Last night’s episode of The Voice featured fourteen artists in its two-hour running time. Two of those were in the dreaded montage (more on that later), with another two that failed to get a coach to turn for them. It also featured one audition that was leaked this past weekend, and another that was on the sneak preview show that aired last month. Before I get started on the artists that made it through to the battle rounds, let me say a few words for the two singers who left without a coach: Samantha Landrum and Cooper Bascom. Landrum’s rendition of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” was breathy, and one note in particular seemed to fall off of a table. She really struggled with the lower parts of the song. Bascom’s take on the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” may have suffered from some off-beat clapping, but the change in the arrangement didn’t do him any favors either.
Next up: a few words about the two singers in the first montage of the season. The viewing audience was treated to just a few seconds of Christian Fermin’s performance of “Brother” by Needtobreathe and Preston James’ cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Nobody To Blame.” Both singers chose Blake Shelton as their coach. Other than that, there isn’t much to say except that I’m not a fan of the montages. NBC and the CET (that’s Crack Editing Team) of the show should let the viewing audience see the full performances of the singers that make it to the next round. By putting them in a montage, you almost guarantee that they aren’t going to be around long, let alone win. It should be fair to all the singers that make it through; though I guess NBC figures there’s no need to feature all forty-eight that will make it through to the battle rounds. In my eyes, that needs to change. If you want to see the clip of the montage, here it is:
Now on to those that did get through AND had their performances air during the broadcast. Since Darby Walker was shown previously in the sneak peek show, I’ll start with her. I’ve already written about my impressions on her performance, so I’ll just add those words below:
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 lone four-chair turn of the evening belonged to Nolan Neal, who appeared on the show last season but didn’t get anyone to turn around. This time around, Neal wowed the coaches with his cover of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” done with what he called a rock arrangement. To me, it really wasn’t too much different than the original, but he did sound better with this song than the one he did last season. Another case of a singer who came back and made good after not making it before. I think he can go far, but of course, I’ve been wrong many times before. Neal picked Adam Levine as his coach.
The other leaked audition featured Aaron Gibson, who performed R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”. Gibson has the raspy, scratchy voice the coaches love, but somehow seems to always fall short when it comes to winning the show. Probably because the public might not be as enamored with a raspy, scratchy voice. In any case, I thought he was good enough to continue, as did the three coaches (save Levine) who turned for him. Gibson chose Miley Cyrus as his coach.
Following Gibson was Simone Gundy who sang Ben E. King’s “I (Who Have Nothing)”. I thought she did well, though I thought her song choice was interesting. Not too sure how many people may know that song all too well. If you don’t like screaming in your vocals, she managed to show off her power without too much over-the-top wailing. In a battle between Levine and Cyrus, it was Adam who won out, as Gundy picked him as her coach.
Next was Josh Gallagher, who sang “Stay A Little Longer” by Brothers Osborne. Easiest call of the evening: when he opened his mouth, he sounded like a country singer. Even in the backstory, he mentioned that he wanted to be a country singer. So he chose Blake as his coach. Even though Alicia Keys turned for him as well, and has been pretty good at convincing the artists to join her team, he went for Shelton. He was solid throughout.
Gabriel Violett performed “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes. He sounds like a pop singer, so the song fit him perfectly. He started very strong, and Keys turned after the first two lines. He’ll be fine with pop and light soul tunes, but if they give him something that requires a bit more grit, I don’t know how he will do. Shelton turned for him at the end, but even he knew that Keys would be his coach. Sure enough, Violett did indeed pick Alicia.
Michael Sanchez performed “Use Me” by Bill Withers. Performed is a term I would use loosely; the CET cut the song up so much I didn’t even hear Sanchez perform a full verse. As such, I couldn’t really get a real read on how good, or poorly, he sang the song. What I heard was some growling, some snarling, and a few powerful segments. What I didn’t really hear was a real performance. Because Keys was the only one who turned, she became his coach by default. I hope he is way better than what I heard.
Another artist who received a coach by default was Austin Allsup, who sang “Wild Horses” by the Rolling Stones. Allsup actually opened with Shelton years before and hoped that Blake would turn for him. His performance was full of vibrato in the early going, but he smoothed it out a bit towards the end. I liked his sound, at least for this song. He did get his wish though; Shelton became his coach after his chair was the only one to turn.
Khaliya Kimberlie, a Native American girl, performed “Dibs” by Kelsea Ballerini. Her voice was tailor-made for this song and she performed it well. I’ll be interested to see what she can do with something that has a bit more substance though, but for now, she’s good enough to get to the battle rounds. After Miley and Blake turned for the youngster (she is sixteen), she chose Cyrus as her coach.
Halle Tomlinson performed “New York State Of Mind” by Billy Joel. Another song that I love, much like “Use Me” from earlier. However, Tomlinson at least gave a performance that I could actually get a handle on. She has one of those “interesting” voices, but I heard what sounded like mumbling at the beginning. As the song went on, I could hear the words much better. That was enough for Keys and Levine, though Keys was the one who was chosen as Tomlinson’s coach.
After four nights of blind auditions, here is how things stack up:
Adam added two more artists, bringing his total to eight.
Alicia added three more artists, bringing her total to nine.
Blake added four more artists, bringing his total to nine.
Miley added three more artists, bringing her total to nine.
If you watched, or if you watch any of the clips, is there anyone you find impressive? There were some good singers in this show, but I’m not sure I hear a winner outright yet. Next week, the blind auditions will finish, with coaches needing to get eleven more artists to fill up their teams for the battle rounds.
photo from Creative Commons via Eva Rinaldi (available for reuse).