“He killed my song. It’s fine.” Already emotional during the beginning of The Knockout rounds at Universal Studios in Hollywood Monday night (April 19), Kelly Clarkson was stirred by 34-year-old North Carolina native Corey Ward’s affecting rendition of her 2008 hit “Already Gone.” “He knows how to take a song, enhance it and make it better,” said Clarkson. Facing off against Ryleigh Modig, 18, of Spencer, Massachusetts, who took on The Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” in the end Clarkson and the other judges agreed that Ward was the night’s winner.
“Every time you show up, you’re willing to be vulnerable with us,” said judge Nick Jonas.
Ward’s victory wasn’t the end for Modig, who received a triple steal from Jonas, John Legend and Blake Shelton and ultimately decided on Legend, who serenaded her with his special Voice jingle for new team members.
Working along with all the artists, Mega Mentor Snoop Dogg joined the judges, collaborating through each of the rehearsals.
“I love country,” said Dogg, who has worked with Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and even collaborated with Johnny Cash’s son to remix his father’s “I Walk the Line.”
“We make two different genres of music but we’re blood brothers,” said Dogg to Shelton. Both worked with Shelton’s team members Tennessee native Ethan Lively who took on Travis Tritt’s “Help Me Hold On,” and the night’s winner Jordan Matthew Young, who showed his more rock chops on The Black Crows’ “She Talks to Angels.”
“That was a heartbreaker for me,” said Shelton after choosing Young, “because Ethan has a once in a lifetime voice. I chose Jordan because I know he’s going to be great each time he goes on that stage.”
Hawaiian-born Chiana Pelekai took “Cuz I Love You” by Lizzo, while the Chicago-bred Pia Renee, 33, embraced Jackie DeShannon’s 1965 hit “What the World Needs Now is Love” and won the night for Team Legend. “That song is one for every genre when you take it and drip it in some sauce,” said Dogg of Renee’s rendition, also comparing her vocals on the song to Whitney Houston. Clarkson concurred following Renee’s performance saying, “It’s so beautiful when a singer uses a song as a vessel.”
Team Jonas kicked off with 41-year-old Dana Monique winning the competition with Ike & Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits,” with Keegan Ferrell, 24, going classic with his soulful rendition of The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination Running Away with Me).” Moving into the second round, The Temptations returned as Team Legend’s Victor Solomon sang “My Girl” with Gene Garcia worked through Ed Sheeran’s “Afterglow.” At the end the performances, Blake Shelton declared “The victor is Victor,” before Legend chose Solomon as the winner of that round. “I love the fact that Victor picked a classic and put a new spin on it,” said Legend.
“You gotta fall into the song,” said Dogg during the final round of rehearsal with Shelton. “You gotta make the song a part of you.” Working with Shelton’s former bandmate, Pete Mroz of Nashville took on Lewis Capaldi’s “Before You Go,” a song he dedicated to his father who he spent a few days with before he died. Mroz went up against 21-year-old Andrew Marshall of Boxford, Massachusetts—who Shelton originally stole from Jonas earlier in the competition—singing “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Shelton ultimately landed on Mroz as the round’s winner, and Jonas used his steal to get Marshall back.
“He’s gotta come home,” said Jonas. “I was hoping there would be a chance for me to work with Andrew again.”