The Voice Episode 2.04: ‘The Blind Auditions, Part 4’ Recap

Posted on February 21, 2012


The Voice Titles

Summary: The fourth night of the Blind Auditions has the feel of crunch time for the judges/coaches to fill their teams.

** Note: Review contains spoilers if you have not seen the episode.**

KSiteTVThe penultimate edition of the Blind Auditions of The Voice rolls into town and you get the feeling that the show is pushing hard now to get all 48 spots filled and move into the team rounds. The standout aspect of this is Carson Daly’s cheerleading of the contestants when he is backstage with their families and friends. There were times tonight when it felt like host Carson was going to physically harm – punch, tear down, punt – the flat panel display in response to judges/coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera being much more hesitant to hit their buttons and turn their chairs around for the contestants.

That aspect of more discernment on the judges’ parts led to a skosh less combating for singers in tonight’s auditions, though they managed to still squeeze in some of the ugly sniping that has left a rather unpleasant taste to otherwise grand affairs so far. Each judge, though, is coming close to filling the 12 slots of their respective teams and while the majority of singers featured during the episode ended up with a team, you could feel each reining themselves in with who they were pursuing.

Some might say these was bit too much reining in…

Ducky, The Black Keys’ “Tighten Up”
Carson declares that this is the one that America’s going to be asking “WTF” over and I can partially agree with him. Ducky gave a nice rendition of the song and I think there were nice tones and style to his voice. However, I have to kind of side with the judges on this one, even if they end up kicking themselves over not turning around. His voice and performance, while good, weren’t particularly unique enough to garner one of the coveted spots. It’s a tough situation because it would’ve been nice to hear him on another tune or two to see what he could’ve brought to the competition.
Chosen: No one

Jonathas, Usher’s “U Got It Bad”
The vocal dead-ringer for Usher not only brought consistency and groove to his performance but his fun little dance moves worked the crowd up. It was quite funny to see the judges looking between each other wondering if the performance was real or not. As Cee Lo said, he thought it was a joke. Jonathas proved it wasn’t, but it will be interesting to see what he brings to other artists’ songs and styles. The idea is to find an artist not a parrot.
Chosen: Team Christina

Monique Benabou, Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All”
Here’s a song that perfectly fit the voice and performance of the young cutie. She launched into the song with the confidence of a seasoned vocalist but maintained it with the vigor of youth. That energy – and certainly that winning smile – make for a big presence in a room and one to watch for throughout the competition. The way she was able to push herself to the back of the room made it a bit disconcerting that no one was turning for her but she finally hooked Christina and it might just be the best match for her style.
Chosen: Team Christina

Naia Kete, Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song”
For the dreadlocked street performer with a lovely, cherubic face, it comes down to a perfect song choice as well. Adding a tinge of reggae to the Mars hit gave it a tad of a lullaby feel during the first part of the song that was pleasant and different.It was hard not to enjoy but the step up to a higher register during the second part of the song absolutely launched it. Blake mentioned that she looked like she might have her own ideas on how to approach everything and I’d have to agree. That makes for an exciting wildcard.
Chosen: Team Blake

Erick Macek, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'”
This is a bit of an odd one because Macek’s interpretation of the song was both familiar and yet sounded nothing like Petty. It was a superb choice and coupled with the terrific guitar picking to open it should’ve secured at least one judge turning around. Erick falls victim to the judges being ultra-picky for the remaining spots on their teams. Christina mentioned that she felt the song “didn’t go anywhere” and there wasn’t much variation throughout. Still, this seemed like a missed opportunity.
Chosen: No one

Charlotte Sometimes, OneRepublic’s “Apologize”
Though certainly of a compelling backstory of triumph over physical adversity, the fact that all four judges turned around for Sometimes is a headscratcher. Not only was the song an odd choice for her voice but her phrasing was unique in what felt like a detrimental way. There is an interesting tone in her voice but I couldn’t shake the feeling that she was off throughout the entire song. Adam referred to a “simple” quality in her voice but it seemed more like her range might be limited. Of course, she had a minor hit a few years back with a song called “How I could Just Kill a Man”, so she must have something.
Chosen: Team Blake

Tony Vincent, Queen’s “We are the Champions”
So, it’s a bit of a cheat using a song you’d come to know so well by helping shape a musical with the very band that recorded the song. That said, if you have it in your pocket might as well use it. It’s easy to see how accomplished and comfortable Vincent is on stage and he’s got a fantastic rock vocal. There’s a bit of a stagey quality to his voice, though, and it seemed that the majority of the judges picked up on that and didn’t turn their chairs as a result. He’s a passionate singer and plenty can be worked at with that.
Chosen: Team Cee Lo

Anthony Evans, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”
This is a big song for anyone to take on and certainly seemed at points that it was too big for Evans. There were moments where he was getting swallowed up in it but he managed to stay above water through most of it. There is a nice tone to his voice but the quality was a tad all over the place. Christina referred to his voice as “delicate” in regard to his ever-present vibrato. That tremble proved distracting and worked to diminish the overall strength of his performance.
Chosen: Team Christina

Jamie Lono, Johnny Cash’s “Folsom County Blues”
There is a deceptive quality to Johnny Cash. He doesn’t have a particularly dynamic voice but his songs are so infused with personality and drama that you can’t help but be swept up by every word the man offers. This makes him another artist that it’s very tricky to take on. Lono does it with aplomb, infusing the song with a soulful gruffness that comes from his gut. Given that half of one of his lungs was removed as a small child makes it a bit surprising just how big and full his voice is, belting out across the room with assuredness. It was also a smart choice to go with the acoustic guitar and bare stage. Most importantly, he was at home on the stage, treating the opportunity just like one of the nights he gets to play at the Potbelly he works at back home.
Chosen: Team Adam

Dylan Chambers, Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie”
Another audition where I’m not sure the song was the best choice for the voice. Although his voice sounded a bit older than his years while singing, he appeared to be having trouble hitting the higher notes. While is falsetto was alright, it still needs to be developed. The judges were all in agreement that it was just too early for Chambers and that given a few more years and experience he might well fit this kind of competition down the road.
Chosen: No one

Nathan Anderson, Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis”
Luna Seales, Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window”
Adam Lasher, Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me”

Running over time again, the show condenses a few performances into a montage. The theme of this one is a bit on the negative side, piggybacking on Chambers not being selected by showing three other performers for whom the judges did not turn around. Anderson and Seales both appeared to be victims of the more selective judges, but Lasher’s version of one of the much derided Canadian band’s signature tunes was mercifully given brief time on screen.

Justin Hopkins, David Gray’s “Babylon”
The former guitarist and backup singer in the houseband for the original talk show concept of Daly’s late night series Last Call with Carson Daly has strong energy but it appeared that his pitch problems would cost him an opportunity. Cee Lo saw raw talent and felt that he could bring some polish to the rocker’s style. While the others might have given him a shot – as Cee Lo called them out on – there wasn’t anything that decidedly stood out to relinquish any of their coveted team memberships.
Chosen: Team Cee Lo

Nicolle Galyon, Kenny Chesney’s “You Save Me”
Right off the bat, having the piano onstage with her sets Galyon apart. That doesn’t even touch on the fact that she’s singing Country, and while Country has seen its share of piano, she’s right that it’s rarely prominently on display. For someone who picked up singing in public relatively rather late, she gave a pretty solid performance throughout the song. There were a few cracks and her voice got wobbly at points but that seemed to be more out of nerves than a reflection on her talent. She has a slight twang that could make for good crossover appeal.
Chosen: Team Adam

Ashley de la Rosa, VV Brown’s “Shark in the Water” Xtina
Jordan Rager, The Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried” Blake
Karla Davis, The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” Adam
AlyX, Pink’s “Just Like a Pill”

The evening’s second montage was more positive, featuring four singers who made it onto the judges’/coaches’ teams. With such short snippits of their performances, it’s hard to get a feel for what each offers. (Yes, you can go to NBC or iTunes and hear full performances from all of the singers featured during the episode, but this focus is squarely on what is shown onscreen.)
Chosen: Ashley, Team Christina; Jordan, Team Blake; Karla, Team Adam; AlyX, Team Blake

Eric Tipton, Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams”
Once again underlining in bold the mission of the series to focus purely on vocal ability, Tipton mentioned how he’s run into walls in pursuing a singing career because of his appearance. The 6-foot, 300-pound soul singer from Texas has a beautiful richness to his voice and certainly has great ability. None of the four judges turned around and it’s not altogether surprising. There were points where you could tell they were looking for him to hit some high notes that never came. As a result, there was not enough variation in his rendition of the song and that couldn’t help them to see past the original.
Chosen: No one

Mathai, Adele’s “Rumor Has It”
The night closes once more on a strong performance, one the guys couldn’t help but trip themselves over. What worked most in Mathai’s favor was the fact her voice was very different from Adele’s, which helped to immediate stand her version of the song apart. The playfulness of her voice included this weird slur that actually seemed to recall her Indian heritage. Above and beyond that, her confidence and ownership of the stage made her a shoo-in.
Chosen: Team Adam

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