The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – Blinds End and Battles Begin (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 10, “Blinds End and Battles Begin”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
The Blind Auditions come to an end, and the Battle Round finally begins, as the coaches welcome superstar guest mentors, many of whom are appearing as advisors for the very first time! Team Pharrell welcomes Sean “Diddy” Combs, Team Adam will be helped by Tori Kelly, Team Christina will have the legendary Patti LaBelle, and Team Blake welcomes back coach Gwen Stefani! It’s looking like a hell of a show, so settle in for the next two hours, because we’ve got you covered!
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!
-We open with a preview of what’s in store for tonight, and Adam once again has blonde hair. Why the hell does he have to change up his look every other season? Blonde just doesn’t work for him, in my opinion. Although to be fair, it doesn’t work for Pharrell either. Maybe NBC has some sort of edict that everyone on the panel has to be blonde. Here’s hoping Blake doesn’t get highlights.
-And now we’re kicking things off with a performance by the coaches, as they team up to sing “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, with Pharrell on the drums (and vocals with the other three). This is a fun little opener, and I like that it’s being shot and presented in a music video style, rather than the live in-studio presentation. It just makes this whole thing seem cooler. The coaches just look like they’re having fun, more so than usual.
-After the performance, Blake and the other coaches talk about the end of the Blinds, as Blake has one spot left on his team. He warns them not to go after any artist he wants, because he’s on fire. For some reason, this cracks the other coaches up.
JARED HARDER opens the show!
-Jared is from Joplin, MO. A few months ago, his hometown was hit with one of the largest tornadoes in recorded history, destroying the town and claiming 161 lives. He worked with the Response Team for three months to help the rebuilding efforts. He’s recently married, and his lovely wife, Kylar, notes how important music is to him. Jared not only wants to make it in the music industry, he also wants to represent his hometown. Best of luck, Jared!
-Jared sings “Merry Go Round” by Kacey Musgraves. It’s an interesting song choice, but ideal for his voice. I think he has a beautiful voice, very light and airy, but with crystal clarity. Sure, it wasn’t the most exciting performance in the world, but there wasn’t a false note in this entire performance. And that tends to be rare in a Blind Audition. Sure enough, Blake hits his button. And he’s the only one, as the other coaches apparently heeded his warning about going after someone he was interested in.
BLAKE TURNS HIS CHAIR!
-Adam asks Jared who he would have picked if all four chairs had turned, and he admits he would have gone with Blake. Cue Blake bragging about getting Jared, as he now becomes the first coach this season to complete his team, after previously having started the season struggling to get people on his team. Now here’s where the real race begins.
JARED HARDER joins TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-I like Jared. He reminds me a bit of Brian Johnson from Season 8, and I really liked him. Hopefully, Jared can go a bit farther, provided he brings the goods.
MOUSHUMI is up next!
-Moushumi wanted to be a doctor, but she’s always felt an attraction to music. She went to medical school in India, but she never gave up on her dream, so her parents allowed her to take a year off to pursue music. When her parents saw how happy it made her, they decided to allow her to pursue music full time, even though it was initially hard for them to accept. Moushumi fights back tears when talking about how her parents rallied around her and accepted her. I’m really hoping she’s good. Seriously, please be awesome, because I’m rooting like crazy for you already!
-Moushumi sings “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, and from the first note, Blake flips out and starts demanding the other coaches hit their buttons right away. It doesn’t take long before Adam, Pharrell and Christina all push their buttons. It’s one of the most angelic vocals I’ve heard this season. Just an absolutely beautiful performance, from her soft, mellifluous tone to her tremendous vocal control.
ADAM, PHARRELL AND CHRISTINA TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Blake wishes he could have pressed his button, stating how incredible Moushumi is. Christina thought it was a fantastic performance and would love to have Moushumi on her team, saying she has a beautiful name for a beautiful girl. Adam says he’s never heard a performance so glassy, and states he would love to have her on his team as well. Pharrell says he’s never heard an Indian girl sing like her before. Christina doesn’t want Moushumi to fall for Pharrell’s charms, but it’s too late.
MOUSHUMI chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Backstage, Moushumi fights back tears while embracing her parents, while Pharrell notes that only one spot remains on his team.
-Back from break with a montage of singers who failed to make the cut. Country singers JAKE HENDERSHOT and JESSE BAROWELL don’t turn any chairs, while Adam passes on pop/soul singer SELINA CARRERA. Shame, Selina sounded pretty damn good.
KATIE BASDEN is up next!
-Katie has pursued music all her life. But when her father got sick with a heart condition, she put her life on hold and moved back home to be with him. Katie’s father worried about not being here to see her dreams come true or walk her down the aisle, so he’s just thankful he gets a second chance. Her mother tearfully states how proud they are to see her dreams start to take shape through this. Katie will be singing a song by the Allman Brothers Band, which her father introduced her to. I love the Allman Brothers Band! This ought to be good.
-Katie sings “Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers Band. Blake already looks like he’s kicking himself for having filled his team already. And I don’t blame him. This is a great rock-style, country vocal. All three remaining coaches turn their chairs, which is as good as a four-chair turn, as Blake notes.
ADAM, CHRISTINA AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Pharrell loves Katie’s voice, and he particularly loves that Blake is out of the equation, since it forces Katie to put on her chess-playing hat. She now has to decide which coach will help her be the best artist she can be, rather than defaulting to the country coach in Blake. It’s a great point, and Adam builds on it by saying he could help her due to his general love for similar kinds of music. Christina wants to help Katie grow, and hopes to get her on her team. Blake makes the case for each coach, saying Christina approached him about recording a country song together, while Pharrell has always been interested in country music. Blake then throws Adam under the bus by saying he’s never been into country music. However, that doesn’t really matter to Katie…
KATIE BASDEN chooses TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-Adam now does a Blake-like boast about filling his team. I love his cartoonish Blake impressions.
JONATHAN HUTCHERSON is up next!
-Jonathan has three brothers, and comes from the countryside. He was born with only half of his hearing, and it’s been a struggle all Jonathan’s life. His mother cried when she learned of his condition, believing that he would have trouble communicating throughout his life. She never imagined he’d be able to sing, so she’s grateful that he’s come as far as he has. Jonathan still gets regular hearing tests, but he plans on soldiering on regardless, saying he wants to prove to people that you shouldn’t let anything stop you from achieving your goals. What a stand-up guy.
-Jonathan sings “You and I” by One Direction, and while the vocal is shaky and weak, I do like the arrangement. And he DOES have potential. There’s a really nice tone there, so if he can work out his nerves, he could surprise some people. I think part of his shakiness has to do with his hearing condition, but with time, I think it’s something Pharrell could help him work on overcoming. I just like the tenderness of Jonathan’s tone, far more so than I expected I would.
PHARRELL TURNS HIS CHAIR!
-Pharrell congratulates Jonathan on being the final member of his team, while Christina more or less does the same. Jonathan’s enthusiasm is infectious.
JONATHAN HUTCHERSON joins TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-And, with that, Team Pharrell is complete! Pharrell’s team just might be my favorite so far, although I think Christina has some real contenders. And her team isn’t even full yet!
-Back from break with another montage of singers who didn’t make the cut for Christina’s high standards. This is one of those rare cases where I mostly get why she passed on each of these artists.
AYANNA JAHNEE is up next!
-Ayanna has big, crazy hair forming a tower atop her head. It’s GLORIOUS! She’s from Nashville (because apparently everyone is, this season), and she talks about how her mother got her into musical theater. Things turn tragic, however, when Ayanna discusses losing her mother to cancer. “My mother didn’t get to do a lot of the things she wanted to do,” Ayanna says. “So getting that chair will be like making her dream come true.” Well, the promos essentially spoil how good she’s going to be, so it won’t exactly be a surprise when she knocks this out of the ballpark. But I’m going to cheer anyway. Come on, Ayanna!
-Ayanna sings “Skyfall” by Adele, and I’m actually surprised by how little I enjoyed the first half of the song. It just felt bland and leaden. However, the second half really opens up her voice and illustrates the beauty of her tone. With the right song, Ayanna could be a major contender this season. Christina turns her chair, and Ayanna is utterly beside herself with emotion at the end of the song. And I can’t blame her.
CHRISTINA TURNS HER CHAIR!
-Christina gets on her knees in praise of Ayanna, saying she’s been waiting for a singer like her. Christina gets the band to give her a beat, and she starts singing about how her team is full! And Ayanna joins in! This is AWESOME! I couldn’t be more happy for Ayanna right now. She’s far from my favorite singer in the competition, but she’s got loads of charisma, and one of the most memorable auditions of the Blinds. I wish her all the luck in the rounds to come.
AYANNA JAHNEE joins TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-And with that, the Battles come to a close! We flashforward several weeks to the Battles, with Christina hoping she can break the curse of Female Coaches failing to win. Adam admits that curses ARE meant to be broken. But Team Christina will have to wait…
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: KATIE BASDEN VS. RYAN QUINN
-Katie thinks it was “phenomenal” to meet Tori Kelly, noting how great it is to work with a Best New Artist Grammy nominee. Adam says his favorite singers are Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac, and that’s the kind of contrast he sees between these two, although he notes that Ryan is currently the frontrunner on his team. They’ll be singing “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney, and while it sounds good in rehearsals, Katie is a bit under the weather. But she doesn’t want to make any excuses. Adam is still impressed by Katie, particularly after learning she’s sick. In the final rehearsal, these two seem to gel together far better than they did in the initial rehearsal. This ought to be a good one.
-This is a MUCH more closer battle than I expected it would be, since the edit seemed to be setting up Katie to be steamrolled. But she more than holds her own here against Ryan, and even outsings him in places. If she doesn’t win this battle, I think Katie has done more than enough to earn serious consideration for a Steal.
-Blake thinks the difference in their voices can be found in their upper register, as Ryan’s voice gets thinner whereas Katie’s voice retains its full body. So while he loved the battle, he’d go with Katie. Christina thinks it’s a really tough one, and doesn’t want to be in Adam’s position. Pharrell notes how inspiring Ryan is through his work with children and through the gift he’s sharing with them, but more or less states that we can’t count Katie out. Adam wishes he had a hole he could climb into rather than have to make this choice, but he has to make his pick.
RYAN QUINN WINS THIS BATTLE!
-Carson announces that Katie is available to steal, and Christina wastes no time…
CHRISTINA AGUILERA hits her button!
Christina is celebrating, and Carson declares that Katie is joining Team Christina, when…
BLAKE SHELTON hits his button!
Christina seems utterly exasperated with Blake hitting his button at the last second yet again. Christina recalls that this is the second time she’s hit her button for Katie, whereas Blake tries to make a connection with Katie through both being from the South. Adam tries to stump for Christina by saying this is her strongest year yet, while Blake reminds everyone that the only reason he didn’t hit his button the first time was because his team was full. Katie makes her choice…
KATIE BASDEN chooses TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Backstage, we learn that Katie’s mind was made up the minute Blake hit his button. Well, at least she knows what kind of artist she wants to be.
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: BRITTNEY LAWRENCE VS. PAXTON INGRAM
-Naturally, both Brittney and Paxton are hyped to meet Gwen, who is more than happy to help Blake this season since he “needs a lot of help” (Blake: “What is that supposed to mean?!”). They’ll be singing “I Know What You Did Last Summer” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, and although Brittney initially has a hard time matching Paxton’s energy and finding the right tone for the song, they actually work on the song together outside of rehearsals. In the final rehearsal, Blake tells Paxton he needs to combat Brittney’s vocal range by showing off some of his own. It’s rare that the coaches actively encourage showing off, but that’s exactly what Blake and Gwen do here. Hopefully, it leads to a monster battle.
-Honestly, I scored this about even. They both did a tremendous job, but I don’t think either singer did better than the other. Still, this was a damn good battle, and I liked this a lot better than the original, from a vocal standpoint (I just can’t stand Shawn Mendes’ voice. Seems like a nice kid, and he’s uber talented, but his vocal affectations just go through me).
-Christina thought Brittney had a very clear tone, but would have liked to hear more falsetto than her belting. She loved Paxton’s inflections on “I know you didn’t mean that though,” and thought he stood out more. So she’s going with Paxton. Pharrell was impressed with Brittney, but thinks that was Paxton’s battle. Adam thinks it will ultimately be a matter of taste and preference for Blake. For his part, Blake loves how Brittney’s voice breaks on the big notes, while he thinks Paxton is sort of like a vocal ninja. But only one singer can advance…
PAXTON INGRAM WINS THIS BATTLE!
-Blake thinks Paxton has a talent that is undeniable. He later brags to Christina that he’s going to win this season. Unfortunately for Brittney, no one opts to Steal her. I get why, although I did like Brittney quite a bit.
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: BRYAN BAUTISTA VS. MALIK HEARD
-Patti LaBelle is initially worried Christina’s team members won’t know who she is, but Christina insists she has nothing to worry about. Sure enough, Christina is right. The two men will sing “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown, and Bryan is really impressed when he first hears Malik. Patti talks about her longtime friendship with the late Godfather of Soul, and notes that they need to enunciate better than he did, God rest his soul. Patti implores them to put their own twist on the song, saying they could be unique while also paying tribute to the original artist. In the final rehearsal, Malik talks about wanting to put his best foot forward, saying that getting the opportunity to be on The Voice is like a dream come true.
-Yup, this is exactly as outstanding as you’d expect it to be. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad rendition of this song on a singing competition, mostly because no one ever does this song unless they can absolutely slay it, meaning this song essentially bats a thousand when it comes to delivering awesome moments. I’m genuinely torn on who did better, because these guys are so similar. The runs, the falsetto, the swagger. It’s all their in both men, and they both give it their all here. I give the slight edge to Malik, but I think Bryan would go farther if he got the nod. No matter what happens, though, I think the loser of this Battle is getting stolen, and I’d have thought so even if the promos hadn’t spoiled it. All four coaches give this a well-deserved standing ovation.
-Pharrell opens by saying that not only was their performance amazing, one of them is about to get stolen. Adam feels he’s about to be coach to one of them, so he notes that he doesn’t have anyone on his team like either singer, and goes as far as to add that he won The Voice last season. Pharrell comes in and notes that there’s no one like these two on either team, essentially shutting Adam down. Blake sticks up for Pharrell, while Christina corrects him on how to say Malik’s name. In a funny moment, Pharrell states that he loves how they’re all making pitches despite Christina having yet to pick a winner for this battle. Christina is understandably torn. She says that it’s been a pleasure to work with both men, but she must make her decision.
BRYAN BAUTISTA WINS THIS BATTLE!
-Carson can hardly get the words out about Malik being available to steal before…
ADAM, PHARRELL AND BLAKE PUSH THEIR BUTTONS!
-Adam thinks he can coach Malik to the point where he’s a frontrunner in this entire competition, and promises not to let him down if he’s given that opportunity. Pharrell wouldn’t rate Bryan and Malik side-by-side, which is why he would want to help nurture Malik’s artistry and help him discover who he is. Blake accuses Adam of backpedaling, prompting him to call Blake an idiot. Blake tells Malik he has the chance to win this thing, and notes he’s won this show four times with four completely different artists. Blake and Adam rip on each other’s fashion styles, but the decision comes down to Malik.
MALIK HEARD chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Backstage, Pharrell has no idea how Christina paired Malik and Bryan together, but he feels everything happens for a reason, so he’s glad she did. Adam and Blake bicker a bit more as the show comes to a close!
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Is the winner in this lineup? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow night, thank you for reading and hanging out!