The Voice recap: Kelly Clarkson nabs another promising contestant
Long may she reign
The Voice‘s blind auditions continue on tonight four, and all four coaches are starting to feel pretty confident in their team selections, even if things are starting to get a little lopsided in the ladies’ favor. Tonight, we don’t get to see any dramatic block maneuvers or snarky showdowns between the usual suspects, but it’s clear these coaches are in it to win it. Adam Levine believes he’s due for the W this year, but Kelly Clarkson seems to be stacking her team pretty strategically, doesn’t she?
Let’s take a look at who the coaches round out their teams with from tonight’s crop.
Reagan Strange (13 – Memphis, TN)
“Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha (feat. Florida Georgia Line)
You might think a pop starlet in the making like Reagan Strange here might inspire Kelly Clarkson to throw her hat (er, red jacket) in the ring, since she took Brynn Cartelli all the way last season. But it’s the fellas who are most excited about the high schooler’s potential. Her voice, while bubblegum in some spots, has some points of real poise, especially when she starts throwing in some head range runs that no one sees coming. Reagan considers herself more in the soul-pop sphere than country music, which is what draws her to Team Adam, and that might be just who she needs to take her from quaint to keeper.
Team: Adam Levine.
Fousheé (28 – Harlem, NY)
“Redbone” by Childish Gambino
Adam Levine is right that there is something undefinable about Fousheé’s timbre. Perhaps it’s owed to her myriad inspirations — her mother was in an all-girls reggae band, and she’s grown up surrounded by all the Big Apple has to offer — but she vacillates from an achy, old-school R&B sound to errant scream runs that have everyone checking their tuners to see which notes she’s just hit. Adam calls it an “outer space voice,” and he’s delighted by the fact that she doesn’t sound like a cover artist the way so many auditioners do. However, we’ll have to wait and see how well she knows her own sound and if he can help guide her in the right direction, song choice-wise, to make sure things don’t get too chaotic.
Team: Adam Levine.
Wyatt Rivers (22 – Durham, NC)
“River” by Leon Bridges
Does it seem like the coaches are being a little choosier with the folk-rock gents this season? Last time, there were about a half-dozen male singers of his ilk who could easily be swapped for Wyatt Rivers without making much of a difference, but it looks like this future med student has come out for the wrong season. Although he has a nice, gentle rasp, his too-calm approach to the song doesn’t seem to impress anyone much this time. By sticking strictly to his comfort zone, the song becomes a little too dry and boring, and whenever he does decide to try for a big note, he can’t seem to break through the ceiling of his range. But Kelsea Ballerini sees more potential for him than simply becoming “Dr. Steamy” (to borrow a phrase from Clarkson), and he’s chosen as the night’s comeback artist for her digital competition to earn a spot in the lives.
Chris Kroeze (27 – Barron, WI)
“Pride and Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
Also bringing back memories of last season is Chris Kroeze, who sounds like a pleasant cross between Wilkes and Pryor Baird. His croaky southern style is made all the better by his energy and control. Blake likens him to Ricky Skaggs, and it’s clear that the wheels are already turning as to what he thinks he can do with him as a contestant. Kroeze might not favor flying much, but if he keeps this up, he might just find himself jet-setting to the live rounds soon enough.
Team: Blake Shelton.
MaKenzie Thomas (20 – Wallingford, KY)
“Big White Room” by Jessie J
You gotta love MaKenzie Thomas’ realness here. She didn’t make it through the blind auditions last season but was encouraged to try again by the coaches, and she’s not afraid to say just how disappointed she was and how worried she is about reliving the rejection. Luckily for her, she’s done enough in the off-season to earn a one-chair turn — even if it is from the one coach who wasn’t around to hear the first time, Jennifer Hudson. This time, her voice is more seasoned and emotionally fluid, and if she was as discouraged as she said she was coming into tonight’s audition, it should be really interesting to hear what she can do when she’s got a bit more confidence on display.
Team: Jennifer Hudson.
Sandyredd (35 – Chicago, IL)
“River” by Bishop Briggs
This evening’s closer has the coaches in just as much of tizzy as the last three, and it’s easy to see why. Like the others, Sandyredd’s coming into this thing with some brute vocal strength that’s peppered with everything from a Macy Gray-style gravel to Tracy Chapman’s simple steez. As Kelly Clarkson rightly points out, there’s a lot to work with here because she seems to transcend traditional genres, which means she can probably capitalize on the element of surprise from week to week if she’s smart about her song choices. Her energetic delivery has all four coaches putting up offerings onto the stage — from both of JHud’s shoes to Kelly’s coat to Adam’s sneaker … even Blake parts with his precious cup (after taking a quick swig, of course) to pay his respects. Ultimately, Sandyredd lands on Team Kelly, who’d had a rare moment of speechlessness in the wake of the performance, thanks to her promise that she wouldn’t let the lady get boxed in so long as she was in her care. So, now she has two of the early frontrunners (with Kymberli Joye), and the session’s not even done yet. Queen Kelly might just be a two-term monarch after all.
Team: Kelly Clarkson.
Adam Levine – Tyke James, Radha, DeAndre Nico, Steve Memmolo, Anthony Arya, Reagan Strange, Fousheé.
Blake Shelton – Mercedes Ferreira-Dias, Kameron Marlowe, Keith Paluso, Michael Lee, Dave Fenley, Rachel Messer, Chris Kroeze.
Kelly Clarkson – Sarah Grace, Mikele Buck, Claire DeJean, Chevel Shepherd, Delaney Silvernell, Kymberli Joye, Sandyredd.
Jennifer Hudson – Tyshawn Colquitt, Patrique Fortson, Kennedy Holmes, Franc West, Audri Bartholomew, Natasha Greycloud, MaKenzie Thomas.