By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
The Queen of The Voice is back!
The six-time Grammy winner returned to her chair after an absence of two seasons.
Her fellow original coaches, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, plus fan-favorite coach Pharrell will round out this season’s coaching panel.
Tonight marked the first Blind Auditions of Season Eight! Which artists caught the attention of the coaches? Read on to find out….
Before the Season Eight Blind Auditions got underway, all four coaches joined forces with an energetic cover of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” This was an awesome performance and it was wonderful to hear Christina harmonize with Adam, play with Pharrell and hang out with her next door chair neighbor: four-time winning Voice coach Blake Shelton.
The first Blind Audition of the season belonged to 34-year-old Sarah Potenza! I fell in love with her cover of Faces’ “Stay With Me” during the first four notes. She successfully embodied a category that we have been missing for a couple of seasons: a powerhouse female rocker! I am so happy that she got all four coaches to turn around. At first, the coaches panicked with the fact that Sarah was from Nashville and Blake would pick her. However, the real battle was between Adam and Pharrell. Both coaches really wanted her on their team. Pharrell declared themselves necklace twins and Adam wanted her to be a rock-and-roll star. Despite the duel between the coaches, Sarah picked Blake!
Chris Mann remains one of the best crooners that has ever appeared on The Voice! However, he may have to watch his crown as 19-year-old Lowell Oakley crooned his way to the Battle Rounds. His polished cover of the standard “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” gave me chills and is worthy of a recording contract. His impeccable vocal styling caught the attention of only two coaches: Adam and Pharrell! The “Happy” singer wanted to help him navigate this journey and because of Pharrell’s pitch, Lowell picked him over Adam.
One of the most inspiring stories of the night belonged to Rob Taylor. When his mom suffered a stroke, he stopped his schooling to take care of her. His mom told him to audition for the show and when he stepped onto the stage, his cover of “I Want You” showcased a falsetto that would give Adam Lambert and Ryan Tedder a run for his money. Xtina, Adam and Pharrell duked it out, but the Queen of The Voice fought tooth and nail to grab him and was successful. Christina also showed her commitment to Rob, when she went backstage to meet Rob’s family.
20-year-old Cody Wickline is the only member of his family that can carry a tune. While he started at 16-years-old, his baritone vocals not only gave me chills, but he caught the attention of all four coaches! He also received the first standing ovation of Season Eight! I also agreed with Adam that Cody’s performance was the best country performance that I have ever seen. Before he went on stage, he told the camera that he would pick either Pharrell or Blake, he stuck with his plan and picked the four-time winning coach to be his mentor.
Treeva Gibson’s powerful voice was one of the highlights of the season premiere. Her licorice-like voice satisfied my ear candy and her powerful belting notes not only made me smile, but also caught the attention of both Blake and Christina. While a bulk of the coaches stated that there were some pitch issues, Pharrell stated that her voice reminded him of Stevie Nicks. Because both of her parents were deaf, Treeva signed her decision to join Team Christina.
28-year-old Meghan Linsey was part of country duo Steel Magnolia. She broke up with her boyfriend in 2011, because of the craziness that fame brought. Meghan auditioned for The Voice and received a second chance as she caught the attention of Adam, Pharrell and Xtina. Her raspy vocals beautifully remind me of Jennifer Nettles and her cover of “Love Hurts” gave me my first set of goosies! As Blake was shocked to see her (they toured together in an early part of her career), Pharrell and Xtina were outdoing each other. While Christina fought extra hard for Meghan, Pharrell swooped in for a kill and picked himself another artist!
The final Blind Audition of the night belonged to Sawyer Fredericks. The 15-year-old was the youngest contestant of the night and he lives on his family farm. While he likes farming with his family, his real passion is music. His powerful tone began an all-out war between the coaches as all four fought to have him on their team. At the end of the night, he picked Pharrell to be his coach.
Tomorrow night, “The Voice: Season Eight” Blind Auditions continue!