The final night of Blind Auditions brings out some of its strongest singers, including one of the season’s very best — somehow saved until there was only one Coach left with any room on their Team.
It was time to wrap up the Blind Auditions on “The Voice,” and they definitely saved some of their best contestants for last. Remarkably, they saved one of their very best for the very last.
By the time this late-blooming singer hit the stage, there was only one Coach left who could have turned for them, but everyone seemed to agree that this would have been a four-chair turn if possible. To think, that means they were that close from missing out altogether.
Another shocking moment came with a surprise trio that left Gwen Stefani’s jaw hanging open from the moment she saw them. On top of that, they brought incredible harmonies and a truly unique vibe that will definitely stand out as the night progresses.
The night was just full of surprises, including John Legend losing out on a superfan of his to a fellow coach, who said they just followed their heart in the moment — to another coach. Then again, there’s always the Steal, so they may meet up yet.
Speaking of John, he landed his first-ever country artist as well, so it’s already shaping up to be a season with a slightly different flavor. And after some of the talent we’ve seen across these first five nights, it’s going to be a (mostly) strong season, too.
There was also remarkable artistry, with a very cool stripped-down take on a Whitney Houston classic that brought out a whole new flavor, plus a modern country track that sounded like no country song we’ve ever heard before!
Some of these Battles coming up next week are going to be absolutely brutal!
Fair warning, since I’m safe at home, I’m probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Blake Shelton. And just for fun, I’m going to rank the performances from worst to first to see who my favorites are.
(“Drunk Me,” Jared Ming – 32, Honolulu, HI) Well, this was just a bizarre juxtaposition of power belting on a country track. It made almost no sense vocally, and it didn’t really work. His falsetto didn’t hit the right note. Honestly, this was like a theater performer trying to do country without really connecting with the message at all.
(“God Bless the Child,” Billie Holiday – 32, Nashville, TN) This may be the busiest contestant of the season, in graduate school, working 12-hour shifts as a nurse and raising three kids. And now she’s carved out time to pursue her dreams. She had a very cool, throwback vibe to her vocals with a gentle, slow vibrato, but she missed a few too many notes, including a key huge one toward the end, that probably cost her this shot.
Result: Blake, Kelly full — NO CHAIR TURNS
(“Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd – 15, Grand Rapids, MI) Skylar came in obsessed with Kelly, desperately wanting her to turn for her performance. And she quickly got her wish, as Kelly turned quickly. From there, though, she hit quite a few bum notes, though that could have been her unbridled excitement. The real key is that she’s totally teachable and now in the hands of one of her vocal idols, who really can do a lot to help her develop and grow in this competition.
(“I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Marvin Gaye – 31, Detroit, MI) Apropos’ career highlight so far has been Elton John playing his record on his radio show and saying he loved it, which we have to admit is pretty damned cool. He came with a lot of confidence in himself and his voice, and yet we found ourselves immediately missing those high notes Marvin made famous on this track. He had cool grit and a rich tone, but it stayed all at one level and in one place throughout.
(“When You Say Nothing at All,” Keith Whitley – 26, Siloam Springs, AR) After growing up singing classic country tunes at her family’s Opry, Tori reconnected with her father at 18 years old and found her biggest supporter, until he passed from his years of addiction last year.
From the beginning, she had a beautifully gentle rasp to her voice, filled with emotion and heart. She said she could channel her pain and life experience into her music, and that was absolutely true. Even without showing any strength or range, she had us feeling the story of the track. We’d have liked a little more variety in the performance, especially as she missed that late run just a bit.
Result: Blake, Kelly full — TEAM GWEN
(“Someone You Loved,” Lewis Capaldi – 22, Larkspur, CO) This is one of the most emotionally wrought songs out there, and it takes a special kind of singer to bring out that cry. Lain isn’t completely there, but he definitely showed he’s got that kind of potential, slipping into his head voice and showing off a solid vocal range, even if he missed a few of his higher notes. All in all, though, he proved he’s got a lot of potential. Later, it was revealed he’s a huge John Legend fan, which pretty much doomed Gwen having a shot at this one. And then, in the biggest shocker of the night, he chose Gwen, which had her beside herself with excitement!
Result: John, Gwen turn — TEAM GWEN
(“Does My Ring Burn Your Finger,” Lee Ann Womack – 18, Roberta, OK) Bailey has actually made quite a local name for herself, with incredible support from her family, who go to all her gigs and are helping her build that name and career. With only two coaches left to impress, and Blake and Kelly out of it, it might have seemed she’d have a harder road, but she got John to turn pretty quickly as he’s been looking for a country voice.
While we wanted a little more dynamic range in her storytelling, she definitely has a classic old-school country sound that rings true. She has a lovely bend to her voice, power for days, solid pitch and just a great, classic sound. And with Gwen not turning, she becomes the first-ever country singer John Legend has ever coached.
Result: Blake, Kelly full — TEAM LEGEND
(“Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” Jim Croce – 32, Denver, NC) At 6’7”, this guy literally towers over the competition — and even Blake Shelton! A former baseballer, he’s now full-on Mr. Mom, having shifted his priorities entirely to music and family. As an athlete, he’s primed to take coaching, but we’re not sure how much he’ll need. His storytelling ability came through from the first line, and his diction was actually really pleasant. It was the perfect song choice for him as he feels so authentic on it.
Result: Blake, Gwen turn — TEAM BLAKE
(“When Will I Be Loved,” Linda Ronstadt – Tara, 47; Mia, 15, Jacy, 13; Centre, AL) This mother/daughters trio went viral after spontaneously singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to cheer up a cashier (recorded by another woman in line unbeknownst to them), and that moment launched their careers. They also revealed that the original trio included older sister Sadie, but after she had a special needs son, she was forced to leave the group.
Gwen hit her button with the first line, so she didn’t even know they were dealing with a trio yet. As soon as those harmonies hit, though, every other chair turned. They really had some great moments in this, with stunning harmonies, but it wasn’t until their final notes that they showed just how beautifully they can riff together, finding harmonies in runs that are just joyful to hear.
We absolutely love that Gwen, battling this trio’s country music affinity, pulled out a Trace Adkins video basically encouraging them to choose her if they want a chance at winning (because he used up all his luck scoring an amazing girlfriend-now-fiancee).
Result: Gwen, Blake, John, Kelly turn — TEAM BLAKE
(“How Will I Know,” Whitney Houston – 20, Clarksville, TN) Emmalee got a track on “The Young & the Restless” and otherwise has been gigging in Nashville, so she’s definitely got some real-world experience doing this. We kind of quickly fell in love with this stripped-down groove of Whitney’s classic hit. She was able to show off a ton of range and control right off the bat, proving that the confidence she came in with is actually earned. We’d have liked a little bit more of an emotional connection in her actual performance, but there’s no denying her talent.
Result: Blake full; John, Kelly turn — TEAM KELLY
(“Alaska,” Maggie Rogers – 21, Poland, OH) This college student lost three of her four jobs when the pandemic hit, which made her unable to afford to stay in Tennessee, so she had to move back home. Luckily, she got a job there and was able to attend school remotely.
Her unique tone got John’s attention immediately, followed by Gwen and Kelly. There is a haunting quality to her tone that fit perfectly on this unique Rogers’ track. She showed a lot of versatility and range throughout her performance, but it’s that indefinable vocal quality that really makes her stand out.
Result: John, Gwen, Kelly turn — TEAM LEGEND
(“Watermelon Sugar,” Harry Styles – 30, West Hills, CA) James didn’t admit he could sing until he was 20 and has only done three gigs in the past decade, scared to think of himself as a singer good enough for opportunities like this.
But, like, what? He is absolutely incredible, he slayed all the unique nuances of this song, while injecting it with his own killer vibe. Seriously, right off the bat he has such a signature style that’s all his own, like a true artist. Even had there been other coaches to fight with, John would have probably turned for him. He’s just that cool, with a great range, cool tone and everything you want in a contestant.
Result: Blake, Kelly, Gwen full — TEAM LEGEND
“The Voice” returns with the Battle Rounds next Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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