The Voice Recap: Blind Auditions Part 6

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The-Voice-Season-4

This is it, Voiceketeers — the blind auditions have ended and the teams have been finalized. Is Adam Levine’s formidable group still ahead of the pack, or did another coach swoop in at the last minute and overtake the Maroon 5 frontman? Below you will find reviews of last night’s performances along with my pre-Battle Round rankings (individual and team). So then…what are you waiting for? Time to take the plunge…

First up was — hey is that Idol Season 7 alum, Carly Smithson? Wait…it’s not? Well, hell, you sure could’ve fooled me! Jacqui Sandell, who’s a dead ringer for Idol 7’s unappreciated rocker, brought her A-game on stage with a very sleek yet sophisticated cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” There’s an ease to her tone that just makes you want to sink into its jacuzzi-like embrace, but I won’t lie — voices like hers typically get drowned out by a band on a huge stage. I sincerely pray Jacqui is able to expand her range and let her dreamy, earthy instrument shoot to the stars. Speaking of stars, she just might be one. Blake once again nabs another contestant I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of this season.

Performance Review: (***½)

Second to satiate the judge’s hunger for team members was country gal with pop inflections, Amber Carrington. I’m not sure what’s been going on with Adam lately, but he’s been a lot easier to please and therefore is selecting some less-than-stellar talent to finalize his team. Amber’s cover of Carrie Underwood’s forgettable “Good Girl” was elevator music to this competition. Hummable, sure…but someone that will boot you from your couch to purchase their album — or heck, even turn on the laptop and snag a single from iTunes? I don’t think so. Amber’s confidence on stage is her strongest asset, and she’ll need to maintain that showmanship during the Battle Rounds if she wants to survive. Even then I’m not sure her one-key, slightly nasally voice has the diversity to take the competition by storm. That being said, Amber didn’t hit any bum notes and I’m glad she juiced up the Underwood track by adding in some growly ad-libs. My issue isn’t so much last night’s audition; it’s what she has to offer in the future that concerns me.

Performance Review: (**½)

Third up was big-voiced Luke Edgemon, who sang a very different yet still emotionally satisfying rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Usually shaky voices give me serious pause, but for whatever reason Luke’s quivery tone had just the right amount of angst and desperation to sell this spectacular song. His high notes were glorious as well, and he’s also got this “diamond in the rough” quality that is super endearing. I think his nerves took this performance two steps back from what it truly could’ve been, but mark my words I believe Luke is going places in this competition with the helping hands of the She-Wolf a.k.a. Shakira. Luke is sincere, has a great style, and employs a tone that can master any genre it were to tackle. I believe the guy doesn’t know how good he is, and if his confidence was raised up a notch, my score would’ve been so much higher. That being said, Luke is a serious dark horse in the making and should not be underestimated.

Performance Review: (***)

Jessica Childress was the last to find a home on The Voice, but I think she found the right adoptive father in Usher. Singing Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” with genuine warmth and poppy delight, Childress proves that simplicity is the best key to unlocking America’s heart. Nothing about her delivery felt put-on, artificial or affected. Jessica Childress’ high-octave, pop-ready instrument will be able to handle almost any song that comes her way. She’s the classic “can-sing-the-phone-book” contestant, which probably means she’ll receive an early, unjust elimination. All she’s missing to be considered a frontrunner is a unique tone that would set her apart from the rest. Because she doesn’t have one, I can’t fully commit to effusive praise.

Performance Review: (***½)

I also forgot to review last night’s “montage” artists who reach received the usual one-second treatment. I was only impressed with one contestant…oddly enough the one individual who almost wasn’t picked: Jamila Thompson. Her soulful cover of Beyonce’s “Halo” effectively demonstrated the levels her voice can rise to. Let’s just say platformer extraordinaire Super Mario would be twirling his mustache in delight. As for the rest, Team Adam’s Amy Whitcomb ferociously covered Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” but delivered a quarter of the emotional impact. And finally, Team Blake’s Justin Rivers and Michelle Raitzin meant well but their undeveloped voices perhaps needed a year or two of intense training before returning to the big leagues.

Performance Reviews: Jamila (***, Team Usher), Amy (**½, Team Adam), Justin (**½, Team Blake), Michelle (**½, Team Blake)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2_mBE95Ac0

And now…the moment you’ve all been waiting for — OFFICIAL RANKINGS:

1st Place is Team Blake:

1. Savannah Berry (****)
2. Caroline Glaser (****)
3. Holly Tucker (****)
4. Christian Porter (***1/2)
5. Jacqui Sandell (***1/2)
6. Trevor Davis (***)
7. Grace Askew (***)
8. Danielle Bradbery (***)
9. The Morgan Twins (***)
10. Justin Rivers (**1/2)
11. Michelle Raitzin (**1/2)
12. The Swon Brothers (**1/2)

Average Performance Score: 3.21

2nd Place is Team Shakira:

1. Cathia (****)
2. Garrett Gardner (***1/2)
3. Monique Abaddie (***1/2)
4. Mary Miranda (***1/2)
5. Luke Edgemon (***)
6. Mark Andrews (***)
7. J’Sun (***)
8. Brandon Roush (***)
9. Tawnya Reynolds (***)
10. C. Perkins (***)
11. Shawna P (**1/2)
12. Kris Thomas (**1/2)

Average Performance Score: 3.13

3rd Place is Team Adam (shocker, but Adam got lazy towards the end):

1. Judith Hill (****)
2. Sarah Simmons (****)
3. Agina Alvarez (***1/2)
4. Patrick Dodd (***1/2)
5. Karina Iglesias (***1/2)
6. Sasha Allen (***)
7. Midas Whale (***)
8. Warren Stone (***)
9. Amy Whitcomb (**1/2)
10. Amber Carrington (**1/2)
11. Duncan Kamakana (**1/2)
12. Michael Austin (**)

Average Performance Score: 3.08

4th Place is Team Usher:

1. Taylor Beckham (***1/2)
2. Jessica Childress (***1/2)
3. Josiah Hawley (***1/2)
4. Michelle Chamuel (***)
5. Jamila Thompson (***)
6. Jess Kellnor (***)
7. Chelsea M (***)
8. Ryan Innes (***)
9. Jeff Lewis (***)
10. Orlando Dixon (***)
11. Audrey Karrasch (**1/2)
12. VEDO (**1/2)

Average Performance Score: 3.04

That’s it for my recap and this season’s blind auditions! Surprised to see the seemingly-invincible Team Adam fall to third place? Does Usher have any shot at winning this year? And which contestant do you think will take it all — obviously someone from Team Blake, correct? Sound off in the comments below and be on the lookout for next week’s recap of Battle Rounds Part 1.