The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – The Blind Auditions Premiere (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 10, “The Blind Auditions Premiere”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
Season 10 is finally here! The blind auditions begin, but is the next Jordan Smith in tonight’s lineup? Who will be the first coach to start filling up a team? Will we have any duos competing this year? Will we see any familiar faces returning for another shot at Voice glory? Night one of the two-night season premiere is here!
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-After the usual, self-aggrandizing opening video package, we leap right into things, with Adam ripping on Blake for his new forearm tattoo, while Blake wonders aloud if we could get a different member of Maroon 5 to coach the show.
PAXTON INGRAM opens the show!
-Paxton talks about how he idolized Michael Jackson growing up, and used dancing as a way to express himself, before discovering that music is one of his true passions. To make ends meet, he teaches a hip hop dance class. His family gushes about his work ethic as Paxton fights back tears. He really wants this, and it makes me want to root for him. I love the singers who just have that work ethic you can pick up on right away.
-Paxton sings “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn, earlier noting how he loves it when guys sing a female song. From the sound of it, he made an excellent choice. I was worried that, as a dancer, he’d come out and do a Michael Jackson style performance. Even the singers in the best shape often have trouble singing and dancing at the same time, keeping breath control and all the rest. But this ballad was a gorgeous choice. Blake is quick to turn his chair, only to lament when Adam and Pharrell do the same.
BLAKE, ADAM AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam wanted to lull the other coaches into a false sense of security about whether or not he’d turn, but it didn’t work, since both Blake and Pharrell turned anyway. Christina admits she didn’t turn, but congratulates Paxton for making it onto the show. Blake is a fan of Paxton, and loved his audition. “Pick me!” he pleads. Pharrell is at a loss for words, and Adam is right there with him, calling Paxton brilliant. But the decision is ultimately up to Paxton.
PAXTON INGRAM chooses TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Blake is as stunned as the rest of the coaches. But he states that just because he’s a country artist doesn’t mean he can’t mentor a young pop artist. He expects big things for Paxton.
CAITY PETERS is up next!
-Caity lives at home, but she has a lot of experience in a variety of different outlets. She’s a worship leader, among other things. She’s likable and cute. I’m rooting for her already. (I’m an exceedingly shallow man, in some respects)
-Caity sings “Jealous” by Labrinth, and it’s a really strong vocal. Granted, part of it is that I adore this song, and immediately fall in love with anyone who sings it well. But Caity really pours a lot of passion into this. She gets ALL FOUR coaches to turn their chairs! Caity can’t help but cry, prompting Pharrell to come onstage and hug her.
CAITY RECEIVES A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Christina asks Caity about her favorite music, and she notes how she loves “soulful music,” which causes Pharrell and Christina to light up. Christina wants to walk with Caity to the finish line as a fellow female soul singer, while Pharrell wants to continue to bring out the emotion she brought out in all of them. Adam thinks she’s on the cusp of greatness, whereas Blake thinks she’s already there. He thinks it’s about being the best she can be, and he truly believes she can win this thing. Caity considers her choices…
CAITY PETERS chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Caity calls it one of the greatest moments of her life, and Pharrell reiterates backstage that she brought the emotion out of everyone.
NICK HAGELIN is up next!
-Nick is a professional ballet dancer, but it was his wife, Christina, who convinced him to hang up his tights and pursue music full-time. Unfortunately, his son was born with a rare condition that leaves him with weak limbs and joints. The doctors thought he’d never walk or feed himself, but they found another surgeon who helped them considerably. He eventually taught his son how to walk on his own, and he sees this as his greatest accomplishment. He had a potential record deal on the table, but it fell through because they wanted him to pretend he didn’t have a family, believing it would never sell. But Nick walked away, because it’s not like he’s going to deny his story.
-Nick sings “Lost Stars” by Adam Levine, and I love this already. Of course, much like with Caity, I wonder how much of it is my automatic bias towards this song, because it’s terrific. Christina is quick to turn her chair, but none of the other coaches are moved to turn until the very end, as Pharrell and Blake turn at the very end of the last note.
CHRISTINA, BLAKE AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam is flattered that someone did his song, and notes that Pharrell and Blake pulled a “sneak move” on Christina at the last minute. Nick talks about his family, and Pharrell encourages him to bring his family out to say hi. Pharrell gives Nick’s little boy a standing ovation upon learning everything he’s overcome, and Christina is quick to add that she turned for Nick because it reminded her of early Michael Jackson. Blake hears a little Prince in there, and thinks his voice will record so well, saying it’s a voice with a lot of “herbs and spices” in it. Adam rips Blake for comparing Nick’s voice to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Ultimately, Nick makes his pick…
NICK HAGELIN chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Christina is shocked that Pharrell didn’t say a single word, yet still got him. Adam explains that he didn’t turn because he was stuck in his own version of “Lost Stars”, which is his own fault. But hey, that’s a valid critique, and a good reason for why you probably shouldn’t do a coach’s own song for your blind audition.
MADDIE POPPE is up next!
-Maddie is a football cheerleader and a student body president at her high school. There are just twenty-some people in her graduating class, which gives an idea of how small her Iowa town is. She makes her own YouTube videos, in addition to playing fairs and festivals, but there just aren’t many places to “make music happen” in her small town. She’s watched The Voice for years now, and she really wants to land on Team Adam.
-Maddie sings “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine. It’s a really strong vocal, just very pure and crystal clear. However, it’s kind of aimless vocally too with what she does with her voice, like there’s no real focus to the performance. Unfortunately, none of the coaches turn around for her. But she has a cool attitude about it, gushing about how surreal it is to be in front of these coaches. Adam even lets her switch seats with him!
-Pharrell critiques Adam as though he’s Maddie, praising Maddie for her talent with scales. It basically boils down to how Maddie needs to focus and learn to channel her instrument better. But she is encouraged to come back, and I’d be surprised if she didn’t come back in a future season. She definitely deserves to get a chair turn. On her way out, Maddie says she wishes she hadn’t picked such a strong song, since the stress made it hard for her to hit all those big notes. Ah well, keep working at it and come back next year!
MARY SARAH is up next!
-Mary is a Nashville resident who currently works at a shoe store called Boot Barn. She’s a huge fan of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, and got recognized by The Oak Ridge Boys, who invited her to sing with them at the Opry. That opened a bunch of doors for her, allowing her to meet Dolly Parton and sing on an album with some other major country stars. However, it’s hard for a girl in country music, so she’s hoping The Voice can be her second chance.
-Mary sings “Where the Boys Are” by Connie Francis, and this just might be the most perfect song choice of the night, in terms of how it matches the singer’s voice. That said, this feels a bit old fashioned for a show like this. Then again, she could be this season’s de facto “cute, blonde country girl”. If nothing else, she gets a hell of a response from the coaches, turning all four chairs.
MARY SARAH TURNS ALL FOUR CHAIRS!
-Adam praises Mary for her consistent upper register, noting that it took him to a different time. Christina couldn’t help but be impressed by her big belting at the end, saying she’d have looked stupid if she hadn’t turned after that. Pharrell asks why she picked that song, and Sarah says it’s a song that’s opened a lot of doors for her in the past. Blake tries to make a connection with her through the Oak Ridge Boys, prompting Pharrell to plead with her not to listen to anything Blake says. For his part, Blake thinks Mary sounds like she’s from The Oak Ridge Boys era. Mary makes her choice…
MARY SARAH chooses TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Mary embraces her teary-eyed family backstage while Blake gloats by pointing to the coaches and singing “Where the losers are”. Terrific.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Mary Sarah Sings ‘Where The Boys Are’ on The Voice 2016 Blind Audition
-Back from break, Adam rips on Blake some more about his accent, cracking him up. However, Blake shoots back by telling Adam he should focus more on actually getting people on his team.
MIKE SCHIAVO is up next!
-Carson Daly drives out to meet Mike, who’s moved out to LA to pursue music. Mike has been inspired ever since receiving his first CD, Songs About Jane by Maroon 5. He told his parents he wouldn’t be going to college, choosing instead to pursue music. Although they were initially upset, they now fully support him. Backstage, he says he’d like to work with Pharrell, but it would be incredible to work with Adam, considering the effect he had on his life.
-Mike sings “Talking Body” by Tove Lo, and this is a really badass version. Just chill and smoky and cool. I love Mike’s voice, and so do Adam and Pharrell, who turn almost immediately, and spend the rest of the performance vibing like crazy on this performance. Blake turns his chair as well to turn this into a three-way race for Mike’s allegiance.
ADAM, PHARREL AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Pharrell thought this had a very crispy, clear tone, and says they’ve been waiting for someone like him to come along. Pharrell asks what his musical influences are, and he admits Maroon 5 is a big influence, particularly “She Will Be Loved”. This prompts Adam to come up onstage and sing the acoustic version of the song with him! This is awesome. I got a huge kick out of Adam feeding him the chords throughout the performance, followed by the band kicking in to offer accompaniment. This was just fantastic. Adam admits he was nervous and scared about screwing it up, since he’s not as effortless as Christina. But he feels Mike is a total natural. Pharrell asks Mike what he’d like to do moving forward, and Mike says he’d like to work with someone who will teach him something different. Pharrell feels this means he’s leaning towards Blake, but Mike admits he’s a huge Pharrell fan too. Blake says that while Mike didn’t grow up listening to his music, he can help Mike grow and do something different, especially now that he’s got the performance with Adam out of his system. Mike makes his choice…
MIKE SCHIAVO chooses TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-Backstage, Mike admits he almost cried while singing with Adam, amazed that something like that even happened. I’d be blown away too, honestly.
QUEEN SESSI is up next!
-Queen talks about her Latino family influence, as her father is Puerto Rican while her mother is Cuban. Her dad put the microphone in her hand as a kid, and while she was a really good singer, she would never sing any of the songs her father wrote. Queen talks about how hard it is to make it in LA, saying that she went from living out of her car to using that car for Uber in order to make ends meet and build her social media presence. That’s…incredibly smart, actually.
-Queen sings “Show Me Love” by Robin S., and while it’s vocally proficient, something about this feels dated. Just too early 90s for my tastes. She has a great voice though. Unfortunately, none of the coaches turn their chairs for her. But Queen lets the coaches know she still loves them all regardless.
-Christina was stunned by her killer opening note, but just wanted a little more finesse. Blake thinks she can definitely sing and has great energy, but feels she needs to dial it back a little bit. They encourage her to come back though, so I’m hoping we’ll get to see her again in the future.
BRYAN BAUTISTA is BACK!
-Bryan Bautista from Season 9 returns for another shot at The Voice! He talks about how going from an usher to a lead vocalist was a major change for him, which is why it was so difficult last season. But he feels he’s more prepared now. He resigned from his job and got one-on-one vocal coaching after his rejection last season, and has received financial and emotional support from his mother. His little brother is adorable, fighting back tears when talking about how proud he is of his big brother. Please be good, Bryan!
-Bryan sings “The Hills” by The Weeknd. It’s a confident vocal to start, far more so than last season. I’m kind of surprised we don’t get any immediate chair turns. However, Christina eventually does hit her button, causing Bryan’s mother to flip out backstage. Blake also joins in at the absolute last possible moment (“Blake turned? I MISSED IT!” Bryan’s mom swoons). I couldn’t be happier for Bryan.
CHRISTINA AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Christina says that Bryan was feeling the moment, but wants him to know she pressed her button first. Pharrell notes Bryan was here last season, prompting Christina to say she wasn’t here to witness the greatness (so she doesn’t watch unless she’s on the season?). Bryan praises Adam and Pharrell for how their comments helped shape him. Adam says that while he didn’t turn, the change is noticeable, and he’s improved immensely. Blake gets on Adam and Pharrell’s case for not turning around, but Bryan says not seeing Blake turn last season lit a fire under him. Bryan makes his choice…
BRYAN BAUTISTA chooses BL–no wait! He says he only said Blake because he “had to say something.” Kind of a silly thing to do, if that wasn’t just a Steve Harvey mistake. But Adam loves it, and embraces Bryan onstage. He makes his real choice…
BRYAN BAUTISTA chooses TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-Christina feels Blake wouldn’t have known what to do with Bryan, and I can’t help but agree with her there.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: The Voice Contestant Pulls A Steve Harvey – Picks Wrong Coach!
ABBY CELSO is up next!
-Abby is a server at the Beer Market, and she’s wanted to pursue music all her life, ever since her dad had her sing with his band when she was little. She’s now part of her own band called The Swooners, and they sound pretty great! Sadly, her mother passed away from cancer in September, so she lost the woman who used to call Abby her “songbird”. But before she passed, she always used to tell Abby she should go on The Voice. So this is for her mother.
-Abby sings “Should’ve Been Us” by Tori Kelly, and this just might be my favorite audition of the night so far. It’s a powerful, confident vocal, and she carries herself like a total star up there. She gets Adam and Pharrell to turn their chairs, and I’ll be shocked if Adam doesn’t get her.
ADAM AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam says if he doesn’t get Abby, then “Should’ve Been Us” will be the song he sings forever. Pharrell says there’s no one else like Abby on the show right now, so having her on his team would be his greatest pleasure right now. Blake compares Adam and Pharrell, saying that while Adam is the sexiest man alive, Pharrell is good-looking too. But what puts Pharrell over the top is all the Grammys he’s won for other people. Adam sticks up for himself by saying he can help her win The Voice. Pharrell brings up Sawyer Fredericks, saying that he saw the star quality in him, and he sees it in Abby. Although Adam tries to make a pitch about standing beside Abby through this, Pharrell says he wants to stand behind Abby, because then he’s not in her way — and then, she can never fall, because he’ll be there to catch her. But Adam feels Abby should fall, since she’ll get up stronger. Both excellent points. Abby makes her pick…
ABBY CELSO chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Adam blames Blake for selling her on Pharrell, and Blake admits he’s flattered that Adam thinks he has that much power.
JOHN GILMAN is up next!
-John lives without wifi and TV, so he has a lot of fun jamming with his friends. He has worked a ton of different jobs. Scooped ice cream, washed dishes, worked on a Despicable Me blimp shaped like a giant Minion. But he’s been waiting for an opportunity like this. He’s looking to be the next Carl Perkins, explaining how he’s spent the past couple years writing and play his own music, developing his sound. No school, no jobs, no backup. Just this.
-John sings “Don’t Be Cruel” by Elvis Presley. It’s a bit on the old fashioned side of things, but I would imagine this is right in Blake’s wheelhouse. If nothing else, the vocal is good, and the musicianship is confident. Strangely though, Adam is the only one who hits his button.
ADAM LEVINE TURNS HIS CHAIR!
-Pharrell notes John’s rockabilly style, and he admits Blake likes John’s style, and hopes Adam helps him remain true to it. However, he feels stupid for not pressing his button. Adam doesn’t care why Blake didn’t do it, he’s just glad to have John all to himself. He praises John for having the guts to sing Elvis Presley, and I couldn’t agree more.
JOHN GILMAN joins TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-As we come back from break, we get a video showing what Jordan Smith has been up to since winning the show, and what we should expect from his debut album, which is something they’ve done for no other winner. Looks like they’re expecting big things from him. He could be the winner who finally breaks through and gives this franchise the Kelly Clarkson-sized success they can hang their hat on.
ALISAN PORTER is up next!
-Alisan talks about her child star upbringing, starring in Parenthood with Steve Martin, and her lead role in Curly Sue with Jim Belushi. After this, she did two Broadway shows: Footloose and the revival of A Chorus Line. She admits it was a high-stress time, and she started using drugs and alcohol to get by. But she got help before it was too late. She’s now been sober for eight years, and she’s been a happy stay-at-home mom since. But even though she loved acting, music has always been her dream. She tearfully explains that The Voice is her best chance to show people who she is as an artist, and to prove that a person can overcome their demons.
-Alisan sings “Blue Bayou” by Linda Rondstadt, and I never knew a song could sound so much like a lost Roy Orbison track. She sings this absolutely brilliantly. Just stunning, from beginning to end, with one of the best blind auditions I’ve seen since…well, Jordan Smith, actually. The male coaches turn almost immediately, but Christina holds out a little longer. She still hits her button though, and the other coaches join her in giving Alisan a standing ovation. Adam even goes over and hugs Alisan, prompting her to warn him she has a husband. “I’m married too!” he says. Christina then comes over and hugs Alisan as well, before sitting onstage and warning Blake about who really runs this show.
-Alisan tells her story, saying she’s been singing since she was five years old, and was also on Star Search, which causes Christina to light up. She then talks about Curly Sue and her acting career. Pharrell wants to know how a voice like that could ever be ignored, and she talks about being sober for eight years, falling in love, and having children. She feels the universe simply had a plan for her. Pharrell would love to have her on his team and garnish what she has now. Christina is moved to tears by Alisan’s story, saying no one works harder than a mom. She wants people to hear the hope in Alisan’s voice, and adds, “I want to be part of your history.” Adam is astonished by Alisan’s voice, and predicts she will win The Voice. Christina pleads with Alisan to let a girl coach win, for once. Alisan is torn and looks to her family, but she’s clearly having a hard time deciding. She makes her pick…
ALISAN PORTER chooses TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-Christina is overjoyed, and I can see why. If she plays her cards right, she could finally break the “Girl Curse” with Alisan. Backstage, Alisan explains that she simply felt a connection with Christina as a mom with a career. She feels there’s no one better than Christina to mentor her through.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Alisan Porter – ‘Curly Sue’ Child Star – Auditions For ‘The Voice’
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s premiere? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading and hanging out!