“Something I can’t put words to”

“The Voice” season 22 contestant Alyssa Witrado reacts to be saved by her coach, Gwen Stefani. (Photo: NBC)

His three-way knockout rounds The voice Season 22 came to a close on Monday, and as is typical for the series, it was a letdown all the way through — with the final showdown between Team Gwen teens Alyssa Witrado, Daysia and Sasha Hurtado bringing a shocking result.

It seemed obvious, at least to me, who had won this round. Daysia’s “Get Here” was lovely and elegant, but old-fashioned and without fire, and Alyssa’s cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” was fun — she wanted her “Freddie Mercury moment,” so she attacked to the anthem with courage. — but it ended up being too “giant” of a song for Alyssa to control or stay in tune with. Meanwhile, Gwen Stefani’s own husband Blake Shelton declared Sasha the winner and John Legend described Sasha’s performance of ‘Make It Rain’ as ‘flawless’ and a ‘tour de force’. But Gwen has always had a soft spot for her fashionista mini-me, Alyssa, so she even ignored her doting husband’s advice.

“Sasha, you made it really complicated for me because it was a perfect performance,” Gwen admitted… before choosing to go with Alyssa. Gwen even admitted that her connection with Alyssa was “something I can’t put words to.”

Some viewers had no doubts shocked by Gwen’s decision, but no one seemed more surprised than Alyssa herself. Her expressive face looked like a animated GIF as her eyes widened and her jaw dropped. Luckily for Sasha – who had already been through two coaches this season, having started on Team Camila before Gwen stole him away during the Battle Rounds – there was another surprise in the final minutes of this episode. Sasha still got it else opportunity – and another coach – when John, who still had a Steal in the game, decided to save it.

'The Voice' Season 22 contestant Alyssa Witrado reacts to be saved by her coach, Gwen Stefani.  (Photo: NBC)

“The Voice” season 22 contestant Alyssa Witrado reacts to be saved by her coach, Gwen Stefani. (Photo: NBC)

“Sasha deserved it and I couldn’t let her go home,” John explained. “She was so good all those rounds. She has now been robbed twice. And he just hit every note so beautifully and with such precision and control.”

Will the third coach be the charm for Sasha? We’ll see, but for now, he’s already narrowed the odds by making it to next week’s top 16 Live Playoffs. As for whether Alyssa is ready for the Playoffs remains to be seen, but Gwen seems confident the 19-year-old pop star is ready for prime time. “With Alyssa, she’s just special. What I’m excited to see her do in the Live Playoffs is show what kind of star she really is,” Gwen asserted.

But before we look ahead to the playoffs, these were the other final knockouts of the night, some of which also ended in surprising verdicts:

TEAM GWEN: Cara Brindisi vs. Justin Aaron vs. Kayla Von Der Heidie

Cara went hard with Bonnie Raitt’s early classic “Love Me Like a Man,” playing wailing guitar while following Gwen’s instructions to be more flirty and moving with her face and body language. This was smoky and sexy, hard yet tender, and just all-powerful. Justin’s cover of Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk” was sexy in its own way, but his vocals weren’t as silky as I’d hoped, and his lyrics seemed uncomfortably low. Kayla’s “Losing My Religion” was slow and quietly compelling, but also vocally unstable. I thought Cara completely killed her competition, but once again, Gwen made a choice that was seemingly based on a contestant potential and held Justin, explaining, “He doesn’t really realize how gifted he is.” It’s a shame Camila Cabello didn’t have a Steal left, because she revealed that she would have saved Cara if she had the chance.

WINNER: Justin Aaron

TEAM BLAKE: Austin Montgomery vs Eva Ullmann vs Brayden Lape

Blake pitted his three younger artists against each other “to see which one of them is the most ready for Lives” — and interestingly, it was the younger of the three, 16-year-old Brayden, who did best. Austin’s shaky vibrato on George Strait’s “You Look So Good in Love” was distracting, and Eva’s “Dangerous Woman” was too tame and just not dangerous enough. But Brett was so vulnerable and honest he mocked Bret Young’s heartbreaking ballad “Mercy” with only sparse piano accompaniment, and he had a dot. “I think Gwen has a crush on you,” Camila smiled, to which Gwen said, “Yeah, in a mum way!” Blake told Brayden, “You picked a song where there was nowhere to hide. It’s scary. You get in the zone and it’s so good. And I don’t think you’ve sounded better. Everything was spot on.” Blake made the right call here, and Camila was right, too: His girls all ages are going to fall in love with this kid.

WINNER: Brayden Lape

TEAM LEGEND: Emma Brooke vs. Kim Cruse vs. Marilynds

Emma didn’t choose wisely with Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope.” She just couldn’t loosen up and shake her classic workout, so she didn’t bring the attitude she needed to pull off this female-scorned revenge anthem. The Marilynds’ creative and harmonious cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ was actually brilliant, so much so that John thought this fraternal duo could follow in the footsteps of Girl Named Tom, their winning sister act The voice Last season. (Blake actually compared the Marilynds to Wilson Phillips.) But no one could compete with the powerful Kim and her sultry, bluesy, Tina Turner-inspired rendition of “Can’t Stand the Rain.” Camila told her, “You were a dragon up there. It was just fire. You have always been one of the most talented and masterful singers on the show.” Gwen told Kim: ‘It’s shocking. It makes no sense on paper to sing like that!’ So John did what he had to do. “I had to pick Kim because she’s just a world-class singer,” he said. “She just commanded the stage and was so intentional with everything she did. America should love her.”

WINNER: Kim Cruse

TEAM CAMILA: Andrew Igbokidi vs. Devix vs. Steven McMorran

I assumed I’d lean toward one of Camila’s indie singers — Devix, who covered Coldplay’s “Yellow,” or Andrew, who did the night’s second REM cover of “Everybody Hurts” — over conservative balladeer Steven. I didn’t even want Camila to save Steven during the Battles. But this week, Steven pestered me and I thought he had finally matched the right song. Steven’s rendition of Bruno Mars’ huge, soulful ballad ‘It Will Rain’ was positively Michael Bolton-like. John even slaughtered “Wow!” when he listened so passionately to Stephen zone. Meanwhile, I thought the other two lukewarm contestants held back. But once again, we had another surprise. “I had to choose Devix for the Live Playoffs because his voice is just unreal and he produces and is a creative force. He just puts his heart and soul into every performance,” Camila explained. I think Devix was the most interesting artist of the three, and maybe even one of the most interesting artists of the season, and I’m excited to see what he does next — but I still think Steven technically won this Knockout .


So now we have our top 16, who will begin competing live for America’s votes next Monday. In the meantime, The voice will not be broadcast at its usual Tuesday time this week because there is another very important vote on that day. See you next week.

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