The Voice 8 – Live Blog and Recap – The Blind Auditions, Part 2 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 8, “The Blind Auditions, Part 2”! The blind auditions continue as Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams and Christina Aguilera fill their teams with some of America’s best talent!
In last night’s premiere, Adam was completely shut out, scoring not a single singer for his team. Presumably, this will change tonight, as a whole new batch of singers are here for him to steal away from the other coaches. Which coach will each contestant pick? Will there be any four chair turns? Could this season’s winner come from tonight’s group of auditions?
To recap, here is where the teams stand:
Team Blake Shelton: Sarah Potenza, Cody Wickline, Joshua Davis
Team Christina Aguilera: Rob Taylor and Treeva Gibson
Team Pharrell Williams: Lowell Oakley, Meghan Linsey, Sawyer Fredericks
Team Adam Levine: NO ONE!
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be posting results, videos, commentary, and more as the night rolls on.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-The coaches chat about how Adam got smoked last night, getting basically no one. Adam then indirectly compliments Blake, and Christina notes that he basically just told Blake he’s going to win The Voice 8. Blake is so charmed by this that he hugs Adam and kisses his head while Adam squirms.
ANTHONY RILEY, 27, opens the show!
-Anthony has been singing since before he could even talk. His father is a train conductor, and recommended that his son perform in the train station, since there were a lot of street performers singing there. So he’s been a street performer ever since. Anthony notes he was once arrested for street performing, as the officer cited him for “disturbing the peace.” He fought it in court, standing up for the street performers of Philadelphia…and he won! He would go on to win Best of Philly in the Street Performers category. So now he’s not going to let anything stop him from turning a chair.
-Anthony sings “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown, and he gets the FASTEST four-chair turn in history, as all four coaches hit their buttons within seconds. Seriously, he’s barely done with the first note before the coaches have all turned. Anthony has an incredible voice that evokes James Brown, and he’s got some killer dance moves and a real sense of showmanship to go along with it.
ANTHONY RILEY EARNS A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Blake says Anthony had him from the James Brown-esque “hah!” He loves Anthony’s voice and his dance moves, which Blake feels are reminiscent of his own dance moves. Anthony jokes that he got the moves from Blake. Meanwhile, Christina says she’s glad to be back this season to have seen Anthony. She feels they can do magical things together. Pharrell says he thinks Anthony is incredible, and he asks what kind of music he likes. He says he loves singing everything, even country music. Adam says he wants to diversify Anthony to keep him fresh throughout the competition, but Blake fights for him by saying that if Anthony chooses him, it’d be like adding a shot of whiskey to his water. It’s a tough call, but…
ANTHONY RILEY CHOOSES TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Pharrell is stunned, and I am too. I was feeling Christina on that one. Adam just doesn’t get it, but maybe that’s why he’s still shut out.
GABRIEL WOLFCHILD, 26, is up next!
-Gabriel chose his name at a ceremony that his family participates in, so everyone in his family has non-traditional names. His father is Blue Mountain, for example, while Gabriel settled on the name Wolfchild. He grew up initially resenting this facet of his upbringing, but he grew to respect the culture. He plays in coffee shops and in other public places to develop his music. “I’m ready to take this on and give a great performance,” he says.
-Gabriel sings “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” by Bob Dylan, and he has a very understated, folksy voice. I don’t think it’s the kind of voice that can win this competition, or really even go that far. But I definitely think he deserved a button press. And sure enough, Adam hits his button and is eventually followed by Blake. Towards the end of the song, Christina hits her button, making it three coaches on Gabriel’s side. Pharrell, meanwhile, seems lost in the song, listening for a moment that never comes. He doesn’t hit his button, but he does seem impressed.
BLAKE SHELTON, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, and ADAM LEVINE turn their chairs!
-Blake loved that Gabriel just came out here and sang a song with his guitar like a real artist should. He scolds Pharrell for not hitting his button, and Pharrell admits that the only reason he didn’t was because he knew Gabriel would never pick him. Gabriel insists that’s not true. However, the other coaches are quick to try and convince him to join their team. Adam thinks Gabriel is the coolest dude, and outright tells him, “I love you.” Blake thinks Gabriel is a ready-made country artist. Christina, meanwhile, thinks she and Gabriel can do great things together. Pharrell asks Gabriel what his spirit tells him, and Gabriel admits that if he’d gotten a four-chair turn, he’d have actually chosen Pharrell. Pharrell seems absolutely DEVASTATED. But he tells Gabriel to trust his spirit.
GABRIEL WOLFCHILD CHOOSES TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-Gabriel says he chose Christina because he feels she’ll really work with him and offer something different. As for Christina, Gabriel has inspired her to give the other coaches names: Blake is Inbred Moonshine, Pharrell is Happy Grey Hat, and Adam is Little Manchild. Doubt those names will stick, although it wouldn’t surprise me if one of those names trended tonight, at some point. Twitter is a fickle mistress.
-Back from break, as Blake gets the audience to promise to chant his name if there’s a multi-chair turn.
BROOKE ADEE, 16, is up next!
-Brooke has been singing ever since she saw a production of Annie as a child. They moved to Florida because her mother was diagnosed with Lupus, and there weren’t many options for her in their original home of Georgia. Brooke loves music, but her school doesn’t have any music programs, so she’s only been able to work on her craft in public by singing at Italian and Mexican restaurants. But on the bright side, she does get tips if she sings well. So there’s that.
-Brooke sings Birdy’s version of “Skinny Love,” and it’s stunning. Incredibly understated and without any shakiness or vibrato. Her runs are also really impressive for someone who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience singing in front of big crowds, since nerves tend to have an effect on vocal gymnastics. She gets Adam and Blake to turn pretty quickly, and while neither Christina nor Pharrell hit their buttons, Adam and Blake are on their feet by the end of the performance. I totally loved this, and I hope she finds her way onto Team Adam, since I think he can help her shape her artistry way more than Blake could (although Blake could probably take her farther in the competition).
ADAM LEVINE and BLAKE SHELTON turn their chairs!
-Adam makes fun of Blake by mimicking the speech he’s likely to give (“I took Danielle Bradbery, who was also 16, to victory, etc.”). Blake thanks Adam for making the argument for him, and Brooke breaks in by saying that Adam and Blake remind her of Tom and Jerry. (Blake: “At least she didn’t say Dumb and Dumber.”) Ultimately, Blake praises her on her tone, and Adam tells her he feels she can absolutely win this show. The crowd starts chanting for Blake, which Adam finds ridiculous and unfair. But it works…
BROOKE ADEE CHOOSES TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Brooke feels Blake is the perfect person to help shape her music, since she’s seen what he’s done with similar contestants like her in the past. Blake rubs this victory in Adam’s face, and Adam is forced to face the fact that he’s suffering a huge, unprecedented slump in his Voice career.
DYLAN DUNLAP, 18, is up next!
-Dylan’s parents divorced when he was around 2 or 3, explaining the somewhat complicated relationship he has with his father. He got into the Berklee College of Music, but his father didn’t want to financially support him for his second year. So he decided to go out into the street with a sign and his traveler guitar in an attempt to raise money, and that’s how he was spotted by a producer for The Voice. He’s clearly nervous and emotional about this, going as far as to ask Carson Daly for a hug before his audition. Man, I REALLY hope this guy is good, because I’m ready to root for him.
-Dylan sings “Talk Dirty,” and it’s my favorite performance of the night so far, even though it’s far from the best vocal. It’s funky and cool, and I think he’d be a great fit on Adam’s team. However, Adam doesn’t hit his button. In fact, none of the coaches do. And I’m stunned. Like, dude, you have no one on your team right now, Adam! Take a chance on this kid!
-Adam liked Dylan, but thinks he still has to rein it all in a bit, since he was giving them too much, noting that his enunciation was off. The other coaches like Dylan’s tone and his personality, but think he still has work to put in before he’s ready. And, honestly, they’re probably right. But I would have loved to have seen Dylan score a spot on a team here.
TONYA BOYD-CANNON, 35, is up next!
-Tonya is from Louisiana, and she came up singing in the church. She also recently finished her degree in Music Education. Tonya wants to share music with the world, so she dedicates her time to working with a prison choir. The inmates she works with are in the re-entry program, so they’re on their way home. They have been taught new life skills to accompany them on the way out, and singing is now one of those skills. She says she works with these inmates because society writes these people off the minute they land in jail, and she doesn’t feel that’s fair since they’re still human beings, and they deserve a second chance. Tonya is excited to share her music on The Voice, since she started her career at age 16. In an emotional moment, she recalls losing everything in Hurricane Katrina, including all the baby photos of her children, a memory that has her fighting back tears. But she’s persevered, and here she is now. I like her a lot, although I wish we could just get to the singing already.
-Tonya sings Pharrell’s own “Happy,” and it’s one of the best vocals of the night so far. This was lively and energetic, but she never missed a beat, and her vocal never faltered. Adam is instantly in on her, hitting his button. By mid-song, Christina has pushed her button, with Pharrell quickly following. And they’re all grooving in their chairs, bopping along to Tonya’s energy. I loved this.
ADAM LEVINE, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, and CHRISTINA AGUILERA turn their chairs!
-Christina loved Tonya’s interpretation of the song, and loved the tone in her voice. Tonya is flustered when Pharrell says hello, although she’s just as flustered when Adam introduces himself. Pharrell keeps the compliments coming, noting that final run towards the end of the song. As for Adam, he notes that while Tonya should probably choose Pharrell or Christina, he still notes that they waited 58 seconds after he pushed his button before they pushed their button for her. Adam says Tonya should pick him, precisely because it doesn’t make sense for her to do so. Blake finds this argument ridiculous, and has no idea why the audience is applauding him for making it. Honestly, while Pharrell and Christina DO make more sense, I’d take the chance on Adam. Christina’s team is going to be stacked with big-voiced divas, and I just don’t feel she’d be much of a priority on Team Pharrell. And sure enough…
TONYA BOYD-CANNON CHOOSES TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
ADAM FINALLY GETS HIS FIRST SINGER IN THE COMPETITION!
-Tonya explains that she picked Adam because his risk-taking opened her eyes. Adam, meanwhile, wants to do his best to keep Blake from winning again this year. Backstage, Blake tries to stir things up by pitting Christina and Pharrell against each other in order to throw them off their games. It’s a well-acted segment, if nothing else. Blake’s stint on Saturday Night Live showed he has solid comedic chops.
JOE TOLO, 21, is up next!
-Joe is Samoan, and he’s very much in touch with his culture, which focuses on music a lot. After high school, he wanted to pursue music but didn’t know how. One day, he saw an ad for Extra’s The Voice Boot Camp, which allowed him to perform in Hollywood. He ended up winning a makeover as a result, and here he is. Joe gets emotional recalling how his father left when he was young and returned to Samoa, leaving his mother to raise all her children alone.
-Joe sings “To Love Somebody” by the Bee Gees, and it’s a terrific vocal. He note only has a beautiful tone, he has a great sense of drama to his vocal, allowing the song to build and build until it hits a killer falsetto. Christina and Blake are impressed, and hit their buttons. Adam and Pharrell never turn, but it’s still an awesome vocal just the same.
CHRISTINA AGUILERA and BLAKE SHELTON turn their chairs!
-Christina is floored by his falsetto and keeps asking him to repeat the high note, even singing it along with him at one point, because Christina apparently loves singing her critiques. Blake is puzzled as to why Pharrell and Adam didn’t turn their chairs, since he felt that was a four-chair turn performance. For his part, Adam backs Christina, with no one really sticking up for Blake, although I’m not really sure why anyone would at this point, considering his team is virtually a dynasty. Joe says he wants to sing soul music, and this prompts Christina to speak up and say that she hasn’t won The Voice before, but she’s ready to win it with him. Blake, meanwhile, says that Christina may be flashy, but she hasn’t had the same success on this show as he has. Joe makes his decision…
JOE TOLO CHOOSES TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA!
-Christina is excited about what she can do with Joe, while Blake is sad to lose out on such a great vocalist. He doesn’t understand why the other coaches are ganging up on him, but he still feels he’s a threat to win this like he did last season. Backstage, Joe is floored that he’s on Team Christina.
DREW PARKER, 23, is up next!
-Drew lives in a small town with only one stoplight. He’s been singing since he was a little boy in church, but he recognizes that music might not always pay the bills, so he’s become an X-Ray technician while putting his music on the back burner. He says he got his passion for helping people because of his brother, who had severe asthma as a boy. He feels if his music can reach people and give them the hope to hang on just a little bit longer, he’ll be happy. He feels if he can get one coach to turn around for him, it’ll be a dream come true.
-Drew sings “Workin’ Man Blues” by Merle Haggard, and it’s mostly okay. With that cowboy hat and that deep baritone, he’s pretty much Blake’s man until I hear otherwise. And that’s kind of my problem with Blake being there, since I feel like the other coaches won’t bother with a country singer because they’ll just assume Blake is going to pick him, and if Blake doesn’t pick him, then no one will. And sure enough, no one hits their button.
-Blake likes Drew but says Merle’s original felt more haggard (no pun intended), whereas Drew made it sound more like a party song. Christina echoes the sentiment, and Pharrell says that while Drew has a great voice, he needs to pick songs he can emotionally connect with more. I thought Drew did a decent job, but I can see why no one picked him. He should come back next season with a different song, something that will resonate a bit more.
MIA Z, 15, is up next!
-Mia comes from a musical family, and they even put a band together for her, with her uncle on guitar and her mother singing along with her. She looks EXACTLY like her mother. Seriously, it’s uncanny. Her uncle says Mia has the same style as Christina, and this observation reflects Mia’s desire to get Christina to turn her chair, since that’s the coach she really wants to work with. Mia notes that Christina started out in Pittsburgh, just like her, so she feels a certain kinship with her already.
-Mia sings “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King, and it’s a bit rough, starting out. However, it gets steadily better as it goes along. Blake hits his button pretty early, but Pharrell eventually comes around on her when she hits a CRAZY falsetto note in the middle of the song. By the end of the performance, she’s confidently working the stage and taking vocal risks. She ends on a really cool vocal run, to boot.
BLAKE SHELTON and PHARRELL WILLIAMS turn their chairs!
-Blake and Pharrell flip when they hear she’s 15, while Christina is HEARTBROKEN when she learns Mia is from Pittsburgh. Blake loves her voice, and praises her falsetto note, which is so high not even bees could hit it. Adam feels Mia is a great vocalist, but doesn’t need to sing with that breathy, overly dramatic vocal affectation, and he has a good point. Pharrell found it surprising that she sang “The Thrill Is Gone,” since he feels the opposite. The thrill is very much here, and Mia is a thrilling contestant. Mia admits she’d like to be a blues artist, and Blake argues that blues and country are cousins of sorts. Adam chides Blake for his desperation, while Pharrell makes the argument that he can help Mia realize her potential. Ultimately…
MIA Z CHOOSES TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Pharrell is surprised and delighted to win Mia to his team, while Blake feels Mia just might be “the one that got away.” Mia said she wanted to go with Blake, but simply felt a certain pull towards Pharrell. Blake tells Pharrell he could actually win with Mia, and while I wouldn’t go that far just yet, she is a great get for Team Pharrell.
BLAZE JOHNSON, 22, is up next!
-Blaze is from the Bahamas, and while he has no audible accent, he can easily dip back into it at any time. His father brought them to America from the Bahamas to give them a better life, but Blaze quickly found that he and his father were discriminated against for his heritage. He was so badly picked on, he nearly quit music altogether. But his father, Blaze Sr., gave him the courage to keep going. His family moved back to the Bahamas after he graduated high school, but he remained behind in Columbus, OH, since there are better opportunities in America. He lives with his pastor, and teaches music at his church, and he’s clearly passionate about what he does. His pastor thinks Blaze is an instrument, and incredibly talented at what he does.
-Blaze sings “How To Save a Life” by The Fray, and this is a case where Blaze sacrifices the verses to allow for the chorus to sit right in the sweet spot of his voice. Seriously, these verses are pitched way too low, and I honestly don’t get why Adam turned his chair for this so quickly. That said, when he hits the big notes in the chorus, it’s easy to see why he got that chair turn. Blake turns his chair as well, and Blaze finishes strong, although I’m puzzled as to why he picked this song. This was good, but there were better songs he could have picked, in my opinion.
ADAM LEVINE and BLAKE SHELTON turn their chairs!
-The coaches are all quickly taken by his name, with Pharrell suggesting he stick with “Lil’ Blaze”. Blake loves how different Blaze is, and Adam echoes this sentiment, saying that Blaze doesn’t fit into any one box. He says this is what he loves most about Blaze, and why he wants him on his team. It’s time to pick…
BLAZE JOHNSON CHOOSES TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-Blaze Sr. says this is everything Blaze Jr. has been working for. Blaze Jr. simply thanks God, while Carson goes on an uncharacteristically flattering rant about how Blaze embodies everything they’ve been searching for in this competition. Seriously, where did that come from?
BRYAN PIERCE is up next!
-Bryan grew up poor because his father left the family when he was young, resulting in his family living in parks for a while. He did construction for 11 years, but it wasn’t satisfying. He made a pact with himself to eventually pay his bills with singing, and so he currently hosts a local karaoke night. He’s returning to his original love for performing, saying that singing is in his soul.
-Bryan sings “Rocket Man” by Elton John, and while it’s really spotty in places, due to going for runs he doesn’t end up hitting, I still think his voice has a great storyteller quality to it. His voice has a lot of strength behind it as well. But it’s simply an unspectacular vocal that I simply chalk up to the wrong song choice. None of the coaches turn their chairs.
-Blake likes Bryan, but felt the transitions were off. Christina listened for his transitions, and while it’s clear he has an incredible talent, she didn’t feel she could turn her chair. Pharrell actually expresses regret for not having pushed his button, but it’s too little, too late now. Bryan says he’s going to take this experience and grow from it, working on his craft. Who knows? Maybe he could come back and turn some chairs.
DEANNA JOHNSON, 18, closes the show!
-Deanna is returning for another shot at making it. She didn’t get any chairs to turn in Season 5, as her rendition of “Stars” was good, but not enough to get her a spot on a team. Blake did say, at the time, that she was only year away from possibly developing something special. Deanna took a break from singing after her audition, since she was so devastated not to make it on the show. This broke her father’s heart, so he encouraged her and worked with her, until she took up music again, and worked on her craft until they both felt she had developed enough to give this another chance. She isn’t in college at the moment, and there doesn’t seem to be any backup plan right now, so she’s going all-in with this music.
-Deanna sings “All I Want” by Kodaline, and it’s a PERFECT song for her voice. Her voice has this deep, rich quality that reminds me of Cher. It takes a bit, but by the end of the first chorus, she’s gotten Blake, Pharrell and Christina to turn their chairs in rapid succession. As she nears the end, you can hear her getting emotional, and that makes the performance even stronger, since she’s getting wrapped up in the song and in the moment. She even gets Adam to hit his button at the last moment.
DEANNA JOHNSON EARNS A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Adam asks Deanna how many chairs turned for her the first time, and how many turned for her now. He then tells her how proud he is that she took their criticism and used it to grow and develop as an artist, and then come back to turn four chairs. Blake notes that she has a great voice, and she was great before. In addition, she isn’t bad to look at, prompting Deanna to ask Blake if he likes her boots. Pharrell is glad she brought it up, since he felt he was going to be the only one to notice how great the boots were (to be honest, they ARE pretty great). Christina adopts a country accent when she learns Deanna loves country music like Loretta Lynn (although she says she loves Florence and the Machine too). Pharrell, meanwhile, takes the route of the Southern Gentleman, by approaching her onstage, hat in hand, and asking her to join his team, noting that if he’d been a coach in Season 5, he wouldn’t have let her go. Deanna recalls that Christina told her to work on her high notes back in Season 5, and she did. But Adam says he heard a few things in her voice that still need work. He knows not everyone likes to hear that kind of criticism, but he’s here to make her better. It’s time to choose and…
DEANNA JOHNSON CHOOSES TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-Adam seems every bit as stunned as I am. He could actually win with someone like Deanna, a person who can appeal to the country demographic while also offering a wider range of appeal, since she’s capable of occupying multiple genres. Then again, I feel the country vote is less about voting for a country artist than it is about voting for Blake. Adam’s team could be nothing but country artists, and I’m not sure it would matter. Still, I can’t wait to see what he does with Deanna.
-To recap, here is where the teams stand so far. Tonight’s additions to the teams will be in BOLD:
TEAM BLAKE SHELTON: Sarah Potenza, Cody Wickline, Joshua Davis, Brooke Adee
TEAM CHRISTINA AGUILERA: Rob Taylor, Treeva Gibson, Gabriel Wolfchild, Joe Tolo
TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS: Lowell Oakley, Meghan Linsey, Sawyer Fredericks, Anthony Riley, Mia Z
TEAM ADAM LEVINE: Tonya Boyd-Cannon, Blaze Johnson, Deanna Johnson
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Did the coaches make the right choices? Did the contestants? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for reading and hanging out!