The Voice 2016 – Live Blog and Recap – The Blind Auditions Premiere, Part 2 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 10, “The Blind Auditions Premiere, Part 2”! Coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell Williams and host Carson Daly set out to find the next great singer!
The Blind Auditions rage on, as we get a whole new set of contestants to compete for The Voice Season 10 crown! But what’s in store for tonight? Will we have any duos competing this year? Will we see any familiar faces returning for another shot at Voice glory like Bryan Bautista did last night? Night two 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!
-We open with a skit of Adam and Blake celebrating ten seasons together over a bottle of champagne. Adam gets Blake a beer, and Blake gets Adam a mirror as a present. Cute segment.
JOE VIVONA opens the show!
-Joe works in the family business, which is the world’s largest traveling carnival in the world. His grandfather, Morris Sr., is the chairman of the board, but he hopes for a bigger future for his grandson, noting that he’s a talented, good-looking boy. Joe explains he went to school for audio engineering, which is when he started getting into singing. From there, he began performing at the fairs, despite his nerves. He hopes the coaches will be able to help him grow. Joe keeps up with a trend this season of people who admired Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane album, although he’s also interested in working with Pharrell.
-Joe sings “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” by John Mayer. It’s a lovely vocal, due in large part to Joe’s wonderfully rich tone. As a performance, it’s a bit on the boring side, but I think Joe has a lot of potential as an artist, provided he gets the right coaching. Adam and Blake are the first to turn, although Pharrell joins at the last minute.
ADAM, BLAKE AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Christina says she didn’t push because of a couple pitch problems, but she wishes him luck. Adam loves Joe’s voice, and thinks one of his best qualities, aside from his tone, is his storytelling with the song. Joe seems nervous around Pharrell, but Pharrell encourages him to take a breath, since there’s nothing to be nervous about. “You’re acting like you almost got hit by a bus!” he says. Joe admits this is the largest audience he’s ever performed in front of, drawing an “awww” from the audience. Blake compares Joe’s nerves to a patient awaiting test results. “The test results are in, and you get to live,” Blake says, in a funny little moment. Blake tells Joe he has great presence to his voice, and he brought out a lot of emotion from the audience here. He wants Joe to pick him, warning that he doesn’t have the short temper Adam does. Joe says he got a call from his 95-year-old grandfather last night, so he’s going to pick his grandfather’s favorite…
JOE VIVONA chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Joe is in shock, and his father can’t help admitting he’s going to miss his son. But he’s proud Joe made it.
SHALYAH FEARING is up next!
-Shalyah comes from a big family, as she has three sisters and four brothers. Last year, her mother lost her job, and so her family had to move to a smaller house. However, her parents were able to make it work. They even have a family band, and play in cafes around the area. But her dream is to be a solo artist. She owes it all to her parents for helping her reach that dream, paying for voice lessons by borrowing money they didn’t have. She plans on making them proud by getting a coach to press a button.
-Shalyah sings “What Is Love” by Veronika Bozeman. Christina hits her button almost immediately. Shalyah has really got something cool in her voice. It’s this swagger and confidence that makes her voice standout in a big way. Granted, I don’t necessarily love her voice, but I think there’s plenty Christina can work with here.
CHRISTINA AGUILERA TURNS HER CHAIR!
-Christina flips out when she learns Shalyah is only fifteen, and she’s even happier to have the girl all to herself. The other coaches are proud that Shalyah got herself a coach like Christina, with Pharrell, in particular, noting that she’s in great hands. All the coaches mob Shalyah onstage with hugs in a lovely little congratulatory segment. Afterwards, Blake notes that a singer that age couldn’t ask for a better coach than Christina.
SHALYAH FEARING is on TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-Christina genuinely believes Shalyah is a vocalist who can do almost anything. I suppose we’ll see.
ADAM WAKEFIELD is up next!
Adam lives in Nashville, but he’s originally from New Hampshire. He grew up playing instruments with his family, pursuing music full-time as part of a band with his brother and their friends from work in a construction company. Sadly, Adam’s brother dealt with mental health problems, and ultimately died following an overdose on opiates. Adam credits his wife, Jenny, with keeping him from straying down the same path. He’s been performing with country artists while nurturing his own side project as part of a blues band. So he’s really looking to make this music thing happen. Go Adam! I like him already.
-Adam sings “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, and Adam turns his chair IMMEDIATELY! Chris has a really cool, ragged-sounding, classic country/blues voice. This instantly is one of my favorite auditions of the two-night premiere, owing to his Stapleton-esque sound (hell, he even kind of looks like him!) and the passion he infuses into each line. I really dug this. Of course, Blake hits his button too, to make this difficult on Adam. Both of them.
ADAM AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam learns that the contestant’s name is Adam and thinks he has this won, until Blake finds out Adam is from Tennessee. Adam feels an artist like Adam Wakefield could fit on any team, not just a country team. However, Blake says Adam probably doesn’t realize that the song that was just performed was a George Jones cover. Adam Levine flips out and makes an excellent point, saying that country music shouldn’t be this exclusionary club that keeps people out. Music should be for everyone, and country music should have the chance to reach everyone, and not just be in this box by itself. Blake retorts that they defend country music because if they just let anyone into the club, it gets farther and farther away from the heart of country music. You know, both men make great points, but I side with Adam on this one. However, Adam Wakefield must make his decision…
ADAM WAKEFIELD chooses TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Adam Wakefield admits he was hoping to land on Team Blake. For his part, Blake is offended by Adam’s “music is music” argument. But Adam whips right back with the retort about all the times Blake has gotten people on his team by arguing that genre shouldn’t matter with the team you pick (like with Jermaine Paul and Cassadee Pope). Man, Adam and Blake are lobbing bombs tonight.
CAROLINE BURNS is up next!
-Caroline is a returning contestant from Season 9, and while she turned no chairs last season, she’s spent the time since her blind audition growing as an artist with her band, 4:30-to-5 (since those are the only times they perform). She also performs at kids’ parties as princesses and fairies. D’awwwww! Backstage with the family, Carson states how bummed a lot of people were when she didn’t make it, but she’s hoping things go differently this time. Caroline will be singing “So Far Away” by Carole King, a song her father introduced to her, since she feels it’s more in her wheelhouse.
-Caroline sings “So Far Away” by Carole King, and this is actually freaking magical, in my opinion. It’s like she’s a completely different person than she was last season. I’m sure you could probably pick apart some pitch issues here and there, but I was seriously impressed by her tone here, and how effortlessly she tackled some of the bigger notes. This girl has HUGE potential, in my opinion. Adam is quick to hit his button, whereas Blake, once again, holds out for the last moment.
ADAM AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam remembers Caroline, and he’s amazed by how much she’s improved. He’s also proud to be the first one to notice it, calling Blake a “Johnny Come Lately”. Christina admits she considered pressing her button, but she’s actually glad to sit back and see Adam and Blake duke it out. Pharrell asks how long she’s been singing, and Caroline admits that it was her father who got her into singing in the first place. Pharrell shouts him out, and we cut to her grinning father backstage. Blake was amazed by the lack of pitch issues, and feels it’s more special when someone is able to grow and come back and turn chairs. He truly believes she can win The Voice. However, the choice is in Caroline’s hands…
CAROLINE BURNS chooses TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-In an adorable moment, Blake says Caroline broke his heart, but it’s only fair since they broke her heart last season. He admits Adam is a great coach for her.
NATALIE CLARK is up next!
-Natalie is from Scotland, and although she initially pursued a career in education, she couldn’t resist the pull of music. So she moved to America to pursue music fully. She was initially inspired not just by her grandfather’s love for America, but from a Q&A session with Sir Richard Branson. During the session, he encouraged her to sing, and the rest is history. In a cool moment, Carson plays a video message of good luck from Sir Richard himself!
-Natalie sings a really cool version of “All Right Now” by Free. Granted, I think the arrangement might have been too far removed from the original for the coaches to really connect. I thought she sang it beautifully though. Unfortunately, none of the coaches turn.
-Blake liked her verses, but felt she was holding back in places. Adam thought Natalie really had it going on in the beginning, saying that if she can strengthen the upper register as much as the lower register, she could be a real threat, and Pharrell agrees. Christina then goes on this self-aggrandizing bit about how she used to cover this song, before performing some of it herself. We get it, Christina, you can sing. At least save it for the battle round mentoring sessions.
EMILY KEENER is up next!
-Emily received her first guitar from her father as a kid, and so she’s been pursuing music ever since, writing her own songs as one of her sole forms of self-expression. There aren’t many places in her hometown for a young girl to pursue music, so she’s putting it all on the line on the Voice stage. Her father admits he’ll be emotional seeing her perform, but he’s hopeful for her.
-Emily sings a haunting version of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John, earning a four-chair turn before she even gets to the chorus of the song. There are some rough moments around the chorus, and the performance itself makes her look kind of bored and distracted up there. But from a pure vocal standpoint, I thought this was one of the best, most unique performances we’ve seen over the course of this two-night premiere. I really enjoyed this, for reasons I can’t quite pinpoint. For some reason, I’m completely ready to hop on-board the Emily Keener bandwagon. All four coaches give her a standing ovation at the end.
EMILY KEENER EARNS A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Blake is shocked to learn she’s 16-years-old, and says her voice is like a completely new sound. Adam thought the song choice and arrangement showed him a lot about her artistry. He thinks she’ll be great on any team, but she’ll be the best on his. Pharrell congratulates her on turning four chairs, and says that Emily uses the entire tapestry of her vocal chords to deliver a “super-fresh, effervescent approach to singing.” He says his style of coaching isn’t about telling people what they have to do, but more about steering them towards being the best version of themselves. Christina wants Emily’s eyes to light up the way they do when Pharrell spoke to her, and says Emily could be the voice of a new generation. Blake admits he has the most success with young girls like Emily, which is why he thinks she’s perfect for his team, adding that he was the first to push his button. Emily makes her choice…
EMILY KEENER chooses TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Pharrell is DELIGHTED! Meanwhile, Emily apologizes to Christina, who admits she’s really disappointed to lose out on her. Backstage, Emily tells Pharrell that she picked him because he’s a quiet observer. Pharrell affirms this, saying he’s not going to get in Emily’s way. Honestly, I feel like Blake might have been a better choice for her, if only because it would have forced him to change his coaching approach to suit her. It would have made him a better coach and Emily a more well-rounded artist. Then again, Pharrell arguably has the most eclectic music background of all the coaches, so I think he really could help Emily grow.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Emily Keener Sings ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ on The Voice 2016
LAITH AL-SAADI is up next!
-Laith hasn’t had a real job since he picked up a guitar at 16. He’s basically made a living off of booking gigs. He loves music, and this is his greatest passion. In particular, he loves that The Voice is a blind audition, since this means he won’t be judged based on how he looks (the 38-year-old singer sports a long bushy beard, and long hair wrapped around a balding top). Let’s go Laith!
-Laith sings “The Letter” by The Box Tops, and while his voice really isn’t in my wheelhouse alone (far too gruff and a bit on the unpleasant side), he’s got real rock guitar chops, particularly with his closing solo. Adam and Blake hit their buttons, making this a two-way race for Laith’s allegiance.
ADAM AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Christina didn’t press her button, but she’s interested to see who he’ll pick. Blake thinks Laith is a great singer, and learns that Laith plays 300 dates a year. Adam loves how Laith shreds like a maniac, noting that Blake can’t do that whereas he can. Pharrell laments having missed Laith do that ending solo, since he didn’t press his button. Laith, who earned his degree in guitar from the University of Michigan, offers to play the solo again, which brings the coaches to their feet. Adam says there are singers who play guitar, and there are guitar players who sing. He considers himself a guitar player who sings, which is why he thinks Laith would be a great fit on his team. Laith makes his choice…
LAITH AL-SAADI chooses Team ADAM LEVINE!
-Laith couldn’t be happier when he returns backstage, saying he was having a tough time picking since his two top choices turned their chairs. But he’s a rocker at heart, which is why he picked Adam.
ANGIE KEILHAUER is up next!
-Angie was born in El Salvador, but moved to Georgia as a child. There was a lot of civil unrest in El Salvador, so her father moved his wife and five girls to America. Angie owes everything to her father for the sacrifices he’s made. Interestingly, she’s currently a singer on a cruise ship, which makes for one of the more interesting backstories alongside Joe “carnival worker” Vivano. Hopefully, her voice is as impressive. She already looks a bit like Sara Bareilles. And I love Sara Bareilles.
-Angie sings “I Hold On” by Dierks Bentley with her guitar and her cowgirl boots. If nothing else, she gives off a vibe of real authenticity. It’s a strong, confident vocal, even though there were parts where I couldn’t really make out what she was saying. But enunciation can be worked on. She’s already got a heck of a voice to work with, along with a very vibrant performance style. Tons of energy onstage, and that was more than enough to turn Adam, Blake and Pharrell’s chairs.
ADAM, BLAKE AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Angie brings out her family, and Blake compares the rush of people onstage to the ending of Saturday Night Live. He’s surprised to learn all the girls are her sisters. Pharrell was impressed by her versatility, believing that Angie could sing everything. Adam loved the raw break in her voice that’s hard for some singers to control, but which Angie had well in hand. Blake feels there’s something very undisciplined about how Angie performs, and he loves that a girl is finally taking that approach in country music. Adam agrees, saying he feels there’s something about Angie that is breaking the mold. He thanks Blake for helping him articulate this point to Angie, while Pharrell points out he’s the one who invited Angie’s family onstage, which should count for something. Angie makes her pick…
ANGIE KEILHAUSER chooses TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Blake tells Angie she’s badass, and notes that it’s only every now and then that you see someone who breaks the mold. And he feels Angie is that person.
-Team Christina picked up soul singer LACY MANDIGO (who sang “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield, before stating she had a dream that Christina turned for her on the last note), while Pharrell picked up James Massone look-a-like JONATHAN BACH (“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga), and Team Adam picked up pop singer KATHERINE HO (“Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift). In a rare departure, none of these montages felt particularly egregious.
THERON EARLY is up next!
-Theron works at a piano bar to make ends meet. He doesn’t have a car or a place of his own, so he now feels it’s time to become a man. His mother reflects the same belief, saying that it’s time for him to have his own things. Theron talks about all the sacrifices his mother made to bring him to this point, saying that getting a chair turn would show his mother this hasn’t been in vain. He’s really hoping Blake Shelton turns for him, although he thinks he’d mesh well with Pharrell too.
-Theron sings “Amazed” by Lonestar, and I’d be really surprised if he got a chair turn for this. He’s a good singer, but this is just a bland song choice. Sure enough, none of the coaches turn their chairs, although the performance really does come to life towards the end with some big belting and smooth runs. Perhaps in a subsequent season, he could come back stronger with a better song.
-Blake thinks Theron should come back with a performance that isn’t on “10” the entire time, although he admits he almost pushed the button based on how well Theron ended it. Adam and Pharrell thought he was sort of pounding on it the entire time, and they caution restraint in the future, since he CAN sing. Christina agrees, and hopes he can bring it next time. Backstage, Theron admits the nerves got to him a bit. But his family is proud of him regardless.
KATA HAY closes the show!
-Kata has been singing since she was three-years-old, and she currently works at the hottest karaoke bar in Nashville. Hot damn, ANOTHER person from Nashville? For crying out loud, just hire Cowboy Troy and rename this Nashville Star already. Seriously though, Kata is absolutely adorable, not only loaded with personality, but with a lot of heart as well. I was genuinely moved watching Kata talk about her late mother. I can’t help but root for Kata right now.
-Kata sings “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson, and she commands the stage like few people across these two nights have. I can’t say I’m surprised with how strong her personality is, but she makes this look effortless. She also doesn’t miss a single note of her performance. I’m not necessarily ready to call it the best audition of the night, but it’s certainly the most confident. And that speaks volumes for someone’s star power. No one turns until literally the last note, as Adam, Pharrell and Christina all hit their buttons. Kata flips out and runs over to Adam, leaping into his arms and giving him a kiss on the cheek. She gives kisses to Pharrell and Christina upon realizing they turned too. Hell, she even gives on to Blake, because why not? In a funny moment, Adam mimics Kata’s performance onstage. Love it.
ADAM, PHARRELL AND CHRISTINA TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Kata reminds Blake that they used to sing together at the Oklahoma Opry when she was three and Blake had a mullet. The other coaches rip on Blake for not hitting his button, but Blake rightfully snaps back that they’re wasting their energy on him when they should all be focusing on Kata. Kata admits she’s disappointed Blake didn’t turn, prompting Christina to feign disappointment. But Kata assures Christina she’s awesome, noting she’s her first girl crush. To that end, Christina asks Kata to make out, so they can get it out of the way and get to work. And sure enough, Kata comes rushing over and KISSES CHRISTINA on the lips! Our first coach-to-coach kiss! Love it! Kata’s girlfriend covers her eyes, while Christina promises that if Kata picks her, there’s more of that to come. The crowd goes wild, while Pharrell feels like he’s in a dream. Christina pleads with Kata to join her team so a female coach can finally win, whereas the other coaches start arguing about whom Kata would have the best duet with. Pharrell asks who Kata picks as her coach, and Kata gets offended because Pharrell never even said anything to her beyond freaking out about the Christina kiss. But Pharrell notes that this is his dream and not hers, and in his dream, he gets to ask the questions. So Kata makes her pick…
KATA HAY chooses TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-Christina celebrates while “I Kissed a Girl” plays over the segment. Christina even sings along with it. Kata’s girlfriend lets the kiss slide, as Pharrell continues to celebrate the crazy kiss back in the studio. A great way to end the night.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Christina Aguilera Makes Out With Artist Kata Hay On ‘The Voice’ (VIDEO)
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s artists? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!