The Voice Season 6 Premiere Recap: All the Singing Ladies (All the Singing Ladies)!

bria-kelly-the-voice-nbcI’m not sure what the sidewalks in your town are looking like right now, but where I live in Jersey City, they’re covered in a terrine of mud-blackened ice; found objects (I kid you not, I spotted a half-finished bottle of Arizona Iced Tea lodged in a snowbank today); wayyyy too many dog droppings (sigh); and sadness.

But just when you start thinking about crawling into a cave for another six months of hibernation, along comes the Season 6 premiere of The Voice — reality TV’s equivalent of a bright-eyed robin landing next to a brave and early daffodil bloom on a 65-degree day.

I know, I know, I sound like I’ve been infected with the same hyperbolfluenza that the NBC singing competition’s judges come down with during Blind Auditions. But honestly, I can’t think of a better tonic for Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka “When Is It Not Going to Be Gray and Freezing Anymore?” Syndrome) than two hours of Shakira, Usher, Blake Shelton and People’s Sexiest Man Alive goofing off and going gaga over a crop of crazy-good, crazy-charismatic singers.

The show-opening mashup tonight of the coaches trading off on each other’s hits — Blake covering “Whenever, Wherever” was the oddest, and the most exciting — set a feel-good tone but didn’t detract from the real work at hand: Advancing eight acts into the Battle Rounds (while rejecting three other not-quite-ready hopefuls in the kindest, gentlest way possible).

Let’s rank the successful auditioners — and review ‘em — in order of least- to most-promising. And was it just me or were at least three of these ladies (one in a duo) quite possibly good enough to win?

8. Biff Gore: Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” (Team Usher) | The 45-year-old worship leader certainly has a winning personality, but — even as someone who side-eyes the show’s usual treatment of 40+ contestants in the Battles and Knockouts — I didn’t understand what exactly about his pedestrian (and oddly paced) version of Sam Cooke’s soul classic prompted a four-chair turnaround. If you disagree wildly, please feel free to school me down in the comments section.

7. Kristen Merlin: Sugarland’s “Something More” (Team Shakira) | I loved Shakira’s passion for the adorable country blonde with the Shaki-esque vibrato. (That bit about how her 20 million Twitter followers dwarf Adam, Blake and Usher’s combined was hilarious). But Kristen’s rendition of “Something More” lacked a certain nuance — almost as if the fleet pace of the lyrics left her unable to infuse ‘em with true meaning. The gal is super-likable, though, and that can’t be underestimated.

6. T.J. Wilkins: Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” (Team Usher) | I appreciated that T.J., who’s got a warm, rich quality to his vocals, didn’t want to spit out a carbon copy of Elton’s original. It’s just that there was a slight hint of “Lido Deck on the Norwegian Jewel” to the end product (even the shiny blue sportscoat, which I nevertheless covet). Plus, dude could’ve dialed back the falsetto riffs on the closing “Bennies” by at least half, no? (I know, I know…I’m probably just ruined by Haley Reinhart’s never-to-be-topped Idol Season 10 exit performance.)

5. Christina Grimmie: Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” (Team Adam) | Didn’t hit a single bad note and took some really pretty melodic risks on Miley’s big recent smash. That said, I’m not sure I heard quite enough distinctiveness in her tone to rank her any higher than midpack. Which doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a big shot to win the whole thing, of course.

4. Jake Worthington: Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” (Team Blake) | Jake’s not a perfect singer — though his opening a cappella notes proved he’s got serious skills/guts — but he infuses so much of his humble self into the music that it’s hard not to fall for him. I loved how even with his innocent babyface, he managed to sell the story of a man who’s begging his woman not to dream of a former lover. I also loved his response to Shakira’s description of his performance as “perfect” — “You’re perfect, Shakira!” — and the way he hugged Coach Blake like he never wanted to let go. Maybe those are terrible reasons to rank him at No. 3, but dammit, it’s Season 6, and this is how I’m rolling — for one night only, anyhow.

3. Jeremy Briggs: Bad Company’s “Bad Company” (Team Shakira) | Did I rank this classic rock dood too high? Probably. After all, my scribbled notes from the start of his performance say “energy is a little low.” But this untrained bar band singer displayed near-perfect intonation (Harry Connick Jr., stay outta my brain!) and there was a Bon Jovi-esque combo of grit and power in his instrument. If Shakira taps into her early (or even Laundry Service-era) rock roots, this could be a match made in Voice cielo.

2. Dawn & Hawkes: The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” (Team Adam) | Mr. Levine went a tad overboard with his “favorite performance I’ve ever seen on The Voice” critique. (What? Did he not coach Amanda Brown when she tackled “Dream On”?) But that doesn’t mean this romantic couple didn’t slay the Beatles-sized dragon that was standing in front of ‘em. There was so much warmth and complexity to the blend of their voices, I could’ve basked in two hours of tunes from ‘em. And that’s a pretty good sign for their trajectory on the show — and in their post-Voice careers, too!

1. Bria Kelly: James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues” (Team Usher) | Holy hell! I know The Voice sneak-previewed her full audition on YouTube last week and gave her the coveted pimp spot tonight, but there’s so much whiskey-stinging, sandpaper-on-the-floor authenticity in this teenager’s voice, that I understood when chairs started spinning based on her opening glory note alone. (Sometimes, hype is earned, y’know? Also, Bria looks a lot like Reese Witherspoon in the face, or is it just me?) Anyway, watching the judges squabble over Bria somehow made her all the more appealing — especially that zinger about “if you’re really cool, you can turn your Grammys into shoes — like Usher did.” And I think she’s gonna be glad she chose Usher over the other three coaches — especially if he digs as deep into her Voice journey as he did with another happening lady named Michelle Chamuel.

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of The Voice‘s Season 6 premiere? Who were your favorite wannabes? Did you disagree with any of the coaches’ or contestants’ decisions? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments! And for all my reality TV-related news, interviews and recaps, 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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169 Comments
  1. Pat says:

    Ooooh you’re gonna be in for a ride with placing Grimmie at #5. You know she’s got a rabid fan base right? Good luck there Mr. Slezak!

    • Danny says:

      I thought it was a pretty good show. Like Idol, it’ll probably have its ebbs and flows, ups and downs. Some Idol auditions that I thought were awesome led to mundane live performances. We’ll see how the Voice plays out but I think it’s off to a good start. My top 3 were the first one, the couple, and the last one. I liked the rocker cuz I’m partial to classic rock. His song choice was my favorite. In no way to I think he’s even close to the best singer though.
      ….
      One thing that’ll bug some people is the constant comparisons of the two shows. That’s life and it’s bound to happen. At least this year it’s looking like we’ll have 2 pretty good season’s to compare to for when that happens.

      • Danny says:

        Uggh- Sorry for the off topic reply. My post was supposed to be its own post at like #19 on the list. That’s happened to me a few times where my post doesn’t end up where I’m responding to something and it ends up under a different person’s post. Again, sorry about that.

      • analythinker says:

        I agree with everything you said. Although I’m confused as to whom you’re referring “he” to. Hawkes?

        • Danny says:

          @Analythinker- If ya mean me on the “he” question, I meant Jeremy Briggs singing Bad Company. That was my favorite song in terms of selection. I don’t think he’s close to the best singer though. I’m generally partial to rock based singers on these types of shows because it’s my favorite type of music.

    • MiniMe says:

      Plus Christina’s friend and mentor Selena Gomez tweeted to her 18 million plus followers:

      Selena Gomez ‏@selenagomez 3h
      . @TheRealGrimmie what an amazing performance tonight on @NBCTheVoice so proud of how far you have come. Excited to see you go all the way.

    • Carrie says:

      I had never heard her before last night and was blown away. My initial thought was “she is better than all of this season’s idol contestants rolled into one”. Bria was impressive, but to my ear, “Grimmie’s tone had so much texture and nuance – can’t wait to hear more from her.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        I don’t know what Michael Slezak listens to when he watches this show, but just like last season when he raved about screaming Jacquie, he seems to favor that kind of singer over someone with a nuanced tone and perfect pitch. Bria was good, better than Jacquie actually, but Christina’s performance was polished and perfect from beginning to end. Of course it isn’t surprising that she was comfortable on TV, she has performed on the Ellen show as well as DWTS, playing her songs on piano during dance numbers. You are right though, you can take all of the idol top 13, pool all of their talent into one singer, and it still wouldn’t equal, Christina, Bria, or the duo, who I also loved.

  2. Pat says:

    Btw, I saw you donated $250 to Haley’s indiegogo music video project. You rock!

    • Riker says:

      WTG Slezak! Very nice. Love Reinhart. She should have won.

      • Terry says:

        Right, she should have won because she’s doing so well now that she has to beg her fans for money to make a video. smh.

        • analythinker says:

          Wow.

          • Terry says:

            I’m sorry but these “she should have won” comments are a little ridiculous in light of how her career has gone in comparison to the actual winner’s, don’t ya think? enough.

          • Danny says:

            The way I see “Who Should Have Won” is based on how they did on the show. These shows aren’t Lifetime Achievement awards. They’re more like Rookie of the Year awards. Take Carrie and Bo. In looking back it’s easy to think that Carrie was the easy winner. At the time though, they were neck and neck. While I thought Carrie was also terrific and she’s in my top 5 all time Idols, I would have given Bo the slight nod that year.
            ….
            These winners didn’t win by getting 100% of the votes. There’s people every year who get a lot of votes but don’t win. I think some past winners should have been Bo, Daughtry, Melinda, Allison, Siobhan, and Haley. Does that mean I’m right? Not according to the majority of the voters. Those are who I felt should have won though.

    • LG says:

      Slezak can’t go more than a week without mentioning Haley in a recap! Her “Bennie and The Jets” was not all that – pronounce the words. Props though for donating money to her Indiegogo project.

  3. Quinn Carson says:

    Bria won the night hands down. Hope Usher keeps her on board until the live rounds!

    • Danny says:

      @Quinn- I thought Bria was terrific, but I wouldn’t say she won it hands down. I preferred Christina. I don’t even like the song Wrecking Ball, yet I feel she was outstanding.

  4. Jobless says:

    I know The Voice has probably has different eligibility criteria than American Idol, but this is the show for actual talent now. There were several blind auditions in this one episode that were better than any performance given on Idol so far this year.

    • This. I was thinking this about halfway through the show. The few that didn’t make it through, I agreed with. And out of the ones who did, like Michael said, A FEW are definite contenders to win. Quality.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Yup, after the first girl’s glory note on Wrecking Ball and then that pretty melodic riff she did on the bridge, I said to my hubby that we’re already head and shoulders above the talent on Idol this year. Sad. I wanted to love both shows. I’ll take one being good though.

    • Justin says:

      You are an idiot and that is not true. Goodbye.

    • Justin says:

      And there were better auditions on Idol this year compared to The Voice. It takes time for them to grow. This is why I can barely stand the Voice anymore because of comments like this.

      • Davey says:

        Not sure what Idol you’re watching but after seeing the top 13 this year i’m not even sure I’m going to continuing watching that show anymore.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        There wasn’t one audition on Idol that was better than Christina, Bria, or the duo. You should be careful when you call people an idiot, especially when you follow that post with completely idiotic comments. Idol systematically rooted out the contestants that even had a chance of being interesting this year., They are desperate for ratings, and that desperation led to unwatchable live television in which 30 people make it through to the live rounds, but only 20 of them get a chance to sing. Trust me, a singer like Emanuelle, who somehow made it to the top 30 on Idol, wouldn’t have come close to getting a chair to turn on The Voice.

        • MAB says:

          You can not compare the auditions on Idol and The Voice. They are two different animals. The Voice has a full band accompanying the contestant where Idol is in a room with 3 judges and no music xcept maybe a guitar. I like the beginning of The Voice better but I absolutely like the live shows on idol better.
          Why does one have to be a better show than the other. They are just different but both are entertaining in their own right.

        • Keith says:

          The Voice also has a lot more professional singers that have had recording contracts ,but failed to make it big

        • Kylee says:

          Oh please, if Xenia or Raelynn could get a chair turn, then Emmanuelle could also. Stop dissing Idol in favor of The voice, its a lot better this year(Idol).

          And yes, there were many auditions better than those overrated performances, dummy.

    • Kacey says:

      Someone must have given you the Voice Kool Aid or you work for them. Idol takes talent and watches them grow every week. By the end of the season you will probably be singing a different tune.

      • Name This Tune says:

        Idol takes children and makes fun of them. That’s the Fox way of doing business.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        who were the top 5 guys on idol last year?
        lol oops I guess they never really got that chance to “grow”
        no worries I’m sure Lazurus or whatever his name was will be huge star someday.

        • MAB says:

          Stop going by last year. Even the strongest Idol supporters jumped ship last year because of the manipulation. I went to a party on Sunday and some of the people there stopped watching last year because of the judges and talent. I told them to try again that it is better this year. A lot of people say the tLent was good last year but it wasn’t. The girls were good but they only did ballads. There was no variety and a lot of people did not like that. It was boring. Even though Candace is a good singer she is not the best entertainer. The only entertainer in the group was Janelle Aurthur.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            Hi MAB,
            We mostly agree on things, and I am an Idol lifer, don’t get me wrong, but after last seasons disaster, I was about ready to give up on the show. I was encouraged though with the addition of HCJ, and the amount of different kind of talent that the judges put through to Hollywood during the audiiton weeks.
            But come on, are you telling me you enjoyed seeing people who thought they were going through to Hollywood, get put on a bus and taken back to the airport like hostages. That was horrible , cringe worthy television. And equally cringe worthy was letting 5 singers per night just sit there and watch as one by one 10 people were invited up to sing, and then not ever getting a chance at their live shot, and letting america decide. Idol is grasping at straws to stay relevant, and now we are left with a mediocre top 13.I’ll keep watching as I always do, but, this is not a good top 13, and everyone knows it. Maybe I will be proven wrong, I hope I am.

          • MAB says:

            I do agree with you about the bus to the airport and that 5 girls and 5 boys waited all night and not be able to perform. Hopefully the producers who have been listening to public will stop these mean tactics in the future. As far as the top 13, I am willing to give them a chance.
            Every elimination is cruel in the competitions and I give all these contestants credit for having the courage to enter these reality shows. Just think of The Voice for a minute. You are out there singing your heart out and nobody turns around for you and this is in front of a live audience with your friends and family in a room routing for you. Yeah, they are not mean with the rejection but you are still rejected in front of everyone.
            The cruelest judge I ever saw was Simon, yet he was the most popular judge in any of these shows. I loved Simon but I seriously cringed for the singers when he ripped into them and that was when Idol was on top of their game. Go figure.

          • Kylee says:

            @bobsaccamanna- everybody “knows it?” Newsflash, A LOT of people like this top 13, your negative opinion isn’t the only opinion out there. This is a great top 13 and MOST people on the internet were pretty happy with it. I don’t know what kind of drugs you are on.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Except for the ones who are not happy with Idol’s final 13. Take a look at the ratings, kiddo. Advertising slots keep getting cheaper, ratings fall every week, and American Idol will post its first loss in 13 seasons of being on the air. Seems like there are a lot of people who don’t agree with you.

        • waterbug says:

          you are crackin’ me up bobsaccamanna! I have never laugh so hard today! Ha.

    • Name This Tune says:

      Hands down I totally agree with you. It’s refreshing to watch singers who have taken the time to learn their craft.

      • Kylee says:

        You are dumb, people have time to practice auditions. Wait until they actually have to learn new songs for the battle rounds, etc. A lot of people on Idol are promising during auditions because they had time to practice their craft.

        • Name This Tune says:

          Hi Kylee. How old are you? Twelve? Because calling people dumb because they disagree with you is what a child does.

        • Kevin says:

          I’m on Kylee’s side here, but the reason Idol is better than the voice is that people actually vote for the contestant and not the coach. I also like that Idol has more weeks of live shows, it definitely helps the contestants grow

          • AlyB says:

            Each show has its positives & negatives. I watch them both. The one that’s unwatchable for me is the X factor. AI simply has to update its themes this season or it will be hard to stick it out no matter how good the singers are. I pay little to no attention to what the Voice coaches have to say during the live shows. It’s always the same. The real critiques and work go on in the background coaching sessions. I just like to see and hear young, undiscovered talent take a stab at living their dream. Both shows offer a glimpse at that though the structure of each platform is different.

          • Becky says:

            American Idol is mainly about small town undiscovered talent. They go thru several auditions to pick the Hollywood group, the top 30, then the final 13. I like the Voice until they perform individually. Then for me it loses its fun. It is more about them turning around for who they like. After watching some on YouTube, I didn’t buy the fact that Blake didn’t know who Bria was since she headlined for Miranda. I don’t think it is blind at all.

          • analythinker says:

            How is people vote for the coach? I don’t recall people need to cast their vote to Adam, Blake, Shakira, or Usher. I get your point though, but to me, comparing Idol and The Voice is like comparing apples and pears.

          • rio says:

            Both shows suffer, in the end, by the artificial groupings they use. Idol groups by gender: boys vs girls. Voice groups by “coach.” Taented people are eliminated for the wrong reasons. (On Idol, because we already have enough girls, say, and on Voice because Adam has two soul singers, say.) That’s one reason why both shows are more interesting in the early stages. On Idol, I always wish they wouldn’t start with a gender quota. But The Voice is locked into its coaching format.

            One aspect of Idol I’ve always enjoyed is seeing the performers improve in poise and presentation.

    • Kylee says:

      That probably seems that way because The Voice recruits professionals. Idol gets the raw natural talent that grow every week. There is never any growth arc for The Voice contestants which makes for boring tv. Most of the raw talent goes on idol while those with professional experience are on THe Voice.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I think you have the beginning of a good point there, but not quite. Learning how to sing isn’t something you’re going to perfect in the course of a competition like this. You either have a voice like Kelly Clarkson or Candice Glover, or you don’t. Not much is going to chance musically in a few months. What I like more about The Voice is that the singers for the most part have already learned how to sing, mostly because they’re older on average and have been training for years, if not decades. The average age drifting further down and down on Idol is not appealing to me from a demographic perspective, and most definitely not appealing to me from a musical perspective.

        • Kylee says:

          Oh please, you really think the auditions last night were anything better than we heard on idol this year? Even better than Jena? Even better than Jess’s original song? Better than Tiquila’s audition? Get your hearing checked sir.

          • Kimbo says:

            The 2 of the auditions we saw were more worthwhile than the 1st episode of AI this season. Not to say AI doesn’t have good talent, just…the full band really helps.
            Definitely makes the first night of lives a LOT easier. They’ve already been performing in front of audiences from the get go.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Yes, Kylee / Justin / Kevin / however many other names you’re using, I do think the auditions last night on The Voice were better than we heard on Idol this year. I’m entitled to my opinion, as you are entitled to yours. And please stop calling people who disagree with you “dumb.” You’re showing your age when you do that.

    • MC says:

      ITA. The Voice has me hooked right now. It’s interesting that there were seven or eight talented females on AI this year and five of them were cut without the chance to sing for America’s votes. In one show, mind you. I know they want to clear a path for Majesty and Sam, but that was too much for me. I am permanently off the AI bandwagon, but The Voice is going to be great this season.

      • Kylee says:

        Funny how you still think of American Idol. You are stupid. And BS that you are off the bandwagon.

        • MC says:

          I just want to let people know what happened. That’s what I saw, but maybe you saw something else.

        • Francine says:

          Why must you call everyone who likes The Voice better than Idol “stupid” and “dumb”?! People ARE allowed to have different opinions. I like both shows pretty equally but would never call someone stupid for having a different opinion.

          • Calli says:

            Posts like Kylee’s are what we get when parents let their kids stay up past their bedtimes and play on the internet.

        • B. says:

          LOL. Is that all you have to say to people, that they are “dumb” and “stupid”? You obviously didn’t even watch this show so please keep your opinions to yourself. Go post on an Idol board and talk to yourself because nobody cares. A lot of people here watch both shows and would like to freely state their opinions without you injecting yourself into their discussions.

        • MiniMe says:

          Quit calling people stupid… STUPID! People who call others name are LOSERS!

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        That’s exactly right MC, the show lost all of it’s credibility this year by not allowing 5 people per night to perform. We were supposed to trust the judges and Randy Jackson to choose who was allowed to perform. But the bottom line here is that The Voice is just a more entertaining two hours of television each night, and has been since season 1.

        • Kylee says:

          You are stupid, you really think everybody who performed last night than anybody on idol this year? Get your hearing checked.

        • MC says:

          I don’t mind if they quickly eliminate a group of singers, but the five cuts on the female side were unforgiveable. There’s a reason that Kenzie Hall, Austin Wolfe, Andrina Brogden, Jillian Jensen and Brandy Neelly were not allowed to sing. It’s because they were sacrificial lambs and they were good enough to be inconvenient. In fact, they were very good. They were good enough to distract viewers from Majesty and Sam and therefore were not needed. The message to these very talented young ladies was, “Hit the road, Jack. We’ve decided you don’t fit the profile of an AI winner.” I’m not cool with that and AI also has a paucity of mature voices this year. For those two reasons, I’m off the AI bandwagon for this season. The Voice should offer plenty of entertainment in the meantime.

    • Jobless says:

      I’m not slamming Idol, I enjoy watching that too. The good news is that there’s a long season of both shows ahead for me to be proven wrong.

      • Kylee says:

        You looked like you were slamming idol.

      • Kylee says:

        You are probably one of those people who think Idol sucks and that The Voice is the “best thing evah!”

        • Ggdiva says:

          Both are competitions and a complete waste of time. Like comparing apples to oranges. These talents are required to bend their capabilities to suit the whim of show producers. Blues should compete with blues, R&B with R&B, Country with Country and so on. It’s stupid to put yourself through all this only to be cut because the only people voting are little girls and teenage boys whose only interest is overly produced, auto tuned, mindless commercial drivel. Not commercially viable? You got no chance what-so-ever. Be yourself, follow your heart and stay away from competitions. There are no quick fixes in the music biz and no short cuts in life. 10,000 hours of hard work and total dedication is what’s required to be truly successful.

        • Guest says:

          As opposed to someone who feels compelled to post 50 times in a short period to tout American Idol like it’s the only thing that can stop the asteroid from hitting the planet?

      • Jobless says:

        I’m not slamming Idol, they certainly have their track record of contestant success post show to stand on, although not lately. I’m slamming what I think is a mediocre crop of contestant they’ve given us this year. I could be wrong, I often am.

    • Barbara says:

      I was thinking the same thing, even the singers that did not move on were better than the singers on AI. That’s sad because who does not love Harry and Keith.

  5. Jaime says:

    Wrecking Ball was beautiful, but Christina has so much more power in her voice. She needs to bust out something akin to her “Just a Dream” duet (seriously check that out). And if she makes it to the live rounds, then the fanbase she’s been building on YouTube for the last four years is gonna carry her pretty damn far. I know she’s got my vote!

  6. Bonquisha says:

    I remember Bria from America’s Got Talent

  7. Kaba says:

    Um…if Bria stays like that all season she has my votes.
    Hopefully Usher keeps up his (from what it seems) amazing ability to bring out the best in artists you wouldn’t expect him to work best with.
    I can only imagine what other talents Usher gets, I really like him as a coach.
    It’s also good to see someone other than Adam hogging all the 4-chairs. It really made season 5 such a killjoy.

    • JM says:

      Yes, I agree. Usher is the best coach, and I’m glad to see him winning the four chairs. I just wish Christina had picked him, too. Adam will probably ruin her.

  8. I loved Kristen! She was so good!

  9. Kimbo says:

    It’s gonna be a blood bad with the Grimmie fanbase this season.
    Personally I’d rank Bria over Grimmie as well because I was more impressed with Grimmie’s vocal power rather than her connection power to a song whereas I like Bria’s voice and just dug the way she was able to narrate a song with her voice alone.

  10. Riker says:

    Not sure Michael Slezak wanted Jake at four…three seems to be lingering on his mind. For me: 3 TJ – 2 Jake – 1 Bria. Great show. Fun.

  11. AlyB says:

    Bria blew me away. I can’t wait to hear her sing again. It’s crazy early to pick a favorite but unless she has some catastrophic meltdown, I think she’s going to go far. I do think Team Usher is a great place for her. Dawn and Hawkes & Christina Grimmes round out my top 3 of the night in that order. They should all be around for awhile. Jake W. has a beautiful tone to his voice but will likely stick to that old school country lane that bores me to tears. He sounded great tonight but I’ve got a feeling we’ll be hearing the same thing over and over. I guess we’ll see. Jeremy had a solid rock voice. There was something like a wall around him though. He just struck me as cold and I’m not sure why. Jake and Jeremy have a chance to develop. I predict the rest are cannon fodder. Decent vocalists but not particularly compelling. All in all a great decent start. Go Bria!

  12. Mike W says:

    Well the demographics have a lot to do with The Voice. Rockers may do well early, but they usually can’t pull out the win. Of course there are a lot of talented people on The Voice, especially the last two seasons and I don’t think anyone should give up if they don’t win. I’ll be voting regularly and buying the best of what I like and when the folks I like win or loose, it’s all good.

    • If a Reggae fusion artist can win the Voice, anyone can.

    • tvlover44 says:

      well, terry mcdermott didn’t win, but he sure came dang close. to be fair, he’s got one hell of a voice. after the show i went and checked out his stuff with the two bands he’s fronted – now on heavy rotation on my ipod. i wasn’t as sold on the guy from tonight’s voice, but i was pleased he got through. actually the rocker i surprisingly find myself pulling for right now is caleb – the jack black-ish rock singer on idol.

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  14. Davey says:

    I’m sold on Dawn and Hawkes whether they win or not. I watched some of their other videos and they are just so sweet together and harmonize perfectly. I’d buy an album of theirs in a heartbeat. It’s still so early in the auditions so I’m sure we have a lot more talent to look forward to.

    • Margaret says:

      I’m actually surprised The Voice hasn’t had an americana/folk singer do particularly well on the show, especially given the popularity of groups like Mumford & The Lumineers, Dawn & Hawkes could be that team, I really enjoyed watching them tonight. I didn’t watch X Factor, but I think they’re different enough from Alex & Sierra that they can grab their own fans.

      • tvlover44 says:

        agree, and while watching tonight i was thinking that perhaps alex & sierra’s success on x factor may’ve been what prompted the voice producers to put dawn & hawkes through, which is fine by me – i think they’re a great and unique addition to the show.

        • tvlover44 says:

          having found out that the blinds were filmed in october, there goes my theory that any production decisions regarding dawn & hawkes had anything to do with x factor’s alex & sierra’s success (unless they were perhaps already anticipating it?). whatever the circumstances that led to their inclusion, interesting duos are always welcome in my book.

  15. Dimitri says:

    Christina Grimmie was the best of the night!

  16. Mytake says:

    I like several of the singers a lot but the singing unfortunately wasn’t the thing that most stood out to me over the course of the show.
    ~
    My biggest pet peeve over the years of these singing competitions has been the aggravating and increasingly ridiculous sob stories we are subjected to. It got so bad that I sometimes actually disliked a singer based on the manipulative sob story they and the producers shoved down our throats. “I got a hangnail for a week in grade 8 and despaired I’d be disfigured for life! *sob*. I was mercilessly bullied because of it then I had a nervous breakdown when my 98 yr old grandfather, who bought me my first plastic drum when I was 2 yrs old, died *cry*. I’ve battled my way back from the brink by knowing he’d want me to make it big in music and at the same time I have 5 cats and 2 dogs that I have to support and try to give them a better life *wail*.
    ~
    This gratuitous manipulative bullcrap is even more blatant now that AI seems to have got the message that viewers are sick of it and therefore there has been very minimal sob stories so far on AI. That one single thing alone is like a breath of fresh air has blown through AI. And now we are bludgeoned to within an inch of our lives with the sob bat on the Voice. Ugh!

    • Name This Tune says:

      There is a way to skip the sob stories. Simply watch the performance on YouTube or Hulu. Which is what I do 80% of the time.

      • Jaila says:

        Yes, we can pre-record and fast forward. But I’d rather the producers cared what their audience doesn’t like and stop with the endless sob stories altogether. Think of the freed up time to have longer song time or watching the mentoring process.

  17. MAB says:

    I really liked Christina. She was my favorite but I also really liked Dawn & Hawkes.
    I did enjoy the show tonight and I notice that so many people are trying to say either tThe Voice or Idol are better. They are two completely different shows and each have their strong points and weaknesses. I love Idol because you really get to know the contestants and are able to watch them grow. I like The Voice because of the camaraderie with the judges. I also find that the contestants on The Voice are more professional and have more experience yet I don’t feel as invested in them as I do with Idol. Once the live shows start it just goes so fast with eliminating two at a time. Bottom line I enjoy both shows but American Idol is and always will be my favorite.

  18. Heather says:

    You really do need to be schooled on Biff Gore…real talent isn’t simply mimicking another; it’s making music your own and conveying new meaning through old tunes. Is this a cover contest or talent search? Sam Cooke already made this song a hit his way; Biff should be applauded for taking the risk of putting in his own spin straight out of the box. Biff’s range and ability to make his audience feel the music should not be underestimated. He has real talent and appeal, and the reason I like this show is that it provides a platform for talent more diverse than the teenage heart throb, and I can’t wait to hear Biff again! Go Team Biff!

    • tvlover44 says:

      well-said. i really enjoyed his performance and will be interested to see what he does next and how usher coaches him.

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      I would switch Biff in these rankings with the 17-year-old blues singer as he effortlessly lived that performance while Steamroller Blues seemed not quite right for a teenage girl…and I found the Benny and the Jets cover anemic and underwhelming…loved Jake Worthington with his authentic country voice and persona, and Dawn and Hawkes (who were much better/warmer/more charming than that back-up singer from a couple seasons back who did Dream On)

      • Larry says:

        Can we quit the “oh they’re a teenager? I don’t believe it” bs? I recall plenty of young artists back in the day singing of rather mature things and that was more than fine. Suddenly it’s the end of the world if a teenager sings a song with an old feel to it.
        Personally I get beyond tired of teenagers singing a bunch of cutesy lame crap that doesn’t require any kind of emotional anything to dig into.
        All it appears nowadays that any time I hear that argument it’s more because you just don’t want to believe that a teenager can tap into raw emotion, absurd.

        • seattlejohn449 says:

          both Biff and Jake made strong and immediate emotional connections for me but Steamroller Blues, though technically well done, left me cold…I thought it an over-ambitious song choice where something more restrained and more soulful might have hit the spot instead and I value feeling a song more than showy vocals…perhaps I was too quick playing the teenager card but imo the song wasn’t a good fit for that particular singer, where Jake (something of a youngster himself) aced his song with plenty of nuance and feeling

        • Daezy says:

          I’m a teenager, and I fully believe that a teenager could tap into raw emotional songs. My problem is that they don’t LOOK like they’re tapping into raw, emotional songs most of the time. These are instances where I feel backstory is needed.

          The difference between a teenager who volunteered for hospitals and soup kitchens, is often the lead in her school’s musicals, and loves music singing blues, and a teenager who has been beaten up by her dad, betrayed by her best friend, and her one month old is being taken by CPS singing blues usually makes all the difference. One has to believe the struggle is real in order for us to appreciate it, but the problem is that if you’ve never been through a struggle (or can’t even pretend you have) is what can kill a song for most people.

          That’s why I didn’t like Jacquie last season. Her struggle wasn’t real, and it just seemed like a shtick that was getting old (“oh, look at me! I’m so young, and emotional, and stuff cause I can reach all these high notes :).).

          Like it if you want to. It’s a free country, man.

  19. Sean says:

    I enjoyed all of the preformers who made it through, with Bria being my favorite. However, I am disappointed that they only showed 8 successful preformances. I really don’t think they should waste their time with contestants who don’t even get a chair turn.

    • Emma says:

      But then you wouldn’t get the “I listened to you, I did what you said, and I came back” storyline ala Jake Worthington.

  20. Angie_Overrated says:

    Nope, Slezak is not incorrect place Biff Gore in last place. He’s competent but a far cry from “great.” I do think adorable lesbian country singer from Massachusetts should have been much further up the list.

    Am I the only one who didn’t love the 17 year old who closed the show? Was not into it at all. It was so affected and contrived. I’ll reserve judgment for when I hear her sing something else.

  21. lassirrra says:

    I admit I’m a bit biased because Paul Rodgers is my all time favorite singer But I thought that Jeremy still did a wonderful job with Bad Company. He didn’t reach the bluesy bits that I’m used to with the song, but it was very very good. But he did make it his own and

  22. tealeaves says:

    Dawne and Hawkes were too much like Alex and Sierra to me. It was distracting. I love Alex and Sierra, though, so maybe Dawne and Hawkes will grow on me.

  23. Forwardad says:

    Enough with the back stories and we
    Might get more than 8 singers.

  24. Terry says:

    Now that was entertaining, thoroughly enjoyed that episode, hope it continues to be this good.

  25. A says:

    Biff is my new favorite person. Gosh I forgot how much I love this show. I was dying laughing for 2 hours straight. Also, seriously, how could you not join Usher’s team when he smiles with those dimples? Who could say no to that? How is Adam the sexiest man alive?

  26. A says:

    Totally agree that Amanda Brown’s “dream on” was the best voice performance ever

  27. Sarah says:

    I love The Voice I really do and I’m completely excited for this season but my one plea for them is to please please stop the recapping madness. They need to restrict themselves to one recap at the beginning of an episode and at end if they must and that’s it! I’m not greedy this is all I ask.

  28. Kimbo says:

    Am I the only one a bit…bothered by the fact that Christina was allowed to audition?
    Just ever so recently she toured with Selena Gomez, released an album, debuted at the billboard #101 slot and various other things.
    How she’s able to be on the show kind of baffles me. I’d figure she’d fall under the “over qualified” aspect of the show.
    Like, there’s Cassadee and Tessanne who had their own foot in the door as well…but Christina’s is just so recent and (seems) so much bigger than their’s it’s just kind of…idk.
    Then there’s Bria, the lesser case. She was on AGT and from the looks of it went pretty far…though I do not for the life of me understand the rounds process of AGT whatsoever.

    I just hope that Christina doesn’t just sail toward another win just because of her fanbase alone. I’d rather the person doing the best and just being better win and if she doesn’t bring it. No thanks

    • MiniMe says:

      I feel the same as you. She preformed on DWTS a few times, on Ellen. Like you mentioned opened for Selena Gomez on her recent Stars Dance tour. Has her own ‘verified’ twitter account with 387,000 followers. If she makes it to the live rounds, her huge fan base may sail her to a win. Christina is much more established and bigger than Cassadee.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Oh wow. Christina is kind of up there. Makes sense cuz her voice was damn good. I can see why some might have a problem with it, but music is so goddam hard to break into if you’re doing popular music. You reach a certain level of technical and artistic ability, and then it’s all blood, sweat and tears. I don’t see why I would find it objectionable to use a show like The Voice or Idol as another avenue for exposure the same way Tessanne, Cassadee, and Judith Hill have done before her.

      • Kimbo says:

        I’m all for using these shows as pedestals (Majesty Rose, repping everything that is good and great in the world), but to me it almost feels like an early victory just because her fanbase is still so, SO relevant and strong as it is. Makes it kind of an uneven playing field that can only be defeated if someone has a breakout moment that puts Jacquie Lee, DBradberry, Wolpert, etc. to shame and Grimmie just does okay.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I hear ya. I would be very upset if she was of marginal ability and this was the case. But at least based on the one song I’ve heard, she deserves to be a contender for the win. This dynamic would be far more problematic if her abilities were more akin to Kat Robichaud from last season. I would stop watching the show NOW if something as tragic as that happened.

          • Kimbo says:

            I highly doubt she’ll ever fail to impress. Her youtube videos show you enough to know that she’s a singer that demands vocal excellency.
            My problem is, if she gets regularly out performed it’d just be a killjoy of a season if she coasts anyway.

    • Name This Tune says:

      I think this show is for the professional not the amateur. And I am fine with that.

  29. Roxanna says:

    Christina Grimmie was my favorite tonight, but no one else amazed me just yet. However, after a dreadful Idol week that cut most of my favorites, it’s a relief to give full attention to a show that does not cut singers before they sing.

  30. MiniMe says:

    Christina Grimmie’s friend and mentor Selena Gomez tweeted to her 18 million plus followers:

    Selena Gomez ‏@selenagomez 3h
    . @TheRealGrimmie what an amazing performance tonight on @NBCTheVoice so proud of how far you have come. Excited to see you go all the way.

    • Emma says:

      Fun Fact: Grimmie released an album last year and one of the songs on it (Get Yourself Together) was co-written by Haley Reinhart. :)

  31. Laura V says:

    Yeah I’m quite intrigued by Bria.
    Spare my Christina, never cared for her. Never cared for a single one of her youtube covers, my younger sister was obsessed (and, btw, was baffled as to why she’s even able to be on the show).
    From what I hear…she might be into growling for the sake of growling, which I don’t hate, but I hope she learns to make her performances seem less contrived.
    Thankfully I liked the character she brought to the song considering the amount of covers I’ve heard of it. Made it edgy, I’m cool with edgy.
    She did enough just to make the song very, very addictive.

  32. aw says:

    Michael, isn’t it season 6 premiere of the voice?

  33. joanne says:

    I think Christina Grimmie having toured with Selena Gomez and appeared on Ellen etc gives her an unfair advantage over the other contestants. There is a difference between being a professional musician who is struggling to make it and a professional musician who has performed on a major tour and on national tv.

    However, that said, that still doesn’t guarantee her of a big boost in her career, even if she wins The Voice. Cassadee Pope, is probably the former contestant who is closest to having had the type of exposure that Christina’s had before appearing on The Voice, and while she has had moderate success since winning The Voice, she hasn’t become a superstar, or even a star. The people who watch this show haven’t proven that they care about supporting the contestants’ careers — that’s the big difference between this show and Idol — although in recent years, winning Idol has proven hit & miss in terms of how successful someone will be coming off the show, too.

    • Kaba says:

      It’s funny, I think Danielle has been much more successful than Cassadee. I’ve heard Danielle on the radio much more often than Cassadee. I just think it’s kind of obnoxious for Christina to be on the show.
      I don’t mind professional musicians, but just about 6 months ago she was releasing her 2nd album and anticipating great sales.

      • Viajero says:

        First, I’d say that having your album reach No. 1 and first single reach Top 10 on the country charts (and going gold) is more than being moderately successful.

        Second, Cassadee’s album and single have outsold Danielle´s by a considerable margin. Of course this does not of course mean that Danielle couldn’t turn out to be more successful over the long term.

    • Lauren says:

      I agree it is an unfair advantage. Christina already has millions of fans while the others are mostly starting from scratch. How in the world is that fair in a competition setting? It does indeed remind me of Cassadee, who also had a strong following before the show. I honestly think Cassadee was a ringer and was planted. Her audition truly sucked and yet she got a mysterious four chair turn, then they went on to praise every mediocre performance she gave from then on out like she was the second coming. I also like how she was presented as “pop-rock” then suddenly switched to country because it’s a much easier genre to be successful in. She’s one of those types who just lets others mold and package her however because she has no true musical identity of her own and just cares about the money.

      • HTGR says:

        I heard strong rumors that she actually fought being changed over to country post-The Voice pretty hard and that Blake had to keep pushing and pulling and dragging her and then she still held back and then finally he got her to try the switch just this once. Of course now that she so easily went #1 in country I have a feeling it might be more than just this once. It does seem like country is the easiest way for many to break out these days. (of course what I heard could be BS too)
        .
        Anyway the fact that she went country also means that I’ve heard less than nothing about her since she left The Voice. I think we only recently got a country station up here for the first time in like 20+ years or something. I was actually shocked when they mentioned she was a big hit and #1. Haven’t heard a peep here. But hey good for her.

  34. Blake says:

    The medley at the beginning was awesome, and I like Usher a lot better this year than I did in his first season. The first time around, Usher came across as arrogant to me, with his foot up on his seat and the smugness, but this season, he seems a lot more down-to-earth and not as condescending. It’s hilarious watching Shakira try to be “mean” to the other coaches – I think the slight language barrier makes her say things a lot more bluntly than if someone else would say them, and it is clearly not in her nature to be mean-spirited because she says everything with a cheeky grin. Adam is the same-old Adam, but I feel like he’s jumping the gun a bit so far this season with the button-pushing; it seems like he’s always turned around within seconds of almost anyone singing. On the other hand, Blake seems to be missing out on some amazing talent in an attempt to be picky, not pushing his button for voices that clearly have the potential to win. Overall, I’m so glad The Voice is back (it easily trumps Idol for me, so I think I’m done with Idol for the season).

  35. Tyler says:

    Has anybody else noticed that Slezak rarely ranks any contestant who goes to Team Adam #1? I’m expecting his treatment of Dawn & Hawkes and Christina to be the same as it was for Tessanne Chin and James Wolpert.

    • Ursela says:

      This. He hates Adam.

    • Lauren says:

      James Wolpert just sucked and was clearly the worst for several weeks before he got kicked off. I do however agree that he downplayed praise on some of Tessanne’s great performances in order to boost Jacquie.

      • daezyg says:

        I disagree. I quite liked James’ voice and thought he didn’t suck nearly as much as Matthew did. But that’s just me. That’s the beauty of opinions. They’re all yours, and no one can take them from you.

        But that doesn’t make them any less yours.

  36. waterbug says:

    Love Christina Grimmie! I don’t understand the love for Bria. I didn’t understand a word she sang and it was infused with too much screeching.

    • Kimbo says:

      Please expand your vocabulary beyond the word “screeching” if you’re going to criticize the singing.
      The rampant abuse and misuse of that term last season was ridiculous.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        Well if Jacquie hadn’t screeched so often, week after week, then maybe the word wouldn’t have been abused last year, , but screeching is screeching, and in an onomatopoetic. kind of way, it’s the best way to describe the assault on your ears. Screaming doesn’t cut it, it’s not shrill enough. I think screeching is perfect.

        • Kimbo says:

          So, what was shrill about Bria?

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            nothing really Kimbo, I liked her actually, not as much as Christina but I still liked her. I just hope that she shows some versatility and isn’t a one note blues pony. I liked Jacquie at first last year too. And I’m just having some fum with you, I like your posts :)

      • Uma says:

        Agreed, Bria doesn’t seem like she can be particularly versatile. And I think “screeching” is just the right word for it.

        • Viajero says:

          How can you judge that based on one performance? And i certainly didn’t hear any screeching. I though Bria was the best of the evening, followed by Christina and the duo.

          • Uma says:

            Hence the “doesn’t seem” phrasing. It was one performance. Who knows what she is capable of? But based on that one performance, there was a lot of growl-screaming, which makes me wonder what else she can actually do.

    • bonquisha says:

      Excuse me. Its not called “screeching” it’s called talent so get used to it cause shes going all the way!

  37. Enrique says:

    Can some please tell me the song that played as soon as Bria Kelly chose usher!?

  38. Lauren says:

    Dawn and Hawkes is nothing but a ripoff of Alex and Sierra. Christina’s performance wasn’t that good. The comments here are probably coming from her youtube drones.

    • HTGR says:

      I was pretty impressed by Dawn and Hawkes. Also how can they be a rip-off if these auditions were filmed last fall? And I got the impression Dawn and Hawkes have probably been singing together a bit longer beforehand too.

  39. Marcia says:

    Michael, if you’re not familiar with Christina Grimmie, let me assure you that her tone will not disappoint and in fact will catapult her to the top….not to mention she’s an amazing performer. I promise.

  40. HTGR says:

    Off to a pretty good start.

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