The Voice Recap: Love Is Blind! [Updated]

Grace-Askew-The-Voice-Season-4Season 4 of The Voice is a leaner — although by no means meaner — kind of party.

Where last year’s competition found each of the show’s four coaches choosing a somewhat distended 16 vocalists apiece, the show’s current incarnation has trimmed the fat to a more reasonable (and easier-to-follow) 12 singers per team.

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You might expect these tightened constraints to spur Blake Shelton and Adam Levine — if not neophyte coaches Shakira and Usher — to adopt cutthroat measures as they court contestants, but I’ll be danged* if the Season 4 panel isn’t more laid-back than ever. Are we watching four music superstars trying to assert their competitive dominance, or a quartet of old pals sipping whiskeys and goofing off on the Shelton-Lambert front porch a couple nights a week? (*See how ol’ Blake can creep into your mind, or at least your vocab?)

“You just feel so good,” Adam cooed to a burly soul singer — at which point Blake mischievously interjected, “That’s weird.” Then we had Shakira insisting she deserved a kiss after Blake beat her out for a country-blues goddess who gave one of the season’s best auditions. And of course, we had Usher suggesting Blake get his hair cut like The Lorax. I’m not even sure how that insane idea came into the world, but again, I found myself giggling at the thought of it.

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But wait! This show — or at least this recap — isn’t supposed to be about the judges’ camaraderie, dagnabit! Therefore, let me get hoppin’ with a rundown of the eight singers who advanced to the Battle Rounds on Episode 5 of Season 4. I’ve ranked these cats in order from least- to most-promising, as is my custom:

8. Michael Austin: Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You” (Team Adam) | “It’s pitchy,” mouthed Blake, as Adam and Shakira turned their chairs anyway. But maybe I shouldn’t come down too hard on a deputy sheriff who could probably collapse my ribs more easily than I crush my Diet Coke cans (to make extra room in the recycling bin, naturally).

7. Mary Miranda: Selena’s “Como La Flor” (Team Shakira) | Even Shakira needs cannon fodder on her team, and this teenager with an average voice and a somewhat forced on-screen persona fits the bill nicely.

6. Jeff Lewis: Usher’s “You Got It Bad” (Team Usher) | A lot like Phillip Phillips’ arrangement on Season 11 of American Idol, but with none of that pesky sexual energy. Oh, wait, this song needs sexual energy. Never mind.

5. Ryan Innes: John Mayer’s “Gravity” (Team Usher) | I was surprised the burly, bearded soul man got all four chairs to turn — as I thought his rendition of “Gravity” contained a few hinky notes and a not-entirely-appealing falsetto. Dude definitely sings with a lot of feeling, though, which in Usher-ese, translates to “you shook the entire room.”

4. Sasha Allen: Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice” (Team Adam) | Stunning mother of two may have done more for red dresses than anyone since Jessica Rabbit. I’m not sure I was totally enamored of her operatic spin on the Dixie Chicks, but she’s got powerful pipes and a massive range. The worry, now, is whether Adam will pit her against fellow awesome backup singer Judith Hill. Probably, since neither of ‘em are “bros.”

3. Caroline Glaser: Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” (Team Blake) | Her voice was as delicate as a phyllo dough and pretty as the first flower buds of spring. (Or as Shakira so eloquently put it, it was “diaphonous.”) Blake might need to iron out some of her “coffee house” pronunciations, but this gal could go far.

2. Shawna P: The Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels” (Team Shakira) | Her world-weary, croaky tone and little black shift dress packed a nifty one-two punch. Okay, the phrasing got a tiny bit affected in spots, but the passion was palpable. Plus, if I’m being honest, it was nice to see chairs turn for a 40+ vocalist, like they used to do back in Season 1.

1. Grace Askew: Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walkin” (Team Blake) | Hallelujah, someone’s finally stepped up and released “Boots” from the screeching, rap-infused prison where Jessica Simpson left it back in 2005. Grace’s pert phrasing and italicized squeaks provided a nice counterplay to her old-blues instrument, and she made some nifty choices with her ad libs, too. The one-handed guitar strumming looked a little — I’m not sure…lazy? silly? superfluous? — but I don’t really care. I need this woman to advance past the Blinds and the Knockouts and into the live shows — without passing go and without collecting $200.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the fifth 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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104 Comments
  1. alexis says:

    I’m Team Amy Lynn Whitcomb (of The Sing-Off). Sad she got a short edit, she’s awesome.

    • Snow says:

      I’m sad because I’ve been keeping an eye out for her all season and I missed her clip somehow. Super bummed about the lack of screen time, but psyched that she’s on Team Adam

    • MC says:

      Keeping my fingers crossed for her.

    • Kathryn says:

      Me too! I’ve been anxiously looking forward to her audition and was disappointed to see that it was only a few seconds. I’m hoping that this isn’t because she is eliminated early in the Battle Rounds (which I believed were recorded a while back) and therefore they aren’t giving her much screen time. Team Adam is a very strong team … I wish she was on a weaker team so she would have a much greater chance of advancing. But, I’m definitely rooting for her…she’s fantastic and I loved her back in the Sing Off (I even downloaded Delilah’s version of Grenade – Amy’s vocals were amazing!)

    • Will says:

      THIS. THIS ALL OVER

    • Liz says:

      I wish Michael had included an option in voting for “one of those poor souls who got 9 seconds of screen time” like he did with the 3rd episode recap, because I definitely would have picked that option for Amy!

    • Tracie says:

      OMG! THAT’S where I recognized her from… has been driving me crazy!! Thank you!

  2. where is the idology episode this week?

  3. kavyn says:

    Did I see Amy Whitcomb from the Sing Off in the ending recap? So stoked to see she’s back on my TV!

  4. Jacob P. says:

    Idology?

    • sg54 says:

      I know, right? It feels like theres something missing to this Monday.

      • Amy says:

        Definitely missed Idology on Monday…but I’m thinking it’s GOT to be some Idology episode when we finally get it, right?! No pressure…um Jason. :)

        • Amy says:

          Sorry…I’m thinking it may be annoying to get posts about one popular blog on another thread. Double-edged sword of a popular blog, I guess; didn’t mean to overshadow this one. I am only randomly catching The Voice, as usual…but do enjoy it when I see it. I’ve yet to follow the contestants and the show until the end though. One addiction is enough. I’ll wait until AI crashes and burns. ..and I smell smoke..

  5. Laura says:

    What? Ryan Innes at #5? What show are you watching?

  6. DL says:

    Grace Askew at #1? I guess it just wasn’t up my alley. I thought she had a strong voice, but didn’t really like her vocal mannerisms. Thought they detracted from actually hearing her sing. To each their own. :P

    • The Beach says:

      Totally agree. Her pronunciation on many of her words sounded so affected that I couldn’t even concentrate on the song (or the Loretta Lynn do).

    • Will says:

      Seriously…and Sasha at number 4? Ridiculous.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      thought it an ok novelty song…surprised anyone turned their chair…liked Caroline, Sasha and Ryan because they all focused on just singing well and in service of their song choices and not going all bombastic and pyrotechnic

    • Timmah says:

      I wonder if she’s related to Charlie.

    • Ladonnamarie77 says:

      Correct sir to each there own. You should actually listen to some of her originals and I think you may understand her voice more. She’s always had a very unique sound(not cookie cutter) and she is truly a talented songwriter to boot. At least Blake and Shakira picked up on her unique sound and dug it;-)

  7. Laura says:

    Also I think Ryan Innes did John Mayer’s Gravity, not the Sara Barellis version.

  8. Jamey says:

    PLEASE PLEASE Do not bring back Xtina and Cee-lo – Love this group!!

    • Kathryn says:

      Totally agree! I LOVE this new combination of judges – I found myself genuinely laughing out loud. They are fun, playful, positive and respectful of each other… Not to mention that their feedback is actually constructive and helpful (unlike some other shows…in fact I don’t think I’ve heard any fashion commentary this season in the Voice besides the occasional reference to cowboy boots).

  9. The coaches are way too much fun but they’re almost too distracting, the singing is becoming secondary to the fun repartees and bon mots.

  10. Ashly says:

    I’m finding that this season of The Voice is pretty darn spectacular. I caught a rerun on Sunday and wasn’t even bored watching it a second time. The judges have the best chemistry I’ve ever seen on a reality show. The second closest being Dancing with the Stars. The only thing that this show needs is Michael and Melinda doing a video recap of it every week:)

    • analythinker says:

      YES, please. To Michael and Melinda do a Voicology or whatever that will be called.

    • Aiden says:

      Word! I love Idology, but I miss when Michael & Melinda did it for The Voice last season too. It’d be a nice break if/when one show is getting frustrating. Especially since The Voice this season with its refreshing panel of coaches seems to be more fun and less stressful to talk about than this year’s Idol and it’s infuriating production and judge controversies.

      • Kristoffer says:

        Agree! I tweed’ed him last week asking him and Melinda to please do something for the voice – but no reply. Maybe if enough people sent him a tweet he would consider (hint hint)

  11. Adrian Arciniega says:

    This is all great Michael, but I need my Idology…. please….. now.

  12. Samantha says:

    Confused: so more than 8 made it on teams but we didn’t see some performances?

  13. PepeprJO says:

    The Voice is so fun to watch this season with this panel of judges. And I don’t even care that half the time the singing is secondary to just laughing along with this panel of judges who have great chemistry together!

    • Lisa says:

      I have to agree with this! The relationships the judges have with one another make the ones with the last cast look like catty, hostile fighting spouses. I didn’t care for it at all. Adam, Blake, Shakira and Usher have so much chemistry together, I would love it if they would keep these judges for a while!! They seem like they are having so much fun together and that they genuinely like and respect one another.

      • Karla Wright says:

        I second all the comments about this panel of coaches being the best! I watched it the first season and stopped. Didn’t care for Christina and Cee-lo and their ever changing gimmicks. Usher and Shakira I knew nothing about, but I really find them to be just as down-to-earth as Adam and Blake. I’m watching it again and loving it!

  14. AvCo says:

    Amy Whitcomb!!!! She should top your list! Singoff!

  15. Ronni says:

    Just heard Michelle Raitzin ( team Blake) from tonites show on I- Tunes; I think SHE should be at the top of the list as the best singer for her incredible performance of ‘Bless the Broken Road’

  16. Angela says:

    For fans of Sasha Allen, you should check out the movie CAMP (and see a young Anna Kendrick while you are at it). Sasha has some pretty amazing numbers in that film.

    • drowsy says:

      OH SNAP THAT’S HER I remember her! such a mess of a movie yet so close to home.

    • Kevin says:

      She was also in the broadway revival of Hair! I would recognize that voice anywhere, hopefully she finds more success after the show!

    • soundscene says:

      So THAT’S where I know her from. Ok, now it all makes sense. She looked so gab-nabbin’ familiar (and sounded familiar, too). She’s got the best musical numbers in Camp.

    • Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

      I recognized her immediately, even with the few years on her. I think she opened the movie with her big number. She is an amazing singer, and the camera loves her. Let’s face it. Oh, and I think Camp is a great little movie. I still laugh over the whole Dreamgirls sequence, not to mention the Ladies Who Lunch bit with Anna Kendrick.

  17. LoveShak says:

    Is it me or does Usher seem a lil bored?

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      I’m reading him as being discerning and not willing to turn for someone at the drop of a hat

    • Chris says:

      He seems a little arrogant to me. I don’t dislike him but he’s teetering on the edge. Maybe it’s something about that third chair. Love Shakira, Adam and Blake

  18. Blank Slate says:

    Hate to admit it but I’m enjoying the VOICE more and more while my first love, American Idol, dies before our eyes. WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU, AI?

  19. marko says:

    I really love the show, but I will say this years judges flow together very well, its feels like we are entertained from the singers and the judges as well . Fantastic show, so much better than idol !!!

  20. Dearest Michael, you omitted the 4 montaged contestants. One of them was Amy Whitcomb from Delilah on the Sing-Off.

  21. Mellie says:

    That one guy’s “U Got It Bad” sounds suspiciously like Phillip Phillips’… That’s the second time this season contestants on this show have touted their “switching it up” when they’re doing other people’s arrangement (and not as well…) Sigh.

  22. JW says:

    Got a little misty during Sasha’s performance, it was so beautiful.

  23. Jay says:

    Just downloaded it and I’m a bit obsessed with Sasha Allen’s performance. It had a lot more emotion than Judith hill-kinda amazing and I’m shocked slezak had her at 4.

    • The Beach says:

      Same here. Sasha was #1 for me tonight with a beautiful interpretation of a totally unexpected song choice. I had Shawna at #2. I love the world-weariness in her voice.

  24. Crystal says:

    Sasha Allen’s “operatic” spin??? LOL. Obviously Slezak’s never actually heard an opera! I loved Sasha. Grace and Shawna also great.

  25. Maggie says:

    I’m a bit biased bc I’m friends with Grace’s brother (in the blue button down shirt with the beard) so I was super excited to see her get good feedback. you guys should check out her website, she has some really cool original pieces and some great covers.

  26. I really wanted Jane Smith to make it. She was like Melanie Martinez but with a voice and without a borderline personality disorder. I hope she comes back.

  27. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    1. Sasha
    2. Shawna
    3. Caroline
    4. Grace Askew and then Ryan

    the rest didn’t seem to match

    good god is Adam’s team stacked now, it’s almost getting silly, people better save a bunch of steals otherwise a bunch of early favorites won’t even survive past the first round! and people better set their own head to heads realizing that too.

  28. Adrian Arciniega says:

    I usually agree with you on everything, but I could NOT disagree with you more on Ryan Innes’ falsetto. It rivals Usher and Timberlakes, easy.

  29. Timmah says:

    Caroline reminded me of Xenia from season one, a gorgeous tone but I think she’s going to have problems commanding the stage.

  30. Lois Benton says:

    I rarely hate singers. They bore me, or are okay, or are exciting. I hated Grace Askew. I really hated her. I didn’t like her voice, her song choice, or her delivery…and her hair actively upset me. These Boots are Made for Walking? Really?! That’s not even a song; there’s no melody there; there’s no there there. I consider myself a bellweather of the astute voting public of many a singing show. I don’t think she’s going to go very far, particularly if she gets to the viewer voting phase. But she’s on Team Blake, who, like Adam, in three seasons has always had a deep lineup, so I wouldn’t expect her to get that far. Sadly, the amazing Sasha Allen (uh, best of the night. Duh.) made the mistake of picking Team Adam (Don’t these people watch this show?). I too loved Shawn P. She was indeed the second best of the night and she has a shot at the finals for astutely picking Shakira.

    • RD says:

      Although I didn’t hate Grace Askew I certainly couldn’t see what all the fuss was about.A very average voice that was too affected for my liking drawling a song in virtually a monotone and barely touching her admittedly attractive guitar,and a look that was a complete ripoff of Bobbie Gentry circa 1968.I hope she turns out to be cannon fodder.

    • Ladonnamarie77 says:

      It’s sad that you feel that you hate someone that you don’t know:-/. If she is not your style then simply say you didn’t like her style. I happen to know this girl can sing quite beautifully. Also she is an amazing songwriter and has a unique true style that the voice only touched on. Also her friends and fans understand her style and appreciate all her excentristies. Sometimes uniqueness can be lost on people you just simply want to be normal..I guess theres nothing wrong there. Oh and the point was to have a Bobby Gentry vibe which happens to be a noted favorite of hers and I might add a pretty cool talent. Hope your favorites go far but I am pretty sure that she will;-) cheers!

  31. Timmah says:

    I didn’t realize they had 16 for each judge last season. That’s probably why I haven’t watched this show since season one. Even 12 is too many. 8 is plenty.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      they burn through them super fast…battle rounds start next week…once you start liking someone they are gone…lots of talk of teams but they get pitted against each other and become cannon fodder…it really does seem the contestants are mostly there to fluff up the judges’ careers, sales and popularity…if you like someone check them out on Youtube because they probably won’t last long on the show

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      It’s not that many when you realize that like 3/4 are gone within two weeks or so!

  32. Chris says:

    There are some real pros who got no TV time and made it on The Voice this season. Michelle Raitzin and Amy Whitcomb to name a couple, so It should be a good season!

    I still miss CeeLo though.

  33. This may be the first time I slightly disagree with MS. Ryan was fantastic and one of my favorites of the night. John Mayer is my favorite musician so I’m especially critical of people who cover him but unlike others who have on The Voice, Ryan’s thicker voice made it totally different. I wasn’t expecting it at all. I think if he and Usher continue to choose good songs, he could go far.

    Also didn’t think Mary Miranda was cannon fodder! She wasn’t the best and absolutely shouldn’t win over incredible voices like Sasha but she’s more solid than some that we’ve seen and I really did like her opening note which set the scene for a very decent performance.

    Lastly, really disappointed by Shawna P. I too love when 40+ singers get through but her runs in the song and extra, odd phrasing drove me crazy and made my boyfriend and me laugh throughout her audition – which is unfortunate since the passion and backstory is definitely there. Maybe she’ll ease up next time though.

    But yeah, Adam’s team is stacked with the best and I really hope some of them have the steal in their future.

  34. Grace Askew made me want to tear my ears off. My husband says I’m to conservative, but that was absolutely dreadful!

    • Angela says:

      I hear ya! It felt like some bad SNL skit with all the weird vocal contortions. I hate it when these kinds of vocal moves start to take attention away from the song and the voice. One or two are interesting, but an entire song of that warbling? Not for me.

    • Ladonnamarie77 says:

      Well all I can say is that Grace is amazing and I am happy that there are a lot of other people out there that dig her music. It may not be your cup of tea but the girl brought it!

  35. bluesman3535 says:

    Sasha didn’t do it for me. Great voice, missed emotional connection to the song and on replay, I figured out why. She cut the most important verse, the one with all the angst. Also , when she sings “I’m madder than hell” she ought to sound like it

  36. popgoesme says:

    I was watching the college basketball game so I didn’t see the first few performances. Of the ones I did see, Sasha was the standout. Grace and Ryan were pretty good. Wasn’t impressed with any of the others I saw.

  37. john lott says:

    Let me be the first to say, GRACE ASKEW will be a superstar!!!

  38. john lott says:

    Check you tube out for her raw simple authentic blues original penned CINNIMON. The old school bluemen would be proud. Ole Hank and TeeTot are smilin!

  39. Lynn says:

    for those seeing Grace Askew for the first time let me say, I have seen her live on stage many times and this is such a small window to her talent!! She is so very unique and so talented and she can cover most any style of music. I love you Grace and all my cheers go out to you girl!!!

  40. Angie Maroon says:

    If anybody knows where Caroline Glaser got her dress that she wore while she sang little talks, tell me. I need that dress, and the ankle boots!!!!!!!!!!1

  41. Crystal says:

    OMFG! Had her idiot coach given the girl a Jewel or a Cranberries song she would have NEVER been gone. One of the best singers ever. Come on people…don’t choose beforehand. That’s not ok. You gave her a song not right for her and of course she lost. Your loss I’m sure.

  42. Crystal says:

    Oh btw I mean Caroline Glaser

  43. kaylie says:

    I liked Danielle bradbery’s audition