Just when I start to think an episode of The Voice is getting as predictable as your average Bachelor nonsense — kiss, kiss, kiss, “right reasons,” cry, kiss, rose, elimination, repeat — producer Mark Burnett goes and throws us a curve ball.
Tonight’s installment of NBC’s singing competition focused largely on The Refined Tastes of Adam Levine (not a sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley), punctuated by the fact that nearly 50 minutes into the one-hour telecast, People’s Sexiest Man Alive had not turned his chair. Not even once. (Yeah, it’s doubtful that tonight’s auditions were shot in the same sequence they aired, but let’s suspend our disbelief for the purposes of this recap, yes?)
As Carson Daly offered up the last of his many, many, many, many pre-commercial previews (outweighed only by his endless post-commercial recaps), he warned us that the episode’s final contestant would, in fact, be “the show-stopping performance that Adam’s been waiting for” (with a bonus tease of Usher and Shakira hitting their buttons, and Blake lobbying his heart out).
So, yep, we were getting a four-chair turn. (Why must the show always spoil it for us!) And, yep, it was pretty certain she’d wind up on Team Adam.
And yet… turns out she didn’t! (Wait! What?) While Adam certainly lobbied long and enthusiastically for Audra McLaughlin’s affections, girlfriend followed her love of Bonnie Raitt… right to Miranda Lambert’s love of Bonnie Raitt… and then to Blake Shelton’s love of Miranda Lambert. Or something like that.
Color me surprised, bemused and impressed. All in favor of more misdirects and surprises on The Voice, raise your hands!
And on that note, let’s get to ranking — and reviewing, in a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less — tonight’s five Battle Rounds-bound contestants (shown in more than snippets) from least-to-most promising. (And I’ll just argue that there was more talent tonight in one hour than there was Monday in two!)
5. Megan Rüger, “Just Like a Pill” (Team Blake) | Megan’s vocal on the opening third of the performance sounded tight and nasal and not altogether pleasant. In her defense, though, she got better as she went along, she slayed a few of those big notes at the end, and her love of ’80s rock — and her choice of Blake over Usher based on his love of Wang Chung — makes me want to hear more.
4. Morgan Wallen, “Collide” (Team Usher) | Knoxville-based landscaper showcased a slightly peculiar but quite appealing combo of rasp and vibrato. Usher will need to help the kid discover some sort of inner charisma, but a serious growth arc is not out of the question.
3. Stevie Jo, “There Goes My Baby” (Team Usher) | Tackled a difficult Usher jam with tons of falsetto — and hit every note clean on the nose. Possible dark horse — if he upgrades his outfits from “afternoon trip to the mall.”
2. Audra McLauglin, “Angel from Montgomery” | Her tone — which spans the spectrum from bunny ears to sandpaper — was pretty captivating, and she’s got the kind of power that shakes the rafters without going off pitch. Add to that a tasteful, blues-tinged song choice, and it’s easy to see why she got a four-chair turn.
1. Emily B., “Wicked Game” (Team Shakira) | Successful session singer brought a haunting beauty and some unexpected twists and turns to Chris Isaak’s classic ballad. Is it crazy to say her voice contained shades of Cher and Martha Davis? Well, that’s what I heard, anyhow. Only concern was she held the mic too close to her lips during the opening lines. But sheesh, now I’m nitpicking. Time to wrap this recap up!
With that, let me turn things over to you.
What did you think of Night 4 of The Voice‘s Season 6? 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!