The Voice Recap: Blown Encounters of the Last Blinds [Updated]

The Voice - Season 7

Let the bloodletting and chaff-separating begin!

Tonight’s final installment of The Voice‘s Season 7 Blind Auditions was about as strong as a freshly-hatched chick trying to budge an anvil — side note: I need an inspirational poster with that exact visual — and whet my appetite for the rapid-fire eliminations of the Battle Rounds.

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That opera singer’s son whose rendition of “Secrets” was like a vanilla cookie — minus the vanilla? Cannon fodder, I tell ya! The teenage swim instructor who clearly didn’t understand a single word of Macy Gray’s “I Try”? Destined for the Dumpster! (Side note #2: That’d be a kick-awesome name for a punk band.) The 15-year-old boy without a single musical reference pre-dating N’Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” video? Bye, bye, bye, kiddo! (Sorry, that was too easy.)

I know I sound like Grampy McGrumperson, but this was by far one of the weakest groups of chair-turning auditions in Voice history — and to be honest, the lack of depth in the roster of 48 remaining contestants has me a little troubled about what’s to come as a nation’s thoughts turn to turkey, stuffing and cranberry dressing. (Spoiler alert: My stomach just growled.)

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Enough about my recent adventures in low-carb eating, though, let’s count down the eight vocalists who advanced tonight to the Season 7 Battle Rounds — in order from least- to most-promising:

8. Fernanda Bosch, “I Try” (Team Blake) | Fernanda took violent liberties with Macy Gray’s gorgeous melody — and not one of ’em communicated the kind of angst and longing that the lyrics require. Unacceptable!

7. Ryan Sill, “Secrets” (Team Gwen) | While Gwen at least acknowledged Ryan’s performance contained “some little wobbly parts” (which in Voice-speak, translates to “half your notes were flat”), the bigger problem was that the kid’s tone and stage presence had all the distinctiveness of a base coat of primer on a soon-to-be-beige living-room wall. Hopefully his college is holding his place for him during his certain-to-be-brief reality-competition sojourn.

6. Justin Johnes, “Let Her Go” (Team Blake) | Cute kid, yeah, but is there anyone in America* who wanted Passenger’s folk-rock smash to be placed in the TARDIS, sent back to 1998 and given the full boy-band treatment (now with 15% more nasal ad libs)? (*Other than Blake Shelton, of course.)

5. Mayra Alvarez, “Human Nature” (Team Gwen) | Mayra has a reasonably pretty, lilting tone — that can’t be denied. But her twist on “Human Nature” was so lethargic and oddly phrased that I actually wondered if Gwen and Blake decided to engage in some old-fashioned (and quite funny) trash talk just to make the time pass more quickly.

4. Griffin, “It’s a Beautiful Day” (Team Pharrell) |
The judges went gaga over Griffin’s ability to slay the low notes of Michael Buble’s sweet ditty, but to my ears, there was a sloppiness to his delivery, a lack of articulation at the ends of key lines and phrases, that made his rendition more of a shoulder-shrug than a get-up-and-cheer situation.

3. Matt McAndrew, “A Thousand Years” (Team Adam) | Andrew definitely possesses a unique, plaintive voice — but a voice that occasionally veered into unpleasing territory when his nerves kicked in and caused an excessive amount of quaver. How Matt resisted Pharrell’s “you are the subject of this painting” pitch, however, makes me wonder if he is truly ready for the big dance. #justsayyestopharrellpeople

2. Beth Spangler, “Best Thing I Never Had” (Team Adam) |
Beth was good — maybe not Four Chair Turn-level good — but then again, you’ve got to give some props to anyone brave enough to tackle a fairly recent and very booming Beyoncé ballad. If Adam is able to help her polish her slightly overshot ad-libs — and she promises to never again wear leather bib overalls — she could be a contender.

1. Brittany Butler, “The Girl from Ipanema” (Team Pharrell) | There was a blowsy broad quality to Brittany’s inflections that might’ve been irksome on a lesser singer. But the rough edges to the funky chick’s vocals proved a delicious combination with her jazzier tendencies. I honestly can’t wait to see her working with a coach like Pharrell, who’s made a career out of unexpected delights.

On that note, then I pass the mic to you. Who were your favorites from Season 7 Episode 5? Were you a little disappointed with the overall quality of singing? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

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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77 Comments
  1. Grampy McGrumperson says:

    This was probably the worst episode of the Voice I’ve ever seen.

  2. Marta says:

    I’m surprised Matt McAndrew wasn’t your #1, Slezak. He was by far the best of the episode and honestly one of my favorite auctions of this season. Along with that great tone, his rendition of that song simply dripped with musicality and skill. I’m on board!
    As for Beth Spangler, I didn’t quite get it…I thought it was a little affected, as Simon Cowell would say.

    • Chris says:

      Beth Spangler was an annoying, chipper mess. How ANYONE could rank her above Matt McAndrew is a mystery to me.

    • Lena says:

      Matt has a good voice, but I’ve heard tons of guys sound like him. Something different is a nice change.

    • daezyg says:

      Slezak usually isn’t a fan of guys. He’s mostly about big, natural diva voices, or female voices in general. I’ve rarely ever seen a guy in his top two or three (unless they’re all that’s left to critic).

  3. Angie_Overrated says:

    Not into this at all. There are many nice voices, but nothing that’s getting me excited. Typically at this point I have 10 or so favorites. This year I have 0. I guess The Voice was due for a crappy season after 10/12 of last season’s finalists were varying shades of awesome. I suppose this goes in cycles. Does this mean Idol will be good this year? Because I’m gonna cry if it’s anything like last season. C’mon, at least one of them has to be watchable, right? RIGHT?!?!

    [Pours a Sapphire + tonic, heavy handed on the Sapphire]

    • analythinker says:

      I’m a little more optimistic than you, probably ;) I thought maybe with all of this mediocrity, we will really get to see the coaches WORKING aka earning their moolahs to make them all better. Well, hopefully!

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I’m hoping that a handful of folks break away from the pack in the battle rounds. There are — like I said — some nice voices. I just haven’t heard anyone where I was jumping out of my chair screaming “YES!!!” like I did last season with Sisaundra, Delvin, Kat, and Josh. I’m cautiously optimistic that there are a few diamonds in the rough in this talent pool. What worries me though is how many obviously sucky contestants there are who have no hope. Way too many this season.

        • analythinker says:

          I agree. Some of them haven’t even matured enough to take the coaches’ advice.

        • Tyler says:

          I think this season we will see more idiosyncratic performers, which I don’t necessary think is such a bad thing. There also seems to be a lot more younger contestants this season than last season. That will probably translate better into record sales.

  4. It is absolutely positively beyond me how that girl who sang that completely ludicrous Michael Jackson arrangement and the zygote who closed out the show got on teams.

  5. JM says:

    Brittany was my favorite. The rest I’ve forgotten already.

  6. Adake says:

    Completely disagree with “Grampy McGrumperson”. Thought tonight was one of the most entertaining and funniest episodes of the Voice. Adam and Blake’s kidding of Gwen and Pharrell cotton candy fighting was hysterical. Think Adam did the best of the night with his two pickups. Pharrell and Adam have the strongest teams with Gwen and Blake right behind. The preview of the Battles went fast – will have to rewatch for all the pairings. Now is where the fun begins. Looking forward to see mentors Stevie Nicks and Alicia Keys next week.

    • Scott says:

      That you disagree but only bring up coach banter as a counterpoint just proves Grandpa’s point, the talent of the singers was just not there. I would be shocked if any of them make the Live Shows. I would be a little surpised if any of them survive the Battle Round.

  7. Andres says:

    Brittney and Matt won the night. Pharrell has a lot of strong singers on his team that i am worried that some real contenders will be sent home in the battle rounds. Hopefully that is not the case.

  8. Sharon says:

    Interesting. My husband and I thought Brittany had very bizarre and affected enunciation — nice tone, but irritating to listen to. Overall not a strong night, but the recap of each team reminded me that there are some good and interesting voices in the mix. Hoping for the best!

  9. Jeff Marley says:

    During one of the snippets, it showed Danica shirley being paired up with toia jones in the battle rounds!!! Wonder who will maiya Sykes face? :)

  10. Kaba says:

    I think we’ve got an impressive season on the way. I genuinely like the people and just the entire feel of season 7 more than just about everyone from last season.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Oh wow, really? Who in particular are you excited about? I can’t say I feel the same at this juncture, but I’m amenable to changing my mind.

      • Kaba says:

        Oh no, I’m never excited for anyone coming out of the blinds. Last time was season 4. There were people who I’ve got my eye on, but nothing beyond that. Favorites change, people go to certain teams (I pretty much do not acknowledge the existence of anyone on Adam’s team normally) and others look promising then suck (Bria Kelly). So I just wait for the knockouts.
        Anita Antoinette, Taylor Phelan, Elyjuh, Toia, and James David Carter are people I believe would make wonderful editions to the playoffs at the very least.

    • Tom22 says:

      I really like the contestants too from a personality perspective. I’m also glad there aren’t too many diva singers belting out strong notes at a frequent(not always) cost of subtle things…

      • I had the same thought watching the blinds recap last night, Tom22. Dare we hope for some subtle interpretations based on voice control (as opposed to those subtle interpretations that are based on limited range or lack of vocal power)?

        • Tom22 says:

          haha yes..dare we hope ?! We really don’t need to look too much farther from the judges panel for examples. All 4 of them have strong voices that can stay on pitch with at least moderate ranges but none of them (well I don’t know Gwen’s music too well…could be off there) draw attention to themselves with blaring notes or excessive acrobatics … they just express their songs first and their strong voices are only there as a tools. The guy with the biggest hammer isn’t the best carpenter, but you can’t build much with a dinky little hammer either.

  11. Gailer says:

    Micheal, I wish you were covering xfactor uk, it’s proper decent.

  12. Hey Yah says:

    This episode was meh. I like the girl who sung Human Nature. I like Brittany and Beth. I think there’s a lot of potential in these contestants but there aren’t any supreme standouts like Tessanne, Matthew, etc. We’ll just have to wait and see. On a sidenote, I think a Usher, Shakira, Gwen, and Pharell coaches panel would be fun to watch one season.

  13. Chris says:

    Did they say who Bryana Salaz will be paired up with?

  14. Diane says:

    I find it interesting that the judges all say they want someone ‘unique’, yet no one turns around for Evan with the raspy voice, and 2 judges turn for Ryan – the most off-pitch, bland voice??

  15. danin says:

    O my god! Xfactor UK!! THE GUYS.First time able to watch and I’m stunned at how good the guys are.And stunned Cheryl sent home who she sent home.

    • how do we get to watch x factor UK? i loved the x factor! can you tell me? is it on u tube?

      • Gailer says:

        Yes it’s on axs tv channel Sundays and Mondays usually

        • Thank You! I have Comcast and live in Oregon! Found out that AXS is on channel 798 and now have set up x factor UK on a series recording on my DVR! X factor is my fav. Thanks so much for the info

          • Jill Moy says:

            BECCA,

            I’ve been watching X UK for awhile.I assumed you were watching.

            As for this show, I still won’t watch it. I listened to a few that you liked and I really like the same country singer you like. I had to listen to Brittany since everyone raves about her. She had the weirdest awful voice I have ever heard. Comletely sickening to me. She could maybe be a stand up comic or perform in the circus. She stinks and gets the number one rating??????? Is there a billboard top 100 comedy album? I think she should be number one on the list if she ever records!

            Good to see you out hear!

          • Whats crazy about x factor UK is they had Pharrell perform and next week Maroon 5. I always thought that Simon was so mad at “the Voice” for stealing his thunder, but for 2 weeks in a row Voice judges are performing on his show!

  16. Spitey Spice says:

    I get to watch Gavin Rossdale on my TV. I don’t care who’s on what team, lol.

  17. NotVirgin Mary says:

    Matt bored me to death. I’m not sure why everyone is infatuated with him. Brittany was the only decent one. This episode was way below par, though. Hopefully we will see improvements as we get to the live rounds. We had so many standouts last year, but I’m not sure we have any this time around.

  18. Angie_Overrated says:

    I have a feeling this will not be a popular opinion, but I did not like Brittany Butler at all. Well, maybe that’s not entirely fair. I thought she did some cool things with rhythm that I wasn’t expecting, and I liked her style, but man, that tone. That tone is seriously one of the ugliest voices I’ve ever heard. It’s not that she doesn’t know how to sing, but rather that the instrument god put in her larynx is a really really ugly one.
    Now I’m bracing myself for the backlash [ducks for cover while getting into hazmat suit].

    • I will stand beside you and share the backlash, Angie_O. I didn’t like Brittany’s tone and I hated her contrived lyric delivery. It seemed fake to me. I am willing to have my mind changed when she sings something else.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Wow, we didn’t get pummeled. I was expecting nerve gas bombs through our windows.

        • Sharon says:

          Haha — it’s a mellow and respectful crowd around here! We semi-watched last night’s review to get a sense of all the voices at one time, and I think there are some contestants with considerable potential, coaching and song choice permitting.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Agreed. I really like that kid Elyhu or whatever his name is. The one who sang Beyoncé. I have high hopes for him. Didn’t watch last night’s recap, but I do remember a few singers where I thought maybe, just maybe, they’ll be amazing.

    • analythinker says:

      I liked her singing footage more! I think her voice is too affected and if it’s deliberate, I don’t think she made a very good choice.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Normally I’d say “I’ll wait for one more song before making my final judgment” but I found nothing pleasant in her tone so I’m comfortable writing her off now. The girl is obviously a musician and I greatly appreciate some of the choices she made rhythmically, but that tone is a deal breaker for me. Not into it.

        • analythinker says:

          By the way, I just watched the battles sneak peek on YT and my, they sound promising! Not really into Pharrell’s song choices, though, surprisingly. NOW I’m really looking forward to the battles!

        • guest :) says:

          Been reading some of the comments and just wanted to give my 2 cents.. I think it’s weird how people can find Brittany’s tone unpleasant? It’s silky smooth, in my opinion! I’ve been watching her on YouTube for the past 7 years. She’s been at this for long time, and it’s been awesome to watch her mature as an artist. She can take a song and COMPLETELY change it into her own thing! Which is showcased on her YouTube channel. She’s super underrated and I don’t think she deserves this negativity. Before you write her off.. I would suggest checking out some of her stuff… http://www.youtube.com/brinicole22

    • Tom22 says:

      No reason for backlash Angie.. you’ve been consistent over the years and its pretty common for you to not like highly stylized singers with say.. “alternative cultures” (hipsters?) attitudes they bring to their music. Sorry if I didn’t use exactly the right words but I support your consistency of emphasis on pitch and vocal strength in terms of what you appreciate… not everyone needs to enjoy the same thing… I’m far more about a singer’s rhythmic phrasing and need a sort of attitude of an “artists” in the sense that artists aren’t normal people(stereotype I enjoy at least).

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        See, here’s the weird thing, Tom. I liked the stylizations in her voice. It’s really the actual tone that I hate. And it’s not because she cant sing. She’s obviously trained and knows what she’s doing. But there are some voices that simply aren’t pretty (to me at least), and I’m including even world-famous opera singers who are technically amazing but I feel my body tense up when I hear their voices.

        • Very true, and tone, more than most aspects of a singing voice, is innate. Sometimes on the Voice and Idol I’ll hear someone who has all kinds of issues with pitch, breath control, phrasing, etc, but they have a glorious tone, and I think how much potential they have with the right teaching. And other people do everything right but have a strident tone and it doesn’t matter what else they are doing right, I find them hard to listen to. I have to say that with some of the little diva girls it’s especially noticeable because they just don’t have the power or are singing above their comfortable range.

        • Tom22 says:

          I went back and listened again and I think I maybe partially of your same opinion. Her tone would be far more evident(and perhaps more off-putting) in other songs with sustained notes too. From what I did hear, not what we will hear I’d say her tone is plain AND she uses vowel sounds that are sharper than I’d like .. Midwestern A’s as in Apple without any undertone of an “ah” in a vibrato. (I think peoples voices to warble that way on vowels and a special singers voice really can emphasize harmonic undertones they have… call that bunk or maybe I’m using the wrong words but there is something like that I hear). I’ve gotten past the Midwestern vowels on a few of my favorite past female contestants although I prefer they don’t sing notes at the top of their range full voice (head voice rounds the tones out nicely).

          I like “sass” a lot and Brittany had so much sass … which is a personality reflected in tone of voice as in how we inflect a question mark at the end of a sentence. For me, that the sassiness went more hand and hand with the sharper edge to some vowels that would have otherwise bothered me. I think the more someone likes a sassy attitude poking fun at the world the less bothered they might be at the tone but not all songs will allow that as I started.

          All in all though, without a unique tone the singers quickly become boring. I really really enjoyed the tone of Cole Vosbury’s voice … I wonder if many people were put off by his beard, or emotional types of expression in his songs that went hand and hand with his beard? He made it very far a long though so I’d say people did enjoy his tone.. just not enough to get past the final few where the show becomes more a popularity contest based on types of genres people like most as well as “contestant’ personality … so I’d say his tone was not neglected while quality was still paramount.

          I agree with everything Sharon says too..almost word for word and especially about some of the younger singers with large range in terms of hitting notes pitchwise but too much narrowing of the tones in their larynx based probably on not reaching full maturity their body’s will eventually get to.

          BTW.. I imagine very few people will read this… haha

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I read it! lol I wasn’t paying as much attention to the vowels as you were, but I think I know exactly what you’re talking about. And I definitely know exactly what you’re talking about with the sass. She’s got a few things going for her, but it’s such a “blah” sound to me. There’s no beauty in it. I have no idea if you ever entertain the notion of listening to classical singers, but check out Marilyn Horne for the operatic version. Technically phenomenal singer, but her voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me because her tone is so throaty and weird.

          • Tom22 says:

            @angie : ) continuing public conversation and in the last paragraph connecting it back to these singing shows… . I’m only in the mood for Opera occasionally but when I do, I can enjoy it immensely… I’m more partial to the ringing high tones of sopranos than mezzo arias(there are exceptions ) .. and a number of duets between a Tenor and Soprano bring me to tears of rapture … http://youtu.be/pzPW8mXX3bg?t=53s no matter how many time I hear them.
            .
            but I digress..
            As you suggested as an example of differences in enjoyment of tone, I went and listened to Marilyn Horne and a full handful of others sing the “standard” .. habenera from Carmen…
            .
            I didn’t enjoy her tone either! … and Guess what else !? I heard the same “Midwestern vowel sounds”…. really what I mean by that is the great lakes regions and she was born and her family was from upstate Pennsylvania . Not only upstate New Yorkers but also those from near the big “apple” near New Joisey and Lawng Eyeland can pronounce “eyes” and “apples” in a similar sharper-edge way.
            .
            Carmen being a french opera .. it might not be entirely fair to compare french singers to horne but… I quickly agreed with you. I didn’t enjoy listening Horne sing the piece(and I did the courtesy of trying a few of her recordings on youtube)

            .
            then, I was eventually listening to Adnre Riue and just loving it and continuing a second time while I type

            .
            or the american soprano (born in the south) that could sing mezzo roles too Legendary Leonye Price
            .

            .
            I listened to a number of others too and liked them all better than Horne’s tone and I;m sure it was the tone, not the mastery of the music that got to me too. Certainly some musicians can get beyond the vowel sounds they learned to talk with… but.. heck,
            .
            it is a a wild theory of mine that maybe regional vowel sound differences often contribute to the frequent disagreement on these boards about how many singers sound shrill to some people and less shrill to others.

        • guest :) says:

          What? you need to check out her stuff on YouTube, then! She’s great! http://www.youtube.com/brinicole22

    • Jill Moy says:

      AO,

      She has a weird creepy voice in my opinion. It nauseates me to no end. I cannot understand the great reviews on her. I know it’s subjective but how anyone can rate her terrific is insanity!

  19. I guess my only 2 favorites are Blessing, who played piano and was very good and then Craig Wayne Boyd because I like the grit in his voice! Yah I thought the guy they didnt turn around for with the “joe Cocker” type of voice, tonight, was really good and they passed him up?

  20. MS: “There was a blowsy broad quality to Brittany’s inflections that might’ve been irksome on a lesser singer.” Irksome. Very irksome.

  21. Lloyd says:

    My thoughts about the 8 that advanced, in Michael’s order –
    8) Fernanda – just not a pretty tone at all.
    7) Ryan – he sounded better when he was singing than I thought he would when I heard him speak – his speaking voice is kinda weak. Totally didn’t deserve a button push after 2 seconds, though.
    6) Justin – “My mom’s my biggest fan, and I guess – if she saw me turn a chair, she’d be in a bigger shock than I would be” LOL, that kinda sounds like his mom doesn’t believe in him. I was surprised that he sat down for his performance – you can’t really breathe very well like that. Overall, I thought his singing was really bad. He’s young, so maybe he’ll improve one day. Not anytime soon enough for this season, though.
    5) Mayra – a nice voice, but her low notes were unpleasant to listen to, and she seemed as if she was going through the song with difficulty.
    4) Griffin – I liked his performance – I enjoy his speaking voice more than his singing voice though. I kinda wish someone told him to stop styling his eyebrows like that, though. (Those can’t be natural, can they?)
    3) Matt – I love his hair. O.o Also, I enjoyed his performance. A pretty voice, and obviously a skilled singer.
    2) Beth – when I heard her speak, I expected her to be bad, since she sounds like a kid, but her singing tone is much more pleasant than her speaking tone. Also, her voice is really powerful. She’s very pretty, too. (Gwen playing the girl card all the time seems kinda pointless, btw.)
    1) Brittany – unlike Angie_O, I didn’t find her voice ugly or annoying. :D She did have some… unconventional moments while singing, but I found the overall result to be interesting and pleasant.

  22. Elga says:

    I love when we get excited about many artists on the blinds, but maybe this season being not full of stars from the beginning is for the best. I can’t say how pissed off I was with what happened to Sisaundra, Sasha Allen, Judith Hill and Amanda Jones… At least now we don’t have that completely ready artists, they are all kind of “on the make”.. So maybe the season gets more exciting later on, and less full of lost stars.

  23. Viajero says:

    My favorites of the night were Beth and Brittany in that order. But the overall level of talent this season seems less than impressive. Hopefully some of them will step it up in the next rounds.

  24. Name That Tune says:

    Brittany will be the only one I remember past a week.

  25. Andres says:

    What do you guys think about the seasons battle round pairings? I’m excited for some and worried about others.

  26. Christian says:

    Team Gwen Matchups (100% CONFIRMED):
    Jean Kelley vs. Sugar Jones
    Amanda Lee Peers vs. Taylor John Williiams
    Anita Antoinette vs. Marya Alverez
    Menlik Zergabachew vs. Trow Ritchie
    Jesse Pitts vizio. Ryan Sill
    Bryana Salaz vs. Gianna Salvato

  27. HTGR says:

    Yeah I liked Brittany Butler best and then Beth and then Matt. Seems like remarkable agreement on this from about 9 out of 10.

    • HTGR says:

      Also, I really liked Fernanda Bosch. I liked Brittany, Fernanda, Beth and Matt. I don’t care what the crowd here or MS says about Fernanda. You’ll see.