The Voice Recap: Suspense & Disbelief

Sometimes, when I watch The Voice, I feel like Charlie Brown going to kick Lucy’s football.

I’m presented with the same data set I’ve seen so many times before — Adam and Blake compete in a head-to-head battle to win the allegiance of a country crooner, for example — and yet somehow I hold out hope that the result will be different.

Spoiler alert: As the great philosopher John Bon Jovi once taught us, “It’s all the same, only the names will change.” Because while it might be fun as viewers to see more cross-genre pollination among coaches and contestants, every prospective radio star who comes to NBC’s reality singing competition knows it doesn’t pay in the long run to stray too far from one’s wheelhouse.

In other words, Blake always gets the kids with the twang in their repertoires.

And that’s exactly why I tip my imaginary hat to The Voice‘s editing team — a merry band of mischief makers who can show us images of world-class charmer Pharrell getting out of his chair, taking off his sweater and begging a strapping young college student from Oklahoma to choose him over Blake. Wait, is this going to be that one time where the R&B producer powerhouse — who knows all kinds of music and has toured the kid’s home state — will get someone to zig instead of zagging?

RELATED American Idol EP Talks Season 14: Powerhouse Mentoring, New Song Mix and Battle-Tested Contestants

Of course not! But if you’re focused on the journey and not the destination — a pretty good way to conduct yourself, honestly — then you can find joy in the mere process of NBC’s reality-singing juggernaut.

With all that said, let’s rank tonight’s Battle Rounds-bound singers in order from least- to most-promising:

The Voice - Season 89. Lexi Dávila (Team Adam) — Selena’s “Dreaming of You” | Adorable daughter of Puerto Rican parents completely lost the plot of the melody as soon as Adam turned his chair. How do you say “cannon fodder” in Spanish?

8. Briar Jonnee (Team Pharrell) — Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” | I wanted to love this Mississippi college student’s audition — her energy and fashion sense read “star” to me — but despite a nice conversational flow, Briar’s pitch was clearly hampered by the nerves of being submerged in such a pressure-cooker situation.

7. Ashley Morgan (Team Pharrell) — Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” | Hit her glory notes with the power of a carnival strongman, but she always seemed slightly out of the pocket of Whitney’s danciest hit.

6. Jack Gregori (Team Adam) — Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” | Down-on-his-luck attorney has a distinctive baritone sound, but there was something off-puttingly cartoonish to his delivery (or maybe it was just the band’s arrangement). Either way, he’s got something to prove heading into the Battle Rounds.

5. Brian Johnson (Team Blake) — Rod Stewart’s “Reason to Believe” | Brian may not revolutionize music with his straight-up-the-middle song selections and arrangements, but he sure sounds pretty trying.

4. Brenna Yaeger (Team Blake) — Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” | I’m pretty sure your average Amish family could build an actual house in the amount of time spent on Brenna’s “my parents divorced and we had to leave our log cabin” backstory. But my initial eye rolls aside, this country singer won me over with the delicacy of her tone and her clear connection to the song’s lyrics.

3. Koryn Hawthorne (Team Xtina) — Emeli Sandé’s “My Kind of Love” | Her gruff tone and thoughtful phrasing had me enjoying Koryn’s cover more than the ho-hum original. Not only that, this teenager’s palpable passion for her craft was kind of infectious. Possible dark horse for Team Xtina?

2. Corey Kent White (Team Blake) — Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried” | I dug the scratchy, laid-back quality of Corey’s vocals — and the way he made me hear the words to “Chicken Fried” like the very first time. Still, is it crazy to say I wish he’d gone with Pharrell — who might’ve challenged the kid to branch out into more challenging territory?

1. Jeremy Gaynor (Team Xtina) — The Carpenters’ “Superstar” | Lead singer for the West Point Band proved that the Army can be an unexpected training ground for powerhouse vocalists. Jeremy’s sumptuous, dulce de leche tone and flawless musicality could give Xtina a real shot at her first Voice trophy.

OK, your turn. What did you think of Night 4 of The Voice‘s Season 8 auditions? Who’d you love? Who are you less bullish about? 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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  1. RawwkOn says:

    Great rankings. #Agreed

    • JT says:

      It appears that Adam, Pharrell and Xtina might have a strategy of turning for every decent country singer hoping to get Blake to turn to defend his turf and making him fill his roster with mostly country singers. He has said several times that he wants to diversify this season, but has turned for a number of country singers that he probably would have passed on if the others did not turn first.

  2. Adake says:

    This has been a strange season. So many montages that it’s hard to judge all the talent. Each team seems to have two or three really talented singers and a lot of unknowns. Hopefully the next round will help get a better handle on the talent.

    • Adake says:

      Also, what gives with not a single duo. It’s almost like the show is shunning them. Haven’t been as impressed with level of talent this year.

      • JT says:

        We miss the duos, too. I know it must be harder for the coaches, and the opposing artists, but — The great ones create a sound no solo artist can. Plus, we love the unpredictability and variety they add to the show.

      • senorskippy says:

        Don’t need duos, but I agree with the talent level. Could not vote for three in last nights Michael poll. However, as I recall from previous seasons, they all get much better in the Battle Rounds.

      • James says:

        The duos have always been out of place. It makes no sense to have duos in a competition like this unless you include full groups. I’m very happy without them.

      • Tyler says:

        Not only the duos. So far, there seems to be hardly any rockers this season. They seem to be mostly pop, R&B or country. No wonder Adam is having a hard time putting together a team that he wants unlike previous seasons.

  3. Angie_Overrated says:

    Funny, last night I would have swapped second to last with second to first, and tonight’s the same. I LOVED Briar. 100% on pitch, awesome tone, and she sold it. Did not care at all for the country singer who went last. The show has far more convincing country vocalists than this. I did have to laugh at his fatigue during the elaborate pitch by Pharrell et al. The look on the poor kid’s face was “can you stop talking so I can just pick Blake and be done with this?”

    • Adake says:

      Your right, Corey just wanted his Oklahoma buddy Blake. Adam is the only one who has even a slight chance of picking up a country singer. As much as Blake tries to diversify, he usually ends up with all the country artists. And if he gets one really good one, the season winner has been decided.

  4. Andres says:

    Today was a 2 hour episode which is weird cause Tuesday is normally a 1 hour episode. Hopefully it stays like that that way we get no more battle round montages. I agree with the rankings although I would switch Corey and Jeremy.

  5. Angie_Overrated says:

    There is a bizarre level of cuteness coming from the young girls and women this year. Last night with India and the young country singer, tonight with the girl who sang the Miranda Lampert song, the Little Caesars girl, the girl from Mississippi with the perfect skin, etc. They’re just so damn cute and so adorably earnest. And many of them are crazy talented. Between all these girls and Tyanna on Idol, it’s seriously been a cuteness overdose. That being said, keep it comin’!
    And can I have a moment of silence for Little Caesars girl’s low notes? Those were money and I very literally got the chills. So so good.

  6. Scott says:

    I enjoyed tonight’s episode for the most part. I’ve started fast forwarding through the back stories, I just want to hear their vocal and not be drawn in by anything else. I didn’t dislike any of them really, more excited about some over others obviously. I actually really enjoyed the first girl, Ashley I think? Didn’t love the song choice, but her voice seems versatile. I just mention her because she ranked lower of the pack on Slezaks rankings, interested to see her again. I also really enjoyed Brian, Jeremy, Koryn, and Briar. Those were my top 5. Corey was good, I just think his genre doesn’t intrest me as much, so I wasn’t as affected by him.

  7. Scott says:

    I also kinda dug Jess who didn’t get through. With a different song I think she would have gotten a chair, her tone was really interesting to me though.

    • I agree Scott about Jess and the song choice and the first girl and her song choice even though she got in. She has to bring it with more passion the next round

      • Scott says:

        Yeah, I feel like she has an impressive voice, she just picked a very bleh song. I mean I know it’s Whitney, but I don’t really care to hear anyone else sing it. We’ll see how she does in the battles!

  8. The Beach says:

    I guess it’s so we will feel “suspense” but to me it’s just plain irritating when they spend a precious five minutes on yet another backstory and then show the full performance of someone who gets no chairs to turn and they montages others that do get chosen.

  9. danin says:

    I do find myself switching channels 99% of the time during back stories.Other than that I rated most everyone,I missed one or two while driveway was being plowed, an A-B+ tonight.

  10. DarkDefender says:

    Not sure why they aired the bit where Adam and Blake were “teaming up” against Xtina and Pharrell… Cause they did the opposite.
    I do agree with the list, but I don’t think any of tonight’s picks will win it all.

  11. Kaba says:

    Not a fan of just about everyone tonight.
    I’ll just wait until the battles I suppose.

  12. Pcan says:

    Boring tonight, I like Adam and Blake a lot but tired of their talking. Talent was ehhh. Couple of good ones, but this was two hours loooong. Should have been more than two. I wish Adam, Pharrel, and Xtina wouldn’t turn around at all for a country singer. Let their hero Blake only turn around for them. I wouldn’t waste my time,voice or energy to convince them to pick me.

  13. Kaba says:

    The more I hear Koryn the more I love her.
    She’s growing on me.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I dare say Koryn might be my favorite this season. That’s an uncommon voice. It’s like Toni Braxton if Toni Braxton were a lot better.

      • Kaba says:

        Same here, I hope she progresses far, but I think she will.
        I’m trying to imagine a dream top 4 from Xtina’s team, it’s pretty hard cause she’s got some good talent.
        A lot of belters too.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Right, she’s got India, the West Point dude, and who else… I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but I think Sonic will surprise us to the upside. But thus far, Koryn is the horse I’m betting on.
          So much better than last season already. I hope it doesn’t fall off the rails.

  14. LAPR says:

    Cannon fodder: Carne de cañón. You are welcome!

  15. James says:

    There is something “meh” about the contestants on this show, there is every year. Maybe its got something to do with the fact that they are invited rather than a more open casting. I usually loose interest about the time the live shows start because by that point all the interesting people are gone. Yet for some reason I keep coming back.

  16. Florence+TheMachineRules!!! says:

    This season is really getting intresting!!! My favorites so far are Kimberly, Tonya, India, Fredrick, Sarah, Meghan, Anthony and Deanna!!!

  17. Jen-E says:

    No ‘h’ in Jon Bon Jovi. :-)

  18. Viajero says:

    For me, this episode was the opposite of Monday. There were no really outstanding performances like India´s. But at the same time, almost all the people who got through showed a decent level of talent.

    Perhaps the most naturally talented were the younger singers, who unfortunately also suffered from their inexperience and/or nerves. This includes the likes of Brenna, Lexi and, in particular, Koryn (my favorite of the night). I just have to wonder if they will be able to pull it together enough to compete with much more experienced singers during the next rounds. If any of them can, then they could become a threat.

    Otherwise, no one from this episode seems like a real contender. Jeremy, Jack and Brian showed good vocals, but came across as almost ridiculously uncharismatic and dated. The cheesy song selection didn’t help. That last guy from Oklahoma has the looks, but his vocals were mediocre at best.

  19. Myra Mitchell says:

    I would like to make a request of the show, The Voice, if none of the celebrities turns around for the singers, that they receive a consolation gift.

  20. Lyn Jensen says:

    That great philosopher BTW is Jon Bon Jovi.

  21. Lyn Jensen says:

    I often find myself debating my third vote. I voted for Gregori, Johnson, and Yeager, but would have liked to vote for White, too.

  22. dan says:

    I wonder if Adam is going to do everything he can to hang onto Jack Gregori, just to torment Blake with a country artist. Though, who knows, maybe he will prove to be a real contender.

  23. Feliz says:

    The peak at the battles is nice, but it hurts to see them pair their best against each other. I’d rather them pair their worst so we can get rid of the luck ones and keep the true talent.

  24. Jill Moy says:

    Well, up to this episode I only heard India on You Tube and I picked her to win. Today I went through the singers each for 5 secounds each and picked Ashley and Jeremy. Last year hearing CRW for a few seconds and declaring him winner was luck (I heard nobody else). This year I was to pick 2 but Ashley and Jerome tied for me so I flipped a nicjel on a table and by a miracle (I have witnesses) it landed on it’s edge…,incredible! So, my three are India, Jeremy and Ashley! Keep in mind I only heard India and 5 seconds of each singer on this episode (I heard no other singers which limits my chances).

  25. paul tennison says:

    Sorry to be brutal. Get older contestants who have paid some dues and really deserve a shot in the music Business. Most of these kids are cocky with no soul. Find some real artist! Right now the show is a popularity contest between the judges.

  26. Blanche Orta says:

    Jeremy Gaynor hypnotized me and I actually cried. Now I can’t get enough of him. Can’t wait for the show just to see him. I am Team Jeremy all the way! Can’t wait for his album to come out. Will be looking out for it!!!!