The Voice Joe Maye Xtina

The Voice Blind Auditions (Night 4) Recap: Crazy X(tina) Girlfriend!

Are we 100 percent certain that Christina Aguilera isn’t the newest and most dangerous protagonist in the X-Men universe?

When the reigning queen of NBC’s The Voice opens her mouth to sing, she possesses the brute power of Colossus, the heat of Pyro and the fantastical flourishes of Storm conjuring up a monsoon — without so much as the slightest wobble in pitch or pocket.

Yes, only the woman who brought us classics as disparate as “Fighter,” “Genie in a Bottle,” “Beautiful” and “Dirrty” could extend the word “mine” from one syllable to 47, while still managing to turn her audience into the living embodiment of the praise-hands emoji. I sure as hell am not mad at that.

So whether or not Xtina will ultimately become the first female coach to win the show after 10 seasons — spoiler alert: I’d bet heavily on “yes” — she nevertheless earns some type of trophy every time the Voice mic “spontaneously” lands in her hands and she has to show a young’un how it’s done.

So pour a cup of whatever Blake Shelton’s drinking, take a breath like Shelly Winters in The Poseidon Adventure, and toast The Lady Aguilera with a “Hey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey-eyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

In the interim, allow me to rank the episode’s 12 auditioners in order from least-to-most promising (bearing in mind that I’ll be back overnight to update this URL with more detailed performance reviews):

10 (tie). Teresa Guidry – Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” (shown in montage)
10 (tie). Chelsea Gann – Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels” (shown in montage)
10 (tie). Lily Green – Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird” (shown in montage — but damn, those five seconds sounded pretty terrific)

9. Brittney Lawrence – Demi Lovato’s “Warrior” | Brittney’s persistence deserves some credit — she attended seven Voice auditions before finally making it to the blinds — but while she proved she can belt powerfully, it all came off a bit Wednesday-night karaoke to my ears.

8. Matt Tedder – Muddy Waters’ “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” | Two hours after the end of the east-coast telecast, I have to admit to only remembering Matt’s slide-guitar playing, which  probably doesn’t say a whole life for his musical fortunes.

7. Jessica Crosbie – Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” (Team Pharrell) | I don’t blame Adam, Xtina and Pharrell for hitting their buttons on account of this British songbird’s breathy-pretty, opening-verse perfection, but as intonation escaped her in the latter hald of the song, I began to wonder if sole holdout Blake had the right idea.

6. Justin Whisnant – Cole Swindell’s “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” (Team Blake) | Dapperly dressed former oil-rig worker proved better than average in the lyrical interpretation department, but dude will need to rein in the quivery affectations on his choruses if he wants to get to the live voting rounds.

5. Tamar Davis – Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” | Beyoncé’s childhood bandmate showcased solid pitch while tackling the Queen of Soul, but there was a light patina of nervousness — and a few too many peculiar squeaks — to describe the performance as spectacular.

4. Daniel Passino – Charlie Puth’s “Marvin Gaye” (Team Xtina) | Daniel couldn’t have chosen a less appealing song for his audition — and that left me worried about his overall taste level. But dude’s massive range and soulful inflections could make him a Season 10 dark horse — as long as he gets more selective about his song choices.

3. Maya Smith – Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” (Team Pharrell) | I loved the restraint with which Maya approached the opening verse almost as much as I loved her little tweaks to the melody on the chorus. If Coach Pharrell doesn’t let his mind wander to the fact that major record labels consider 31-year-olds to be over the hill, Maya could go far — in Season 10 and in a post-Voice situation, too.

2. Owen Danoff – Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (Team Adam) | This soft-spoken transplant to NYC may not have the biggest set of pipes in Season 10 — but he infused Dylan’s lyrics with such breathtaking intimacy, I almost felt ashamed for eavesdropping. Bonus cool points for the fact that as a member of Standard Vocal Band, Owen’s dad wrote “Afternoon Delight.” (Or, well, bonus points if Adam doesn’t make Owen cover it!)

1. Joe Maye – Screamin Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell On You” | After delivering a very good, if slightly frenetic solo performance, the Season 9 reject was joined by Xtina — attacking every note like a mama bear whose cubs haven’t eaten for two weeks. The duo’s voices blended as easily as wasabi and soy, and with fellow Season 9-ers Mark Hood and Ellie Lawrence in his corner, Joe may get a leg up in behind-the-scenes machinations, too.

Your turn. What did you think of The Voice Season 10, Night 4? 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. OhMy says:

    I think the kid can sing but that Lets Marvin Gaye song might have the worst lyrics ever written.

  2. JM says:

    I wasn’t as impressed by Joe as Michael was. I think Michael got caught up in the Xtina moment. My favs were Tamar, Maya, Owen and Daniel.

    • Greta says:

      Totally agree with this comment.
      Joe really isn’t a standout vocalist, although he’s awfully cute.

    • analythinker says:

      Same here. Joe’s runs definitely weren’t smooth. And Xtina does love growls, eh?

      • MC says:

        Exactly. Xtina does a great job of singing from her diaphragm, but I’ve never loved her songs. Gwen Stefani (who obviously is not a very powerful vocalist) has a fantastic portfolio of songs (from No Doubt and even some of her solo work). Songs that stand the test of time are more important to me than a powerful, growly voice. When I think of “Beautiful” (maybe the best Xtina song), I always think of Amber Riley’s emotionally charged and perfectly on point version (from Glee, and yes there was very good music on Glee from time to time).

  3. Forever504 says:

    Daniel ahead of tamar really SLEZAK

  4. Russ says:

    I thought Maya was the best on a night where it was hard for me to find 3 artists for the poll. Tonight seemed weak compared to last night.

  5. LLawrence says:

    Owen was my favorite on a really good night (best night overall). Have his studio version of the song on repeat already. Takes me back to my roots. And I think he looks more like he could be Hugh Laurie’s son.

    • The Beach says:

      Yes, I know he’s a WGWG but I don’t care. I think Owen is fantastic!! My favorite of a surprisingly strong night.

    • My favorite also,but then his family and former Starland members are good friends,and I administer the Starland channel for the band on YouTube,so watching Owen come into his own is exciting,I helped produce his last CD

  6. danin says:

    Man, country’s not my thing but I thought Justin was tops,along w/Tamar&Brittney.Owen & Matt were about on the same level vocally(and their music ranks high on what I like.) ButI wanted more from them. Tamar,I thought had it over Maya(maybe Maya was just nervous) Teresa&Lily sounded godf to me in their montage.Joe, I thought he was uneven.He didn’t impress me so much.

    • danin says:

      Oh and I did like Brittney. My top 2, Justin& Tamar, 3&4&5 Owen,Brittany,Matt.

      • The Beach says:

        I’ve gotta go with Owen as my #1 tonight, but that being said, where did all this talent come from? Well done, The Voice! I can’t remember a season that over four nights was this talented. Damn, those Battle Rounds are going to be brutal.

  7. Zayne says:

    I can’t believe Michael ranked Brittany so low! I thought that though her tone was a little generic, her pitch was Shelby Brown level!

  8. NotVirgin Mary says:

    Tamar should have been no lower than #2 on the list. I could maybe stand that, but #5? I just don’t understand Michael anymore.
    Joe had a big stage presence, but his voice just wasn’t that good.

  9. pdamico says:

    I see I’m in the minority again, but I think there’s a handful of dark horses on The Voice this year. I don’t think Alisan (whose performance was stunning) is the slam dunk Michael and Melinda are claiming. And you know what? Even if it does turn out that way, I’d happily trade contrived, reality show suspense for flat out entertaining TV like The Voice provides almost every week.

    Before I forget, can I just say how much I liked Jessica Crosbie’s interpretation of the Coldplay song? Personally, I think Coldplay writes/records some of the worst songs on the radio, but her version put me in touch with the lyrics like I was hearing them for the first time. She has a very pleasant, old soul vibe which I liked a lot.

    Another reason I don’t think Alisan may be an absolute lock: Justin Whisnant. I’m on record about country not being my thing, but, hooboy, Blake nailed it when he said Justin’s voice was more country than dirt. He was also extremely at home on that stage sans a bunch of histrionics. Something about him is very attractive, and I can see the country (female and male) fans voting like crazy for him.

    Tamar is hugely gifted, but if “Chain of Fools” is indicative of her song choices for this competition, she’s in trouble. She needs to dig down deep into Prince’s catalog, or something like that, to stand out.

    I think I liked Owen’s sincerity more than his actual performance, but I’ll give him big credit just for doing a Dylan song. I have never understood why we don’t hear more Dylan songs on these shows. His lyrics and melodies are so ripe for interpretation and updating.

    And that brings me ’round to my favorite of the night: Matt Tedder. Oh my God. Oh My God. Oh My God. That was some stupid rare talent right there. Yes. I know it’s The Voice, and there were much better singers these past episodes, but he is a crazy good blues vocalist… especially for someone his age. He didn’t try to mimic the blues (caveat: the blues is my favorite music genre and has been since I was 11 yrs. old), he sang and played it like a young version born for it. And his slide guitar was really, really good. I long ago gave up seeing/hearing anyone on these shows doing justice to the genre. I so didn’t see that coming. Trust me, I know he probably won’t be around long once the voting begins, but I am definitely going to remember that kid’s name. Kudos to Adam for turning around for him, and PLEASE, Adam don’t mess this up for me.

    • LJ says:

      I think the next round will have Matt Tedder going against Laith Al-Saadi. One will be gone, and I will be sad.

    • davmon says:

      I seem to agree with all you said. On Dylan songs…and on Jessica & Matt….IMO, a lot of interesting talent this year. In the Blinds, there have been a few Greats and many Very Goods. If I had to guess, on future nights, there will be occasions when a Very Good will outshine a Great. No one should be a slam dunk. Alison was Great 1st night, but so was Mike Schiavo; plus Nick, Caity, & Mary were Very Good! 2nd night, no Greats; but Joe & Laith & Emily were Very Good! 3rd night, Ryan was Great; while Peyton, Bryan, Malik, & Kristen were Very Good! Last night, maybe no Greats again, but Tamar & Matt & Owen & Joe & Maya & Jessica & Justin were all Very Good!…Next, we will see if Xtina & Pharrell kill off half of their great talent in matchups, per usual. Then the public votes will ditch another half of the real talent in favor of some fluff. [Sigh] We’ll be lucky to see half of these above in the Top Ten….And so it goes!

      • The Beach says:

        Very well said.

      • danin says:

        Ohh..I would add Hannah Houston to the great list.She had one of the best songs of the night for me,and Ryan had the other.

        • davmon says:

          Hannah was a fun performer and likeable and pretty. She had a nice and Good voice. But I need to hear more to feel it was Very Good. I remember thinking it might seem a bit less remarkable if I was not looking at her….But, for sure, she is as likeable as anyone we have seen. And that can count for a lot, as with Hannah Kirby in Season 8 last Spring, who was fun and brassy but also pitchy–yet made the Top 8.

    • Timmah says:

      Jessica was my favorite of the night. Loved that arrangement.

  10. TinLV says:

    I totally agree with the top 5 vote-getters in your survey. It was a good night on the Voice all around.

  11. Ellen says:

    STARLAND VOCAL BAND, not Standard Vocal Band.

  12. pdamico says:

    Matt Tedder:

  13. Maureen Watson says:

    It’s Starland Vocal Band

  14. Larry Davis says:

    Agree with everyone here. Some sick stupid talent on Season 10 of the Voice, wow. My faves on Night 4 of the Blinds were DEFINITELY Matt (a young SRV anyone??), Owen (a product of “Afternoon Delight”?? In case you don’t know, that song is arguably the dirtiest song in pop music history), but all jokes aside, his dad Bill is insanely talented and his mom Taffy (also in Starland Vocal Band) is a great singer too, and SVB is quite an underrated group, the Little Big Town of the 70s, but with an ABBA twist…and a tie between Tamar & Maya. Jessica was really good on that Coldplay song tho, and Joe was very good as well, but not best of the night…happy he came back tho, and he is the Mark Hood of Season 10…cool to see him back as well as my fave Ellie Lawrence…agree about Daniel, talented kid, but godawful song, HATE Charlie PEEEEWWWWWth…as for Justin, HIGHLY disagree…the country I like is alt-country/countrypunk/no-Depression/Americana, as well as what I call “countrypowerpop”…what he did was the type of country I cannot stand, which is radio-oriented, mainstream, TOO straight down the middle, boardroom-written, COOKIECUTTER, and him doing that song or that TYPE of song, shows his taste and what kind of record he would put out if he gets to do one, and I will stay far far away, yuck. How’s his voice though?? Eh, but smooth, just OK…if I was in charge, he wouldn’t have gotten though on that performance, no way Jose, no matter how slick he looked. Not one ounce of originality. He’s no Ryan Quinn or Mike Schiavo or Matt Tedder or Owen Danoff or Laith. Get Justin outta here.

  15. Mrs Miller says:

    It was hard to pick a top three from this group. But going just on vocal performance alone, I’m going with Maya, Owen, and Justin. Joe Maye though… I was prepared to hate that duet with Xtina, just because it was so over-hyped in the promos. But yeah, it was downright irresistible! That youngster is going to steal a lot of hearts, and rightly so.

    Now here is where I admit that I’m already so sick of the premature coronation of Miss Curly Sue as the winner, a small, mean part of me *hopes* she doesn’t win (fair or not). That “forgone-concluded winner” business is exactly what bored me out of watching the last two seasons before they were halfway over. But the thing is, it might not be such a slam dunk this time around. This season is so much stronger collectively than the last two, it’s ridiculous!

  16. tj895 says:

    I prefer Gabriel Wolfchild’s version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” from last year. For a truly raw cover listen to Ke$ha on the Bob Dylan Tribute album.

  17. Hso says:

    That was probably one of the most beautiful Dylan covers I’ve ever heard. Surely the best “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” one. Can’t wait to download it.

  18. kierankramer says:

    It’s Starland Vocal Band. I’ll bet autocorrect changed it. Also Owen’s dad wrote “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and that really impressed me. That song is genius.

  19. Um,it’s Starland Vocal Band…not Standard