The Voice 9 – Live Blog and Recap – The Blind Auditions, Part 2 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for The Voice 9, “The Blind Auditions, Part 2”! It’s night two of the season premiere, as coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, and Gwen Stefani continue filling their teams for Season 9!
Last night’s show introduced some potential frontrunners for the win, as each coach landed two artists apiece. This, after a premiere that featured THREE four-chair turns (including mystery man Jordan Smith and plane crash survivor Barrett Baber), and two three-chair turns. The coaches are hungry this season! But will there be any more four-chair turns tonight? And will the winner be among tonight’s auditioning artists?
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 get a variation on the same video that opened last night’s show, with the coaches talking about how excited they are for this season, and how much The Voice means to them. Then we go right into the first audition of the night…
BLIND JOE opens the show!
-Blind Joe was born three months premature, and he wasn’t even supposed to live, according to the doctors. However, he prevailed against the odds, albeit at the cost of his sight, as his retinas were damaged. But he has a sense of humor about his condition, talking about how accident prone he is, and how this is a truly “blind audition”. His grandfather got him a cheap guitar in his youth, and he plays it with the guitar facing up on his lap. His music career took off from there, and his wife supports him by essentially being his roadie. Oh man, these two are so cute together! Blind Joe’s regular job is to teach blind people how to use the accessibility software on their phones and laptops, but he wants to pursue music so he can provide for his wife. Rooting for you, Joe!
-Blind Joe sings “If It Hadn’t Been or Love” by The Steeldrivers, and I’m shocked it takes Blake as long as it does to push his button, because this is a tremendous performance. Adam follows, with an enthusiastic button press. As the song winds down, Pharrell and Gwen quickly push their buttons. This may have been the first blind audition this season I didn’t want to see end. I absolutely loved this, and I think he’s great.
BLIND JOE EARNS A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Blake informs Blind Joe he got a four-chair turn, and Joe can’t believe it. Adam knows this isn’t going to go his way, noting the cowboy hat and the country song he performed, but he really liked Joe and hopes he joins Team Adam. Pharrell says he was moved to press his button by Joe’s talent, and he’s really glad he did. Gwen, meanwhile, says Joe reminds her of the type of singers she used to listen to in her youth. However, she says Blake is part of the “country mafia,” so she doesn’t expect to get him on her team, although she likes him a lot. Blake says he’d love to introduce Blind Joe to Nashville after he wins this thing, and tells him he doesn’t worry about Blind Joe’s place in this competition one bit. Blind Joe makes his choice…
BLIND JOE CHOOSES TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-Blake lets know how honored he is that Joe picked him. Backstage, Blind Joe breaks down, saying he’s doing this for his wife. I might have spoken too soon when I declared Barrett Baber the possible winner last night, because Blind Joe is easily my favorite blind audition so far.
WATCH AND DISCUSS: Blind Singer Earns Four-Chair Turn With Amazing Vocal on The Voice 9 (VIDEO)
-Back from break, we get a hilarious skit in which Adam and Blake welcome Pharrell into The Voice Winners Club. A female coach really needs to win this show at some point, but I don’t think it’s going to be Gwen.
IVONNE ACERO is up next!
-The Cantaloupe Girl from last season is back! She talked about how upsetting it was not to get a single chair to turn last season, but she notes how she has worked on her craft since being on the show, even doing her high school’s annual musical. Her father encourages her to just have fun out there, but Ivonne appears to really be feeling the pressure. I hope she gets on the show this season!
-Ivonne sings “Style” by Taylor Swift, and this is FANTASTIC. Seriously, her audition last year was good, but this is outstanding! Ivonne has so much control over her voice, and she interprets the song in a completely different way from Taylor Swift. I just loved this audition, and I couldn’t be happier for Ivonne than when she gets chair turns from both Gwen and Pharrell. She totally deserved it.
GWEN AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Blake recognizes her, but Ivonne jokingly chides him for not turning for her like he said he would after last season. Blake tells her it’s good for her to learn now that men lie. Ivonne then thanks Blake, saying his encouragement and kind words are what brought her back. Adam points out how Gwen was the only person who wasn’t here for her audition last season, but she turned the minute she heard Ivonne, so he’s passively endorsing Gwen here. Pharrell says he may have missed it last time, but he isn’t missing her talent this time. Ivonne makes her choice, and it seems like a total gut pick…
IVONNE CHOOSES TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Gwen is crushed, but Ivonne and her family are overjoyed. “Pharrell seems like such a kind, humble person, and I’d really want to be around his spirit, and learn from him,” she says. Back in the studio, Gwen complains that Pharrell is too cute, which is why the girls keep picking him. I think part of it is how nice he is, but also that he’s arguably the biggest hitmaker of the four. (Arguably)
GAGE NAVARRO is up next!
-Gage talks about how his dad walked out on the family when he was a kid, and so his mom stepped up and was his rock throughout his life. He didn’t start singing until eighth grade though, but it quickly became a passion. However, the economy started to take a turn for the worse, which caused him to give up singing for a while, as their house was foreclosed on, and they nearly lost the family business (a golf course his stepdad owns). He states that if the golf course shuts down, they’ll have nowhere else to go, so yeah, he’s got a lot riding on this. He does say that it’s important to do something you’re passionate about, and that he’s here not just to pursue music, but to learn what kind of artist he is. Gage thinks coaching will help him a lot. Let’s see just how much work he needs.
-Gage performs “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant, and I don’t think he needs very much work at all! He’s a very funky guy, and he’s got a cool, cool voice. Unfortunately, none of the coaches turn their chairs, which is kind of disappointing, since I think he could have been developed and shaped by the right coach into a sort of Chris Jamison type of singer. I truly believe he had the potential to surprise us, if given another chance. But I guess part of the thrill of the Blind Auditions is that THIS is their one shot, and it needs to be their absolute best.
-Gwen liked his voice and the rap-type tone he took with it, although she couldn’t feel the human story in it. Adam likes Gage’s voice, but didn’t feel there was enough “oomph!” Pharrell agrees, saying that all he needed was that little bit of something more in order to turn their chairs around. Gage vows he’ll return, and I really hope he does. I liked his voice a lot, and felt he would have been a perfect act for Adam or Pharrell.
REGINA LOVE is up next!
-Regina is a 51-year-old radio show host, and she’s pretty popular, receiving calls from viewers about what an inspiration she is. She explains her backstory as a singer, saying she was part of a touring gospel group with her family, and even received a record contract from boxing champ Evander Holyfield. She recorded three inspirational albums, but after five years, the record label folded. Regina fights back tears when explaining how she struggled, as a single mother, but that this is her dream, and she can’t quit because she has too many people rooting for her. Evander is here to support her along with her family, and Regina is more than ready for this, although she doesn’t know which coach she’d pick. She just knows they’re all great, and could help her in a variety of ways.
-Regina sings “Rock Steady” by The Whispers, and I was really impressed by this. Not only did she OWN that stage, she made the classic funk song actually sound fairly current. I think she has a future if she ever decided to pursue secular music. Adam is the first to turn his chair, unsurprisingly, since he loves the soulful, big voices. Blake also hit his button, and I actually think it’d be smart for Regina to pick him. Blake has a lot to offer as a coach, for more than just country music. I think he’d make better song choices for her than Adam would, to be honest.
ADAM AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam says he hit his button because it’d be a travesty for a great voice like this not to make it on the show. Pharrell, meanwhile, says he didn’t hit his button because he ran out of time, prompting Blake to chastise him for that excuse (“You had ninety seconds!”). Pharrell asks what kind of music she likes performing, and she says she likes to sing whatever will help the mood of the person she’s singing to. If they’re sad, she wants to make them happy. Adam and Blake go back-and-forth, flattering Regina in order to get her to pick them. Regina makes her choice…
REGINA LOVE CHOOSES TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-Blake is disappointed, but feels Regina is so good, she’ll do well in spite of having Adam. Adam, meanwhile, finally gets the chance to rub a win in Blake’s face. Backstage, Regina embraces her family, while Carson suggests that perhaps Evander is a good-luck charm.
ZACH SEABAUGH is up next!
-Zach talks about singing country music since he was a little boy, thanks to his grandfather playing Johnny Cash for him as a kid. Zach is only 16, but before he passed away, Zach’s grandfather told him he’d be somebody. Unfortunately, he caught a lot of flack in his hometown for pursuing singing rather than football, but now all his friends support him just as much as his family does. He admits that he hasn’t sung in a crowd any larger than a few hundred people, but he wants to do this for his grandfather, saying he wears his dog tags because he wouldn’t even be here if not for him. I like Zach, but from what little we hear of his voice backstage, I worry about whether it’s big enough to get Blake’s attention. I have my fingers crossed for him.
-Zach sings “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. And, honestly, I’m not that impressed. He has a good voice, but I think he needs a little more seasoning before he could be a threat in this competition. For a while there, I thought he wasn’t going to turn a single chair, since none of the coaches were responding, but Blake, Pharrell and Adam hit their buttons in rapid succession, keeping Zach in the competition for at least another round.
ADAM, BLAKE, AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-The judges absolutely lose their minds when they learn he’s only 16-years-old, with Blake telling the audience they’re all sick. Gwen thought Zach’s voice was very unique, and says he’s ridiculously impressive for 16 (“You look like a man!” Okay, Miss Swan). Pharrell pitches for Zach to join his team, saying he’s never had a country artist before. Adam asks Zach if he’s Superman, not only in appearance, but in the depth and tone of his voice. He says he wants to help Zach win The Voice, and adds that he really doesn’t want Zach to get lost in the shuffle over on Team Blake. Blake, for his part, says Zach has a voice that “rattled the room.” Blake adds that he wants Zach to join him in the world of country music, whereas Adam tells Zach to simply pick the coach he feels is best for him.
ZACH SEABAUGH CHOOSES TEAM BLAKE SHELTON!
-And now John Williams’s Superman theme is playing! I love it! Adam, of course, is disappointed, but Blake is thrilled, saying Zach could be a real dark horse in this competition. Zach explains that he picked Blake because he grew up listening to him. Back in the studio, Blake picks on Adam for his Superman line, although Gwen backs him up.
EVAN MCKEEL is up next!
-Evan talks about how he’s been singing since he was a boy, performing with choirs and even doing his own gigs. He recalls his first gig at his local farmer’s market, which netted him $20 for 20 songs. His father notes the key advice he gave Evan: to treat music as a business, not as a hobby. And Evan notes how crucial this advice was to him, as his father recounts Evan going upstairs to talk on the phone and not coming down until he had three gigs booked. Evan currently sings in old folks’ homes, and watching their eyes light up seeing him play is just adorable. I hope he really brings it here, because this is one of the most instantly likable contestants so far this season.
-Evan sings “Typical,” and while it starts out as kind of a dry performance, it quickly picks up and gets far stronger as it goes on. By the end of it, it’s one of the more powerful vocals of the evening so far, even though I’m not sure what type of artists Evan plans on being, exactly. Still, I really like his voice, and the coaches do too, as all four of them turn around for him (Blake first, at about the halfway point, followed by Pharrell, Adam and Gwen).
EVAN EARNS A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Adam loved Evan’s voice, whereas Blake loved Evan’s stage presence. “It’d be a lot of fun to get the chance to work with you,” he tells Evan. Gwen says it was hard to figure out what genre Evan fits into, but she loves that variety about him. Pharrell asks what type of music he likes, and he says he loves Stevie Wonder, so Pharrell asks him to sing a verse and chorus of his favorite Stevie Wonder song. He sings “Overjoyed,” and HOT DAMN, THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT HE ACTUALLY DID! Man, that was so freaking good, and the coaches all give him a standing ovation, with Gwen even being reduced to tears. Evan is now more nervous than ever, saying how much he looks up to each of the coaches. But, after the break, he makes his choice…
EVAN MCKEEL CHOOSES TEAM PHARRELL WILLIAMS!
-Pharrell is hoping for another win, saying Evan has a lot of soul but with a raspy tone. Evan cheers like he just won the lottery. He feels Pharrell is the perfect match for him, as he’s just the type of producer he wants to work with on this show.
BRYAN BAUTISTA is up next!
-Bryan comes from a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother, so his household is every eclectic, as he puts it. Bryan got a job at the Barclays Center as an usher, which allowed him to see some amazing artists live. However, he’s always dreamed of headlining the Barclays Center himself. And he got the chance, sort of, when he was asked to perform the National Anthem at a sporting event. His performance went viral, and he made it into the Daily News and Good Morning America. But he wants a full career, to find himself back in that big arena atmosphere.
-Bryan sings “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, and yeah, he picked the wrong song. It sounds like he’s fighting like hell to hit the notes. His voice even breaks in some places. Overall, he hits far more notes than he misses, but it sounds like he’s straining for most of the performance. And that’s a shame, because I think Bryan has an amazing voice (hell, his National Anthem performance sounded amazing!), and I really do think it all just came down to song choice. None of the coaches turn, but I do hope he comes back next season.
-Adam says Bruno is a vocal maniac, and his range is crazy, which is why it’s so hard to do his songs. He encourages Bryan to come back though. Gwen feels Bryan is a very strong singer, but they each only get 12 spots. Pharrell praises Bryan and tells him to sing like it’s what he loves to do. He then shakes hands and embraces Bryan, telling him to definitely come back.
EMILY ANN ROBERTS is up next!
-Emily feels she can make a life out of music, with the help of the right coach. She states that music has lost its sense of meaning, and honestly, I’m not sure I get what she means by that. Finding meaning in music all depends on where you look for it. You probably won’t find it in Top 40 radio. Then again, Lady Gaga just released a song analyzing the epidemic of campus rape, so I’m not sure the argument holds water. Of course, this was taped long before Gaga’s song came out. But even then…Anyway, she’s only 16, so I can’t really hold it against her.
-Emily sings “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack, and Adam turns his chair with a shrug, as if to say, “Why the hell not?” Blake eventually turns his chair, prompting Adam to agonize about his poor luck. This is a solid vocal, and she’s basically the strongest female country singer this season so far. Wait, is she the only female country singer so far? Regardless, I really liked this performance, and I like Emily’s sweet, unassuming personality.
ADAM AND BLAKE TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Blake loves Emily, but Adam loves her as much, if not more, and makes a keen argument about how she has too much competition on Blake’s team, since he has too many country singers as it is. (It’s such a good point, that Emily’s family members backstage wonder if Adam might not be the better choice for her) Gwen asks Emily who here favorite artists are, and she says Patty Loveless and Ricky Scaggs. Blake then asks Emily to ask Adam if he even knows who did the song she just sang. Adam gets it right, and rubs it in Blake’s face. Adam then pleads with Emily to choose passion over the expected, and even says that if she picks him and he asks Blake for help, he’ll help. Blake thinks this is a terrible argument, because Adam would essentially be asking him to coach her for him.
ELLIE LAWRENCE is up next!
-ANOTHER country singer?! Damn, just rename the show Nashville Star and have it over with, already. Anyway, Ellie has blue hair, which makes her unique in her small town, and she’s unique within her own family, since she’s not necessarily the musician of her clan. Rather, her brother is the one who is the musician in the family, having played fiddle and country music for years. But Ellie wants to step out of his shadow and forge her own path, preferably with Gwen. We also get a cute bit about how she met and fell in love with her fiance. Such a lovely couple. Her fiance is a lucky man.
-Ellie sings “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” by Ella Eyre, and she’s barely six seconds into the song when Adam, Gwen and Pharrell all hit their buttons! And her audition only gets better from there. She just has a beautiful, mellifluous tone, and she’s got crazy control over her abilities. I also love Ellie’s personality and her style. She looks like a star.
ADAM, GWEN AND PHARRELL TURN THEIR CHAIRS!
-Adam points out how Ellie freaked out when she saw Gwen turn around, and Ellie absolutely geeks out, calling Gwen the Queen of Ska, and saying she revolutionized the industry for women. Blake to Gwen: “Just give her the t-shirt already.” Adam offers critique because he feels that’s all he can do right now, since she loves Gwen (although Ellie says she loves Adam too). He says she was straining at times, and that’s something they can work on together. Pharrell also loves Ellie’s voice and would like her on his team. But I think it’s obvious where she’s headed…
ELLIE LAWRENCE CHOOSES TEAM GWEN STEFANI!
-She’s so excited after hugging Gwen, and so anxious to see her family, she forgets her Team Gwen shirt, prompting Gwen to chase her down. Backstage, Ellie calls this the best moment of her life…well, next to getting engaged to her fiance.
-We then get a montage of new members for Team Gwen: Noah Jackson (“Elastic Heart”), Tim Atlas (“Give Me Love”) and Hannah Ashbrook (“Closer”), the latter of whom seems like a female Sawyer Fredericks. Why no full audition, NBC? Come on now! Anyway, Gwen is gathering a pretty strong team.
-As we head to break, we get a segment with Christina Grimmie, who is the new style insider for Kohl’s. Or…something. I’m just glad to have her back. I’ve loved Christina since she was doing duets with Sam Tsui on YouTube.
NATALIE YACOVAZZI is up next!
-Natalie talks about leaving her husband after he refused to support her singing career. Currently, she works as a credit card processor, and does gigs at night, which is kind of a struggle as a single mother. However, she is going to fight on to try and make it in the music industry. I so hope she’s good, because she has a lot of determination.
-Natalie sings “Oh Darling!” by The Beatles, and I like this. It’s not perfect, but it’s exactly the type of smokey, bluesy, big-voiced performance that normally gets the judges gears turning. However, none of them do turn, strangely enough. I don’t get it. This was a very solid audition. But I guess something was just missing from it.
-Blake felt she sang just a little sharp, and that she needed to show just a little more to earn a chair turn. The other coaches agree, although Adam encourages her to keep fighting, saying this is a career you need to work at. I hope she comes back, because she has a lot of talent to offer.
JAMES DUPRE closes the show!
-James got married to his high school sweetheart at 19, and he went on to become a paramedic, since he needed to do something other than music to support his four boys. However, he and his wife ended up divorcing after seven years, and he picked up music again, even earning a record deal after appearing on the Ellen Show (due to having been spotted through his YouTube covers). Now, he pursues music more actively, although this means he doesn’t get to see his boys as much as he’d like, considering he lives eleven hours away. But his boys and the rest of his family (as well as his girlfriend) fully support his career path.
-James sings “Let Her Cry” by Hootie and the Blowfish, and I think it’s a very strong vocal. He has a very subtle stage presence that’s kind of captivating. It’s just a normal guy singing extraordinarily, and I like that about him. Adam, Pharrell, and Gwen immediately turn their chairs, whereas Blake holds out a little while longer. But James’s cover eventually puts a ribbon on this strong performance.
JAMES DUPRE EARNS A FOUR-CHAIR TURN!
-Pharrell doesn’t know much about country, but he knows this country, and feels James has a lot of American appeal. He says he’s a multi-faceted artist, and notes he was the first person to declare, “That guy can SING.” Adam notes he would have said so too, if he wasn’t too busy pushing his button. Gwen says she might be just a girl, but she feels she has a lot to offer. Blake makes more or less the same argument. But Adam breaks in with a great speech about how none of these coaches got here by fitting into a box, and that there’s more to being extraordinary. He feels James can really make it the distance on his team. Adam also warns that Blake has a lot of country singers on his team, but he feels James is better than all of them. Blake admits he has a lot of country singers because he loves country music, and promises to make sure he ends up in good hands after this show is over. Adam cuts in and says it’s not just about beating Blake, he wants the experience of working with someone who’s not like him, since it’s a learning experience. This is tough. I’d say Adam.
JAMES DUPRE CHOOSES TEAM ADAM LEVINE!
-Adam falls over off his chair in excitement. He then runs up and hugs James as Blake agonizes over having finally lost a country singer to Adam. Naturally, Adam won’t let him live it down, and Blake bitterly jokes that he can’t wait to hear the Sublime song Adam is probably going to make James sing. I love this rivalry.
-Aaaand that’s a wrap for tonight’s show! What did you think of the season premiere? Did the coaches make the right choices? Did the contestants? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow night, thanks for hanging out and reading!