It was ladies' night on The Voice, as Team Adam Levine pared down to an all-female affair during part one of the knockout round. Meanwhile, coach Shakira kept both artists that she stole from Adam during the blind auditions – who also just so happened to be women.
In the knockouts, each of the coaches pit two of their own team members against one another – starting with Team Adam and Team Shakira. The artists are tasked with choosing their own songs, and there are no steals or saves. With eight contestants remaining on each team, only half will survive and move on to the live playoffs.
When last night's pairings were made, it seemed pretty obvious from the get-go who would prevail. Garrett Gardner vs. Tawnya Reynolds? Shakira's self-proclaimed crush Garrett easily walked away the winner. Not only has Shakira overtly gushed about him, but she probably thinks he'll get tween girls' hearts pumping – which equals votes. Judith Hill vs. Orlando Dixon? Also a laughably unfair fight, this time for Team Adam. At least, though, Judith seemingly won based solely on her powerhouse performance. Warren Stone vs. Sarah Simmons, also representing Team Adam? Sarah effortlessly prevailed – and we're betting it had something to do with the fact she was one of the season's first competitors to land on both the Billboard and iTunes charts with her rendition of Joan Osborne's "One of Us."
The closest to a "shocking" outcome was the match-up between cutesy country girl Amber Carrington and hipster duo Midas Whale. And even then, it was pretty easy to guess who Adam would pick for his team. (Go ahead, take a stab at it.)
Amber chose to sing "I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne, dedicating it to her mother who passed away from breast cancer and putting a country spin on it. Meanwhile, Midas Whale put down the instruments (a guitar and accordion) to perform Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground."
While Amber fell right into her wheelhouse, the Midas Whale guys were admittedly out of their element. Leaving the indie-folk genre behind and taking a more serious approach was "a risk," according to guitarist Jon Peter Lewis. But aside from losing a little of their uniqueness by losing the instruments and playing it straight, they really just couldn’t compete with the fact that Adam seems hell-bent on winning the competition with a country artist over friendly rival Blake Shelton. And, in the end, we think that's really why Amber scored the K.O.
While we're sure Midas Whale is feeling pretty bummed right now, it's the viewers who are the real losers here. Yes, Amber gave a solid performance, and considering she's country, she'll probably win a lot of votes. But there's just nothing new or different about her. She's kind of generic, whereas Midas Whale is the total opposite, especially for a competition like this.
Indeed, the words Adam and the other coaches have used to describe them throughout the rounds have included "fun," "unique" and "different." And, considering how huge similar bands like Mumford & Sons, the Black Keys and Phoenix are right now, they could have potentially nabbed more votes than folks expected – especially from American Idol fans who may have wanted to give Jon Peter Lewis a second chance, considering he made it to the top eight on Season Three of that reality competition.
Along with Judith, Sarah and Amber, Adam chose former Team Blake member Caroline Glaser. And filling up Shakira's team alongside Garrett are falsettoed Kris Thomas, Latin rocker Karina Iglesias and Brooklyn mom Sasha Allen – the latter two originally being from Team Adam. (See the pattern here?)
Tonight, the knockouts continue with Team Blake and Team Usher picking their final four.
Previously: 'Narcissistic' Shakira Stages Latin Sing-Off