Be Loved” by Linda Ronstadt.
Joei proved she was paying attention not only to the critique James Taylor gave her during their coaching session, but she also adopted some tips the “Fire and Rain” singer had given to her competition, which was to boost the energy and focus on what lines to put emphasis on. Because of that, she was put through to the live rounds and Levi was sent packing.
Next up on Team Blake to go head to head was Cam Spinks and Todd Tilghman. It wasn’t much of a competition as Todd’s rendition of Travis Tritt’s “Anymore” blew Cam’s pitchy take on Lee Brice’s “Rumor” out of the water. Needless to say, Cam was sent home.
Team Kelly was up next, selecting Megan Danielle to take on CamWess. Megan took a risk, opting to sing Clarkson’s 2016 hit “Piece By Piece” and adjusted it to reflect the pain she felt when her father left when she was only seven.
Working off James Taylor’s advice to work in pauses and punch the emotion during the song, she was sent on ahead.
However, CamWess lived to see another day, impressing both Legend and Jonas with his version of A Great Big World’s “Say Something” and having both use their steal on him.
Unfortunately, Jonas unexpectedly set himself up for failure when he asked Cam why he’d return to his former coach, joking “Why would you get back with an ex?” Sadly, the pitch wasn’t convincing and Legend got his old competitor back.
Fresh off winning a coveted singer from Jonas, John Legend paired his two R&B powerhouses against each other: Darious Lyles and Mike Jerel. Mike’s version of Bruno Mars’ “Versace on the Floor” trumped Darious’ take on Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones.”
Legend also paired up Zan Fiskum against Joanna Serenko in a subsequent match, where Jonas’ past pitch came back to haunt him when Zan was sent through and Joanna was up for the steal — with Nick and Blake coming in for the rescue.
Joanna, who was stolen from Team Nick, followed her old mentor’s advice and moved on to Team Blake.
As for Team Nick, it was Roderick Chambers versus 16-year-old Tate Brusa. Roderick went through to the live rounds thanks to his clever take on Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” while Brusa’s journey came to an end.
The Voice returns next Monday, April 20, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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