The Voice recap: Surprising coaching decisions are made as teams start filling up
Welcome to our 300th round of the Blind Auditions! Guys, I love the Blinds, I live for the blinds, but even I am ready to move past the blinds. If only so I can get a handle on who all of our contestants are. I need to see them again! But alas, we are not there yet. There are spots on teams to be filled! Dreams to be made! More faux-fights between Blake and Gwen to be had! To the auditions!
Joana Martinez, Miami, Fla.
Song: “Call Out My Name” by The Weeknd
Add Joana to the list of The Voice contestants with dads who make me cry. The list is very long and embarrassing! Joana here is only 15 and attends a performing arts school where she was voted “Most Likely to Win The Voice,” which is a big deal when literally all of your classmates are also performers. Joana sounds much older than her years, both in power and control. Kelly can tell from the beginning that this chick is going to eventually open up and let it rip, and she’s not wrong. It’s a three-way race to win her over, but eventually Joana goes with the coach who talks about how she moved all of them and says her vocals were perfection. Spoiler: It’s not Gwen!
Chair Turns: Gwen, Blake, and Kelly
Coach: Team Blake! He was very sincere!
Brooke Stephenson, Bolton, Conn.
Song: “Let Him Fly” by Patty Griffin
A VOICE LIKE BUTTER, THIS ONE. Brooke and her desire to sing “Americana” are both all right by me, I’m ready to buy her album. So are Kelly, Blake, and Gwen, who go head-to-head-to-head once again because these three cannot help themselves — especially with vocals as smooth and, as Gwen calls them, “inviting” as Brooke’s are. She’s a storyteller and Kelly, fearing Brooke’s an easy pick for Blake, reminds her that she wants a coach who will challenge her. Little does Kelly know that Brooke is all about strong female leadership in the music industry and that about sums up Kelly Clarkson.
Chair Turns: Blake, Gwen, and Kelly
Coach: Girl power, y’all. It’s a Team Kelly win.
Zach Bridges, Pearl, Miss.
Song: “Ol’ Red” by Blake Shelton
Well friends, this country babe — hot but also shy, a singer and an x-ray tech at a VA hospital? Be still my heart! — walks on stage and lays down a Blake Shelton classic. He’s not the most dynamic country singer we’ve heard (even just tonight), but Blake is moved by the song choice and Zach’s vocals and Gwen, well, Gwen is just moved by getting to fight with Blake on national television. The other two stay far, far away. There is no drama here, however, because Zach’s choice was made before he even showed up in Los Angeles.
Chair Turns: Mom and Dad
Coach: Duh, it’s Blake. It’s always been Blake
EllieMae, Jerome, Idaho
Song: “Merry Go ’Round” by Kacey Musgraves
Oh, my word, this little dairy farmer gets the express audition treatment, but I am already counting down to when we can hear her lovely country-crooning voice again. Blake is the only coach who turns and I feel like EllieMae could be a dark horse who makes the other coaches regret not noticing how special she was up front. Only time will tell!
Chair Turns: Just Blake [insert jazz hands here]
Coach: See! Above!
Callie Lee, Atlanta, Ga.
Song: “No Excuses” by Meghan Trainor
Ugh, another contestant who is here to tell us all about how her mother sacrificed everything for her and all she wants to do is give back to her mother and make her mother proud and now I’m crying and of course: No! Chair! Turns! I mean, Kelly isn’t wrong when she points out that Callie had a lot of breath control issues, but still. She did high kicks! She brought some fun to the stage! This was an emotional roller coaster and I need to go to bed!
Chair Turns: NONE.
Jessie Lawrence, Newark, N.J.
Song: “All or Nothing” by O-Town
YES WITH THE O-TOWN, SIR. What a risk to bring out this old tune (admittedly, I knew it as soon as I heard it in the background of his intro package, don’t judge me!), but Jessie infuses the boy band song with some true, authentic passion and Gwen is into it. She turns for people’s hearts, we know this.
Chair Turns: Gwen Stefani hearts O-Town
Brennen Henson, Flint, Mich.
Song: “Riptide” by Vance Joy
We needed a little alternative singer to come on with his guitar and win us over with some truly top-notch vocals, didn’t we? Just strum me a tune on your guitar, Brennen. Usually The Voice is littered with these types of singers, and maybe I’ve blocked out four other blinds, but Brennen felt refreshing from where I was sitting. And I know contestants are supposed to play it cool when they get a chair turn, but Brennen went in wanting to be on Team Gwen and then Gwen is the first turn and the guy cannot help but smile. He’s so happy! I’m so happy! We’re all so happy!
Chair Turns: Gwen and Blake
Coach: Did you not read the thing about the smiling? He’s Team Gwen.
Jared Herzog, Niceville, Fla.
Song: “Speechless” by Dan + Shay
Jared’s arrived to make all other boyfriends look bad. You see, his girlfriend is not a singer, but is a mega-fan of The Voice. Jared, a classically trained singer, agreed to audition for the show as a Valentine’s Day gift. So, that’s nice and we’re all glad everyone is so happy and in love and I’ll just be alone on my couch eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. WHATEVER. Also, Jared sounds great. The judges really go after him — they love his range and his obvious versatility — and John offers the ultimate prize: dinner cooked by Chrissy Teigen. Jared says he goes with John because he’s a life-long fan, but we all know the real reason, Jared!
Chair Turns: Blake, John, and Gwen
Coach: Team Legend feeds your soul and your stomach!
Clayton Cowell, Hampton, Va.
Song: “Just Friends (Sunny)” by Musiq Soulchild
You know, a guy invites you into his tattoo parlor and no one can give him a chair turn? John Legend bops throughout Clayton’s entire performance, but all of the coaches note that they wished Clayton had picked a song that showed off what his voice can truly do. They needed some powerful moments but got none.
Chair Turns: Not a one!
Lauren Hall, West Hollywood, Calif.
Song: “One and Only” by Adele
This woman has auditioned for The Voice SEVEN TIMES and has never made it past the open calls until this very moment. And now here she is, crushing some Adele and earning a spot on Queen Kelly Clarkson’s team. Don’t give up on your dreams, people! Kelly is the only coach who turns, but it feels meant to be: Kelly’s been waiting for a strong female vocalist all episode-long and Lauren, although pretty darn good, could use the type of polishing that Kelly can give her. It’s a good match, is what I’m saying!
Chair Turns: Kelly!
Coach: A moment like this…when you have no choice but Team Kelly and that’s perfect for you
Matt New, Midland, Tex.
Song: “Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee
Honestly, when Matt started talking about being from Texas and showed off his cute little blonde family, I would’ve guessed country artist. I was very wrong and so happy about it! Matt has a sultry R&B voice that I am always here for, but he also waited until the final third of the song to reveal he has power too. You know the coaches, they love a voice with layers and versatility, and Matt, who is into both pop and soul, has just that. Kelly is already strategizing song choices, but Matt’s sons tell him to go with the man, the myth, the John Legend, and so it is.
Chair Turns: Kelly, Gwen, and John
Coach: Matt believes his children are the future — they say Team Legend, so he says Team Legend
Monty Montanaro, Nashville, Tenn.
Song: “Remedy” by Seether
Seether, you guys! None of the coaches go for Monty, but I can tell you that not one of them was expecting to turn around after that gritty rock performance and find a buttoned-up man in a nice vest and glasses. This is The Voice! Monty is a nice case study for the show but lacks the vocal control necessary to win over any of our esteemed coaches.
Chair Turns: No one!
Shocked Faces: All four of them!
Ricky Duran, Worcester, Mass.
Song: “River” by Leon Bridges
Thank goodness The Voice told us Ricky was getting a four-chair turn before his audition even started, otherwise I would’ve been stressed the entire time about something going terribly wrong because this man has suffered enough. He tragically lost both of his parents, and his three sisters are there cheering him on, and all of them deserve some good news. Which they get! Because Ricky is great. I could see him going very far in this competition: He has great control, he has that entire vocal toolbox the coaches are always talking about, and he knows how to perform. Do I understand his reasoning for choosing the coach he did? Definitely not. Do I think it will matter who he picks for him to excel on this show? Also, definitely not.
Chair Turns: It’s all four to end the night!
Coach: TEAM BLAKE. What in the actual what?
Honestly, a true surprise to end the evening. Lest you are so shaken by Ricky’s choice, let’s do a quick numbers refresher. After tonight, both Gwen Stefani and her Blakie have 10 artists on each of their teams, while both Kelly Clarkson and John Legend have nine a piece. Teams are filling up!
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