The Voice Season 9

New season of the Voice kicked off. We’re almost through the Blind Auditions.

It’s still very early to have much opinion on the contestants. There are some good ones, some less good ones.

Mostly starting this thread as a placeholder.

Battle Rounds started.

Jordan Smith vs Regina Love, Team Adam: Jordan is the chubby guy who sang “Chandelier”. Regina is a radio host who had a record deal with Evander Holyfield, but that fell through. Adam gave them “Like I Can”, by Sam Smith. I’m not familiar with the song. I walked in preferring Jordan from the Blind Auditions. He’s got a different voice. Regina, something about her singing doesn’t excite me. For the Battle, both of them did something odd in their first line where it drew out a bit. I don’t know if that’s the song or them, but it sounded off to me. Anyway, they both did well, but I prefer Jordan’s voice. There’s an edge or something in Regina’s that bothers me. Jordan won IMO.

Adam picked Jordan - yay. Given the comments from the other coaches and how they wouldn’t say anything definitive, I thought maybe they were wanting to steal. But only Gwen hits the steal, and she said she didn’t plan to, she was just moved in the moment.

Tyler Dickerson vs Zach Seabaugh, Team Blake: Tyler had a country record deal as a kid, but it ended. I don’t think we saw his audition. Zach is a 16 year old football player who wowed the coaches with his deep voice. Blake picked “I’m Gonna Be Somebody” by Travis Tritt. During the Battle, Tyler was energetic, but Zach had a smoother voice and better tone. All the coaches seem to thing Tyler didn’t quite do enough. Blake picked Zach, and I agree.

Ellie Lawrence vs Tim Atlas, Team Gwen: Ellie is the indie pop girl with blue hair, calling Gwen “the Queen of Ska”. Tim is another I think we missed his Blind Audition. Both have quirky soft voices. Gwen gave them “Sweater Weather” by The Neighborhood. During the Battle, Tim starts a little shaky, Ellie has her quirky voice going. Both did about equally well, but not amazing to me. Tim had an intensity, but Ellie was more animated and comfortable with the performance. Both Adam and Pharrell liked Tim’s delivery of the first line. :confused: Blake and Adam both pick Tim, but Ellie is a quirky voiced Indie girl just like Gwen, and she picked Ellie. Pharrell stole Tim. Interesting.

Celeste Betton vs Mark Hood, Team Pharrell: Celeste is the short haired black lady who sings gospel, Mark is the guy who was sent to an agricultural high school. Pharrell gives them “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. During the Battle, Mark does some weird clappy gesture during the line “ain’t no mountain high enough”. They have some good choreography going on together. He does a great shuffle step. Their back and forth is great. I like his voice a bit better than hers. It was exciting and entertaining. Blake calls Pharrell “little buddy”. (Don’t do that.) Pharrell picks Mark. Yay.

Dustin Monk vs James Dupre, Team Adam: Both are countryish singers that Adam beat out Blake to get. Adam gave them “Fortunate Son” by Creedance Clearwater Revival. And he had John Fogerty advising. They reworked the arrangement a bit to fit their voices and styles better. That was smart of Adam, to move away from duplicating Fogerty. They both have good voices and delivery good performances. There’s something smooth and even in James’ voice that I liked. Gwen and Pharrell both lean toward James’ easy voice. Adam goes with James.

Barrett Baber vs Dustin Christensen, Team Blake: Barrett is the teacher who survived an airplane crash. Dustin is the hat wearing guy with the Neil Diamond voice. Blake assigned them “Walking in Memphis” by Mark Cohen. Both are great singers with great voices. Both give great performances, and both find ways to be creative and show off a bit. Very even Battle. I leaned a hair toward Barrett, possibly just because he’s from Arkansas. Blake picked Barrett. Adam steals Dustin. Gwen tries to steal him, but he goes with Adam. Both seem like they will do well.

Battles night 2.

Keith Semple vs Manny Cabo, Team Adam: Keith is the Irish rock guy. Manny is the fashion photographer that wants to be a singer. Adam gave them “Baba O’Riley” (Teenage Wasteland) by The Who. Both are pretty good in the classic rock genre, so they are the natural pairing. That was a great battle! They were strongly matched on ability and on stage presence. Both hit all their notes. Both had strong voices. I had a very slight preference for Keith’s voice. This is a tough call. Adam apparently agreed with me and picked Keith. Manny was great, but the judges apparently are looking at some other people they really want, so he’s out.

Chris Crump vs Krista Hughes, Team Blake: He’s a pop guy, she’s the small town country girl. Blake assigned them “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley and Dolly Partin. Blake and Brad realize the song isn’t a fair fit for Krista, it’s a male vocalist’s song. So he rewrites some lines and melody for her. Wow. Both deliver on the emotion and connection with the song. The judges mention Krista missed a few notes, but I didn’t notice. Blake ends up keeping Chris.

Montage time.

Pharrell picked Madi Davis over Sydney Rhame.

Gwen picked Jeffery Austin over Noah Jackson and Kota Wade over Alex Kandel.

Hard to know what to think about those.

Ivonne Acero vs Siahna Im, Team Pharrell: Ivonne is the returning migrant worker girl, Siahna is the quirky Korean girl who did that smooth sultry song. He gave them “You Keep Me Hanging On” by the Supremes. Both are young. Ivonne is particularly nervous and unsure how to perform, to open up to the audience and be confident and loose. They keep telling Siahna she needs more vibrato to her voice to give it more color and depth. She doesn’t lack confidence. Pretty good performance. Ivonne found a way to get confident. Ivonne was definitely more comfortable performer. Pharrell agreed and picked Siahna. Gwen and Blake both hit steal for Ivonne. She picks Blake for some reason.

This is interesting, because both Manny and Krista were sent home, but both of them were overall better performers than Ivonne this time. Blake appears to be doing his “they’re really young so they have a lot of room to grow” thing, and to be fair, he couldn’t pick Krista, she was his contestant. Maybe he can find a way to polish her up more, though the Knockouts look like a tough challenge for her.

Gwen saved Braiden Sunshine? The awkward 15 year old that has no stage presence? What on earth was she thinking? That kid needs several semesters of theatre. Perform in musicals. Learn how to win over a crowd. He’s got a great voice but no idea what so ever how to perform with it. I don’t think Gwen will have enough time to teach him much.

I enjoy the twins Andi & Alex’s harmony. Glad they got through.

Blind Joe just kept stepping all over that over guy’s part. That’s a counting error. Joe should be counting and listening to the musical cues. He should be very aware of where he’s at in the song. That’s basic musicianship. I get the feeling he’s never performed with anyone before.

I wasn’t all that impressed tonight with the others. Maybe Tues will end with some great acts.

Oh goodie, someone else is paying attention.

Monday night Battles…

Blaine Mitchell vs Blind Joe, Team Blake: Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” doesn’t make sense to me as a country song. It also shouldn’t be heavy metal. It’s about old time rock, should be old time rock, kinda like Bob Seger did it. To me Blind Joe’s problem was that he was vamping all over Blaine’s lines. Basically he was stealing Blaine’s limelight with all his callouts and stuff. He did manage to overcome the limitation of being still and not moving. Both did well. I think Blind Joe vocally won me the first time, but on review I can see some good things from Blaine. So he got lucky and got snagged by Adam.

Cassandra Robertson vs Viktor Kiraly, Team Adam: He gave them “Nobody Knows” by the Tony Rich Project. Not a song I know. While Cassandra has a strong voice and does a lot of vocal acrobatics, I felt it was overdone. Just way too much clutter. Viktor was the winner to me, so glad Adam agreed.

Chase Kerby vs Korin Bukowski, Team Gwen: This was a difference to do a softer song instead of pump the volume, which played to the strength of these two singers. “Samson” by Regina Spektor. It’s a pretty song. They both had beautiful voices and I didn’t catch the roughness Adam mentioned. Ultimately this may have fit Korin a bit better and that possibly helped her win. Too bad Chase is gone.

Evan McKeel vs Riley Biederer, Team Pharrell: He gave them Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. Could he have picked a more slanted choice? Both sound good, both work the stage well. Riley had a sultry sexy thing going. This was tight. Pharrell kept Evan and Blake stole Riley.

Braiden Sunshine vs Lyndsey Elm, Team Gwen: I love this song, “No One Is To Blame” by Howard Jones. These two definitely sound different. I thought both did really well. Lyndsey was certainly the more comfortable performer, but Braiden did a lot better than the rehearsals. Yes, he needs performance experience. That will likely be his downfall. Vocally, I thought he edged her out, but that might just be the sequence on the final big notes where his came in second. Anyway, Gwen went with Braiden on the gut last minute vote, and picks him.

Chance Pena vs. Andi and Alex, Team Adam: He gave them “Wherever You Will Go” by the Calling. Their voices were beautiful. I kinda feel like a duo has a natural advantage going in to these Battles, because they get the benefit of the blending on their spotlight portions. But Chance really stood up to the contest. Andi and Alex have such a beautiful harmony together that I see why Adam picked them. They would have been my choice. But fortunately Blake stepped in with the steal for Chance.

That leaves Pharrell with the one remaining steal.

Final night of battles.

Amanda Ayala vs Shelby Brown, Team Adam: Adam gave them “Edge of Seventeen”, a Stevie Nicks classic. Both have strong voices and good tone, both do well with stage presence and emotion. The judges commented on Amanda’s vocal texture, but it felt to me that Shelby had more of that. I liked Shelby’s voice a bit more than Amanda’s, and looking back at their Blind auditions, that is even more true. Adam picked Shelby, correctly.

Amy Vachal vs Jubal and Amanda, Team Pharrell: She’s a softer voiced indie folk singer, they are a southern rock type. Pharrell aims for a blend somewhere in the neighborhood of folkish pop. He gives them The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody”. This Battle shows once again how odd a Battle duet feels with one side a duo. Jubal has a great quality to his voice, and the harmonies with Amanda and their stage work is definitely smooth. Amy has a bit of a softer voice, but she’s got a great tone of her own. This is a tough call because they have different qualities. I would say Jubal and Amanda were better here, but I’m glad Pharrell picked Amy, because I think she can do well.

Montage 1: Darius Scott vs Daria Jazmin, Team Pharrell: Yes, those are their names. Since we missed Daria’s Blind audition, and she got montaged to nothing, we don’t know what we missed. Youtube gave me her studio version of her Blind Audition song. Sounds good there, but we have nothing to judge the Battle performance on. The excerpt from Darius is good.

Montage 2: Cole Criske vs Nadjah Nicole, Team Blake: I went back to Cole’s Blind Audition with John Mayer’s “Dreaming With a Broken Heart”, and that’s a beautiful performance. I like it better than Nadjah’s audition. Oh well, Blake picked Nadjah.

Montage 3: Hanna Ashbrook vs Summer Schappell, Team Gwen: Again, nothing to compare here. Hanna was also montaged on the Blinds, but her studio version is here. I like it. Gwen picked Summer, who has a strong voice and good tone.

Emily Ann Roberts vs Morgan Frazier, Team Blake: These two country girls are given “I’m That Kind of Girl” by Patty Loveless. Their voices are similar and both twangy. I’d probably give it to Morgan on vocal tone. Blake picked Emily, using his consistent logic of “the one he can make the biggest difference with”. Fortunately Pharrell used his last steal on Morgan, so she’s still in it.

Personally, editing this show I would have dumped the last steal earlier, because when you get to the last steal and the last competition, it steals some of the drama. Better to wonder who is getting booted than just who is on which team. IMO.

Nobody else watching?


Team Adam
Blaine, “Hold Back the River” vs Andi & Alex, “Stupid Boy” - The two girls are a little breathy. Together they make magical harmonies, but alone there’s something missing. Blaine proved his rocker bona fides and nailed it. Blaine.

Team Gwen
Braiden Sunshine, “Feeling Good” vs Ellie Lawrence, “Cool For the Summer” - Braiden has a strong voice with a great tone, and he found the emotion perfectly. Ellie has an unusual tone and it didn’t quite work. Braiden was the winner.

Team Blake
Barrett Baber, “Colder Weather” vs Blind Joe, “Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” - Barrett has a natural ease performing and taps into the emotion of the song, but he does tend to drop off the end of his lines. Blind Joe has a strong, clear voice. And he dropped the shout outs and sang this one straight. I think Blind Joe won, but Blake picked Barrett. Too bad.

Team Pharrell
Amy Vachal, “A Sunday Kind of Love” vs Madi Davis, “A Case of You” - Amy has an amazing voice. Her song was just right for her, and she sang a lot of emotion in a sultry smooth tone. She didn’t quite relax and clung to her mic stand, but the vocal performance didn’t suffer. It was elegant. Madi has a beautiful strong voice, clear tone and emotion. Both were excellent and this was a tough call, maybe just a matter of taste. I picked Amy, but Pharrell picked Madi. Adam and Blake both hit steal, and Amy picked Adam. Sweet.

Team Blake
Chance Pena, “Demons” vs Yvonne Acero, “Part of Me” - Chance has a good tone and kept right in the pocket, but there’s something missing. Yvonne starts a bit rough, trying to keep the tempo, but hits the chorus and the emotion and power deliver. Maybe a bit theatrical. Close one, both had something to recommend and something to work on. Blake picked Yvonne.

Team Adam
Jordan Smith, “Set Fire to the Rain” vs Victor Karali, “If I Ain’t Got You” - Jordan had all the power an emotion and vocal tone he needed, and he took a couple of creative choices with the vocals to shake it up. Victor, wow, smooth, clear, strong, right on the tempo. I don’t know what he could have done to make it better. He even went high in one spot and hit the notes. I think Victor might have been slightly better, but from the coaches’ reactions to the performances, they really connected with Jordan’s more. Adam picked Jordan, and Gwen stole Victor.

I do have to bitch about the editing - going into the last commercial break, the preview not only told us there would be a steal, but revealed the winner was Jordan because they showed his back stage reaction to the steal. GAH!!! Fortunately I fastforwarded first time through.