The Voice Malik Heard

The Voice Recap: Impractical Magic

As a reality-competition junkie and the father of 5-year-old twins, I’ve already formalized my speech if one of my boys thinks he’s flying to Los Angeles and auditioning for, well, anything before he graduates from college.

“Absolutely not.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I look at artistic dreams as if they’re silverfish dashing across the kitchen floor, just begging to be squished. But in the words of the poet Casey Kasem, one must keep one’s feet on the ground if one wants to keep reaching for the stars, right?

Which is why I’m feeling some type of way after watching not one but two youthful contenders come to The Voice tonight pursuing the most fanciful of whims — but wind up looking like legitimate contenders for Jordan Smith’s crown and sash.

Granted, Malik Heard’s deferred college scholarship is destined to haunt me as thoroughly as Nicole Kidman and the rheumy-eyed lady in The Others. (Oh Em Gee, I love that movie.) And Peyton Parker’s teenage tale of convincing her parents to uproot their lives and move to Nashville and devote their entire existence to the pursuit of her dream scares me more intensely than a pre-school wizard staring into the eyes of Voldemort.

And yet… I’d be lying if I said I’m not excited to see what these promising kids do now that they’ve handed over their futures to Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton, respectively. (Be gentle with them, coaches, for they know not what they’re doing.)

The Voice - Season 10I’ll be as gentle as possible, too, as I rank the episode’s 11 auditioners in order from least-to-most promising.

10 (tie). Gina Castanzo – “Cecilia and the Satellite” (shown in montage)
10 (tie). Trey O’Dell – Sheppard’s “Geronimo” (shown in montage)

9. Nate Butler – Mayer Hawthorne’s “The Walk” (Team Adam) | He had about as much control of his voice as Denise Richards has a grasp of nuclear physics. (*Yes, that was a Bond joke.) How’d he get three chairs to turn?

8. Brian Nhira – Pharrell’s “Happy” (Team Pharrell) | I love “Happy” (even in 2016), but it’s not the rangiest ditty. So how come Brian sounded so tinny and winded on parts of the chorus?

7. Brittany Kennell – Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough” (Team Blake) | Xtina was right that there was a Gwen Stefani-ish vibe to Brittany’s tone — but with an added quaver that I’m not 100 percent sure is pleasing to the ear.

6. Natalie Yacovazzi – Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All” (Team Adam) | Her bombast on the opening verse was damned impressive, and while nerves crept in to this returning contestant from Season 9 — causing her to rush the tempo just a bit — it was still a pretty solid effort.

5. Hannah Huston – Allen Stone’s “Unaware” (Team Pharrell) | Hannah’s heavy enunciation bogged down the groove on the opening verse, but she’s got a terrific grasp of pitch and lots of nifty nooks and crannies in her tone. Working with Pharrell may provide just the upgrade she needs.

4. Kristen Marie – Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” (Team Xtina) | Aside from a few affected words and phrases, Kristen did a pretty sweet job of breathing her own life into a song that — for reality singing-competition junkies — will always belong to Idol’s Adam Lambert. The way Kristen’s voice expanded and contracted across the melody made me scrawl the words “human accordion” in my notes — and I mean that in the best possible way.

3. Peyton Parker – Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” (Team Blake) | Sometimes, all you need is a gorgeous melody, sung with deep feeling and even deeper restraint. Plus, as my husband noted during the commercial break, a vote for Peyton is also a vote to get her super supportive dad off the grueling six-days-a-week landscaping schedule.

2. Ryan Quinn – Blind Faith “Can’t Find My Way Home” (Team Adam) | Not only does Ryan have a killer backstory (he teaches music to kids who’ve suffered a trauma!) and matinee-idol looks, but his effortless falsetto and flawless phrasing helped him deliver one of Season 10’s best auditions. When the dude is belting in full voice, there are shades of Boston and Yes in his tone, too, so if he wants to expand his repertoire into classic rock, there’s room in that lane, too.

1. Malik Heard – Nick Jonas’ “Chains” (Team Xtina) | Holy smokes, that glory note of Malik’s ran longer than one of The Voice’s unnecessary pre- and post-commercial recaps — and it was phenomenal. There were definitely some Xtina-ian flourishes in his delivery, too, so here’s hoping they make a match made in Voice heaven.

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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50 Comments
  1. Mr. Know It All says:

    Malik Heard best of the night? I think you need to retire Michael

    • Andres says:

      Malik was pretty good and deserves to be in the top 4 at least.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      If he wasn’t #1, I’d argue he was pretty close. The kid had talent. I honestly wouldn’t know how to rank them tonight because a lot of them were competing for #1.

      • danin says:

        How bout it Angie! I just posted my comments.What a spread of delight.

      • analythinker says:

        Who’s your fave? I’d rank Kristen higher than Malik.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Hmm, not sure. Rather than give a single name, I’d say I really very much enjoyed Ryan, Kristen, Malik and Hannah. They all brought something special to the table. Even the ones I didn’t name were mostly good as well.
          It’s like the anti-season 9. Too many good contestants. I wish they could have spread out some of the talent from this season to last season. Last season was a dud.

          • analythinker says:

            Yep! I keep thinking “wow, everyone is good” (except maybe Caroline, I think she’s still not ready), even the montaged artists! I do disagree with Michael’s ranking every week, though. Kristen is definitely better than Peyton, IMO. Perhaps all of these good things come from the realization that AI is in its final season (and was expected to go out with a bang, which seems unlikely now with everything that is wrong) and The Voice came prepared.

    • JM says:

      Nope. I agree with Michael. Malik was great!

    • Tim says:

      I fully agree that Malik was not better than Ryan. I value “tone” over attempts at vocal prowess because all these contestants are (or should be) trying to get noticed with vocal prowess… and if I don’t like the tone of your voice, no amount of prowess is going to impress me. Like Adam said, there’s a roundness to Ryan’s tone, and I’d love to hear that on record. There’s nothing special about Malik’s tone. Don’t get me wrong — Malik was very good, but he doesn’t have a voice I want to hear recorded. That’s my opinion.

      • Timmah says:

        Agreed. I feel like I’ve heard voices like Malik’s a hundred times before, but Ryan’s was something unique and special.

    • kcostell says:

      I’d say he has the most potential of anyone we heard tonight.

      Whether he reaches that potential…

    • Malik Heard was incredible.

  2. Polarvortex says:

    Kristen and Ryan were the best of the evening, in my opinion! And picking a Blind Faith song was very original and Ryan sang the heck out of it!

    • The Beach says:

      Ryan was really great. It’s going to be fun seeing him going up against Curly Sue. Kristen has a lovely voice and tone but she goes so overboard on the vocal affectations that it spoils her performance for me.

  3. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    Natalie and Ryan were the best of the night hands down!!! Looking forward to them during this show, some intense competition to go against ALISAN!!!

    • OhMy says:

      I thought Natalie was too much. Bad song, of course, so maybe with a better tune . . .

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        I thought Natalie had the exact right type of voice to attempt Kelly Clarkson. She can bring the huskiness into higher notes, which is a unique quality that not many women have. She needs a bit of vocal work though. Cool voice but it’s a work in progress.

  4. Omarr says:

    Love you Michael, but Ryan was the best of the night!

  5. Angie_Overrated says:

    This was such a wonderful night of performances. So many of those performances had me captivated from beginning to end. I’ve got a great feeling about this season.

  6. Jasper says:

    Another really strong night of Blind Auditions! Getting pretty excited about season 10. Ryan, Kristen, Peyton, Hannah, and Malik were my favorites. Also liked Natalie. Number one for the season is still Alisan, but she better watch out.

  7. Andres says:

    I would switch kristen with peyton, but both were nice and have lovely tones. I would say that Ryan beat out malik, but I was really close. Malik got some really strong pipes as shown in that beautiful glory note he did. Ryan has a more interesting tone to his voice and has an awesome range.
    The thing that I am most excited about is the the number of people went down from 3 to 2. We are making progesterone people. Soon it will be on then 0.

  8. NotVirgin Mary says:

    I would take Ryan, Hannah, or Kristen over Malik for best of the night. Did Michael not hear him start off in the wrong key? He legit flopped on that high note and his transitions to his falsetto are weird.

  9. danin says:

    Tuff to pick only 3 tonight.Malik,killer singer,Ryan near killer singer w/one of the best songs of the night,Hannah- almost pedestrian w/the other best song of the night,in fact when she dug into Unaware,I was in love..the plainness of her voice made the more soulful parts of her voice stand out, Brian- he made a song that I’m sick of better than the original by leaps&bounds& I loved the texture of his voice,Peyton Parker is lucky she has that sweet spot in her throat or else she wasn’t so great,Nate- I was oh so happy he took on the contemporary&honest & r&b Meyer Hawthorne.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I’d add Kristen Marie to your list. She was arguably my favorite tonight as well. Tough to pick. I liked a lot of these people.

      • danin says:

        I felt she was using too many parts of her voice..sorry I don’t have the exact musical language to articulate.That lower&infinitely bluesy part of her voice I loooved. And I was eager to really dig her as she said she was Indy or alternative jazz..I think I wasn’t feeling her take on the song. Am willing to hear what else she’s got up her sleeve.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          It was a very interesting sound. I’m curious to see what else she has up her sleeve. I feel like she might be the much better version of Korinne (the blond girl with the glasses) from last season.

          • akillesheel says:

            We also had somebody use Korin’s audition (montaged). Just thought that was funny, because I had the same thought about Kristen (I think, these names get muddled up). Not having Gwen to coach her is also a huge plus.

  10. Ken says:

    I’m sorry are we ignoring how Malik started “Chains” in the wrong key? Because I think that’s a pretty big fumble that should be mentioned

  11. kevstar says:

    Yes, I believe we have found this season’s Joshua Smith. Not only is Ryan Quinn a phenomenal singer, but unlike Joshua, he’s absolutely gorgeous! Hot damn.

  12. Russ says:

    So with 3 shows this week, are they wrapping up the blinds in 2 weeks ? That would be a new record for them. As others have said, very strong night. Should lead to a much better top 20.

  13. paula says:

    Ryan Quinn was the first performance I’ve rewatched this season (probably eight times) and the first song I bought on iTunes. Great voice, great performance!

  14. Miranda says:

    I think my ovaries exploded and my panties flew to Neverland after Ryan’s audition. Hubba hubba.

  15. JJ says:

    I honestly am at a loss with these auditions to understand what a good sound is to the judges. I guess it’s more about the potential they hear, not whether they are good now. I keep FF through the ones they turn for because some sound unbearable, and listening to the ones they don’t turn for and really enjoying their music.

  16. TinLV says:

    I thought Malik was excellent, but Ryan was better. Still haven’t heard anybody who’s better than Alisan Porter, though. On tonight’s show, I also liked Brian, Peyton, Natalie and kind of liked Brittany but want to hear more before I make up my mind about her. I would not rank Kristen Marie so high; that was the worst version of “Mad World” I’ve ever heard. And its one of my favorite songs; maybe i’ll like her better singing a different song.. I wasn’t overly impressed with anyone else.

    • danin says:

      I felt the same way about her take on it.There were parts of her voice I liked though. But I am more and more in love w/Hannah and have watched her video of Unaware several times.

  17. MC says:

    I didn’t love this show tonight, but some of these performers have intriguing potential. I don’t really care for “Mad World” as a song, but Kristen was technically very impressive. She displayed control, vocal range and some emotion. She could be Christina’s ticket to a victory. I agree with Slezak’s comments regarding Hannah. She has some high-end potential in this competition because her pitch control is excellent and she can convey profound emotions. Peyton did a great job with “Dreams,” but her version was nearly identical to the original. There is a possibility she could be a one-trick pony; the jury is out on her. Natalie was very nervous or anxious and it detracted from her vocal. She will have to find her composure if she wants to go far on this show. Brian was okay, but Josh Kaufman set the bar with “Happy” and this did not meet that standard imo. Brittany delivered a rather lackluster version of “Strong Enough.” Do yourself a favor and listen to the gorgeous original from Sheryl Crow. I thought Nate did a nice job, but it was not as tightly controlled as some of these other performances. Ryan was technically excellent, but he reminds me of Robin Thicke and high-pitched male singers are generally not my cup of tea. Malik was fine, but not as technically perfect as Ryan. I reacted in a similar vein to Blake and Adam. It was something that other folks will enjoy, but it was not my cup of tea.

  18. MC says:

    I didn’t love this show tonight, but some of these performers have intriguing potential. I don’t really care for “Mad World” as a song, but Kristen was technically very impressive. She displayed control, vocal range and some emotion. She could be Christina’s ticket to a victory. I agree with Slezak’s comments regarding Hannah. She has some high-end potential in this competition because her pitch control is excellent and she can convey profound emotions. Peyton did a great job with “Dreams,” but her version was nearly identical to the original. There is a possibility she could be a one-trick pony; the jury is out on her. Natalie was very nervous or anxious and it detracted from her vocal. She will have to find her composure if she wants to go far on this show.

    • MC says:

      (continued) Brian was okay, but Josh Kaufman set the bar with “Happy” and this did not meet that standard imo. Brittany delivered a rather lackluster version of “Strong Enough.” Do yourself a favor and listen to the gorgeous original from Sheryl Crow. I thought Nate did a nice job, but it was not as tightly controlled as some of these other performances. Ryan was technically excellent, but he reminds me of Robin Thicke and high-pitched male singers are generally not my cup of tea. Malik was fine, but not as technically perfect as Ryan. I reacted in a similar vein to Blake and Adam. It was something that other folks will enjoy, but it was not my cup of tea.

    • MC says:

      Part 2 – Brian was okay, but Josh Kaufman set the bar with “Happy” and this did not meet that standard imo. Brittany delivered a rather lackluster version of “Strong Enough.” Do yourself a favor and listen to the gorgeous original from Sheryl Crow. I thought Nate did a nice job, but it was not as tightly controlled as some of these other performances. Ryan was technically excellent, but he reminds me of Robin Thicke and high-pitched male singers are generally not my cup of tea. Malik was fine, but not as technically perfect as Ryan. I reacted in a similar vein to Blake and Adam. It was something that other folks will enjoy, but it was not my cup of tea.

  19. MC says:

    Part 2 – Brian was okay, but Josh Kaufman set the bar with “Happy” and this did not meet that standard imo. Brittany delivered a rather lackluster version of “Strong Enough.” Do yourself a favor and listen to the gorgeous original from Sheryl Crow. I thought Nate did a nice job, but it was not as tightly controlled as some of these other performances. Ryan was technically excellent, but he reminds me of Robin Thicke and high-pitched male singers are generally not my cup of tea. Malik was fine, but not as technically perfect as Ryan. I reacted in a similar vein to Blake and Adam. It was something that other folks will enjoy, but it was not my cup of tea.

  20. MC says:

    Brian was okay, but Josh Kaufman set the bar with “Happy” and this did not meet that standard imo. Brittany delivered a rather lackluster version of “Strong Enough.” Do yourself a favor and listen to the gorgeous original from Sheryl Crow. I thought Nate did a nice job, but it was not as tightly controlled as some of these other performances. Ryan was technically excellent, but he reminds me of Robin Thicke and high-pitched male singers are generally not my cup of tea. Malik was fine, but not as technically perfect as Ryan. I reacted in a similar vein to Blake and Adam. It was something that other folks will enjoy, but it was not my cup of tea.

  21. Miss O'Ginny says:

    When I saw first saw Ryan I thought, wait, did Brad Goreski audition?!? Guess those Fashion Police checks weren’t enough! And then I heard his speaking voice and it was all over.

  22. My husband and I were not particularly impressed when Brian did “Happy,” but when he sang “Jesus Loves Me” a capella, we heard lots of good things. I predict Pharrell will steer him to gospel.

  23. akillesheel says:

    Malik was #1 in potential, IMO, but his vocal was a little shaky in places. Christina can definitely take him far. Ryan was just flawless, and several others weren’t too far behind. I think any of Monday’s top 4-5 would’ve been top-10 at the very least last season.

  24. Aislinn says:

    I loved Ryan, and when I went to watch his performance again on YT, I found an old video of him singing Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s not the greatest recording, but man, he hits the glory note in that moving song effortlessly; great performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzq_bzeuC8o. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from him.