Last night’s episode of The Voice was not as good as opening night. Not by a long shot. Simply, I didn’t hear anyone who I thought could win the show. Which isn’t to say that someone from the auditions that made the air couldn’t win; it is just that I didn’t hear anything that makes me put any one of them on a contender’s list. I heard some good, some fair, and one “what were they thinking”? Much like the post for opening night, I will rank the contestants based on my opinion of their performances. Unlike the post for the previous night’s show, I will also say which coach the artist chose (in parentheses).
Best of the night: For me, Adam Wakefield (Blake Shelton) was the best I heard, and he was the third artist up. Usually the last artist gives the best performance, but to these ears that didn’t happen last night. His performance of George Jones’ “Tennessee Whiskey” was really good, but I didn’t think it was good enough to vault him to instant contender status.
Pretty good, eh? Angie Keilhauer (Shelton) and Kata Hay (Christina Aguilera) were the next two best in my opinion. Both had to wait until near the end to get chair turns though, which makes me wonder if either will be around long. I liked Keilhauer’s Dierks Bentley cover of “I Hold On” a bit more than Hay’s take on Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” singing-wise, but Hay has her beat on personality. Her girlfriend may want her to tone some of that down though after she flirted with Aguilera after her performance.
They got through, but: Joe Vivona (Pharrell Williams), Shalyah Fearing (Aguilera), Caroline Burns (Adam Levine), Emily Keener (Williams) and Leith Al-Saadi (Levine) all managed to get into the next round. Of these five, Vivona and Keener have distinctive voices that I’m sorta intrigued to hear again, Al-Saadi was more guitar player than singer, and Fearing and Burns represent the fifteen-year old contingent; meaning they may be too young to win the thing, but had just enough potential to get someone to take a chance on them. Burns, much like Bryan Bautista from opening night, was a return candidate from season 9, and while she was better this time around, there were still pitch problems in her take on Carole King’s “So Far Away.” For a show that supposedly is about the voice, Al-Saadi’s singing of “The Letter” by the Box Tops didn’t do much for me, but his guitar skills were really good. But because it is supposed to be a singing competition first, I can’t see him lasting too long. But I’ve been wrong before.
No chair turns, no chance: Natalie Clark and Theron Early were the two artists that failed to get any chairs to turn. In Early’s case, I thought that was quite a surprise. I thought his performance of Lonestar’s “Amazed” deserved to be rewarded, but it was not to be. He was better than at least two of the artists I listed in the last paragraph. Here’s hoping he comes back next season and gets his rightful place in the battle rounds. As for Clark, I could listen to her Scottish accent all day long, but her performance of Free’s “All Right Now” left a lot to be desired. C’mon, NBC! Give her a job doing commentary, or the leadouts to the commercials, or selling something! I want to hear her speak!
And, if you follow me long enough, you will understand why I wish NBC would only do one season of the show from the fall to the spring. The dreaded “artist montage” reared its ugly head for the first time this season, and it’s the main reason why I wish NBC didn’t try to milk the show for all it’s worth by doing two seasons from September to May. The montage is when several artists are summarized in a short clip, rather than given a chance to let the television audience actually see their full auditions. So, for Lacey Mandigo (Aguilera), Johnathan Bach (Williams), and Katherine Ho (Levine), your shining moment was cut out of the program but for this brief clip:
That clip probably means none of them will be around too long. Enjoy what you see of them while you can!
If you watched the show, maybe you feel differently about the performers than I did. I was a bit underwhelmed after a first night that had at least two instant contenders for the top prize. Follow me on twitter at @mindpinball to see live tweets while the show airs on the east coast. And have your say about any of the artists performances in the comments. The show returns on Monday, March 7 with more blind auditions.