After a dynamite start to Season Four, The Voice continued to be stellar in their second week of blind auditions. The Swon Brothers, the third duo in three episodes, kicked off the episode with a very good version of “American Girl.” After turning everyone but Adam, they choose Blake, who now has two duos. A battle round between the Morgan Twins and the Swon Brothers would be spectacular. (The Swon Brothers would probably win, too.) I wasn’t a big fan of R&B singer Taylor Beckham, but Usher clearly was. He beat Shakira to claim his first artist of the night.
Rocker Karina Iglesias causes stress between Adam and Blake, who wait until the last second to turn around for her “I’m The Only One.” Shakira was even more upset, because she didn’t turn around and was upset for missing out on a Latina. Adam wins his first artist of the season who did not turn all four chairs.
Garrett Gardner is the first contestant of the season who returns after not being selected in Season Three’s blinds. Still, the two coaches who are still here after not turning around last year, Adam and Blake, still didn’t turn their chairs. It would have been very awkward and disappointing to see Garrett be turned down a second time if it weren’t for Shakira turning her chair within the final five seconds of the song. I hope this kid goes far into the competition to show he deserved that chair turn, a la Dez Duron last season.
Shakira also was the only one to turn for soul singer J’Sun. Adam, who rarely makes himself the only coach to turn around for a singer, had no competition to grab Duncan Kamakana, a Hawaiian who sang a folksy version of Michael Buble’s “Home,” and Usher beat Blake for pop singer Chelsea M., proving once again that the producers prefer to air the touching backstories of contestants who don’t make the show, rather than spend time on singers who do make it.
Holly Tucker, a nineteen-year-old Baylor student and country singer, didn’t have to finish the first verse of “To Make You Feel My Love” before all four coaches had turned around. As all four coaches fight over Holly, and Adam and Usher vow to wear cowboy boots, the moment of the night thus far is when Blake nicknames Usher “Gusher.” Truth be told, he does turn around for a lot of contestants. And neither he nor Adam nor Shakira could not steal the ultimate prize from obvious choice Blake. Still, it will be nice to see some of the other coaches steal a country artist from Blake once in a while.
The award for coolest name of the night goes to small-town Minnesotan Landon Medvec, whose name sounds like he should be driving an ambulance. For the second time this season, the coaches are baffled that a man’s singing voice can sound like a woman’s, and nobody turns around. This is the one disappointing part of The Voice‘s format – coaches saying things like “I would’ve turned around if I knew a guy was doing that!”
Michelle Chamuel doesn’t sing like the introvert she professes to be, which is a major compliment. Early on in her awesome rendition of “I Kissed a Girl,” Adam got a look on his face he doesn’t get for just anyone, and pushed his button rather quickly, later followed by Shakira and Usher. Michelle was not only talented but also smart, as she did something most contestants don’t think to do and asked the three coaches what they would develop in her. All of this, plus her awkward-funny humor, makes her one of the most intriguing singers in this contest, and to top it off she will make an even more intriguing pair with coach Usher.
Next up was someone I felt automatically compelled to root against – Julie Roberts, a country singer who had a gold-certified debut album before tanking on her second, sang Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” and also happened to know the man personally. I disliked her voice, as well, and thankfully nobody turned around. Blake laid it on heavy about feeling bad for not turning, but he didn’t have to. Roberts wasn’t the only contestant to sing a coach’s song. Monique Abbadie sang “Loca” by Shakira, and also had much more success than Roberts, turning Blake around instantly (and ironically), before Shakira and the other two pushed their buttons as well. No one is surprised when Monique chooses Shakira – the other three coaches admit the Latina should pick her.
After Abbadie, firefighting country singer Warren Stone ended this spectacular episode by turning three chairs, but he easily could have turned all four as well. Adam turned right away for his “Colder Weather,” with Shakira and Blake coming in much later. Stone, like Abbadie and Holly Tucker, is one of the best singers in this competition and could easily win the whole show. Finally Adam was able to steal a country artist from Blake. Adam doubled the size of his team in this episode and still does not have a weaker singer.
This brings us to Tuesday’s hour-long episode. Audrey Karrasch, a former model, opens this otherwise average episode with a strong rendition of Jessie J’s “Price Tag,” impressing Blake right away, and Usher soon after. It isn’t much of a competition, though; after Audrey asks Usher what made him want to turn around, he simply says he could identify with her talents before Audrey cuts in and says “OkayUsherlet’sdoit.“
Brandon Roush, a nineteen-year-old rocker from Louisville, only got one chair turn with his intriguing rendition of “With A Little Help From My Friends,” but Shakira is getting an excellent, underrated singer on her team. Roush, a very positive young man who works with autistic children, is another contestant who I hope goes far in the competition and shows he deserved that chair turn.
After a string of mediocre singers who turned no chairs, dreadlocked father from Memphis, Patrick Dodd, aptly sang “Walking in Memphis” and picked Adam over Shakira. Then three more artists who I wish we could get to know better whiz by – Trevor Davis (“Keep Your Head Up”) to Team Blake, C. Perkins (“Because of You”) to Team Shakira, and Agina Alvarez (Shakira’s “Beautiful Liar”) to Team Adam. Alvarez was also mentioned to be a “returning artist.” That, plus singing a Shakira song, wasn’t enough for her to get her own segment of the show? Could Alvarez, Davis or Perkins be this year’s underdog?
Orlando Dixon sings a beautiful, low-key “So Sick” and only turns around Usher, who hasn’t scored an artist since Audrey Karrasch. This could potentially be an excellent pairing, but only time will tell. Throughout the episode to this point, no singer turned more than two coaches, and many were pretty good but none were terrific. Savannah Berry changed all that. The seventeen-year-old Texan country singer, who once was invited to sing a duet with Sugarland, enchanted the coaches with her rendition of “Safe and Sound” and turned all of them except Usher. As soon as she mentioned Miranda Lambert being one of her musical influences, it was clear Blake wasn’t about to lose her. Shakira and Adam seriously fought for her, but Blake needed her the most. He finished the week with only seven artists, while Adam and Usher have eight and Shakira has nine.
Team Adam: Judith Hill, Midas Whale, Sarah Simmons, Karina Iglesias, Duncan Kamakana, Warren Stone, Patrick Dodd, Agina Alvarez.
Team Blake: The Morgan Twins, Danielle Bradbery, Christian Porter, The Swon Brothers, Holly Tucker, Trevor Davis, Savannah Berry.
Team Shakira: Mark Andrew, Kris Thomas, Tawnya Reynolds, Cathia, Garrett Gardner, J’Sun, Monique Abbadie, Brandon Roush, C. Perkins.
Team Usher: Jess Kellner, Vedo, Josiah Hawley, Taylor Beckham, Chelsea M., Michelle Chamuel, Audrey Karrasch, Orlando Dixon.