The Voice recap: The youngsters make some big, bold impressions
We don’t have to wait long to get the answer to last night’s cliffhanger. Honestly, Blake seemed like the obvious choice for small town kickboxing instructor and Fleetwood Mac enthusiast Cali Wilson, but I figured they wouldn’t stretch out her coaching decision just to give us the obvious, and then night four of the Blind Auditions got underway and Cali did, in fact, go with Team Blake. So…cool? Let’s get right into the new auditions.
Injoy Fountain, Wichita, Kan.
Song: “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande
Now, that’s how you make an entrance. Single mom Injoy, clad in a deeply fabulous sequin coat, walks out on stage ready to make a life for herself and her young daughter, and hits the Ariana Grande hard. After a few bars of bringing it, Kelly is out of her seat having a dance party. Injoy, as Kelly points out, is “infectious” and it isn’t long before she’s pushed her button. Injoy could use some polish — she sounded a little out of breath at points, maybe due to nerves — but made up for it with passion and stage presence. I’m genuinely excited to see what song Coach Kelly comes up with for her and her big ol’ power vocals next.
Chair Turns: Kelly and Gwen
Coach: Team Kelly, where the dance party never stops, I imagine
Jordan Chase, Pensacola, Fla.
Song: “Making Me Look Good Again” by Drake White
We’ve had several artists show up to these auditions with a special blend of country and soul, and Jordan is another to add to the list. His rasp is very cool, and the fact that he can move from that rasp into a sweet falsetto would get any judge interested, but he doesn’t necessarily stand out from the crowd of other country-leaning artists. Still, he does enough to get Blake to turn…and Gwen goes at the end, mainly because she enjoys fighting with Blake. It’s a futile effort, and any semblance of a pitch gets lost in chatter of imagining what it’s like to be a 19-year-old boy. Not Gwen’s best effort!
Chair Turns: Blake and Gwen
Coach: Why, Blake-y of course. He’ll probably still get some cuddles, let’s be honest.
Dane and Stephanie, Bloomfield, N.J.
Song: “Angela” by The Lumineers
It’s the original type of duo — twins! Dane and Stephanie talk about how they’ve been best friends since they were born, but you’d easily guess that just from their harmonies. They are so tight! I was really hoping harmony queen Kelly Clarkson would turn and make some magic with these two, but alas, they do not woo her with their sweet acoustic sounds. If only she saw their dad, Vincent, crying in the background after he knew they’d be on the show. Dane reveals he came out as transgender at 14 (the twins are 21 now) and Vincent admits it was hard, but he’s so proud of all of his kids. Anyway, I’m crying again. From both the harmonies and this heart-warming story.
Chair Turns: John and Blake
Coach: Let the former choir director arrange some harmonies — it’s Team Legend
James Violet, Syracuse, Utah
Song: “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles
James loves the outdoors, did not enjoy his time in Los Angeles, shops in thrift stores, and his “secret shampoo” for his glorious head of hair is just water. He’s a nature boy, and he walks onto The Voice stage and calmly does his low-key thing, but he’s captivating. He says that someone once described his voice as “buttery” and that person wasn’t wrong. This long-haired outdoorsman could be a dark horse. Gwen, Kelly, and Blake all fight for the guy with some seriously incoherent pitches, leading me to believe his hair has magical powers. Who knows why he went with Gwen, except for maybe that she was the least confusing out of the three.
Chair Turns: Kelly, Blake, and Gwen
Coach: Team Gwen, for reasons unknown.
Jordan McCullough, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Song: “Let Me Love You” by Mario
Sadly, not all sequin jackets have the power to turn chairs and Jordan ends up being the designated “no thanks” of the evening. He isn’t bad, and he has both a lovely falsetto and some real power in his chest voice, but even from that explanation, you can probably see what John pointed out: Jordan was just a little too all over the place. He needs more “discipline” in his arrangements. Hey, at least he has the sequin coat.
Chair Turns: Not a one
Preston C. Howell, Miami, Fla.
Song: “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
Well, this was a nice surprise. Don’t me wrong, I love our big power singers, but there’s something about a jazz standard done well that moves me. You know, like this one. Not only is Preston’s choice to sing this type of music a bold one for a competition show that favors powerful voices and showy runs, but hello, he’s only 14. DID YOU HEAR THOSE LOW NOTES? All four judges turn and fight hard for this kid. Blake tells him his voice is “timeless.” Kelly loves that he infused the classic song with originality. Gwen even starts singing jazz standards to prove she’s up to snuff. But this is John’s artist to lose and everyone knows it. He does not lose.
Chair Turns: Did you hear this angel voice? A four-chair turn!
Coach: Team Legend, where he belongs
The youngsters crushed it on the fourth night of auditions, huh? But can do any of these whippersnappers have a real shot at the title? Yes, I’m 107 years old and it’s past my bedtime!
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