The Voice SA Knock-Outs
Crunch time for singers in brand new phase
The bigger, better Season 2 of SAFTA-winning The Voice SA will introduce a new round to the competition, commencing this Sunday, 30 April. The tense Knock-Out rounds will be familiar to M-Net viewers who have watched the American version of the show before, and in this year’s season, this gruelling round will ultimately determine which four singers from each team will be singing for the public’s vote in the Live shows of the series.
In the Knock-Outs, each talent prepares a song of their own choice to perform solo for their coach. On the night, each coach – one-by-one – will summon their team of eight performers to the stage together. Then and there, the coach will reveal which singer will perform against which. In other words, the coach decides who to pair up against whom, but unlike the Battle rounds, the pairs will take turns to perform their own songs. After both talent have performed, their coach will have to make the agonising decision of which one to take through to the Live shows, and which of them will go home. There are no Steals and no Saves, meaning the stakes are higher than ever. By the end of the Knock-Outs, there will be 16 singers in total heading to the Live shows to sing for South Africa’s votes.
“If you think the Battles were tough, wait for The Knock-Outs,” says M-Net’s Head of Publicity, Lani Lombard. “You can feel the tension in the air while the talent waits for his or her turn to take to the stage.”
First up this week are last year’s winning coach’s performers: #TeamKahn:
Al Petersen (28) from Cape Town started her journey on The Voice SA in #TeamLira after her rendition of the Bob Marley and Lauren Hill classic “Turn Your Lights Down Low” resonated with the soulful songstress. In the first Battle rounds of the season, coach Kahn Morbee surprised everyone with a pre-emptive Steal when Al battled against team mate Jacqueline Tolken. Even before Lira had to pick between the two ladies’ powerful voices, Kahn announced that he would take either of them for his team, no matter which contender Lira chose. In the end Lira opted for Jacqueline, so for the Knock-Outs, funky Al will compete in #TeamKahn.
Aston Wylie (24) was Kahn’s second Steal of the season as he poached another member of #TeamLira. The smooth-toned singer from Gonubie experienced an unusual turn of events in his Battle against rocker Luke Lovemore (23). In Aston’s case not only one but two of the coaches immediately showed their interest to become his new mentor after coach Lira dropped him in favour of Luke. Before Lira had made the call to go with Luke, she said a quiet prayer for a Steal, as she admired both Luke and Aston’s hard work during rehearsals and their wonderful performance of the R.E.M classic “Losing My Religion”. Surprisingly, her prayer was answered by Bobby van Jaarsveld and Kahn Morbee. They both believed that Aston has what it takes to be the next winner of the show. The double Steal meant that both coaches had to do what normally happens during the Blind Auditions – they had to pitch to persuade Aston to continue his music journey with them. Aston picked Kahn.
Edgy Craig Lucas (24) from Elsiesrivier in Cape Town battled Dylan Pretorius (31) from Pretoria in the previous phase of the competition, as coach Kahn felt that these singers were perfect for what he called “anthemic rock”, so he chose the Muse version of the classic “Feeling Good” for them. It was a powerhouse duet but Kahn described Craig as “the love child of Freddy Mercury and John Legend” and couldn’t resist picking him. Craig came in strong during the Blind auditions as his cover of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” earned him four chair turns from the coaches. Having studied Politics and Economics at UCT, it seems that Craig may just have to put a corporate career path on the back burner for now, as he heads into the Knock-Outs representing #TeamKahn.
Fatman (40) is by far the biggest personality on Season 1-winning coach Kahn’s team this year. The full time music teacher from Bela-Bela earned himself a spot on Kahn’s team in the Blind auditions by singing an impressive version of “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn. In the Battle rounds, Kahn paired the larger-than-life Fatman with classical singer and harpist Christy-Lyn Marais (28) from Cape Town. The unusual pair were tasked to sing the pop-rock love song “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane and it ended up being a Battle for the books. “That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” Karen Zoid remarked. Kahn complimented both talent on a super performance, comparing Christy-Lyn to the ethereal Tori Amos, and telling Fatman that he’s grown to become incredibly fond of him. Ultimately Kahn chose the singer who he thought had more to offer in terms of the competition as a whole. Viewers will see Fatman reinvent himself once more in the Knock-Outs.
Freddy Lalendle (23) received four chair turns from all of the coaches in the Blind auditions, as his incredibly unique, raspy voice was something that they’d never heard before. For his Battle, coach Kahn pitted the unlikely duo “Symphony” – Charl Estherhuizen (21) and Christopher Mabasa (28) from Witbank – against 23-year-old Freddy from Durban, because “Freddie kinda has two voices,” he pointed out. Kahn assigned his singers Alex Clare’s hit “Too Close” and he was very happy with their performances. “If I was the crying type there would be a tear in my eye!” he joked. But he could to choose only one act, and that act was Freddie, because his Indie-style voice is “money,” said Kahn. His fellow coaches agreed, and with that, Freddy made it into the next phase of the show.
Kirby Jo (23) from Cape Town wowed Kahn with the amazing tone of her voice in her very first Blind Audition. In the Battle rounds, coach Kahn had his work cut out for him when Kirby and Leote “Lee” Taylor (31) from Pretoria made Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” their own. The coaches sympathized with Kahn Morbee on his difficult choice. “Kahnnie, ek kahn-nie vir jou sê nie,’ Lira even joked! Even though he thought that Lee was the more complete performer, he gave it deep thought… and chose an overwhelmed Kirby to progress further in his team. Now it’s time for Kirby to make the stage her own in the Knock-Out phase of the series.
Mia Pretorius (20) is an Education student from Potchefstroom but has been singing for most of her life. Kahn turned his chair for Mia in the Blind auditions when she bravely covered a Bobby van Jaarsveld song – showing off her flawless vocals. Kahn paired Mia up against her best friend in the competition – Sonia Morsner (24) – in the Battle rounds and gave them the Taylor Swift hit “Blank Space” as their duel song. From the get-go they managed to nail their performances, meaning that Kahn’s job of choosing which singer to take into the Knock-Outs was made even harder. After a flawless Battle, Lira was leaning more towards Sonia as the winner, while Karen felt that Mia should take the win. After much deliberation, Kahn picked Mia due to the confidence that she demonstrated on stage.
Soulful Zee Gqamana (23) is an Information Science Honours graduate but music has always been her passion. She won herself a spot on #TeamKahn during the Blind auditions with her toned down version of Asa’s “Jailer” and in the Battle rounds, Kahn gave Zee and her Battle partner Monique Hellenberg (33) from Cape Town the Fleetwood Mac classic “Go Your Own Way” as their Battle song. Having enlisted the help of multi-award winning recording artist Elvis Blue to be #TeamKahn’s co-coach, Zee and Monique went about rehearsing tirelessly for their big show-down. “You can see that both of these strong vocalists are very hungry to make it through,” Elvis observed ahead of the Battle, and both ladies performed accordingly. Karen said that Zee’s performance resonated with her from the start, and Lira agreed with her. In the end, Kahn sided with his fellow female coaches and picked Zee and her “seductive voice” to advance into the next rounds.
The Voice South Africa, sponsored by Dialdirect, is broadcast every Sunday night on M-Net channel 101 at 17:30 and every Monday night at 18:00 on M-Net City channel 115.
Viewers can also visit www.mnet.tv/thevoice to watch exclusive interviews with the coaches and talent, and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @VoiceSA / #TheVoiceSA or on the official “Voice SA” Facebook page. You can also download The Voice SA app today for exclusive show-related games and special features.