The Voice recap: Kelly Clarkson and Nick Jonas go head-to-head
It’s week 2 of the Blinds, and The Voice is losing it. We’re laughing, we’re crying, and if you’re coach Kelly Clarkson, you’re laughing again. And then some more. She really loses it when the coaches panel tries to serenade an artist with “Happy Birthday” and suddenly realize they don’t know his name. It is awkward as hell. Alas, we have no time for laughs, we have business to attend to and teams to fill. Let’s get into tonight’s auditions.Allegra Miles, 16, West Palm Beach, Fla. // “Use Somebody”
Allegra grew up on St. John, and all the diving and sailing and whatever else children do on islands gave her an adventurous spirit. You have to be at least a little bit brave to go on The Voice, especially at 16. Allegra has nothing to worry about, she does her own arrangement of the Kings of Leon song and commands the room. John Legend points out some control issues, but overall the coaches are pretty impressed with Allegra’s maturity. Blake Shelton especially applauds Allegra’s head voice, and Kelly compares her to season 14 winner Brynn Cartelli in that she’s young but obviously full of depth.
Chair Turns: I know it’s only week 2, but it feels like Kelly and Nick Jonas have been going head-to-head a lot. Nick tries to charm Allegra with tales of writing “S.O.S.” when he was only 12, and also offers to give her his own jacket off his back to counter Kelly’s team jackets, and guess what…
Coach: It works! I mean, of course it does, she’s 16 and he’s Nick Jonas. Team Nick it is.
CammWess, 21, Blythewood, S.C. // “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”
Camm is here to show his parents that all his hard work — he’s juggling being a full-time student and a full-time musician — is worth it. The guy has some chops! It’s a cool, silky version of the Weeknd’s song, and Kelly, who is super-into it, doesn’t even turn around because he sounds so similar to John Legend in some parts of his voice that she knows there’s no way he won’t be going Team Legend here. Blake still shoots his shot, trying to play the “No one will expect you to go with me” card and saying some very nice things to the birthday boy (yes, this is the poor guy who gets the most awkward birthday serenade). He’s very sincere, but this is a losing game for Blake.
Chair Turns: John Legend goes pretty early, and Blake sneaks in right at the end.
Coach: It’s Team Legend through and through.
Joei Fulco, 22, Lancaster, Calif. // “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”
This is our first true blind audition of the evening, and while not as surprising as some of these in the past, I don’t think anyone was expecting that raspy voice with the big vibrato to come out of the tiny 22-year-old. Joei comes from a family of musicians, and her dad made them all learn the classics — and it pays off. Blake loves what she could bring to country music — he loves it so much that he uses his block on Nick, who does end up turning. It’s a cool, unique tone, and I doubt there will be other vocalists who sound anything close to Joei.
Chair Turns: Man, Nick is getting clobbered with blocks. Blake says it’s a “rite of passage,” but honestly, this feels like a waste because Joei wants to do country rock — would she even consider a JoBro?
Coach: It’s Team Blake, and that feels right.
Sara Collins, 18, Dandrige, Tenn. // “Johnny and June”
I can’t with all these teenagers also being full-time musicians. So mature! So passionate! Sara here is already performing weekly at Ole Red, Blake Shelton’s bar, so she’s steeped in the country music scene. All the judges point out some major pitch problems — Blake, the obvious pick here, doesn’t turn because of it — but she does have a ton of power behind her country twang. The pitch problems can be worked out.
Chair Turns: Once again Nick and Kelly go head-to-head. Nick tosses out his country music writing credentials — Thomas Rhett, Shania Twain, NBD — but having the power voice and being in the country lane screams Kelly Clarkson, no?
Coach: She makes the sensible choice here and goes Team Kelly.
Clerida, 30, Long Island, N.Y. // “Put Your Records On”
Okay, that’s weird: Before Clerida even enters the studio, we see Nick sitting in his chair singing this Corinne Bailey Rae jam, and then Clerida sings it as her audition. Life is strange, guys. Stranger still, Clerida and her cello and super-stripped-down performance get zero chair turns. Her vocal certainly isn’t the best we’ve seen so far, but she’s got a great vibe and offers something different than what we normally get. Blake suggests auditioning with a song that shows off her voice better and holding off using the cello for a later round. It’s not the worst idea!
Chair Turns: Zero, and this one bums me out.
Samantha Howell, 19 Virginia Beach, Va. // “Take It on the Run”
The parents tonight are really making me weepy. I know it doesn’t take much, but Samantha’s dad just starts bawling while talking about how proud he is of his daughter and how parents just want the best for their kids, and I am undone. Okay, also the singing. Samantha is a great get. She has a great country voice — Kelly compares her to Trisha Yearwood and Eva Cassidy — but also a cool singer-songwriter vibe a la Brandi Carlile. Kelly turns immediately and wisely uses her block on Blake (can you believe we’re out of blocks already?). With the right song choices, she could be a real contender.
Chair Turns: Kelly blocks Blake, who turns even though he knows she did it, but she isn’t in the clear: Her rivalry with Nick Jonas rears its head once again.
Coach: For a second I thought I’d have to throw something at my television, but the country female vocalist chooses Team Kelly.
Jamal Corrie 26, San Francisco, Calif. // “Be Alright”
Oh, The Voice, you had me going for a second. Giving us a truly heartbreaking story — Jamal busks as a living to help support his two autistic brothers and mother suffering from a TIA — only for a singer’s dreams to be crushed with zero chair turns has happened before. THERE IS PRECEDENT. Luckily, that isn’t what happens this time around, and Blake ends up pressing his button in the end. Jamal isn’t the most dynamic audition we’ve seen — Kelly wonders if maybe nerves hindered him from truly opening up — but there’s potential. That’s what Blake’s banking on. I mean, will Blake go with a pop guy over a country artist in the end? Doubtful, but there have been bigger surprises on this show.
Chair Turns: Aw, Blake Shelton gets so sincere AGAIN, and tells Jamal this show is all about hearing a voice with potential and wanting to coach that person to be better. He’s proud to have Jamal on his team.
Coach: Team Blake is making me FEEL THINGS.
Ruby G, 29, Brooklyn, N.Y. // “Hard Place”
Okay, this was a no-chair-turn that truly surprised me. Ruby is a musician in NYC — she sings in a hip hop group — and she has a great tone. But something just doesn’t connect with the coaches. John thinks it came down to song selection. This H.E.R. song had Ruby G in her lower register for a lot of it, which just wasn’t the “sweet spot” of her range, says John. Ruby G seems like someone who could pop up again another season and really wow the coaches. Time will tell!
Chair Turns: Ugh, zero.
Samuel Wilco, 39, Fort Knox, Ken. // “Lately”
Samuel here is a military guy who once won the Army’s “best male vocalist” competition. I believe it. Not only does he tackle a Stevie Wonder song, which is always a risk, but I mean, hi, hello, those low notes? I’m into it. Of course, it’s the power note toward the end that gets the judges into it, and Kelly turns her chair as soon as she gets a glimpse of Samuel’s higher register. She’s super-into him because “Lately” would also be her audition song if she were coming on the Voice because it showcases a lot of different parts of a singer’s voice. It’s a smart decision, and it says a lot about him as an artist.
Chair Turns: If Kelly turns but Nick does not (or vice versa), does it even happen?
Coach: Kelly’s pitch about smart song selection does her no good: Samuel’s kids love Nick Jonas, so he’s joining Team Nick.
Hawk McIntyre, 20, Boone, Iowa // “Lie To Me”
“I’m here to sing the blues,” Hawk tells us. He isn’t lying! He’s been performing most of his short life and is ready to take the next step. He powers through a big ol’ blues performance with lots of grit and growls and rasp. I really thought Blake would eat this one up, but alas, our third no-chair-turn audition of the evening. All the judges call out song selection once again: They loved what he was doing but wanted to hear his full range. Blake advises him to pick a song that will better showcase his voice, because the intensity and the pitch are already there.
Chair Turns: Again! Zero!
Thunderstorm Artis, 23, Haleiwa, Hawaii // “Blackbird”
Serious question: Was “Blackbird” actually written for Thunderstorm Artis (yes, that is his birth name)? Because the way he performs it, it sure sounds like it. Thunderstorm is one of 11 children, and his entire family is musical. He lost his dad at a young age, but it was his dad who taught him everything he knows. And, you guys, he knows a lot. This performance is never showy, he never needs to belt, but dang Thunderstorm shows off some true vocal prowess. It’s an easy four-chair turn. The coaches are enamored with his artistry and his vocal control. He made it seem so easy, but it definitely was not. And that falsetto? Inject directly into my body, please. John calls his tone “magic,” Kelly wants to buy his vinyl immediately, and Blake congratulates the kid on being “ridiculously talented.”
Chair Turns: Everyone wants this guy, because he’s going far.
Coach: This is a huge get for Team Legend.
Team Blake: Todd Tilghman, Todd Michael Hall, Levi Watkins, Toneisha Harris, Joei Fulco, Jamal Corrie
Team Legend: Nelson Cade III, Darious Lyles, Zach Day, Cammwess, Thunderstorm Artis
Team Nick: Tate Brusa, Joanna Serenko, Arei Moon, Allegra Miles, Samuel Wilco
Team Kelly: Tayler Green, Megan Danielle, Chelle, Sara Collins, Samantha Howell