The Voice recap: The coaches start getting extra picky
How about some one-chair turns for your consideration?
With all the blocks gone, we’ve now entered the free-for-all stage of The Voice Blind Auditions, which is to say, things are basically the same. But we’re on night four, folks, which means coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and the newly engaged Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are getting pickier and pickier as the 10 spots on their teams fill up. But before we see who makes it onto the show tonight, we have a little housekeeping to do from night three of the Blinds: The end of the show left us with a four-chair turn for Desz — who provided the cover of Toni Braxton’s “Un-break My Heart” we all needed — and had yet to make her coaching decision. She ends up choosing Team Kelly. This seems like a great fit for the power singer and speaking for everyone, because I can, we all feel good about this choice.
Onto the new auditions!
Olivia Reyes / 19 / Teaneck, N.J.
“Falling” by Harry Styles
Olivia tells us that this will be one of her first real public performances, and even though she loves singing, she’s extremely shy about it. She was pushed to audition by her friends, including the daughter of season 2 winner Jermaine Paul (who pops up to do her pre-audition virtual pep talk). You’d never know any of that based on her performance. She’s confident on stage and deftly navigates the dynamics of this song. John and Gwen both end up turning. John tells Olivia that once she got into her higher register her tone was “so crystal clear and gorgeous.” She’ll be in good hands on Team Legend.
Tony Mason / 56 / Tulsa, Okla.
“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
Tony, no! Tony is the only grandfather in the competition this season (it’s skewing very young, no?) and he tells us about the success he and his brothers had as a group in the '80s, how it all fell apart, and how he sees this as his second chance. Of course, now I’m invested and Tony doesn’t get one freaking chair to turn. The coaches were waiting for Tony to go somewhere bigger with the song — John felt like he “shied away” any time an opportunity to really bring it home presented itself. They all needed more.
Sam Stacy / 27 / Lincoln, Neb.
“Fire and Rain” by James Taylor
Kids, I’m all for chasing your dreams but if you have an economics degree and a steady job, maybe really think about leaving town to pursue a music career in L.A., okay? Actually, what do I know, it all seems to be working out just fine for Sam, who gets Kelly, Gwen, and Blake to turn their chairs for his take on this James Taylor classic. Kelly tells him she really wants to challenge him to “push [his] chest voice” even further — he has the intimate, softness thing down and Kelly wants to take him into another gear. Blake is the opposite. He doesn’t see a need for that when Sam is such a “believable” storyteller. Sam chooses Team Blake.
Larriah Jackson / 15 / Sacramento, Calif.
“I’ll Be There,” Mariah Carey version
Gwen Stefani’s been waiting for a young female artist with a dream for her to mold in her likeness, and she finds that in Larriah Jackson, who impresses Gwen with her take on Mariah Carey’s take on a Jackson Five classic. Gwen’s the only chair turn here, but she loves Larriah’s “rich,” “warm,” and “dreamy” tone, and both of them seem pretty excited about this partnership. Everybody wins as Larriah joins Team Gwen.
Payton Lamar / 23 / Nashville, Tenn.
“Never Alone” by Tori Kelly
It’s another one-chair turn: This time, Blake Shelton presses his button just as Payton is singing her last note. A buzzer-beater! On this show! Payton’s thrilled because, hi, she’s on The Voice. Blake’s excited because he gets to round out his team with a female pop vocalist. The other coaches note some weak spots in Payton’s performance — John in particular calls out her lower register not doing her any favors — but Blake says that’s exactly why he’s there, to help her get better. Anyway, it’s a nice moment over on Team Blake.
Van Andrew / 29 / Cooper, Tex.
“Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who
Van describes his sound as “singer-songwriter” mixed with “indie rock” but once he starts performing (and once you see his flowing, well-conditioned hair), you can tell the emphasis here is on rock. Blake and Gwen decide to turn at the same time (engaged people, amiright?), but it seems like even Blake thinks Gwen would be a better fit here. He didn’t recognize The Who song but he knows that Van sounds different than anyone else who has auditioned this season. Gwen loves Van’s “unique” rocker voice and approves of his performance. John and Kelly urge Van to take a spot on Team Gwen and he follows that advice.
Tanner Gomes / 28 / Yuma, Ariz.
“Cowboys and Angels” by Dustin Lynch
You guys, this man in a cowboy hat starts crying almost immediately in his interview and my tiny heart can barely take it. He tells us about his hardships growing up with a mother with an opioid addiction and how music was his escape. Everyone’s doing better now and Tanner is ready to take his career to the next level. He’s a lover of '90s country music, so you know Kelly Clarkson will be a fan. In fact, once Tanner opens up into some power notes and then charges into his higher register, Kelly, John, and Gwen all turn. Blake says that he didn’t turn his chair because he has an abundance of country singers on his team. It seems like Kelly would be the next obvious choice for Tanner, but she really has to fight for him. Eventually, he chooses Team Kelly and now Kelly has her radio-ready male country artist.
Team Kelly: Joseph Soul, Eli Zamora, Marisa Corvo, Madeline Consoer, Ryan Gallagher, Kelsie Watts, Desz, Tanner Gomes
Team Gwen: Lauren Frihauf, Payge Turner, Liam St. John, Chloé Hogan, Ryan Berg, Carter Rubin, Larriah Jackson, Van Andrew
Team Legend: Tamara Jade, John Holiday, Cami Clune, Sid Kingsley, Rio Souma, Casmè, Olivia Reyes
Team Blake: Ian Flanigan, Jim Ranger, Taryn Papa, Aaron Scott, Jus Jon, Ben Allen, Sam Stacy, Payton Lamar
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