Last night after the closing ceremony of the Olympics, NBC aired a special preview of Season 11 of The Voice. Let me begin by saying I was not expecting what I saw; I’m thinking that a half hour show would just be an introduction of the show’s two new coaches, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus. What I got was an edited opening with two blind auditions. Edited, because seasons usually begin with a two-hour show. I’ll take a guess and say they are saving that show for September 19th.
To say I wasn’t prepared to recap would be an understatement. Stretched out on the sofa, nothing to take notes with, headphones on listening to totally different music. So, I punted on watching the show. But…I have the NBC app on my Roku TV. So I fired it up today.
The show began with a cold open, going directly to the first blind audition. The first audition was by Wé McDonald, a seventeen year old. The show is already feeding us the young folks. Her song of choice was “Feeling Good,” from the Broadway show The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. In popular music circles, it was first done by Nina Simone. McDonald’s performance was a crowd pleaser; earning a standing ovation from all four judges after their chairs turned. Cyrus and Keys proved their mettle as they lobbied to get McDonald on their team; Keys gave a particular good speech to McDonald that pretty much ensured that she would be the choice. Indeed, McDonald chose Keys to be her coach, primarily off of the speech.
The second audition featured another seventeen year old. Darby Walker was the second featured artist, and she performed “Stand By Me,” made famous by Ben E. King, but in the Florence + The Machine arrangement. I was a little unimpressed at first, but I think she did get better as she went along; probably after Cyrus and Keys turned their chairs. After Cyrus joined Walker onstage to sing “Jolene,” and Keys did the same to sing “No One” with the artist, she finally chose Cyrus as her coach.
The coaches performance was saved for the end of the episode, as all four joined together for a performance of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” It went well enough. Bonus points for Levine for hitting the high notes at the end.
So, there’s a quick recap of the first episode. At first glance, the interaction between the coaches for artists looks promising. Having two female coaches gives the show a bit of a different vibe, particularly since neither of them have been coaches before (but they have appeared as advisors/mentors). I’ll be paying attention when the show returns in September.
photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi (available for reuse).