Recap: ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions, Part 5
Tonight, it’s the night we’ve been waiting for – the last of the blind auditions! I am slightly tempted to just link to the Hulu video for the show and call it a night (because I’m so ready for the competition to begin), but I’m going to do my duty. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
First up is Whitney Meyer, age 25, from Reno, Nevada.
Her Story: She sings lead vocals in a pop-soul-funk band with her uncle and father. They’re not making enough money in the band to earn a stable living and her dream is to make music her career.
Her Song: “The One” by Alicia Keys.
Her Voice: Pure, melodic, and soulful. She really does have a great voice for a pop-soul-funk band.
Who Turns Their Chairs: Adam is listening intently, with his head down and presses his button. After the first chorus, Cee Lo turns around, and soon after, Blake follows. And just as she’s finishing up, Christina turns around. A unanimous vote!
What the Judges Say: Adam says she has “that thing” and sounds like Mary J. Also, he reminds her, “I pressed that @#$ first.” Cee Lo loves “a great performance from a sincere vocalist,” and feels the audience reacted to her well. Christina felt she made the song her own. Blake is glad he pushed his button sooner rather than later because he enjoyed watching her perform. And then, he says, “Choose me, don’t choose me, I’m a fan!” What a compliment! But then, Adam, as he is wont to do, one ups Blake – he says he believes Whitney can win this whole thing and he’ll do everything he can to help her. Christina adds that she’ll nurture Whitney. Cee Lo stays mum. I guess he’s out of this.
Who She Chooses: Adam’s final plea got to her, I guess – she goes with Team Adam!
Carson tells us that Adam only has one spot left on his team. Ooooh!
David Dunn, 27, from Midland, Texas, is next. I have a friend from Midland! Hi Lauren!
His Story: He has an engineering degree. All the men in his family work for his father, but he is the self-described black sheep. And his father sounds skeptical about his son pursuing “his music passion,” saying “we’ll see how long this lasts.” I really hope David does well. It would be so painful to have to face his father after this.
His Song: “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved“ by The Script
His Voice: It’s captivating from the first moment you hear it – pure and gritty, melodic and heartfelt. I like him.
Who Turns Their Chairs: All the judges are looking at each other as if to ask the others why they aren’t pressing their buttons. If I had a fifth chair, I’d be looking at everyone like they’re crazy. Ultimately, no one turns around.
What the Judges Say: The crowd is crazy about him, but the judges are just lukewarm, I guess. No one offers any legit explanation – they just say good luck and acknowledge that he already has fans.
We haven’t had many groups this year, so The Shields Brothers from Rixeyville, Virginia, are a welcome anamoly.
Their Story: They live on a farm with their parents and are looking to get out. They’re a true garage band – they have their studio space set up in their parents’ garage. However, they have a sweet deal – they’ve been living off their parents for the past 5 years making music and their father seems ready for them to leave. Before they get on stage, they say, “America is ready to be punched in the face with rock and roll.” Okay then. I’m scared.
Their Song: “Dancing with Myself” by Billy Idol. This is one of my favorites song choices so far.
Their Voices: They have surprisingly good melody and tone control for rock artists – I could see them being a boy band in another era.
Who Turns Their Chairs: Cee Lo is bopping along and presses his button mid-bop. Near the end of the song, they start breaking it down. Christina looks scared.
What the Judges Say: Everyone agrees that their chaotic energy will work well with Cee Lo. Cee Lo picked them because they were a duo and they chose Billy Idol. Team Cee Lo for the Shields Brothers!
Twenty-one year old Chessa from Honolulu, Hawaii is up next.
Her Story: Chessa and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was very young so Chessa could pursue music. In order to make ends’ meet, her parents opened up an elderly care facility in their home and they moved into the garage
Her Song: “If I Were A Boy” by Beyonce
Her Voice: She’s a true alto – her voice is deep and resonant, reminiscent of Tracy Chapman, but with a more soaring high end. She sounds like she’s trying too hard, though.
Who Turns Their Chairs: Cee Lo almost does, but then hears her get a little pitchy, so holds back. Ultimately, though, the audience goes crazy for her right before her final note and Cee Lo hits his button.
What the Judges Say: Cee Lo gives Chessa his support and flirts with her. Welcome to Team Cee Lo!
Cee Lo and Adam only have one open spot on their teams, while Christina and Blake have two apiece.
What spot will our next contestant, sixty-four year old Preston Shannon, from Memphis, Tennessee, fill (oh geez, I’m starting to sound like Carson)?
His Story: He’s the “King of Beale Street,” the blues district in Memphis. He wants to take his career to the next level and hopes The Voice will at the very least, provide some training.
His Song: “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett
His Voice: Gravelly and weathered – he sounds his age.
Who Turns Their Chairs: No one seems too excited about poor Preston. And no one turns their chairs. At least he has Beale Street to go back to.
What the Judges Say: “BEEP!” and “You’re cooler than we are.” (both Adam)
Lex Land, 24 years old, from Austin, Texas, is up next.
Her Story: She’s a music camp counselor who gave up classical training to work on singer-songwriter music. She is dressed like a 1940s pin-up. I like her look.
Her Song: “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
Her Voice: Easy listening, all the way. I could envision her on the radio after an introduction by Delilah.
Who Turns Their Chairs: Cee Lo hits his button and Adam immediately follows. Right before the first chorus, Blake hits his button. In the watch room, Carson remarks that she sounds nervous, “but is still killing it.”
What the Judges Say: Cee Lo remarks on her pitchiness and nervousness, but appreciated her lower registers. Adam said, “the whole audience felt a sultry situation happening,” and compares her to Adele and Sade. He wants to make her more like Sade. Blake loved her lower registers too – he finds her lower register unique. And then he does a weird exhaling like he’s nervous thing that sounds pervy. Adam calls Blake, “premature.” Gross.
Who She Chooses: The exhaling apparently worked (as did the not talking about her pitchiness) – Lex is on Team Blake!
Cameron Noveck, 27, from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, is next to audition.
His Story: He describes himself as a “jack of all genres” – hip hop, R&B, and opera are the genres he mentions. He freestyles with Carson in the waiting room. I’m pretty impressed, which is annoying because he’s super cocky.
His Song: “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette
His Voice: Breathy and shaky. I’d compare him to Jonathan Davis of Korn, but he’s not as hard as Davis.
Who Turns Their Chairs: No one. They all look skeptical and bored. Carson even says, “He was great. He was, uh, good.”
What the Judges Say: Adam: “I did not expect you to look that way. How are you not a woman?” Cameron freestyles and Cee Lo gets the whole audience to chant, “Cheat!” as Cee Lo requests that producers let Camreon on his team. No cigar though.
Before we go to commercial, Betty White sings “Let’s Get it On,” upstaging Zach Efron, as he auditions for the cast of the Lorax. And the Lorax chooses Betty White for his team. Zach Efron gets no love – except he looks more like a man now, and not like a boy. It’s weird. I wonder when he’ll be in a live action movie again.
Aaaanyway… Carson surprises Orlando Napier, a 25 year old Los Angeleno, as he unloads his keyboard from his SUV.
His Story: He started partying at age 13 (which caused a falling out with his father) and didn’t stop until age 23, when he went to jail after getting in a fight with his girlfriend. He wrote music in jail and found it was a great outlet. Orlando reconciled with his father after getting out of jail and they now play in the same band (Orlando plays keys and his dad plays tenor sax). Orlando says he’s going to try to get his dad to play for him if he gets far enough in the show. Aw!
His Song: “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer.
His Voice: Smooth and clear – very much like John Mayer, but a little more raw.
Who Turns Their Chairs: Adam presses his button in the first 5 seconds of Orlando’s performance. And no one else chooses him.
What the Judges Say: Adam heard an “impeccable, smooth timing,” and instantly needed him. So Orlando Napier is the final member of Team Adam.
With Team Adam full, hopefully 27 year old Lee Koch, from Temecula, California, will impress Blake, Cee Lo, and/or Christina.
His Story: He bakes breads and scones and other baked goods in his friends’ bakery with his wife. He wants to be a musician, not a baker who pursues music. Also, I think he’s the first person in history to describe a food service business/restaurant as being “secure.”
His Song: “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
His Voice: Throaty and fizzy – he reminds me of late 90s rock groups, like Third Eye Blind or Better than Ezra.
Who Turns Their Chairs: When he starts up with the harmonica at the end, after he finished his singing, Christina pushes her button.
What the Judges Say: Christina feels he’s unique and loved the harmonica. Adam was upset his team was full – he implies he could have served Lee better. Christina promises she won’t do him wrong. Lee is so happy to have the chance, he’s nearly crying. Welcome to Team Christina!
WADE (yes, in all caps), from Harvest, Alabama is up next.
His Story: He grew up listening to records of the R&B greats – Al Green, Marvin Gaye, etc. He wants to follow in their footsteps.
His Song: “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. After all that talk about old school artists, this is a surprise song choice.
His Voice: He has and old school, gospel-y voice. It’s neat. I’m excited to see what he’ll do with other songs.
Who Turns Their Chairs: In the middle, Cee Lo gets an “oh, what the hell!” look on his face and gleefully slaps down his button.
What the Judges Say: Blake had fun listening to him. Adam thought his inflections were sick and was so glad someone chose him. Cee Lo got nostalgic about Amy Winehouse listening to him. WADE is the last member of Team Cee Lo.
Team Cee Lo is full, and in celebration, Cee Lo-feld kisses his cat. Again, not a euphemism.
Blake and Christina are looking for one more artist each. Twenty-two year old country singer, Adley Stump from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is up next. Maybe she’ll join Team Blake…
Her Story: First of all, she’s very pretty for having such an unfortunate name. She started singing 10 months ago, in her sorority at Oklahoma State University. Her mom is a little loopy – she tells Carson that she knew Adley would be a singer because when she was potty training her, she would sing her ABCs for Skittles. Adley looks like she wants to crawl into her beaded headband and die of embarrassment.
Her Song: “Last Name” by Carrie Underwood.
Her Voice: A traditional, girl power, raspy country voice. She really has a nice powerhouse pop-country voice, and yeah, she sounds like Carrie Underwood.
Who Turns Their Chairs: No one looks too into this performance. Adley’s mom is having a conniption backstage. And suddenly, Blake and Christina look at each other and both press their buttons.
What the Judges Say: Blake likes her name. When he saw Christina getting interested in her, he decided he couldn’t let a country vocalist go to Christina. Christina says Adley has chops. When Blake asks what that means, Christina tells him, “you wouldn’t know because you aren’t a real vocalist.” Oooooh! Then Christina apologizes and tells Blake they’ll still go fishing. Blake says he’ll drown her. Right. P.S. Christina did not explain chops. I bet she doesn’t know what they are either!
Who She Chooses: Before she chooses her coach, Adley tells Christina that she and her sorority sisters would sing and dance to “Lady Marmalade” all the time, but the she chooses Team Blake!
And now, Team Blake is complete! Christina has one more spot left on her team.
A Loser’s Parade: pitchy, emotionless, pitchy and out of breath.
Before Christina finds her last team member, Danny Devito sings “Three Times a Lady” for the Lorax and company, and he’s not on any team by the end of it. Aw. The Lorax did not like it.
Sera Hill, 24, from Atlanta, Georgia, is the next hopeful for that final spot.
Her Story: She works hard and is very determined. She sings at the front desk of the hotel where she works – not for her job, just for fun.
Her Song: “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige
Her Voice: She’s a strong female R&B vocalist. She’s great, no bones about it.
Does Christina Turn Her Chair?: After the first chorus – yes! Team Christina for Sera!
What the Judges Say: Christina gets on the stage and sings a duet with Sera. It’s pretty awesome!
And so end the blind auditions. Next week? The Battle Rounds! Finally!
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