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Team cuts are brutal as knockouts begin on ‘The Voice’

Season 7 | Episode 11 | “The Knockouts Premiere” | Aired Oct 27, 2014

Last week: Battles wrapped, leaving our teams brutally halved. We said farewell to advisers like “everyone’s cool iconic aunt” Stevie Nicks, “BFF who gives life-changing advice” Alicia Keys, “most amount of hair” Little Big Town, and “best husband” Gavin Rossdale. Now let’s see what’s in store during our first week of knockouts. It could get rough. Let’s hope nobody leaves the ring with a black eye.

Just to refresh you on how knockouts work: The coaches will cut their teams in half again by pairing teammates against each other in dueling performances of different songs. Each contestant will select a song that represents where they want to go as an artist, and each coach will have one final steal available.

Oh, did I mention Taylor Swift will be joining? Yes, the seven-time Grammy award-winning artist who goes by the names T-Swizzle, Tay Tay, and T-Swift will be here to talk puppies and rainbows with impossibly perfect hair.

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This battle’s gonna give me a heart attack
Tonight’s first knockout is between Team Gwen’s Bryana Salaz and Sugar Joans. Bryana chooses “Heart Attack,” a great vehicle for her impressive range. T-Swift (that’s what I’m calling her the rest of tonight. Deal with it!) recommends infusing the song with more “rawness,” and Bryana does just that, delivering an almost flawless vocal performance.


Sugar’s “Love On Top” is an entirely different beast. If Bryana is “sugar” (forgive me!), then Sugar is all salt and swagger, tearing through her song like a champ.


While I find Sugar more compelling, Gwen can’t resist Bryana’s vast potential and gives her the win. And Sugar stays via a steal from Pharrell, because Pharrell is a very smart man.

When going Bieber goes wrong
Next up is Team Blake’s James David Carter versus Griffin (former member of Team Pharrell). James selects “You’ve Got A Friend.” Blake cautions him to make room for a big note or two, and James does that and more, giving an understated and lovely performance that still manages to horn in a few bigger moments. Griffin’s “As Long As You Love Me” is solid but less successful. Going from Michael Buble in blinds to Justin Bieber in knockouts is a bold move, but the risk never quite pays off as the song doesn’t fully utilize the range Griffin showed during battles. Despite the unmistakable draw of the Bieber, Blake gives the battle to James, sending Griffin home.

The Voice - Season 7

Superwomen
Pharrell wades into knockouts by pairing Danica Shirey with Katriz Trinidad. Danica seems doubtful of her “Saving All My Love For You” in rehearsals, but it sounds wonderful, “a classic case of when someone’s insecurity fuels their talent,” per T-Swift’s observation. Despite her self-doubt, Danica’s performance is fiery and gorgeous, hitting all the right goal posts (including some tricky falsetto moments). Katriz does her best to keep up, doing an impressive job on “Superwoman,” but Pharrell names Danica the winner (sending Katriz home).

The Voice - Season 7

Blake calls Danica a unicorn, and I’m going to have to agree. Calling her “one to watch” is an understatement.

Is the steal button broken again?
Tonight’s Team Adam knockout pairing comes to us courtesy of Damien and Toia Jones (a transplant from Team Pharrell). Damien’s choice to do the treacly “How Do I Live” seems a little perplexing, but Adam loves it (and this is where Adam and I have to part ways). Damien sings it beautifully, giving a performance that’s emotive but also seems weighed down by the sappy material.


Toia, on the other hand, flies high with her fresh take on “Crazy In Love,” putting the “crazy” back into the song per T-Swift’s suggestion. Adam dislikes the more conventional song choice, but Toia really pulls it off, giving a rousing performance that practically smokes a hole into the stage.


Despite this, Adam gives Damien the win. And in the biggest WTF moment of the night, no one makes a move to steal Toia. Are the buttons broken? Are the coaches broken? What is happening here?

This is definitely your song
Next up in Team Blake’s “teen zone,” Blake pits Jessie Pitts against Tanner Linford. Jessie wisely chooses to do the Ellie Goulding version of “Your Song,” an ideal fit for her ethereal voice. She confesses that she’s obsessed with T-Swift’s cats on Instagram, and cats all over the world admit they’re obsessed with T-Swift in return.

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Jessie’s performance is dynamic and very pretty, hitting it out of the park in the quiet moments (although it loses its target when Jessie goes for bigger notes). Then, in the most charming meet cute of the night, Tanner literally trips over himself in his excitement to meet T-Swift and becomes giddy when she inadvertently calls him cute. His “Calling All Angels” shows a lot of improvement, but it’s not enough to beat the angelic quality of Jessie’s voice. Blake gives Jessie the win and sends sweet Tanner home.

The Voice - Season 7

Sophie’s choice
In the biggest “Sophie’s Choice” of the night, Pharrell pairs Luke Wade and Taylor Phelan, two of the best (and most distinctive) male voices on the show. Luke covers “Rich Girl,” and it’s a perfect showcase for his raspy, unique tone and skilled runs. (Blake says he does too many runs. I beg to differ!) His only misstep is starting the performance like he’s copping a sit on the neighborhood stoop (T-Swift’s suggestion).


Taylor takes on a more surprising song choice with his “Rather Be.” T-Swift notes that he barely plays his guitar and is using it as a “teddy bear,” recommending he put it down. Once Taylor does that, his performance goes from good to great. His voice is strong, and his stage presence is weird, frenetic and pretty awesome. Despite the dead heat, “apples and oranges” nature of the pair, Pharrell gives Luke the edge, naming him the winner. And in another happy ending, Taylor stays on the show via a steal from Adam.


Who were your favorites tonight? Are you loving T-Swift as much as I do? Are the cats of America watching their TVs to get a glimpse of their favorite representative? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll see you back here after the next episode of The Voice.

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The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7C on NBC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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