The Voice recap: Blake Shelton tries and fails to form an alliance with the newest Voice coach
It's night three of the Blind Auditions, and we're down to just one coach block. Ariana Grande still has yet to use her handy tool, but she has vowed to get revenge on John Legend for blocking her. Will it happen tonight? There are lots of contenders in this group that Ariana might want to nab for her inaugural team. Here's how the evening shakes out.
Raquel Trinidad / 23 / Miami, Fla.
"I Wish" by Stevie Wonder
American Idol fans might recognize Raquel from season 17, where she made the Top 20 that year. Now she's shooting her shot over on The Voice, and you can hear the growth in her voice over those few years. She is so confident with her voice and stage presence, and this Stevie song is a great way to show off what she can do technically. John Legend, Ariana Grande, and Kelly Clarkson all hit their buttons. Ariana calls Raquel a "breath of fresh air" and loved how her voice was a perfect mix of '60s soul and modern stuff. John loves Raquel's "soulful runs" but can already see that her voice is versatile. Kelly can't believe how fast some of those runs were. And more than fast, they were "crisp" and "clean." Raquel says that she wants her whole vibe to be a mix of retro and modern and is happy to hear one judge notice that. She joins Team Ariana.
The Joy Reunion / Redlands, Calif.
"Boondocks" by Little Big Town
So many groups this season! Robert, Neil, and Gentry of Joy Reunion call themselves "California Country" and formed this group after years of playing in other bands and becoming jaded with the industry. Robert tears up talking about how coming together helped, them rediscover the joy in music. We love a good well-up story! They have great harmonies and sound polished as a group. Both Blake and John turn. It does seem like the group considers John for like a split second after he talks about the "joy [they] brought to the stage," but once again, it seems inevitable that a country act is going with the country coach. Blake tells them there's nothing more exciting than getting a glimpse at where country is going and being a part of that. He seems genuinely pumped to work with these three and dig into some songs that show off harmony. The Joy Reunion heads over to Team Blake.
Jasmine Mills / 28 / Springfield, Va.
"It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" by G.C. Cameron / Boyz II Men
Jasmine Mills is on The Voice to be a role model for her two kids. She wants to show them to go after their dreams or something like that. It's a nice sentiment if you're into that. Jasmine can really work her lower register, but there's just too much going on in this arrangement. She doesn't receive any chair turns. Blake tells her that although she did pull it together in the end, it started "off the rails." Ariana could tell Jasmine was nervous, and Kelly wanted "more space" between notes. She was doing too much instead of relying on the "pureness" of her voice.
Hailey Mia / 13 / Clifton, N.J.
"you broke me first" by Tate McRae
I know every season we fawn over young singers with voices that sound much more mature than their years like it's some surprise — but come on! Hailey is only 13! She's been counting down the days until she met the age requirement so she could come wow the coaches. Kelly and Ariana both turn, and each admits they thought it was someone young, but, like in-their-early-20s young. More than vocal talent, it's pretty amazing how much emotion Hailey gets across with her voice. Kelly loves that Hailey has the "power to belt" and some great vocal control. Ariana would like to guide Hailey through this experience — she knows Hailey has the goods but thinks there's nothing but potential to grow here. After a little coaxing from Blake, who is trying to butter Ariana up in hopes of winning over her legions of fans, Hailey joins Team Ariana.
Jeremy Rosado / 29 / Tampa, Fla.
"Here Comes Goodbye" by Rascal Flatts
Okay, this is a sweet artist story: Jeremy's daughter is his biological niece. They grew up together in the same house, and when he was 22, he decided to become her official guardian. She's now in college, super close to her dad, and loves Ariana Grande. It's so nice to see! Also nice: Jeremy's voice. He's an R&B singer but puts his spin on a country song, and it pays off. There are pitch problems, but the emotion and passion he sings with, not to mention his range, help the coaches overlook it for the most part. Both Kelly and Blake press their buttons. Kelly tells him she "would go for emotion over pitch when it comes to a vocalist like [him]," and Blake loves how determined Jeremy is, especially in the moment. He dug in and "got better and better" as the song goes on. Blake tries to deploy his "Make Nice with Ariana" plan here by getting her to back him up, but she flat out says Kelly would be the better coach for a vocalist like Jeremy. Jeremy seemed to know that already anyway, but it still stings Blake when Jeremy decides to join Team Kelly.
Carson Peters / 17 / Piney Flats, Tenn.
"Tulsa Time" by Don Williams
But it's not like Blake needs to worry about people joining his team. Next up is a tried-and-true country singer. Carson Peters is also known as "Fiddle Boy," and he's opened for Ricky Skaggs at the Grand Ole Opry, among other cool gigs. While he's been doing that since he was a little kid, he now wants to hone his vocal skills too. To stay away from the "Fiddle Boy" of it all, Carson plays this old-school country song with his guitar. No fiddles to be found! His voice definitely sounds young, but all four of the coaches can't resist. It's a real barn-burner, as they say in Oklahoma, I imagine. John tries pretty dang hard to woo this hardcore country kid over to his team, even tossing out evidence of country cred by way of his recent CMT award for his song with Carrie Underwood. Ariana praises Carson's unexpected runs. But Blake easily lays out his knowledge of bluegrass and leans into the Ricky Skaggs of it all, and makes it easy to see why Carson would decide to join Team Blake.
Keilah Grace / 15 / Staten Island, N.Y.
"Never Tear Us Apart" by INXS
Here's another young female artist taking on a big song and infusing it with a whole ton of emotion. Keilah performs this INXS hit with her own cool, soulful spin. Kelly, John, and Ariana all press their buttons. John tells Keilah she took them on a journey and that he can feel the energy "radiating" from her voice. He sees a lot of potential growth with her. Kelly loves the growl in Keilah's voice and that she can turn the "rock star" attitude on to put on a show. Ariana calls out the "soul and depth" to Keilah's young voice. Even John is surprised when Keilah decides to go with Team Legend, but he's excited to coach such a young artist, and Keilah is a huge fan of his. That sounds promising!
Bubba / 26/ Buffalo, N.Y.
"How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" by Michael Bolton
Like Kelly Clarkson, I too am always rooting for anyone who decides to go Bolton for their Blinds. Alas, Bubba seems nervous and has a lot of pitch problems. No one presses their button for his big ballad, and Ariana thinks he needs to work on carefully selecting when to go big. He did so much at the top that he seemed "fatigued" when he came to the power notes at the end of the song. He "has the raw material," John notes; he just needs a little more experience.
Samara Brown / 32 / Bronx, N.Y.
"Sweet Thing" by Rufus
Samara Brown is no stranger to The Voice. Her sister Amanda made it to the Top 6 during season 3 as part of Cee-Lo Green and later Adam Levine's teams. Now Samara is ready to step into the spotlight. She picks a great song to highlight her vocal skills and navigates some pretty intricate runs with ease, showing off some real power at the end of the song. It's a cool vibe the whole way through. Ariana tries to block John, but he turns first, so she misses her chance. He notes the "interesting melodic changes" Samara made to the song before really wailing at the end. He's excited by her potential. Ariana says she's a fan of Samara and declares the performance "perfect from start to finish." Unfortunately, Ariana really could've used that block — Samara decides to go with Team Legend.
Lucas O'Reilly / 20 / Newport, R.I.
"Carolina in My Mind" by James Taylor
Lucas has been playing guitar for almost his entire life but only singing for the past two. The inexperience is what gets him in the end. No coaches turn, and Kelly says for her it was mostly because the performance was so linear. She needed to know he had more range. John points to some major pitch issues as the reason he didn't push his button but makes sure Lucas knows he has a "magical" tone that "invites" people in. He needs a few more years of practice, and he could really turn some heads (and chairs! — you're welcome).
Holly Forbes / 30 / Catlettsburg, K.Y.
"Rocket Man" by Elton John
Now, this is an audition, people. Holly lives in Kentucky with her partner and two kids, where she writes music and works as a caregiver to patients with autism. She wanted to give back after growing with so many people taking care of her: She began having seizures at age 11 and ended up going bald from her medication. She seems happy to finally be pursuing music on such a big stage. And holy hell, does she deserve a stage like The Voice. She knows exactly how to tell a story through the dynamics of this song, and every run, growl, and power note seems so intentional. Ariana, John, and Kelly all turn at the same moment. Excuse me, Ariana turns about one second ahead of John — just enough to get that block in. Blake turns not long after. They're all really fighting for Holly (well, poor John, he knows he lost out). Blake loved the intricate verses. Ariana says, "Every single second was so emotionally charged." Kelly praises Holly's "raspy, soulful growl" and saw that she completely got lost in the song in the very best way. It seems like Kelly might be a great mentor for Holly, but Holly does mention that her young daughter is a huge Ariana Grande fan. She could go either way... and we won't find out which way that is until tomorrow night. A cliffhanger! But for why??
TEAM KELLY: Girl Named Tom, Kinsey Rose, Carolina Alonso, Gymani, Jeremy Rosado
TEAM LEGEND: Jonathan Mouton, Jack Rogan, Samuel Harness, Joshua Vacanti, Paris Winningham, Keilah Grace, Samara Brown
TEAM ARIANA: Katie Rae, Katherine Ann Mohler, Vaughn Mugol, Chavon Rodgers, Jim and Sasha Allen, Raquel Trinidad, Hailey Mia
TEAM BLAKE: Peedy Chavis, Wendy Moten, Lana Scott, Hailey Green, The Joy Reunion, Carson Peters