By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
The Voice: Season 12 Blind Auditions is about to hit the home stretch.
Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani have only tonight and Tuesday to fill up their teams!
Before we get to this evening’s Blind Auditions, here are where the teams stand:
Team Adam: Taylor Alexander, Gaby Borromeo, Malik Davage, Kawan DeBose, Johnny Hayes, Mark Isaiah, Jesse Larson, Josh West, & Julien Martinez.
Team Alicia: Jack Cassidy, Lauryn Judd, Missy Robertson, Quizz Swanigan, Lilli Passero, Anatalia Villaranda, Felicia Temple, & Autumn Turner.
Team Blake: Brennley Brown, Lauren Duski, Josh Hoyer, Casi Joy, Ashley Levin, Aliyah Moulden & Micah Tryba.
Team Gwen: JChosen, Johnny Gates, Aaliyah Rose, Troy Ramey, Savannah Leighton, Brandon Royal, Stephanie Rice, & Caroline Sky.
Who was the first coach to fill up their team? Who were the artists that secured spots to join the Voice family? Read on to find out.
As the coaches unanimously agreed that they each had one artist that could win the show, 30-year-old full-time musician Kenny P hoped to get the attention of all four coaches. He hoped that his take of Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me.” Kenny P’s voice was a breath of fresh air; I loved his upper register and the conviction in his voice. I am surprised that only Gwen and Blake turned around for him. Blake liked the way Kenny attacked the notes, plus thought his mustache was “cool.” Blake also added that he cared about Kenny and his connection to Nashville, however, Gwen tried to talk about trying to blend his style and his voice. I am very excited to see what Kenny P does as a member of Team Gwen!
While some of the coaches admired Gwen’s hats, medical assistant Enid Ortiz was trying to shake out her nerves. Enid hoped that she could turn to music full-time. When she sang the first notes of Adele’s “All I Ask,” I instantly got a strong case of the goose bumps. Enid’s powerful voice blew the entire Universal Studios Hollywood audience away, and I prayed that Clive Davis and LA Reid were watching the performance. Thank goodness that Blake turned around at the last second because the season would not have the same without her.
18-year-old Guitar Center employee RJ Collins came from a family of self-taught musicians and hoped to catch the attention of the coaches. He dedicated his Blind Audition to his late brother, Randy, who was gunned down by police in 2009. RJ performed Justin Bieber’s “Purpose,” and while I am still on the fences on the “Sorry” singer’s version, RJ turned this song into a solid hit. However, the only thing that I would recommend to RJ is to watch his pitch, because he was off during a few moments in the song. RJ caught the attention of both Adam and Alicia! Adam called RJ’s voice: “the winning voice” and added that he would make his season if he chose him as his coach. Meanwhile, Alicia stated that RJ’s soul came through this music and added his vocals had no limit. Despite Adam’s best efforts, RJ chose Team Alicia.
As Adam did his best Blake impression, 29-year-old T-Soul did not get into music until he was in high school and went global as a member of a gospel choir. He has also seen success as T-Soul performed on both the Apollo and the Howard Theatres. T-Soul performed a sensational cover of “Take Me to the River” that Reverend Al Green would proudly give T-Soul his stamp of approval. This was one of my favorite Blind Audition performances of the night, in fact, T-Soul was the first artist to get me up and dance. Adam and Blake turned their chairs around, and Alicia and Gwen rallied around the men respectfully. However, T-Soul went with Team Blake.
As Blake bragged his ability to work with various contestants, 15-year-old Hanna Eyre’s family was trying to calm down her nerves. Her father surprised Hanna with the news that he signed her up to audition for the coaches. The piano teacher held back her nerves as she delivered an interesting take on Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” I think Hanna had one of the strongest voices that I heard from the 15 to the 21-year-old crowd so far this season. I am glad that she caught the attention of Adam, Blake, and Gwen. Adam tried to steal the Danielle Bradbery card from Blake during his comments, while Gwen tried to relate to her and brought her No Doubt roots for the umpteenth time. Blake loved her approach and admired her great range and charisma. He also added that Hanna’s voice made him excited to be a coach. Hanna was Team Adam’s first recruit of the night!
As Adam met Hanna’s family, longtime fan 20-year-old Hunter Plake auditioned for the show. After losing his house and car in the Baton Rouge floods, he turned to his favorite show for a brand-new start. Hunter’s voice reminded me a lot of Season Five alum Will Champlin because he has the same crystal clear voice that carried Team Adam finalist to his season’s finale. Alicia and Gwen turned around for Hunter. Alicia liked Hunter’s unique “record-like” tone and added that she did not have an artist like Hunter on his team. Meanwhile, Gwen felt that Hunter could connect his music to his heart and share it with the people. Hunter went with his gut and became the latest member of Team Alicia!
Sammie hoped to please the ears of the coaches and make her family and fiancé proud with her acoustic interpretation of Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman.” It was probably one of the unique arrangements that I heard from Paul Mirkovich and The Voice band so far this season. As for Sammie’s her superb husky vocal performance caught the attention of Gwen Stefani. I think she could be a wild card artist to watch out as we go into the Battle Rounds.
It is precarious to cover Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” on performance-based Reality TV shows. Both American Idol alumni Adam Lambert and Jeneve Mitchell faced the consequences for their interesting takes on the June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore-penned anthem. However, for 32-year-old El Paso native Valerie Ponzio, she got the best wish that anyone who auditioned for The Voice can ask for: get the attention of all four coaches! During her performance, I felt like I was listening to a young Jennifer Nettles with a little bit of Shakira’s vocal spice. Alicia stated that Valerie’s performance was full of “so many beautiful things,” while Adam added that Valerie was the most well-rounded vocalist they have heard so far this season. Valerie even stated how much she idolized Gwen growing up and the former No Doubt frontwoman returned the favor and added that she was obsessed with Valerie. As Gwen gave Valerie a kiss on the cheek, Alicia wanted to work with Valerie on exposing the blues-soul portion of her Americana-stylized vocals. Blake rounded out the coaches’ feedback by adding that he would help Valerie establish relationships with both Nashville and the country music fan base. At the end of the evening, Valerie chose to enlist with Team Blake!
Tomorrow night, The Season 12 Blind Auditions conclude!