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'The Voice' recap: Knockouts, round two

For The Baltimore Sun
"The Voice" recap: Morgan Frazier shines and Rihanna gives honest advice.

Last night, we threw up our peace signs for 21-year-old Summer Schappell and 35-year-old Dustin Christensen, wishing them a fond farewell. With only 20 contestants left, we’re bound to see some waterworks within the upcoming episodes.

Stolen artist Morgan Frazier was the first to give us a preview when Pharrell’s words of encouragement made her tear up during rehearsals. For those that have been there throughout Morgan’s journey, it’s become pretty obvious: This girl really, really wants it.

Morgan’s third on-stage performance, singing “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” was full of intense emotion — so intense that all four judges were on their feet by the time it was over. And like usual, I got goosebumps when I connected to the feels.

Morgan’s shining moment was when she hit the peak of the chorus. She gazed up at the lights as her song mirrored her reality through the lyrics, “keep on dreaming.”

It was a nail-biting decision for coach Pharrell — especially after Darius Scott’s flawless performance had audiences bobbing their heads within the first five seconds. The pairing was difficult and probably one that I would’ve avoided.

But lucky for the powerhouse singers, both artists will advance to the next round thanks to Blake’s last-minute steal. Reinstating her membership in the country mafia, Blake was happy to invite her back home with open arms.

Morgan’s happy tears were well deserved. I’m excited to watch her grow and really make a name for herself on the show.

Speaking of names, “Rihanna” was one that we got to hear a lot of on last night’s episode. Her high energy and honest advice was definitely appreciated by not only the performers, but also their coaches.

Rihanna might’ve told Pharrell that she gets uncomfortable when people say nice things to her, but she can’t deny that she’s a kickass mentor. I couldn’t help but think Rihanna could easily steal a spot on the revolving chair as more than just a guest star coach.

Now that’s a team I’d want to be on!

We may not know what surprises will unfold next week, but we do know this: With only one steal left, artists better bring everything they’ve got to make a lasting impression. Style and personality gets the attention but a performer’s ability to connect with their listeners is what steals the heart.

Next week, some hearts must break as the competition dwindles down.

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