This is “The Voice“!!! And, this is another episode review! If you’ve been checking these out all season, the pattern should be familiar to you: We are looking live at every singer who auditions for the show, and trying to do our best to understand why certain people advanced and others did not. Also, we’re here to occasionally complain about editing and sob stories, if any rear their sappy head this time around.
Be sure to refresh; we’ll try to stay on-the-ball with more performance details as the night goes on.
Darius Scott – He’s a stylist, so of course there was some huge package about how he styles people. Still, we appreciated the part that included references to him self-funding an album and how expensive it is; the more that “The Voice” admits that these people have careers before the show, the better off and hopefully less cynical we are going to be. There was one glaringly off note when he tried to go for the falsetto, but the good news is that most of the coaches (at least everyone other than Blake Shelton) turned around by then. He’s still got talent for days and potential go far.
One other thing the show did that was great? Not telling us about Darius’ N.E.R.D. tattoo beforehand. That would have turned this into the Pharrell equivalent of “I’m a country artist in Nashville.” Team Pharrell.
Korin Bukowski – The show really sold the quirky angle here, from the “earthlings” stuff to her fascination with insects. We gotta say that we would’ve turned around in about two seconds here. This is a total steal for Gwen Stefani. It’s not just about her personality; it’s also about the voice, which is so bizarrely fascinating to listen to. We’ve maybe heard one or two similar voices over eight seasons, which is an honest answer versus saying “I’ve never heard anyone like you.” She’s enough of a rarity that we’ll remember her, and that is a great thing. Team Gwen.
Krista Hughes – Hey, it’s a country girl who is not living in Nashville already! Krista is from West Virginia and had never been on airplane before coming on the show. Great voice and song choice in “Angel from Montgomery.” She has a storyteller’s tone, and we think that she could actually do music that isn’t country if she really wanted to. We came into this review expecting to be less bullish on the first three contestants, but we genuinely think that they could all go far.
Oh, and she picked Blake. Go figure. Adam called her out perfectly with how her voice changed the moment that the country boy started talking to her. Team Blake.
Janae Strother – Don’t do “Uptown Funk” as a blind audition. Just don’t. Nobody can see you grooving, and you have so much fun grooving that you start to forget that the quality of your voice matters. There just wasn’t anything that special about what she was singing, and it also felt felt like she was out of breath a few times before she got to the end. No chairs.
Chance Peña – Chance looks like he could be Grant Gustin’s little brother; if we were to follow along the fictional family tree, it’d make sense given that they’re both good singers. He did suffer from vibrato-overload and can tone that down, but here’s what he did right: Unique song choice (“I See Fire”), a surprising command of the stage for a fifteen-year-old, and a good emotional read on what he was actually singing. He’s one of the least-jaded people on here, and we do think that there something to be said for that when it comes to not having to deal with stakes and “last chances” and the other cliches we hear all the time. He can soak in everything that Adam tells him, and he even was spared the drama of picking a coach since Adam was the only one who turned. Team Adam.
Viktor Kiraly – We were curious about his story, so we looked it up and found that he is a former winner of the Hungarian singing show “Megasztár” who has released some albums in the country. He even has participated in past Eurovision contests, which are extremely popular throughout Europe and deliver big ratings. He’s not Christina Grimmie famous in terms of having an American following, but some people out there may know who he is and he, yet again, has a chance to go far.
Aside from that, vocally he’s super-strong. A great tone and a huge range. Ugh at Adam and the Hungary – hungry jokes. It was for the most part a typical deliberation other than the “you can win this show” claims, and apparently he doesn’t mind Adam’s sense of humor. Team Adam.
Julie Broadus – We have a new rule to add to the list of Ways To Tell You Are Getting No Chairs: Going into an audition caring about getting four chairs! Shouldn’t you focus on one first? Julie came across in her package as one of those people who has been great in basically everything that she has done in life, and it did not feel like we were set up to root for her. We may have actually turned around for her, just because she does fit the bill of being different. This reminded us almost of some 1920’s bar performance.
One more comment before we move on: Does anyone else find the coach feedback extremely patronizing on some of these no-chair performances? No chairs.
Cole Criske – This is your trademark sad story of the episode, but we’re not going to sit here and crack jokes about a teenager whose father died when he was ten. That’s genuinely horrible. He’s a sweet, emotional singer. Maybe not the best range in the world, but it was pretty funny seeing him lock eyes with Gwen for almost the entire time he performed. If we judged “The Voice” based mostly on visual cues, this would’ve been a lock.
We’re still trying to figure out why in the world he picked Blake. Was it that he worked with Xenia and he got a recommendation? Was he impressed with his knowledge of Temecula? Team Blake.
Alex Kandel – The former Sleeper Agent singer came on the show trying to make it as a solo artist, and this is one of those cases where a turn from the coaches was not necessarily a great thing … at least with it happening so early. Had they turned later, Alex may have been able to handle the nerves better and given a more consistent performance. Her tuning started to go off when she realized that someone in Gwen was interested in working with her. She’s a toss-up for us in the later rounds, but given that she has some notoriety and history performing, you have to assume that she could be somewhat of a live-show threat. Team Gwen.
Celeste Betton – Great on Celeste in getting a turn on Pharrell. Personally, we probably wouldn’t have turned, mostly because she hit a pretty bum note about midway through and before that we didn’t hear anything that was so outrageously compelling. She does have the passion and the soul, so this is going to just be a case of if she can get everything together at the right time for the Battle Rounds. Team Pharrell.
Andi & Alex – If we are to think back to the most memorable duo auditions ever on the show, you’ve got probably the Swon Brothers (who have found actual success since the show, a rarity) and then also Dawn & Hawkes, who Adam claimed gave his favorite audition ever on the show before he inexplicably sent them home not too long after that. These two were right up there with him, and have some of the best harmonies that we have heard on this show to date. You can tell that they’ve put real time and effort into crafting what so many other duos and trios take for granted. This is not just a natural skill, people!
In closing the show, these twins from Wisconsin had the full roster of coaches to choose from, but they went with Adam. This guy’s team is BEAST this year. We feel for everyone else.