The Voice 2/24 Recap: Now That’s Better

The second night of blind auditions on The Voice was, at least to me, better than the first. The artists who made it though seemed to have a better quality than those of last night. It’s way too early in the game to tell if the winner was in tonight’s auditions, but there were some really good performances tonight. Let’s get right into what happened.

Leading off the night was Matthew Riley, a street performer from Philadelphia. If you want to jump start a show, it can’t hurt to do a little James Brown. Riley covered Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and from the opening notes, you knew chairs were going to turn. In fact, all four coaches turned their chairs before he could finish two lines of the song. It was easy to see why-he had an outstanding voice, and even showed off some moves to go with it. But of course, on a show called The Voice, it was his singing that carried the day. After the ensuing battle among the coaches to add him to their teams, Riley chose Pharrell Williams.
Second on the stage was Gabriel Wolfchild who performed Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright.” For me, it was a pleasant performance. My opinion may have been based on the straight, simple way Wolfchild performed the song, and that he had to follow the high energy performance of Riley. Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera both turned around for the singer, who picked Aguilera to be his coach.
Sixteen year old Brooke Adee was up next, and she performed “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. She started very strong from the very first note, which got chairs turning. I thought it was yet another good to great performance. She chose Shelton for her coach.
The fourth performer of the evening was Dylan Dunlap, a former student at the Berklee College of Music. Dunlap chose Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” as his choice. For me, it was a no, from the jump; and the same was true of the coaches as he did not get a single chair to turn. I think his song choice did him in, and the fact that he tried to flip it and twist it to fit his vision did not help.
Tanya Boyd-Cannon from New Orleans was the next artist to perform. She chose to do “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It’s always interesting when a contestant chooses to do a song by one of the judges. In the right hands, it can give the performer a boost, but if it doesn’t work out, it can seem like an over-reach. Ms. Boyd-Cannon started out very safe but by the end she had picked up the performance. Overall, it was solid, if not spectacular. And after fifteen artists over the first two nights, Adam Levine finally landed his first artist when Boyd-Cannon chose him. It may have been editing, or maybe it was the way it actually went down, but you knew Levine was not going to get no one two nights in a row.
Performing next is Joe Tolo from American Samoa. He chooses “To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees. This was another great performance-smooth and controlled at the start, and as the song went along, he grew in confidence. Towards the end, he let loose with a perfect note in falsetto. This guy may be one to watch going forward….this was one of, if not the best, performance of the night in my opinion. Tolo chose to join team Christina, who can’t wait to work with this performer.
Cowboy-hatted Drew Parker was the next artist to perform. He came out to do “Workin’ Man Blues” by Merle Haggard. Just from the looks and the voice alone, I figured this to be a shoo-in for team Blake. Alas, it wasn’t to be. In fact, he ended up on team “out of the competition.” No one turned for Drew, and it was Blake who gave the most insightful reason why. While he envisioned someone who made the song sound like a blues, Drew made it sound more like a party. It wasn’t his voice that was the problem, it just didn’t bring anything to make the coaches turn.
Next on the stage is Mia Z, who is all of fifteen years old. Mia’s song choice was “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many fifteen year olds who have the gravitas to carry that song. And in my opinion, she didn’t have it either. It sounded like an Ariana Grande take on the song: a lot of words running together, no consonants, and one wicked high note. Of course, I didn’t think it was enough…but Pharrell though enough of it, that he convinced her to join his team. I hope this girl doesn’t become Sugar Joans all over again-if you read any of the recaps I did for last season, you will remember the venom with which I despised Ms. Joans.
The next singer to perform is Blaze Johnson, from Columbus Ohio by way of the Bahamas. Blaze performed “How To Save A Life” by The Fray. All I could think about was Grey’s Anatomy when he sang, back from when I used to watch the show. He was another performer whose confidence grew as he kept going, but he started out a little nervous.  Once he got a chair or two turned, he began to relax and the performance got better as a result. After a solid performance, Blaze decided to join Team Adam.
Bryan Pierce was the penultimate artist of the night, and his song choice was “Rocket Man” by Elton John. The 39-year-old had a muscular voice in the midrange, but couldn’t quite hit the high notes the song required. And it was those struggles, along with a song choice that outstripped his vocal capability, that found him leaving the show without getting a chair to turn. Perhaps with a little more work and some coaching, he could come back.
Finally, Deanna Johnson got on to perform “All I Want” by Kodaline (another artist I blanked out on in my Facebook feed). Ms. Johnson first audtioned in Season 5 but did not get a chair turn. This time around, all four coaches turned for her. This was the second big battle on the show as all four judges fought to get the talented singer on their team. For me, personally, I thought it was pretty good-not the best of the night, but good enough for her to go on. She got over some early nerves and finished well. Surprisingly, at least to me, she chose Adam for a coach.
So another eight singers chose coaches and another three were sent packing. You just know, perhaps as soon as next week, that there will be a montage of singers who will go through, as well as ones who weren’t quite good enough. But until then, we wait for next Monday night where there will be more blind auditions. And that’s when I’ll be back with another recap.

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