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Paginated Recap

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Next week, The Voice‘s playoffs begin, and we’ll finally get to see the top 12 start to take shape. But before we can get to that, there’s the matter of one last, short round of knockouts to attend to, and the last surviving steal belongs to none other than the J. Hud Productions guru herself, Jennifer Hudson. So, who will she choose to give it to?

Let’s walk through the final three pairings of this elimination round.

Team Jennifer: Chris Weaver vs. Katrina Rose

Okay, okay, so you can see the result of this matchup coming a mile away. But kudos to Katrina Rose for keeping it interesting in her lopsided pairing against Chris Weaver.

Her earth-shattering volume has been a lot to take in this season, but tonight, she dials it back about 90 percent for at least the first verse of her rendition of The Cranberries’ “Zombie,” and finally, finally it’s something interesting. Her tones are actually very sweet and melodic at points when she sings at what must be her whisper voice, and when she then cranks it up to full blast, it’s not as overwhelming as usual. It’s still a lot, but there’s a sensible narrative arc to her song storytelling here, so it’s not some full-force Maxell commercial-type experience.

Of course, Chris Weaver has this one in the bag from the start, finding his perfect moxie match with Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell on You.” Not only does it give him a chance to rock that gritty sensuality and self-awareness that’s made him such a stage presence so far, but the vocals are his usual soulful bass with a dash of sass. His tones are thick, his delivery is measured, and there’s a haunting, sticky, honest quality to his performance that’s just hard to deny. Might he be contender for the whole shebang? If he keeps bringing himself to the stage, as he wants to, it’s very possible.

Winner: Chris Weaver
Steal: N/A

Team Blake: Red Marlow vs. Megan Rose

Blake Shelton says that he wants to determine which lane of country music he’s going to follow again with Red Marlow in the ring, which probably sounds familiar because it’s exactly the same excuse he used to pair him with Ryan Scripps on a deep country number that was custom built for Red Marlow. Although he doesn’t get to choose which song Red’s opponent will be singing tonight, his repeated verbiage certainly seems to suggest how Blake is leaning.

Indeed, Red’s take on “Outskirts of Heaven” — which he describes as “country as a wheelbarrow full of turnip greens” because the man could make a handbook on how to be twang — earns him the win, again. But is there anything surprising about his performance? Anything exciting or different even slightly unexpected? He’s not really reaching to the edges of his register or sailing through any surprise high notes; he’s just honky-tonking with his guitar, and that’s apparently enough. We’ll see how far that takes him, but for tonight, his coach picks him over Megan Rose, a steal for his team, after her attempt at Carrie Underwood’s “Smoke Break” proves to be a bit messy and out of key at points.

To her credit, Megan definitely couldn’t have been taking too many smoke breaks in her lifetime, judging by her ability to belt out that last long note. WHOOSH. Someone call Guinness; that run was long.

Winner: Red Marlow
Steal: N/A