Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC © NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: The Voice Knockout Rounds

The East Coast may be getting hit by Hurricane Sandy, but tonight’s contestants are getting ready to battle it out in the first of the knockout rounds, the newest addition to this season of The Voice.

The knockouts take place in the same lit-up mock boxing ring. The artists lined themselves up on the same stage and waited to be called out in pairs by their coaches in a setup that made us think they were picking teams for kickball during recess. After being picked, each singer got to choose his/her own song and go head-to-head with an opponent for the chance to make it to the coveted live shows.

So let’s get started!

Joselyn Rivera vs. Kayla Nevarez

For the first matchup, it was a final opportunity to save Joselyn Rivera, who had made her way from Team Christina Aguilera over to Team Adam Levine’s sexy side. Joselyn came out swinging against fellow youngster Kayla Nevarez. Jocelyn and Kayla, both 17, took on powerhouse ballads like Beyonce’s “Love On Top” and V V Brown’s “Shark In The Water” respectively, an ambitious and ballsy way to debut the new setup.

These two both pulled it out in the end, delivering impressive performances that had us worried for Adam’s decision and left us wondering how in the world Christina let Joselyn go in the first place. Adam decided to keep Joselyn and let Kayla go, but not without a sweet hug that we’re sure cushioned the blow.

Joe Kirkland vs. Bryan Keith

In the next matchup from Team Adam, we had Joe Kirkland and Bryan Keith. Joe, the former Artist vs. Poet lead singer, went out on a limb this week and chose Taylor Swift’s “Mean” to prove his versatility.

Bryan went with a more earnest approach, choosing the heartfelt “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, which suited his caramel smooth voice. His sensitive performance was a step down in terms of energy from Joe’s, and Christina noted that she was “feeling both” while Cee Lo complimented Bryan’s “working hero” vibe.

Adam was surprisingly candid, praising Joe’s innovation. But he ultimately couldn’t let Bryan’s unique sensibility get away, and went with him in the end.

Amanda Brown vs. Michelle Brooks-Thompson

The third matchup pitted Amanda Brown against bank teller Michelle Brooks-Thompson for a battle royale of two powerhouse vocalists.

Amanda went with “Paris (Ooh La La)” by rockers Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, a distinct genre change for her. In a leather corset, she lit up the stage with her rendition, making herself a tough act to follow. But Michelle was more than up to the task, and her take on Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight” was so strong it was “kicking the door in,” as Blake Shelton put it. She even got Christina to give a wide-eyed stare of approval.

Faced with a nearly impossible decision, Adam went with the artist that showed him “more promise,” and that meant Amanda.

Loren Allred vs. Nicole Nelson

In Adam’s next battle, he chose Loren Allred to go up against Nicole Nelson. The two may not have seemed to be a fair pairing, since Adam noted that Loren had a long way to go while Nicole was sure of who she was.  

Loren wanted to bring a different vibe this week, going with Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” to reveal her “sultry” side. Her take on the song, which ended on a ridiculously fantastic last note, blew everyone away and made it that much harder for Nicole to outdo.

But the “Vermont free spirit” took her best shot at Alicia Keys ”If I Ain’t Got You” and delivered a stellar performance, making it even harder for Adam to choose one of them. But in a surprise move, he went with Loren.

Melanie Martinez vs. Sam James

For Team Adam’s last at bat, Melanie Martinez and Sam James went head to head in a fierce singing battle. The two-tone haired teen chose “Bulletproof” by La Roux, while Sam went with Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis.”

During rehearsals, Melanie had some trouble getting over the forgettable quality of the performance; but Adam was having the opposite problem with Sam, who strangely kept mispronouncing the word “Memphis.” Coming out as “Mem-fees,” it called to mind a “strange disease” for Adam, which is not the association you want to have when walking into the biggest performance of your life. In the ring, Melanie lent a haunting edge to the La Roux hit and Sam turned out a solid performance as well.
Adam ultimately went with Melanie over Sam, sending the bar manager home.

Credit: Tyler Golden/NBC © NBC Universal, Inc. Photo: The Voice - Who Advanced?

Avery Wilson vs. Cody Belew

Moving on, we got to see what Team Cee Lo had to offer. First up, we had multi-talented Avery Wilson facing off against Cody Belew. Avery chose Chris Brown’s “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” which was right within his wheelhouse. In the performance he proved he was a solid entertainer but split his focus too much between the twisting and shouting, losing the whole “voice” factor.

Cody, meanwhile, decided to take a different approach, stepping out of his comfort zone with Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Though written for a woman, the melancholy tune was perfectly suited for Cody’s voice and turned the tide in his favor. Cee Lo chose the country crooner and sent Avery packing.

Mackenzie Bourg vs.  Daniel Rosa

Next up, we had two understated but powerful vocalists, Mackenzie Bourg and Danny Rosa. Mackenzie boldly decided to take on Carly Ray Jepsen’s mega-hit “Call Me Maybe” but seemed confident in his ability to make it his own. Meanwhile, Daniel struggled as he rehearsed his choice, Taylor Swift’s “Back To December.”

Singing with a guitar and a simple backing track, Mackenzie had a stylish original spin on his song, while Daniel turned out a touching if uneven performance. Cee Lo agreed that Daniel didn’t give his best, and went with Mackenzie. While we were ready for Daniel to beat himself up over the loss, instead he held it together and delivered the most heartwarming “it was an honor to just be nominated” style speech that made us go “aww.”

Trevin Hunte vs. Terisa Griffin

Trevin Hunte had grown close to his “mother figure” Terisa Griffin, so this was a bittersweet match-up for the two soulful singers. Trevin sang “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins, while Terisa went with Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love.”

When Cee Lo chose Trevin, he choked back tears and said, “I want [Terisa] to know I love her very, very much.” Terisa responded, “You don’t cry about what God gave you; you celebrate it!”

Mycle Wastman vs. Nicholas DavidIt was a soulful battle when Cee Lo pitted Mycle Wastman against Nicholas David. While Nicholas went with “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae, Mycle opted for Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”
The two were evenly matched, and none of the judges had a bad thing to say about either of them. This is truly a personal preference,” Christina said, indicating that Cee Lo couldn’t go wrong, no matter who he chose. Blake was a little more definitive, saying to Nicholas, “This is like a dream team, you and Cee Lo.” In the end, Cee Lo agreed with Blake, deciding that while both Mycle and Nicholas are talented, ““There’s just so much more I could do with Nicholas.”

Diego Val vs. Caitlin MicheleThat left two rockers: Diego Val and Caitlin Michele. Just in time for Halloween, we got to see Caitlin’s version of “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, which sounded just like Evanescence’s version of that song. Diego did a rendition of “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz.

Adam told Caitlin, “You killed it.” Christina agreed: “It’s a difficult song to do, and you did it well.” However, Cee Lo didn’t think either gave their greatest performance, but he had to pick someone. “I think there’s something special about Diego,” the judge said, before letting Caitlin go.