Welcome to the recap of the second part of The Voice’s eleventh season premiere. Just like Monday night’s show, eleven artists were featured during the broadcast, and just like the previous show, nine survived to go to the next round. For the two artists who didn’t make it, nerves were a big factor. Katie Colosimo gave a very emotional performance of Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold,” but her nerves overcame her. For Nathalie Vincent, her performance of James Bay’s “Hold Back The River” showed that she was not quite ready for prime time. However, I think if both of them calm their nerves, they can both get a chair or two to turn if they try again.
Unlike Monday’s show, I heard a couple of people with the potential to win. First of all, I need to address Wé (pronounced Way) McDonald. McDonald was one of the artists featured on the sneak peek show that aired after the Olympics in August. Basically, NBC recycled her audition from that show. I made my comments about her performance in my post about the show, but I have reprinted those words here:
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. (Miley) Cyrus and (Alicia) 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.
If you need to see McDonald’s audition again, here it is:
McDonald wasn’t the only one to get all four coaches to turn around. The other was Billy Gilman. Gilman performed Adele’s “When We Were Young.” He was outstanding in my opinion, and he is definitely one to watch. He has a great voice, a clear tone to his singing. Between him and McDonald, I liked him better as far as the four-chair turns. He’s also had some fame, getting a #2 album on the Country charts when he was younger. He chose Adam Levine as his coach. If you didn’t see it, take a listen to see if he has the goods.
The other singer that I heard last night that I believe can go far in this competition is Lauren Diaz. She was bold enough to sing “If I Ain’t Got You” by Keys with the coach in the room. She was so good, Keys turned first. Cyrus and Blake Shelton also turned for her, but they both knew they were not going to get her away from Keys. Can we just say that Alicia Keys is The Closer? She speaks, and these artists (well, almost all of them) melt. It works, because she gets almost everyone she goes after. Needless to say, in the easiest call of the evening, Keys was Diaz’s choice.
As for the other six artists that are moving on:
Sa’Rayah (yes, one name) led off the second night of the blind auditions with “Drown In My Own Tears,” a mid-50s R&B hit by Ray Charles. I’m sure it has been covered more recently, but I can only think of Aretha Franklin’s version at the moment, and that was the late 60s. At any rate, Sa’Rayah was good, but much like Ali Caldwell from Monday night, I can see her getting to a point but falling before the finals. But for now, she’s plenty good enough. The song was an interesting choice; does anyone under the age of 30 even know the song? She’ll sing at least one more round, and Cyrus will be her coach.
Ethan Tucker was next up, and he reworked “Roxanne” by The Police. By reworked, I mean that he tried to add even more reggae accents to the original, a move that to almost cost him in my opinion. Even so, Adam and Blake turned right at the end of the performance. It was a little too out of the box for my taste, and his vocal didn’t move the needle for me either. Tucker chose Shelton as his coach. So far, I don’t see anyone that’s straight “country” on Shelton’s roster.
Andrew DeMuro performed “Vienna” by Billy Joel. I love the song choice. To my ears he was alright, nothing really special. Once again, Adam and Blake turned for him. After another among countless Adam-Blake frat boy arguments, DeMuro chose Levine to coach him. I’m not sure how long he stays; he’s already been outshone by quite a few of the performers we’ve seen so far.
Sophia Urista performed “Come Together” by The Beatles. Another interesting song choice, but it seemed to work for Sophia. Urista has plenty of personality to spare, and I did like the edge she has in her vocals. I’ll be interested to see how she does with something a bit softer, if she’s around long enough to get the chance to try. As it was, I heard enough to be intrigued, though I think that might be due to the nice marriage her voice made with the arrangement of the song. In a battle between Keys and Cyrus, Miley got the pick; perhaps because of her using Dolly Parton to lobby via video for her.
Brendan Fletcher walked on the stage and did “Jolene” by Ray LaMontagne. There’s a quality in this guy’s voice that I like. I’m interested to see what he can do going forward. I don’t put him in instant contender status, but he could go far with the right performances and songs. This one was good enough to get him through, though he was nervous; I saw the microphone shaking in his hands. Or maybe it was the performance? At any rate, he’s another member for Levine’s team.
Fifty-six years young, Dan Shafer rounds out the artists from this episode who will move forward in the competition. He performed “Marry Me” by Train. You can tell that his experience showed through in his performance. It was well done and classy. Talent-wise, he has the goods; I just don’t know how long he lasts in this competition. The show has had older vocalists before, and other than Laith Al-Saadi from last season, most of them bow out early. Shelton was the only coach to turn for him however, so he joins Blake’s team by default.
To recap the second night:
Alicia Keys picked up two more artists: Wé McDonald and Lauren Diaz, bringing her total to five.
Miley Cyrus added two more artists: Sa’Rayah and Sophia Urista, bringing her total to four.
Blake Shelton added two more artists: Ethan Tucker and Dan Shafer, bringing his total to five.
Adam Levine added three artists: Andrew DeMuro, Billy Gilman and Brendan Fletcher giving him four artists on his team.
If you watched the show, who were you impressed with? If you watched any of these videos, did anyone stand out? For me, the best of the night were McDonald, Diaz and Gilman, though I’m intrigued with Urista and Fletcher.
photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi (available for reuse).