By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
As we enter night four of the Season 11 Blind Auditions, the coaches’ (Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton, and Miley Cyrus) teams are slowly filling up.
So far this season, our favorite foursome have done their best to secure their artists by pulling out all of the stops. While Blake and Miley have each pulled out the Gwen and the Dolly cards respectively to impress their artists, Adam and Alicia’s head-on on-the-spot mentoring has definitely left a mark on their mentees.
Read on to find out if anyone got closer to complete their team and which artists might make waves during the Battle and Knockout Rounds.
Aaron Gibson was the first artist to take the stage. He hoped that his rendition of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” will get the coaches’ attention. That song that has played a prominent role in Voice history is R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion.” The alternative rock anthem catapulted Dia Frampton into the Season One finale, where she became the show’s first runner-up. Aaron’s vocals remind me of Rising Star winner and friend to the blog: Jesse Kinch. Like Jesse, Aaron’s raw and husky vocals made him stand out, and I thought that he was memorable than several artists who auditioned last week. Aaron’s voice caught the attention of Blake, Miley, and Alicia. Blake stated that his sound reminded him of his friends, Sugarland and Jennifer Nettles. Alicia said that Aaron covered one of her favorite songs and added that they should come together and create “masterful pieces of music.” Miley concluded that she would want to listen to Aaron’s music in her car and that she would challenge him as a coach by selecting tracks that will highlight his gravely vocals. Because of her pitch, Aaron picked Miley to be his coach!
26-year-old Simone Gundy came all the way from Arlington, Texas to audition for the show. The young mother balances raising her son, Isiah, and working with a solar company and performing full-time. The song that she performed “I (Who Have Nothing)” has been an Idol standard and it was hard for me to give Simone’s interpretation a chance when friend-of-the-blog Haley Reinhart’s version of the tune will stand the test of time. Luckily, Adam and Miley were the two coaches that turn around. Simone picked Adam to be her coach.
25-year-old Josh Gallagher decided to pursue his music career after he failed to keep his grades up in college. He decided to bring his experience performing in clubs to the Voice stage. Josh played Brothers Osbourne’s “Stay A Little Longer.” While I was impressed with his country voice, I felt that he was too cookie cutter for me. However, Blake and Alicia turned their chairs around. While Miley stated that she regretted turning around, she advised Josh to join Alicia’s team. Alicia said that “country, the blues, and soul” were all brothers and wanted to make magic with him. Meanwhile, Blake brought out the Nashville card and Josh took it hook, line, and sinker.
28-year-old Gabriel Violett is a St. Louis native who lives in New York City as a onesies model. While he likes modeling, Gabriel wanted to make music his full-time career. He brought his experience performing on Broadway’s Spring Awakening to the show. I have to say that Gabriel made the Midwest proud, and his version of the Shawn Mendes tune (“Treat You Better”) was leaps and bounds better than the original. His cover caught the attention of both Alicia and Blake. Alicia stated that he did a beautiful job with the song, while Blake repeated himself about the odd artist-coach relationship. Thankfully, Gabriel decided to enlist with Team Alicia.
As Gabriel celebrated with his family, piano man Michael Sanchez wanted to make his family proud with his Blind Audition. He tackled Bill Withers’ “Use Me” and his unique vocal reminded me of Taylor Hicks! The only coach that was not surprised by Michael’s performance was Alicia! This pairing might be an interesting combination.
17-year-old Darby Walker was the next artist to take The Voice stage. Some audience members might know her from her time on the Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World. She chose to perform Florence + the Machine’s cover of “Stand By Me.” Her tone is something I have not seen on this show since its inception in 2011. Darby’s superb performance caught the attention of Miley, Alicia, and Blake. Miley and Darby immediately bonded with “grandmother power” and the “Wrecking Ball” singer did an impromptu duet of her godmother, Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” with her. As Miley left the stage, Alicia told Darby to “never lose her individuality” and they belted a few bars of “No One.” Despite Alicia’s last minute duet, Darby chose Miley to be her coach!
32-year-old Austin Allsup is a second generation musician and is the son of music legend Tommy Allsup and hoped The Voice could help him continue to blaze a trail of his own. He covered Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” and he was the first of the night to give me a strong case of the goosies. Austin’s incredible tone and compelling storytelling won me over! Thank goodness, Blake (who performed alongside Austin during his early days) turned around.
16-year-old Khaliya Kimberlie is part of a Native American family and wanted to leave her family’s New Mexico reservation to audition for the show. She tackled rising country star Kelsea Ballerini’s “Dibs.” I liked her tone, falsetto and the way that she commanded the stage. She became the first country artist to be in Blake and Miley’s showdown. Miley was impressed with Khaliya’s low tones and instantly bonded with her for being interested in alternative music as well. Despite Blake’s best intentions to introducing her to Nashville, Khaliya became the latest member of Team Miley!
18-year-old Halle Tomlinson is a Barney & Friends alum and was in her parents’ performing arts studio in Texas. However, after her family’s school was closed, her folks divorced and Halle moved with her to my adoptive hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Tonight, she tackled Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” a song that both Sisaundra Lewis and India Carney performed on their respective seasons of the show. However, while both ladies shifted their vocal performances into turbo, Halle’s subtle approach was music to my ears and also caught the attention of both Adam and Alicia. She picked her musical hero, Alicia, to be her mentor.
Returning artist, Nolan Neal, came back to the show for a second chance of redemption. While he did not get any chairs to turn around last time around, Nolan fought for his performing career with a rock-infused version of one of my all-time Elton John songs: “Tiny Dancer.” I have fond memories watching one of my favorites, Will Champlin, perform this song with Adam during the Season Five finale. He proved that perseverance paid off as all four coaches turned around! Adam stated that Nolan would be the first returning artist to win his season, while Miley compared him to her father. Alicia added that he would inspire this generation in music, while Blake stated that he was an accomplished vocalist and advised him to go with the seasoned veterans over the newbies. Despite having a crush on Alicia for ten years, Nolan wanted to join Adam’s team.
Next week, The Blinds continue!