The Voice Recap: Idol Castoffs Are... Adam Levine's Workshop?

Midas-Whale-The-VoiceHave I ever mentioned that Shakira’s “She Wolf” is in my iTunes “Top 25 Most Played” list? (Okay, maybe it’s even in my Top 10. But don’t judge me unless you’ve heard it full blast while doing the “ah-ooooh!” at the top of your lungs during a road trip.)

I’m even prouder of my Shakira obsession after another delightful showing on Episode 2 of The Voice‘s Season 4 Blind Auditions. But wait — we interrup this recap with breaking news from Idoloonie HQ!

Yes indeed, that was Jon Peter Lewis — Top 10 finalist on Season 3 of American Idol — who got all four Voice coaches to turn around tonight when his folk duo Midas Whale hit the stage with a jaunty rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues.” We’ve now reached that stage of Reality Singing Competition Evolution where one show’s voting evictees become another show’s possible front-runners. (Kendra Chantelle, Mishavonna Henson and Ricky Braddy, take note!)

RELATED | The Voice Season 4 Premiere Recap: Love Shak, Baby, Love Shak!

JPL was part of a very strong one-hour audition episode where all five Battle Rounds-bound singers appear to have at least some chance of making it far into the competition. So while I could complain about how I wish The Voice spent a little less time doing the “HGTV Edit” — aka recapping what went down just prior to and just following every commercial break — I’ll instead skip directly to a rundown of the aforementioned quintet. I’ve ranked ‘em in order from least- to most-promising, and tried my best to keep my reviews down to a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less (key word being “tried“). Here we go…

5) Josiah Hawley: Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” (Team Usher) | The shot of this male model changing his shirt (aka flashing his insane abs) was as ridiculous as it was heartbreaking (at least for this carbohydrate lover), but his tone and phrasing were pretty — even if his falsetto and scat section weren’t entirely on point. But hey, Usher’s done more with less. (Yes, that was a Bieber dig. No, apparently I don’t value my life.)

RELATED | Ratings: The Voice Returns Up and Dominates Night, Revolution Dips But Wins Time Slot

4) Tawnya Reynolds: Ed Bruce’s “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (Team Shakira) | I’m not sure Tawnya’s got the most distinctive tone I’ve ever heard, but she hit every note harder than Laila Ali in a championship bout. Also respect that she hasn’t given up after 12 years of low-paid gigging in Nashville. Go on, girl!

3) Midas Whale (a duo featuring American Idol Season 3 finalist Jon Peter Lewis): Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” (Team Adam) | With acoustic guitar and accordion in hand, this duo put together a rousing, high-energy cover of a soulful country classic that sounded like it could’ve come from the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. And that’s a damn good soundtrack. Their outsized sense of humor — “country hasn’t reached [Idaho] yet!” LOL — won’t hurt ‘em with voters, either.

2) Cáthia: “No Me Doy Por Vencido” (Team Shakira) | There were wobbles on two or three of the big notes, but when Cáthia broke down in tears at the end of her performance, I kinda sorta had to give her a pass. Like Blake, I had didn’t understand one word of the Bronx beauty’s ditty, but as she so saucily retorted, “It’s OK! Music is universal!” There’s no denying her charisma or passion — kinda like her mentor, si?

1) Sarah Simmons: Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” (Team Adam) | Oh em gee, this chica has a sublime upper register, and an equally intriguing rasp when she starts full-out belting. I felt like she was a little behind the beat on the opening verse, but that might’ve actually been deliberate. It’s understandable why she got all four chairs to turn. Hopefully Adam doesn’t underplay her like he did with Amanda Brown last year.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the second episode of The Voice Season 4? Who was your favorite? Who got a spot on a coach’s team that left you scratching your head? Who got unfairly snubbed? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments! And for all my reality TV recaps, interviews, news and exclusives, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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99 Comments
  1. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    Hah Shakira whips out the “English to Country” dictionary tonight. :)
    .
    Wow, Sarah was awesome!! Now THAT is precisely what AI is missing this year.
    Man she shoulda went Team Shakira though. I got the feeling she might not know about Shakira at all or something since she said she switched from Blake to Adam because Adam could also handle her rock element but man Shakira is the one of the four who actually has the raspy rock it out plus delicate, what she said she was after was pure Shakira who goes all soft and delicate and folk and then gets all dirty and harsh and rocks it out like mad too.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Plus Amanda someone only made it to top four last season. So it just has me worried.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Agreed. Research the judges. Shakira has made more money than both Blake and Adam combined. And double Usher, even with the Bieber cashola. Not that this show is about making money. But yeah, Shakira is also a kick butt singer and musician as well. I want contestants to be more saavy these shows and do some friggin’ research. And know “Let it Be” for that matter. Doh, wrong show. I’m getting ticked off they people aren’t picking her. Yes, I’m in love with her. LOL.

    • Moixes Dario says:

      Yes she should be Shakira Team…. to win :D

  2. Linderella says:

    Sarah Simmons with honorable mention to Midas Whale who reminded this baby boomer of Tommy & Dickie Smothers with much better singing. As talanted as Sarah is, I found myself wishing Simon Cowell was around to give her some advice about presentation.. But there will be time enough for that in the future because her talent will take her far beyond The Voice

  3. Dan says:

    Shakira+Talented People+English-Country Dictionary+Less Sob Stories=Great Show

  4. Lourdes says:

    Slezak, so surprised at your typo on Cathia’s song (understand it’s not in English, but you’re usually so meticulous) – The song’s name is “No Me Doy Por *Vencido” by Claudia Brant. It was an iTunes free song of the week in 2012 and such a lovely tune too. It basically means I won’t give up / be defeated.

    Flabbergasted by the JPL sighting. This Idoloonie would have totally missed that were it not for you, so thanks. I’m going to have to rewatch the on-demand airing to marvel at the transformation!

  5. Esaul says:

    I don’t normally watch The Voice. I’m anti-NBC now. But I’ll keep my rant for another time in a more appropriate post.

    The only singer that stood out for me was Cáthia tonight. Even though I didn’t understand a single word, she was confident and a strong singer. I wasn’t a fan of Sarah at all. I actually thought she was kinda bad. She started weak and then the rasp…it wasn’t for me. Maybe I need a second listen.

  6. dj says:

    Adam definitely has the team to beat so far. I don’t mind seeing people who haven’t made it big after being on Idol audition for the Voice. Idol doesn’t do right by everybody.

    • Maggie says:

      I think Midas Whale has a cool sound but in terms of the song, I liked Jamie Lono’s version from season 2 better (the blonde sandwich maker from Chicago)

    • The Beach says:

      I wonder if the contestants know who has been picked by which coach already. If I were Sarah and knew Adam had already picked Judith, I think I might have picked a different coach.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        I don’t think they know those sorts of details. I believe they also re-cut the blind auditions and show them out of order, at least in part too.

  7. Teeny Bikini says:

    Seriously. We are at the point where contestants need to study this show before they pick a coach. Adam has undermined many a great female singer for a male dude-like counterpart on this show. I wouldn’t pick him if you paid me….

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      He totally sank all the females on his teams the first two years, last year he did change that though. Before then he seemed to way into the hanging out with the bros thing though.
      Also dangerous is that he has tossed off early front runners in fierce head to heads a lot more ruthlessly than say Blake. One would hope he doesn’t put the last singer from last night and night head to head (unless we have the save again, which I hope we do, then it should be fine).

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        So true. About the head to heads. I totally forgot about that.

      • forrest says:

        My major gripe with the voice is the battle rounds. After pleading with the singer to pick them as a coach, it’s the coach who sometimes unreasonably discards said contestant, not the voting public. This is when I usually lose interest in the season.

        • Jay says:

          Yeah, those battle rounds (or knockouts, or whatever they’re called) go against the whole idea of teams/mentoring/coaching. Two teammates should never sing against one another with the coach choosing the victor. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          Yeah, although the whole saves concept mostly redeemed the battle rounds last season at least. (you still need to be careful who you pick to save you though as one coach begged like mad for someone only to quickly dump them off just as the other coach begging for them said would happen).

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          I get the feeling that if Blake absolutely utterly begs for you that is the safest bet (not that I’ve actually been much if a team Blaker necessarily, but if I was contestant and saw him just salivating hah or going nuts that would be the safest bet in my mind, he tends to really stick by those).

    • teatime says:

      Agreed. Adam is often picked by contestants who should go with anyone but him. I did not notice it is just female contestants he sinks, but maybe that is the connection. He seems to just not ‘get’ the potential in so many good contestants and he focuses on a few favorites.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        Exactly. But then again, if I were in sitting front of Sir Hotness, I might just forget all common sense too :) It’s just when some of pick Adam, I am literally throwing stuff at the TV because there is no logical reason to think he will not dump said crazy person for someone better or hotter…

    • awakenbeing says:

      Maybe you need to do some research. Adam’s last 2 remaining contestants last season were women. That only happened once in season 2 where he picked Tony over Katrina, are you still mad about that? Contestants who auditioned for this show probably does more research for this show than you

    • tnsmoke says:

      Yeah and he refused to dump that Melanie last season, even tho she was a “love or hate her” singer and I hated her. He gets set on certain singers and sends better ones home. In season one he got rid of the heavy set kid who had an INCREDIBLE voice (he sang Bless the Broken Road for his 4-chair blind auditon). Adam kept a gal singer, think named Casey, who HE thought was a way better singer then she was. He gets fixated on people like Tony Lucca and it cost him a win in Season 2.

      • Fred says:

        There’s the conspiracy theory that Adam picked Casey Weston over Jeff Jenkins in season one to give Javier Colon a better shot in the semifinals.

      • teatime says:

        “He gets set on certain singers and sends better ones home.”
        I think that is more like it. He has favorites he will get behind and he will stick with them. He will let other contestants go even when they are performing well. Katrina is the perfect example. He undercut her and she went home even though she had the votes to stay. So it is a tricky proposition to pick him as a coach.

      • JASon says:

        Melanie Martinez was awesome! The most original singer on the show last year! Adam sandbagged her in the end with an awful song choice and stage production but when she chose her own songs she was amazing! I’ve watched a bunch of youtube clips of her pre The Voice and she did a version of Thriller that was absolutley amazing. She probably would have won the show if she did it!!

      • WiggleWiggleWiggleWiggle says:

        Melanie was much more of a “Love her” contestant than a “Hate her” one. Her audition, “Toxic” was the first and ONLY performance to chart in the top 20 on Itunes during the Blind Auditions process and numerous Twitter fan accounts were created for her before the show even ended that night. Adam saw what a fan favorite she was going to be, and rightfully saved her throughout the competition. Heck, if you go back and watch the coaches comments during the battle rounds, all 3 of the other judges, especially Blake, hinted that they were hoping Adam would save Caitlin because they wanted to steal Melanie. So, even if Adam did dump her, she was still going to be on the show. In addition, all the “Expert” websites at this point, before a single live event show, were predicting that the final two on the results show were going to be cassadee and Melanie. A terrible song choice by Adam did her in, and only got her to the final 6. But her talent is obvious to almost everyone, and is the sole reason why that she is the only other person besides the eventual winner Cassadee, to have signed a record deal. (With Columbia Records)

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          She did have quite a few shaky live performances though. I don’t know she didn’t have enough to really do it for me.

  8. Jeremy E says:

    I’m pretty sure (90%) that Team Adam will win this season! :)

  9. kavyn says:

    Some of these contestants aren’t thinking straight. if you pick the most popular judge (ie Adam), and he’s constantly getting all the talent, you’re less likely to make it to the Top 12! Sarah should have sided with Shakira.

    • JW says:

      The contestants don’t know who’s been selected. They probably haven’t heard the other performers and have no idea how many people are on each team.

    • awakenbeing says:

      Yeah, but the contestants don’t know that. How would you know if you’re the contestant, how each judge’s team is shaped? Contestants have a lot more to consider, not just which judge they “guess” have the best team and go with the least popular judge (who they might not even like) as strategy

  10. RD says:

    Midas Whale-average at best.Don’t get it at all.

  11. dani n. says:

    Show has to be rigged.I’ll bet the judges were aware that an AI past contestant and a top 8 guy was competing this season. NO WAY they would turn for those guys unless they heard Cha Ching “Mumford &Sons.” MY dad said they reminded him of The Smother Brothers. I knew it was Jon Peter Lewis.I didn’t like him on AI and I didn’t like him tonight. Adam does have the strongest team so far w/the 2 strongest singers
    Though I liked the country woman Singer ad much as those 2.

    • Fred says:

      You honestly expect the coaches to all know of an American Idol non-winner? How is the show rigged? Singers from other singing shows have been on The Voice before. Plus Jon Peter Lewis is part of a duet, so you already know he’s not going to be winning The Voice.

    • Jacob says:

      I’ve heard FAR more convincing reasons for why the Blind Auditions might be rigged. All of them are false, as I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re not rigged – but this one isn’t even worth explaining why.

  12. JW says:

    Frenchie Davis was on The Voice the first year.

  13. Raftrap says:

    It’s official, after three seasons of not watching “The Voice” after its pilot, these two episodes convinced me of jumping ship, I’ll watch the finale of Idol when Candice rightfully takes her place as this season’s winner, but I’m gonna start watching “The Voice” religiously, and also Mike it’s ok to love Shakira, everyone does… Ah oooh!!

  14. sdexta says:

    The pen salesman!!

  15. Ruby says:

    Oh, that WAS JPL! I mentioned that he looked like him, but didn’t think it actually WAS him. Wow! I thought they were pretty great. And fun.

  16. JW says:

    Sarah Simmons….sweetest Dad on the show so far.

  17. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    Can’t believe how few are commenting on The Voice compared to AI! But TVL always did seem to be a heavy AI site I guess.

  18. asherlev1 says:

    You know I think Sarah is my favorite so far out of everyone. She touched me emotionally. Midas Whale is my #2 of the night. Not sure quite how they fall into place amongst all the contestants, but they are super charming and super talented.

  19. Lois Benton says:

    Sarah Simmons is pretty great. Midas Whale has a future as a comedy-music team. I don’t think they’ll win, but they’re fun, and I’d go see them in concert.

  20. Vetle says:

    Sarah Simmons is a BEAST. Wow. Thoroughly impressed! My type of singer.

  21. forwarddad says:

    I liked Sarah. I liked her song choice better though. It will be interesting to see how she does over the long haul.

  22. Allie says:

    Is anyone else wondering what’s going to happen when Usher tweets to the Bieberverse?

    • Rain says:

      I wasn’t worried about it since I didn’t think about it, but that’s going to really skew the votes and since I’m not digging Usher’s team so far that’s going to annoy me!

    • tnsmoke says:

      But didn’t Bieber himself tweet about a contestant last season and we worried it would affect the votes? I think all 3 seasons the voting has been pretty much spot on and fair. The fans kept Cody Belew, which was awesome.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        I forget who he tweeted for but from what I super vaguely recall it actually didn’t seem to make much difference. The only ones who had tweets that seemed to matter was Blake with his country crowd although last season I’m not sure he even needed them.

  23. Yo says:

    I thought Midas Whale was hilariously entertaining. I never watched Idol in JPL’s year; he deserves a career. Very fun show, all around, although the obvious judge edits sometimes are bizarre. The good natured joshing between the judges is refreshing and, better, no one is going out of his or her way to be unkind. Idol should beware; this show is more diverse and much more fun to watch.

  24. Sara says:

    Jebus I had the biggest crush on JPL when he was on AI!!! I’m so excited to see him on this! I’ve been waiting to see big things from him <3

  25. Blinged Up says:

    I’m not normally a Voice watcher, but because I’m an Idol loonie, I tuned in to see JPL’s audition. I was not disappointed — it was great! I hope they go far — I found them very entertaining and talented. When did JPL turn into the kid from The Christmas Story, lol.

    I also have to say that Usher and Shakira were much, much more enjoyable than the last time I (briefly) tuned in and watched Christina and Cee-lo. I may have to keep watching….at least while Midas Whale is still in.

    Oh, and Judith Hill the night before? Wow.

  26. GS says:

    I caught the name JPL but he looks so much different that I didn’t realize it was the same person. Loved Midas Whale but Sara was my favorite! Love the judges and the talent is so much higher than Idol. Although I really don’t know if that’s true because I wouldn’t watch Idol if you paid me to b/c Nikki Minaj is a total B***H.

    • Anna says:

      I’d say the talent level is comparable. For instance Candice on Idol this season = Judith on The Voice, Kree on Idol = Sarah.

      The Voice is more fun, though. The Idol contestants this season are a little too serious for my taste, they need to relax, a little! And the chemistry among the coaches on The Voice is much better than it is among the Idol judges.

      However, in the past, The Voice has lost me a bit as the season goes along. The battle rounds can be annoying and the powers that be pimp their favorites just as hard as Idol does theirs, which I hate. And in terms of turning out contestants who actually can make a mark on the real music industry, Idol >>>>> The Voice.

  27. Elga says:

    I live in Brazil, I had never watched AI before, but last year you people kept saying how it was way better than X factor and The voice, and I started to watch it this season. But man, you were sooo wrong, I mean, these two episodes of the voice were already sooo much better than all AI episodes so far. More music, more fun, less ballads and blablabla. More richness over all. I’m totally quitting AI to watch just the voice now. And I’m loving the new coaches, they’re so much better than the judges of AI and Xfactor. (I guess I’ll miss someone to do that funny shocked/outraged faces that Britney and Nicki do, though).

    • Ian S. says:

      No arguments here. I quit X-Factor after the first season, and this is the first year I haven’t watched Idol (and from checking out Idology I don’t think I’m missing anything – Candace Glover is good, but none of her performances on YouTube have blown me away like Judith Hill already has on The Voice).

    • JASon says:

      LAst season Idol was a hundred times better then this season though! Maybe Kree annd Angie would have made the top ten last year. Candace was cut at Hollywood week last year. That’s how strong the talent was on Idol Elise, Joshua, Colton, Philip, Holly, Jessica were all more talented and did many more uptempo/interesting songs then this boring group this year!

  28. Anna says:

    Loved Sarah Simmons. After the first 2 nights, it looks like she and Judith are far and away the best contestants. Unfortunately, they are both on Adam’s team, which means a lesser chance of them both getting through to the finale, although it’s not impossible, of course.

    Midas Whale was a lot of fun, and sounded really good. I was glad to see JPL again, although I almost didn’t recognize him — he has changed a lot since his Idol days!

    I wasn’t overly impressed with Josiah. Decent voice, but pretty generic.

    Love the new judges. Shakira is saucy and sexy and is more than holding her own with the guys. Usher is charming and flirty. Don’t miss Christina and Cee Lo at all.

    • allie says:

      unless they do the steal again (which I hope they do – that was fun)

    • Honestly, I don’t think Josiah has a chance of going anywhere. If he makes it to fan voting, there a lot of pissed off Maroon 5 fans for him picking a Maroon 5 song then not picking Adam. And those teenage girls are very vocal and tend to vote, a lot.

  29. JKR says:

    “But hey, Usher’s done more with less. (Yes, that was a Bieber dig. No, apparently I don’t value my life.)” – LOL. Michael, seriously. I <3 you.

  30. Nonya says:

    Midas Whale should have auditioned for America’s Got Talent. I could see them with a Vegas show ala The Smother’s Brothers. It seemed a lot of people here saw the similarities between those two acts. Expand on the comedy, throw in a couple of stupid human tricks, and they’d have a great show.

  31. Markus says:

    I have to say, I love that (at least thus far), everyone who has gotten through has gotten featured – so far, no one has gotten the shaft, where they get some five-second mention of which coach got them to join their team.

    • Fred says:

      Well they did trim the teams from 16 last season back to 12 this season, so that’s 16 singers they don’t have to make room for. Doesn’t mean they still won’t shaft someone later on.

      If the singer doesn’t have an interesting story and only gets on coach to turn around, they should do what they did a few times during season one and just introduce the singer without showing him or her, to ask the audience if they’d turn around. Then the coach turns and they show that singer. Shaves 2-3 minutes of the whole introduction/backstory right there.

      • teatime says:

        Cutting the teams down to 12 is a good move! Last year there were many too many contestants to keep track of when you knew so many of them were about to be cut anyway. One thing that can be said for The Voice is they keep tweeking it for the better.

    • Jay says:

      Yes, here’s hoping we continue to see ALL the auditions.

  32. JASon says:

    If they’re allowing ex-Idols how about Lilly Scott, Katelynn Epperly, Haley Reinhart and Carly Smithson!!

  33. cab says:

    miss ceelo

  34. Noelbelle says:

    She Wolf is totally in my Top 25 too. And it’s oddly the only Shakira song in there.

  35. Jacob P. says:

    Are you doing Reality Check this year?

  36. iamraven07 says:

    I am oh-so hoping that you and Ms. Doolittle do a video recap of The Voice this year. Bring out Reality Check, PLEASE!

  37. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    “Have I ever mentioned that Shakira’s “She Wolf” is in my iTunes “Top 25 Most Played” list? (Okay, maybe it’s even in my Top 10. But don’t judge me unless you’ve heard it full blast while doing the “ah-ooooh!” at the top of your lungs during a road trip”
    .
    I have to add that that “ahhh-ooooo” she does has got to be the cutest, hottest two syllables ever uttered in the history of song hah.

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