It’s only natural for Blake Shelton to show a little bias towards The Voice‘s country crooners, but sometimes his love of country gets in the way. This was clearly the case during tonight’s round of Knockouts, when Shelton chose Miranda Lambert sound-alike Emily Ann Roberts over Nadjah Nicole.
Roberts and Nicole are both talented singers, but there was something really special about Nicole’s rendition of “A Woman’s Worth.” She took a huge risk with this song — a risk that should have paid off. Roberts, on the other hand, remained in her comfort zone, as Pharrell was only too happy to point out. Her cover of “Cowboy Take Me Away” was nice, but unremarkable.
Like Pharrell, Levine was quick to compliment Nicole. Although he conceded that Roberts seemed to have her place on The Voice and in the music industry at large all figured out, he told Nicole, “You have other things about you that I haven’t heard yet… and I want to hear more.”
Fans of the show agreed with Levine’s take on the Knockouts, although they were a bit more adamant about their desire to see Nicole move on in the competition. Several annoyed Twitter users complained about Roberts’ victory, with a few even claiming that her win was merely a result of Shelton’s preference for country music.
Shelton may have a history of sticking with country musicians, but he also has a history of winning. Over the years, he’s crafted a strategy that works. His approach to putting together a dream team of (mostly) country musicians has helped him win The Voice multiple times.
Ultimately, Shelton’s decision came down to which artist he believed had a better future in the music industry. While commenting on tonight’s performances, he highlighted the niche Roberts carved out in the country music genre, as well as her mainstream appeal. In his opinion, Roberts is going to be around a long, long time.
Shelton’s intuition has served him well during past seasons of The Voice, and there’s a good chance the same will happen again. Still, it’s sad to see an amazing artist sent packing after delivering an exceptional performance. Hopefully, Shelton’s predictions for Roberts’ longevity in the music biz will also come true for Nicole, regardless of her unfortunate dismissal from The Voice.