The Voice Blind Auditions Recap: Premature Opinionation

Sometimes, I wonder if The Voice‘s coaching panel is a little too quick on the trigger.

I mean, I need to read more than the first three words of a novel before I’m all, “OK, I’m gonna be up ’til 2:17am and tragically tired when the alarm goes off in the morning.” And it takes more than a glance at the label of a New Zealand Sauv Blanc bottle before I’m willing to commit to a second or third glass.

And yet time after time, Adam, Pharrell, Blake and Xtina slap their little red buttons before contestants manage to finish the opening line of a cover tune. Sure, Emily Keener’s tone and passion on “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” were undeniable during tonight’s Blind Audition episode, but I had to wonder if any of the coaches regretted purchasing the teenager’s Voice stock once her pitch began to collapse like a One Direction fan after a backstage meet and greet.

To some extent, I understand the overzealousness: Coaches want to have the “I pressed first!” bragging rights in a competitive situation. But 10 seasons in, that argument seems to hold a lot less sway than a passionate, thoughtful enticement that’s tailored toward a particular contestant’s skill set.

Anyhow, while you mull the thought about how-early-is-too-early for a Voice button-push, allow me to rank the episode’s contenders from least to most promising:

8. Shalyah Fearing – “What Is Love” (Team Xtina) | In her best moments, this teenager’s grit and growl made me think she could have a bright future in the music business, but there were too many youthful indiscretions in her tone and phrasing to convince me she doesn’t need another three or five (or maybe even seven) years to fulfill her potential.

7. Caroline Burns – “So Far Away” (Team Adam) | Pint-sized 15-year-old who couldn’t get a chair to turn in Season 9 showcased a sweet, delicate tone but got tremulous and off pitch in the last third of her performance — confirming my belief that she’ll be Battle Rounds cannon fodder.

6. Emily Keener – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Team Pharrell) | With her muscular, Florence Welch-ian lilt, Emily got a very fast four-chair turn — but then almost immediately began experiencing pitch struggles that undercut the effectiveness of her Elton John cover. Xtina’s schtick about Emily’s potential to “speak to a new generation” came across as less organic than Adam Levine with blonde hair, but I’m willing to revisit the subject of Emily’s potential when we reach the Battle Rounds. (See! I can be open minded-ish from time to time!)

5. Angie Keilhauer – “I Hold On” (Team Blake) | I’ll admit that perhaps my Voice enthusiasm waned a bit during the fourth hour of the two-day Season 10 premiere, but while Angie’s vocal was inarguably solid, there was no aspect of it that struck me as particularly emotional or original.

4. Laith Al-Saadi – “The Letter” (Team Adam) | Laith’s next-level guitar skills were more .mpressive than his workmanlike vocals, but the way the bearded dude surrendered completely to the bluesy groove of “The Letter” was a reminder of why post-teen contestants can be very dangerous if they survive the judges’ cuts and make the live voting rounds.

3. Kata Hay – “Redneck Woman” (Team Xtina) | Nashville Karaoke host will probably get more attention for her quick smooch with Xtina — and Pharrell’s freshman-year frat-boy response to it — than she will for her Gretchen Wilson cover. But Kata’s primal growl and brazen energy on the uptempo ditty were pretty impressive, too, no?

2. Adam Wakefield – “Tennessee Whiskey” (Team Blake) | Adam didn’t exactly reinvent the blues-roots wheel, but he drove it through the bumpy terrain of George Jones Boulevard without ever dropping his technique or emotional intent. Don’t underestimate this fella: Fully grown adults who appeal to country and rock fans alike tend to go very far in the competition.

1. Joe Vivona – “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” (Team Pharrell) | Joe’s tightly closed eyes in the opening half of the song betrayed a serious case of nerves, but his exquisitely smokey tone and enviable ability to fully inhabit a lyric far outweighed his inability to play for the TV cameras. If Pharrell can help boost the New Jersey carnival worker’s confidence, he might be headed straight for the top of the Ferris Wheel (competitively speaking).

Relegated to the Dreaded Montage Treatment
Jonathan Bach – “Born This Way” (Team Pharrell)
Katherine Ho – “Wildest Dreams” (Team Adam)
Lacy Mandigo – “Son of a Preacher Man” (Team Xtina)

What did you think of The Voice Season 10, Night 2? Vote for your three favorite auditions, and hit the comments to expand on your thoughts!

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. Mike says:

    I know tonight wasn’t terribly strong but Kata at 3? Really? She growled her way though that song. The fact that Blake wouldn’t turn around for her should have been a warning for the others. They’re all so hyped about beating Blake with a country singer that they make guesses. This was not a good one.

    • Russ says:

      I agree, Kata was not in the top 3 tonight. That said, I hope she makes the lives. She was my favorite segment tonight. Adam’s eyes lit up like a line backer was about to tackle him as his chair was turning around. Xtina was like hell no you are not kissing these lips, and then invited her over later to kiss them lips. Pharrell’s whole dream bit was awesome. While it is a singing contest, people will tune in to see what this girl will do next. Gonna be hard to top tonight but I want to see her try.

      I do not want to see her win the show based off tonight or even make the semi finals. If they run eliminations like last season ( I sure hope they do not). I could handle her making it to the mass elimination show.

    • Nutt says:

      Kata was a train wreck. Sure, her over the top enthusiasm was kind of entertaining and funny, but her song choice was poor to show her true vocal abilities and when she went after Adam I cringed. Way too much!

    • Annie says:

      Kata over sang the song. It did nothing for me. I would love for her to take it down a notch and hear the voice under the growls and roars.

    • Timmah says:

      Kata was cliched and boring. Maybe that’s why Blake didn’t turn around because he’s surely heard that kind of country performance a million times before.

  2. Kim Moores says:

    1- Angie
    2- Shalyah
    3- Joe
    4- Kata

    Why is Shalyah at 8? Like…no
    Just no.

    • danin says:

      In total agreement w/your top 3. I thought Emily was awful&changed the channel.

    • jr. says:

      I agree about them pushing their button too fast, and then regretting it. I think The Voice should give the judges a one time opportunity each to, if they push their button for a contestant and then regret it while their still performing, to push their button again to retract their decision ( i.e. and then their chair would turn around, while contestant is still singing ).

      • Scott says:

        Ouch, that would be too cruel, especially if that was the only coach to turn. Being stuck with a sub-par singer is the punishment for being trigger happy. If you turn you turn, worst case scenario, you have some Battle Round fodder.

      • MC says:

        Exactly. Slezak was correct about the quick reaction to Emily. I didn’t care for her voice, pitch or tone. She also submitted an unrecognizable version of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” The idea that all songs can be improved by reimagining them took a hit here.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Your top 2 is 100% correct there. I think I’d flip #1 and #2, but we’re close enough so whatever. Funny we have the same top 2 and Slezak has both of them in the bottom half with one of them in the bottom spot. Wa wa wa WHAT!? It’s like Dawn & Hawkes all over again.

  3. Mo Saïd says:

    How on Earth are you putting Shalyah last?! She was PHENOM!

  4. Alicia Veri says:

    I actually really like Emily Keener and didn’t hear anything to complain about (but keep in mind she’s one of my pre-season favorites from what I heard on YT and Spotify when I did some investigation into the top 48.)

  5. Davey says:

    Jeffery Austin was montaged last season so maybe there’s hope for the one Asian female singer.

    • Steve says:

      Jeffrey wasn’t montaged. Gwen was the only one to turn. Blake said that the rest of them would feel like idiots for not turning.

  6. Kaba says:

    Angie and Shalyah…
    Why are they utterly low?
    Why is that Caroline girl above anyone? At all?

    • LG says:

      Caroline still isn’t ready – total cannon fodder. Shalyah was awesome. I really liked Emily’s tone, but there were some pitch problems. Hopefully she can reign that in, because she has a ton of potential.

  7. Hee says:

    Sara B’s version of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road <3 Thank you Adam for sort of giving her a shout-out. He was so genuine about it unlike the usual name dropping.

  8. Andres says:

    What!? Angie deserves higher placement. Her tone is amazing. Joe and Kata were sublime as well but this episode was a little bit of a let down compared to yesterday

    • MC says:

      Exactly. A gorgeous tone will help you get ahead in the real world. Angie reminded me of a young Melissa Etheridge. I’m not all that interested in re-imagining songs that were already very good or excellent.

  9. analythinker says:

    No info on which goes to what team? (I haven’t watched, heh.)

    • analythinker says:

      Ok, there it is. Thanks.

    • The Beach says:

      Hey I know this is a bit off-topic but I had to slide it in somewhere. While at the gym yesterday I was listening to the Discovery playlist on Spotify that showcases new music/artists and I found myself listening to Sawyer Frederick’s single. It’s really pretty good, kind of in a Philip Phillips style, but good. Sorry for the topic interuption.

  10. danin says:

    Agh shoot, buffering videos.

  11. Colton Smith says:

    Does slezak hear right? emily has by far the best voice , and joe has the worst voice
    such awful voice

  12. Angelica says:

    these rankings are backwards for me

    is it me or is today weaker than monday?

  13. 2Blessed says:

    I really like Shalyah! She was nowhere near last place on my rankings.

  14. analythinker says:

    Ok, there’s no way Joe is #1, at least on my list. He was as shaky as the lamp post in the Sasha-Alexander’s That’s Life routine back on SYTYCD 8. (I’m exaggerating, but the point remains.) And of course I have to ask you, Michael: if you think Shalyah needs another 3, 5 or 7 years, then I think you gave WAYYY too much credit for Tristan & Gianna on Idol.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Word. Tristan is a mess.
      I wasn’t crazy about Joe myself. He wasn’t horrible, but I found myself tuning out pretty quickly.
      Shalyah was wonderful. I cannot believe that was a 1 chair turn. I have a feeling she might go far.

  15. L Lawrence says:

    Abby Celso from night one is my dark horse. Listened to her on youtube yesterday. Her jazz-y tunes are especially nice.

  16. JM says:

    Is it me, or did it seem like the guys didn’t want to go up against Christina and vice-versa. So many times when the guys turned, she didn’t, and when she turned first, the guys didn’t.
    Anyway, my favs were:
    Shalyah in that order

  17. darcy the slutty twin says:

    The bulge in Joe’s pants definitely piqued my interest.

  18. Sandra mooney says:

    Joe Vivona was my top pick for sure.

  19. NotVirgin Mary says:

    No clue how Shalyah was the LAST on your list. She was clearly the best tonight. Shameful, Slezak.

  20. John Anthony says:

    Why are professionals like Tamar Davis, Alison Porter, both in 30’s, invited on the Voice? These two had more than their chance to succeed make it!

  21. John Anthony says:

    Too many professionals on this show! Tamar Davis will be on, a 35 year old pro and Alison Porter a 31 year old pro already! These two alone had years of chances to succeed! Why bring them to a show searching for the next new talent! What a farce The Voice is!!!