The Voice Recap: Maybe Just One More Try?

The Voice - Season 6Fun fact: The Bachelor: After the Final Rose is airing as I write this sentence. But as a reality TV recapper, I’m “here for the right reasons.” And that means I am obligated to ignore the fameosexual horror show/absurdist comedy unfolding over on ABC, and instead report on Episode 5 of The Voice‘s sixth season.

OK, yes, maybe the water cooler convo tomorrow will focus on how that one pretty blonde wanted a marriage proposal from Juan Pablo while his jacket was still damp with tears from that other pretty blonde. But I’m taking the long view. In six weeks’ time, you won’t care about the participants of The Battle to Win a Neil Lane Diamond and/or a Spot on the Possible Revival of Bachelor Pad (™ pending) .

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But there’s a very real chance that one of the eight artists who advanced to the Battle Rounds on tonight’s installment of The Voice will continue to be part of the soundtrack of your life — or at least a pleasant surprise in the midst of some iTunes shuffle action in the months and years to come.

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So let’s get to it, yes?

I’m gonna rank tonight’s eight Battle Rounds-bound contestants (shown in more than snippets) from least-to-most promising — along with giving performance reviews for each and every one of ’em — and then ask you to rank ‘em, too.

8. Paula Deanda: “The Way” (Team Blake) | Girlfriend’s grasp on pitch was as iffy as her genie pants and cropped top combo. How she got two chairs to turn and why she chose Blake over Shakira are bigger mysteries than how she lost her major-label contract back in the day.

7. Jake Barker: “When I Was Your Man” (Team Usher) | Yikes! This 28-year-old YouTube favorite — who’d never performed in front of a live audience — had more unnecessary runs in his Bruno Mars cover than a dog chasing his tail. (Sorry, that was a stretch.) Maybe Usher can tame his runaway trills, but I remain skeptical.

6. Alaska & Madi: “Barton Hollow” (Team Blake) | To my ear, the Oklahoma teens wandered from sweet harmonies to odd synchronization and back without much rhyme or reason. And while their song choice was cool and their tones were clear and pretty, I don’t think they conveyed much of the enigmatic darkness hinted at in the lyrics.

5. Cierra Mickens: “Crazy” (Team Shakira) | Preacher’s daughter from Alaska executed several high-difficulty adlibs in her Gnarls Barkley cover, but by the end, her vocal excess felt more distracting than moving. Not without talent, though, and she could easily exceed this low ranking come Battle Rounds.

4. Ria Eaton: “Cups (When I’m Gone)” (Team Blake) | She definitely finished stronger than she started, but Ria’s alternatingly croak-y/lilting tone was intriguing, and I dug her song choice, too. Plus, her backstory about her family’s financial struggles seemed 50% less annoying than most — maybe because she didn’t complain too much about her job piercing ears at the mall?

3. Josh Kaufman: “One More Try” (Team Adam) | Father of three may not be the most practical fella — I mean, if you want to be a working musician, doesn’t scoring a backup Master’s in philosophy represent the doubling of one’s risk? — but he brought a Billy Vera vibe to George Michael’s classic ballad, taking big swings at the melody and connecting pretty much every time. Let’s just hope that dude’s age (38) doesn’t get held against him on a show that’s appeared to have a mythical “Under 30” cutoff in recent Battles and Knockouts.

2. Ddendyl: “Stand by Me” (Team Shakira) | Shakira was right that Ddendyl’s gorgeous voice gave off shades of Norah Jones, but her frosted-glass tone (if that makes any sense) was unique enough to avoid any copycat complaints. I liked how Ddendyl took her time with the melody and didn’t fall off pitch when it looked like no coaches would turn. Which leads me to the night’s biggest burning question: How come this was a one-chair special instead of a four-chair turn? Have these coaches lost their damn minds — or at least the use of their ears?

1. Kat Perkins: “Gold Dust Woman” (Team Adam) | Rocker-turned-nanny, who’s seeking re-entry into the music world, showed exquisite taste with her song choice, then added flawless intonation and daring glory notes to the cocktail. I’m drunk in love — and hoping Adam doesn’t go and (in the words of RuPaul) f*** it up!

With that, let me turn things over to you.

What did you think of Night 5 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

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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  1. Quinn Carson says:

    Hey, Michael, we have the same top 3. The only thing I’d change is I thought Jake was the worst tonight, or in this case; JaAaaAaaAAaAkkkkKe.

    Side note: I totally just didn’t steal your joke about Josh Logan last season.

    • Matrix says:

      Yes, he overdid the runs but the coaches made a point to contestants they didn’t turn for that you have to let out all the stops in the blind auditions to show what you can do. The runs worked for him at this stage.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        See, I thought the runs were actually holding the coaches back. He reminded me a bit of Jacquie Lee from last year where both would do runs for the sake of runs without quite knowing or understanding why they were doing them. They weren’t horrible but they did expose the fact that he’s a bit green.

        • MC says:

          You have pinpointed why I didn’t care much for Jacquie Lee last season. It had nothing to do with her age because many of my favorites on these singing shows are under the age of 20.

      • Quinn Carson says:

        Yeah, Matrix, it’ll convince them to turn around, I just didn’t think the performamce was truly great in general. I suppose the guy has potential though, we’ll see what happens.

    • Rivka Simons says:

      More significantly, Slezak and I have the same weakest. Paula. That sequined g-string on her head aggravated me, and that was before she hit the building, and it went downhill from there. The one good point of her getting on the show is that she will have a stylist who will snatch that off her faster than a cheetah.

    • Jon says:

      I mostly agree with Michael (and LOVED Kat and Ddendyl) but I disagree with his low ranking for Alaska & Madi. I saw real potential there, especially with their harmonies — and their song choice was excellent. I think they’ll really benefit from Blake’s coaching.

      Also — and I think I’m in the minority on this — I really liked Luke Cooper! Yes, his performance of “Radioactive” was quirky, but that’s what made it memorable for me. I hear a lot of talk on these shows about “unique” voices, but Luke, for me, was the genuine article.

  2. Kaba says:

    I liked Jake (for his falsetto, spare me the runs), Ddendyl, and Josh.
    Though Josh is probably Battle rounds fodder now with his coach choice.

    • The Beach says:

      I sure hope not. He and Kat were by far my favorites tonight. Kat’s experience fronting bands certainly showed in her performance and confidence. Too bad they’re both on Adam’s team.

      • Tyler says:

        Agree. Kat and Josh were my faves of the nite too. I’m interested to see what Usher does with Jake. It’ll be like watching an artist sculpt clay. I think he may surprise a lot of people. I just hope Usher doesn’t have him do these stupid theatrics that Xtina made Jacquie do.

    • JM says:

      I agree, Kaba, and I would also add Kat. Why so many of them choose Adam is beyond me. He would be my LAST choice.

  3. Angie_Overrated says:

    Wow. Slezak and I have the same top 3 and in the same order. That happens never. I got so excited listening to those two ladies. With any luck we will be seeing both of them for a very long time.

    Ah, but why is the woman who sang Crazy so low on the list? I thought she was good too. Overall it was a pretty strong night.

    • Quinn Carson says:

      See? We can all grab our hot cup of joe and finally enjoy the Voice, *together.*

      … I should probably appologize for saying that.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Ah, just saw your list as well. That Kat chick blew me away as did the Stand by Me girl. I think this is the first time in 2014 I’ve gotten super excited about not one, but TWO contestants on one of these shows.

    • Kaba says:

      LOL a Kat you can like this season

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        A rocker Kat no less! She has reclaimed the name in my estimation. I had my misgivings before she even sang because the wounds were still too fresh from last season’s Kat, but all was quickly forgotten. This Kat is just stupidly good.

        • Kaba says:

          Hopefully she won’t be another ritual sacrifice for team adam.

        • The Beach says:

          Yep, she was the star find of the night for me too. What a great way to start off an unusually strong show tonight.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            And you love Kree last year on Idol too? You are a person of refined tastes. :) Alternatively, maybe both of us have terrible taste but we do so in tandem.

  4. B. says:

    I loved Jake!! >.<

  5. Cassandra says:

    Another day, another moment that American is supposed to sit around and watch Adam be called the sexiest man alive while sitting just feel away from Usher. :/

  6. MAB says:

    I think tonight was better than last week but I am ready for the auditions to be over already. It just feels like they say the same thing to everyone. They beg, beg, beg to get the singer on their team and promise them the world but how sincere is it when the battle rounds come around. At least now they have the steal which makes it a little more interesting.

  7. Woooeeee says:

    I’m tired of the girls who come on this show and sing with fake accents. If they’re not going to sing in the natural voices that come out of their mouths, at least they could work on not sounding like every other girls who sings with a fake accent. That said, the worst affected voice that tried out tonight was the guy who sang “Radioactive.” Why couldn’t the coaches have just told him, “Dude, stop singing with that awful fake accent and try again?”

  8. Kimbo says:

    Jake (haven’t heard Paula yet) is rated so low and yet I’d still take him over anyone from last week.
    I think Usher will put him again Stevie Joe

  9. Sara says:

    I am so unbelievably underwhelmed by the artists being chosen this year. I don’t know, maybe I am just all Voiced out, but this is a very lackluster season so far. There isn’t a single artist standing out in my mind right now as someone I want to see until the end. There are a couple I am interested in seeing in the Battles, but none that I am sold on yet. I find myself more annoyed than intrigued while watching these Blinds.

  10. Kaba says:

    All I know is that tonight was better than all of last week and I didn’t even watch half of it.
    Sure not a lot of people have staked their claims and assumed position as standouts during the auditions, but I think the battles can give us some incoming monsters. That’s how last season was sort of.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I saw three contenders tonight. Even the “bad” ones were good. Assuming the coaches don’t torpedo their talent, this could be a very good season this year.

      • Kaba says:

        Agreed about the 3 contenders, that’s how I feel about Slezak’s top 3. And then maybe a dark horse. Everyone else I can see getting lost somewhere in the battle rounds. I can see Paula DeAnda and those best friends being montaged asap.
        Ideally, I imagine a knockout/live round that consists of artists from weeks 1&3 and…none of 2 since it was so underwhelming.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Considering I don’t know who Paual DeAnda or the best friends are, I assume that means I agree with you.
          Just checked. Yeah, Paula is going nowhere. That whistle register garbage was bad. God bless the mute button.

          • Kaba says:

            Amen. It’s sad, she’s like the Jordan Pruitt (have fun remembering her, season 3 if you need help) of Season 6. I remember her faintly from something in the past so her name was somehow still in my brain.
            Total excess luggage

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I youtubed Pruitt, and yeah, a very apt analogy on your part.

            On another note, take a look at Kat Perkins’ video on youtube of Adele’s Someone Like You, an impromptu performance at Schiphol airport. I had goosebumps the whole video. Upper register wasn’t perfect, but it was 6:30 am, so she had a great excuse. I think I’m already obsessed.

          • Kaba says:

            @Angie don’t get hooked yet! Don’t open yourself up to disappointment so soon! Especially since she’s on the team known for upset.
            Nonetheless this sounds great (listening as I type). I hope she gets to the live rounds or at least for the love of God isn’t given the Donna Allen treatment.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I’ve come to terms many years ago that my favorite will never win. That’s ok. The Voice has an excellent track record of crowning worthy winners even though it’s never the one I was rooting for.

          • Kaba says:

            @angie Well maybe this season could potentially be different, never know. I can’t really remember any standouts or people who left impressions on me well outside of people on Usher’s team. His team intrigues me the most.
            Nonetheless, I think Kat has a good chance.

  11. Bri says:

    I think…if Jake want’s to have a chance on this show. He should definitely reign in his runs.
    Was using them just for the sake of showing off rather than making the song good.
    That being said, I think he’s another dark horse. And it helps he picked the perfect coach for his falsetto, it was almost like butter

    • Davey says:

      Will Champlin did such a great job last season with the Bruno Mars song so Jake sounded so weak to me.

      • Quinn Carson says:

        Yes! I loved Will’s version, that guy seemed to connect to music very well.

      • Bri says:

        I really don’t see much of a use in comparing him to Will. From what it looks, there are things that Jake can do better at that Will couldn’t accomplish in comparison and likewise for Will.
        So I’ll give time to see what Jake can give

  12. Davey says:

    Why did Ddendryl (what kind of name is that – Scottish?) get more chairs to turn around? She may surprise later. She has musical talents we don’t know about yet.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      The editing on this show is fairly predictable. They typically won’t highlight a 1-chair turnaround if she doesn’t make it to at least the knock outs. I was baffled that she only got Shakira.

    • Rivka Simons says:

      And did not use either! To me-ddendryl is the biggest disappointment so far. To even get into an academy for performing arts is an indication of great potential. What is she doing with it? Pasting on an accent and a hoarseness and breathlessness no opera singer possesses? This season if the coaches don’t scream- just open up and sing, Ddendryl is going home.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Rivka, here’s what I’d say to your criticism. I too am classically trained from a conservatory, and I would have no idea how to sing most of these songs on any of these shows. Popular music and classical music require such different stylistic techniques, and I would imagine it’s a long process of trial and error for the classical singer crossing over to pop. For instance, I have no idea how to turn the vibrato off on my high notes, and I would sound like a freak singing Kelly Clarkson. This is what works for her for the time being, but she may still be in the process of discovering what works best for her with pop music.

  13. What’chu got against Alaska & Madi? *raises all the eyebrows*

  14. Tom says:

    Remembering Paula Deanda takes me way back. I really liked her song walk away.

  15. Riana says:

    I didn’t know that they allowed people who had actual hits on the show. I know they allow people who had failed contracts or lesser known bands, but I guess we can expect Mario Vasquez and Teddy Geiger sometime soon.

    • Guest says:

      The biggest album seller that appeared on The Voice is probably Julie Roberts, and she didn’t get a chair to turn around. The biggest single seller is Cupid, and he didn’t turn any chairs either.

  16. OhMy says:

    Kat — no, just no.

  17. Ryan P says:

    Loved Kat Perkins, was impressed by (but didn’t yet see a superstar in) Josh Kaufman, and liked Jake Parker’s personality/tone (his performance was a bit sketchy) but for me, Ddendyl was my absolute favorite, and I was pretty surprised that no one else (especially Adam, since he still had multiple spots left on his team) turned for her. I feel like she could be a dark horse, because her voice is fantastic, and her personality is infectious. On the other hand, I kind of thought Ria Eaton was not great at all. The non-turns were pretty spot-on, with no huge disappointments there.

  18. Agree with your Top 3, but I think it’s close.

  19. will says:

    Carla made me really miss Michele Brooks-Thompson. The show hasn’t had that good of a classic R&B female vocalist before or since, and every singer than fits her “type” always causes me to think back to how great Michele was. It’s very much the same sort of thing that keeps Michael bringing Mishavonna or Kendra into AI discussions.

  20. GrumpyOl'Lady says:

    I’m slowly warming up to The Voice; I actually enjoyed this evenings show. I especially liked Ddendyl, who has a kind of Eartha Kitt vibe going, to my ear. I liked Josh Kaufman a whole lot too.
    I did NOT like Paula Deandra. She came off as being kind of fake; didn’t care for the vibe I got from her.

  21. Adam Reinaldy says:

    Paula Deanda is on the Voice? Next thing we know, we’ll have JoJo and Stacie Orricotrying to revive their career here

    • Jenny says:

      Lmao THIS.

      I was surprised at how bad she was…..and why choose Blake?! Huge mistake right there. Didn’t care for her standoffish attitude as well.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        And I thought she was singing one of her songs because she once released a single called Walk Away featuring an even more irrelevant rapper named The Way, The Day, or something. Lol @ me for knowing this.

    • Riana says:

      JoJo doesn’t need to revive her career. She’s still acting.

  22. John Anthony says:

    The Voice did go out and find enough talent to make the competition close this season thus far. It will be interesting to see how much influence the coaches have on their performers. The talent is spread out so that each of the coaches have a possibility to win. It does seem like the ladies have the upper hand this season. Picked the winner right off the last two seasons but the talent is too close this time around. I think the song choice each performer makes week to week will thin out the competition quickly and that’s where the coaches come in. Can Usher and Shakira finally break through? I think they each have at least one performer on their team who can make a serious run for the title. Coaching is at it’s peak value this season. Blake and Adam have their work cut out for them this season. Maybe rooting for the underdog will help. Come on Shakira and Usher!

  23. Tamara says:

    I see a couple other comments so I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m a little… bored by the voice this season? Please don’t comment telling me that I needn’t watch it if I don’t like it, I’ve been a fan since season 1 so maybe it’s just these first few episodes I’m not sure. The auditions are getting really tedious, it becomes more about the coaches trying to outdo one another on ridiculous hyperbolic comments and the actual music gets lost along the way.

    Also, and this bit is completely personal and I’m sure many will not agree with me, but i miss Christina lol. Adam annoys me. He’s basically the shows MVP (along with Blake who I love but who only reps country) so you almost have to like him to like the show and he just dominates everything, he has to be the funniest and of course everyone picks him to be their coach.
    I’m a big fan of Shakira but on the voice, although adorable and so nice, she comes off as a bit desperate. I am clearly in the minority here, but I love Christina aguilera, I just feel like her voice and her credibility should give her so much more respect on the show, which she never really got. Sure she’s not as warm as Shakira or as crowd pleasing as Adam but it really baffles me that more contestants don’t pick her as their coach or that she doesn’t get more appreciation from the audience. On a show like Idol Christina would be the lead judge but here she has to try and be funny and convince aspiring singers to pick her which really annoys me.

    Not trying to rant here haha but I was just wondering if any one else shared any if my opinions?!

    • Jess says:

      From a music standpoint, you are right. Christina does have the talent, respect of her industry, and huge stage presence that would seem to trump Shakira. But I have to say, I really like Shakia’s personality and interaction with the contestants much more. Christina’s constant habit of making the contestant’s “story” or “journey” all about her was a source of frustration for me last season.

      • Tamara says:

        I see where you’re coming from but I really don’t see that. I know Christina has now got the diva image stamped all over her but apart from being a little less adorable than Shakira, I really do think she connects and cares about her contestants. Right from season 1 with Beverly- I think that was her name? Their duet on Beautiful was amazing and Christina seemed to genuinely care about her, as she did with Jacqui last season.

        I just feel its an image thing now, like remember when Shakira talked about how she had more Twitter followers than all the other three coaches combined and everyone (including me) found it funny and cute.. Now if Christina had said the same thing in the same jokey manner, she would’ve been ripped apart for it and for being ‘full of herself’, etc.

        I do get your point though but I hope you see mine too! Agree that Christina can try and make herself more appealing to the wider audiences :)

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      What’s your saying is all personal preference, and I respect that. Personally I agree with you that Christina Aguilera is the superior singer/talent/coach when her comp group is none other than Shakira. That being said, it’s live tv and Shakira is stupidly likeable whereas Ms. Aguilera is not. I think if you could combine Christina’s talent with Skakira’s charm, you’d end up with the uber-frau judge of the ages.

    • Greg says:

      I feel that that Christina was the most talented singer of all the coaches on the Voice, but from the beginning she was partial to female artists, just like Blake is partial to country artists. I think the other coaches are trying to find the best voices. I wouldn’t pick Christina if I wasn’t female and I wouldn’t pick Blake if I wasn’t country (even though he has won with a R&B, Pop, and Country artist). Christina was a good coach, she just didn’t have the best talent on her team.

  24. TinLV says:

    Do they film all these blind audition shows in one day ?? Because these judges have been wearing the same clothes for several shows now. I’ve never noticed this in seasons past.

  25. Jack says:

    Ddendyl had an odd tendency to work her way up to notes. When used sparingly, it can be a very effective stylistic technique. However, she used it far too often, making it seem like she couldn’t hit the notes dead-on, so she had to seek them. If I had to guess, that’s why she had trouble turning chairs. Hopefully Shakira works with her on that, because her tone is fantastic.

  26. Annie says:

    Josh and Kat were the best of a weak episode. Both were fine but neither really excited me.

  27. MA says:

    I totally agree about Alaska and Madi. Also, I wish someone would tell them that in a bluegrassy country song, a “hollow” is pronounced “holler.” “Hollow” made them sound like Yankees, and I was stunned to find out they were from Oklahoma.

  28. Greg says:

    I must not have a trained ear like most of you, but I thought most of the singers that got on the show, deserved to be there. And the singers on the Voice out shine the ones on American Idol. I would only put Caleb and Majesty Rose on the Voice, and all the rest of AI could go home!!

  29. Temperance says:

    Only one chair for Ddendyl was nuts. What the heck are the other judges listening for?

  30. fifi says:

    I think by the time Ddendyl auditioned (except for Shakira) only had 1 spot left so they were extra picky. She could turn out to be this season’s Amanda Brown and make it to the finals starting from a 1-chair turn, considering she has opera training.

  31. David H says:

    1 I’m willing to give Adam another shot at being human. If he pulls another Will (or worse, Amanda Brown), then I’ll stop rooting for him.
    2. I have no idea what people are liking about Ddendyl. She has a classically trained voice, but her performance was a hot mess to me.
    3. Give Alaska & Madi a chance, Slezak!

    • John Anthony says:

      I would certainly give Alaska and Madi a chance. Their harmony at times is spot on, There are songs out there that highlight harmony and I’m certain Blake will use some of them to bring their voices to the forefront much better than their audition did. The female singers are very strong this season on all teams so they need to start very strong to hang in there.

  32. Kiki says:

    Michael! You’re so sweet and naive! The guys totally handed Ddendyl over to Shakira because they felt sorry for her. All the contestants kept turning her down.

    • John Anthony says:

      Don’t underestimate Shakira;s team Kiki. There’s talent on each team this season, including Shakira;s. Do you have a favorite now that the teams are set? As for myself, this is the first time in the last three seasons that I have to watch more performences before picking a favorite. Danielle and Chin were a lock but even they would have to fight their way to the top in this group. Don’t know if they would have made it. For one, I think the competition is going to be great. I’m sure each of us watching will be irritated with some of the decisions along the way. That’s what makes a good season. Can’t wait, and good luck with your pick. Do you have one this early?