The blind auditions continue to stir up coaching drama
Just in case it wasn’t already obvious that the coaches aren’t picking absolutely everyone who comes across this stage, tonight we get to see a full-on montage of missed opportunities. Bummer. On the other hand, there are a lot of singers who get the go-ahead to continue on to the knockouts, so let’s take a look at who Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, and Blake Shelton each add to their teams tonight (spoiler: With everyone working against him, it’s almost not Blake’s night at all).
Levelle Davison (23 — Little Rock, Arkansas)
“To Love Somebody” by Bee Gees (then Michael Bolton)
It’s gonna be a smooth season if Levelle Davison’s audition is any indication. His soft soul voice has some steely tones scattered throughout, and he makes it look (er, sound) easy while he’s delivering this jazzy love ballad. There is one small moment when he takes off into falsetto territory that doesn’t sound as polished as the rest, but there’s some potential there, too, because he is hitting some impressive notes. For now, though, he should stick to the same deeper core sounds that he worked with throughout this song, because it was just satisfying enough but also felt like he was holding something back. As Kelly Clarkson said in last night’s premiere, keeping people interested is the name of this game.
Levelle opts to join Adam’s team, despite Blake’s promise that he’d be the “centerpiece of Team Blake,” because Adam seems to have a better grip on the recording path Levelle has in mind for himself.
Team: Adam Levine
Jaclyn Levey (16 — Placerville, California)
“Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
Since Chloe Kohanski and Addison Agen ran away with the competition last season just by continuing to perform consistently lovely and replayable tracks, I’m thinking there’s a lot of room for singers like Jaclyn Levey this year. Her soft flower power (à la Lana Del Rey without the moodiness) and romantic audio aesthetic is certainly easy to sink into. Blake Shelton found himself daydreaming about unicorns, for crying out loud.
Sure, it’s impossible to listen to this without thinking of Haley Reinhart’s version and that sappy Extra Gum commercial, but she still has a pretty timeless sound all the same and should be interesting to watch (assuming she can apply this magic to other numbers, of course).
Team: Alicia Keys
Sophia Dion (17 — Park City, Utah)
“What a Man” by Salt-N-Pepa
Let’s do the compliment sandwich here again. So, this arrangement of the ’90s hip-hop favorite was certainly something unique and interesting. That said, Sophia suffered from a litany of issues here, including diction, a tendency to scream-sing, and awkwardly dropped notes throughout, and frankly, she just didn’t have the requisite attitude to match the number. On the bright side, she’s young and is definitely in the right range with the soul-country sphere, so there’s always next time.
Molly Stevens (34 — Raleigh, North Carolina)
“Heavenly Day” by Patty Griffin
Last season, there were not one but two high-octane rock starlets (Moriah Formica and Katrina Rose), and Molly Stevens here seems ready to follow in their tradition. The difference is that she’s actually a little shakier sounding than either of those women were, despite the fact that she ignites a(nother) bidding war between Kelly and Blake that culminates in literally everyone stacking up their endorsements of Team Kelly over Blake (ouch!). Molly has got some great growls to work with here, obviously, but she’ll definitely need to iron out those choppier notes in other spots if she wants to advance much further than this stage.
Team: Kelly Clarkson
Dylan Hartigan (21 — Wyckoff, New Jersey)
“Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina
It’s been a while since we’ve done the whole child actor thing (haiii, Alisan Porter), so here comes Dylan Hartigan, who made a few movies and shows of note in his youth and is still active in the acting community but wants to make it in the music realm now instead.
He previously joined a “super bubble-gum pop” band called NY5 (yes, this actually existed) before starting his solo career in the funk-pop scene. Even that wasn’t super fulfilling to his folksy soul, though, so now here we are, with the still-young Dylan trying to transition to proper ~artist~. The good news is that he’s able to show off enough “pretty” tones to impress Kelly Clarkson for a one-chair turn opportunity, so we’ll see if he’s able to improve upon the things that didn’t work here — he sounds more pop than anything else and has a bit of trouble with scattered pitch — before next time.
Team: Kelly Clarkson
Pryor Baird (35 — Nashville, Tennessee)
“Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ray Charles
Annnd the first four-chair turn of the night goes to Pryor Baird, a Nashville transplant, who, like many of his ilk, is finding it hard to actually make music in Music City. Perhaps it’s because he’s got a super earthy, grunty rock sound that doesn’t really waver from max capacity throughout his number. But even though he doesn’t appear to be a super dynamic singer, he manages to impress all four coaches.
Ultimately, it comes down to Adam and Blake for the sake of good TV. Adam plays upon the guy’s supreme skills on the axe, which is something only Adam can truly relate to of this quartet. But while Pryor seems like the obvious choice to match Team Adam’s particular groove, it’s Team Blake that has Pryor’s prior allegiance. It’s not Blake’s passive-aggressive commentary about his sound that woos him (seriously, who wants to hear that they “sound like [they] smoked a pack of cigarettes and drank a bottle of whiskey backstage”?). Instead, it’s Blake’s Southern soul and good-guy persona that wins over Pryor. And you know what? Maybe it’ll be a good thing for this guy to change things up a bit and try his chords at something country.
Team: Blake Shelton
Team Adam: Rayshun LaMarr, Drew Cole, Levelle Davison
Team Alicia: Britton Buchanan, Kelsea Johnson, Justin Kilgore, Jaclyn Levey
Team Kelly: Brynn Cartelli, D.R. King, Molly Stevens, Dylan Hartigan
Team Blake: Kyla Jade, Kaleb Lee, Pryor Baird