Watch Kelly Clarkson lose her mind over this Knockout 'Voice' contestant

Lyndsey Parker

Something tells me the interweb and Twitterverse are already awash in GIFs of Voice coach Kelly Clarkson watching Team Alicia frontrunner Terrence Cunningham’s freakin’ fantastic performance from Tuesday’s Knockout Rounds. True, Kelly really isn’t ever subtle, but the way she reacted to Terrence’s “Tell Me Something Good” was something else. She was so animated, she made her past Voice antics look like the laid-back behavior of former coach Pharrell Williams.

“I can’t believe what just happened,” Kelly gasped. “I had total church giggles. Like, I couldn’t even [breathe].”

It’s understandable why Kelly was so excited. Terrence outdid himself here. This wasn’t the vulnerable, tender Terrence we’ve all come to know and love (the Rufus & Chaka Khan classic brought out his funky, sexy, no-more-Mr.-Nice-Guy side), but this worked. That wail! That wail — in Chaka’s original key — was several octaves higher than even Adam Levine could imagine. (Do octaves even go that high?) That wail practically made Adam sound like the dude from the Crash Test Dummies. “I can’t even believe what was going on with that upper register,” Adam marveled.

But…THANK GAWD FOR THE SAVE. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but a much-needed gimmick in this case. To see either Terrence or his Knockout opponent, Christiana Danielle, go home this week before the Live Playoffs would have been a travesty.

To be honest, I loathed the fussy, jazzy arrangement of Christiana’s “Elastic Heart”; it rendered the Sia song nearly unrecognizable, and Christiana seemed either ahead of or behind the beat the entire time, never quite settling in. But her magnificent vocals, and the “guest adviser” Chris Blue, were like “chocolate under a hot lamp,” and she capably followed Alicia’s direction to simultaneously channel Ella Fitzgerald, Drake, and Anita Baker. She deserved to stay. And since Alicia used her one Save on Christiana (Kelly and Adam also tried to steal Christiana, in vain), all was right in the Voice world.

Tuesday’s other two Knockouts weren’t quite as thrilling or readily GIF-able, but they were enjoyable nonetheless. Check them out below.

TEAM KELLY: Brynn Cartelli vs. Jamella

Brynn has been one of this season’s standouts, while Jamella’s Blind Audition and Battle Round were montaged. So, Jamella seemed doomed. But this turned out to be a fairer fight than I’d assumed.

Brynn did Rascal Flatts’ “Here Comes Goodbye,” the perfect emotional statement song, and she belted so masterfully, once again I was demanding to see her birth certificate, because there’s no way this “born storyteller” is only 14. Her rich, low tone was positively Adele-ian, and she balanced just the right amount of authentic emotion with vocal acrobatics that were neither forced nor showoffy. She transitioned from a fragile vibrato/voice-crack to a lioness roar, and she sounded majestic throughout.

However, Jamella doing “Girl Crush” was also a revelation. It was a surprising song choice for the pop/R&B diva (“You’re not expecting a girl in cargo pants and a body-chain to get up there and wail some ‘Little Big Town,’” she joked), but Jamella made it sound like a classic ’60s soul ballad, with just a touch of Mary J. Blige. Kelly called her a “dark horse” and even hinted that she might use her Save on this Knockout.

But … Kelly didn’t do that. Jamella went home. Oh well, at least Jamella finally received her much-deserved screen time. That’s more than some montage victims get.



TEAM BLAKE: Jaron Strom vs. Pryor Baird

Pryor chose very wisely. Billy Preston’s “Will It Go ’Round in Circles” was a great, groovy, growly, gritty song he could really dig into, showcasing both his massive pipes and fiery, fun personality. And the workmanlike way he riled up the crowd proved that his years of playing America’s bar-band circuit had paid off. He had Pryor experience! (Heh)

In comparison, Jaron’s “Grenade” seemed lightweight. It certainly wasn’t explosive. He didn’t have the range or breath control to pull off Bruno Mars, nor the originality to make the song his own. This was an amateur-hour Bruno impersonation; I didn’t witness the “cool factor” that Blake Shelton claimed to see.

This Knockout definitely separated the man from the boy. Blake’s decision was clear.



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