There comes a point in every The Voice cycle when the process feels a little repetitive and draining. Usually, this will occur when a segment of the competition is going to end and the next phase is about to start, so there is the hope of change on the horizon. The transition happens between the Battles and Knockouts, or right before the finale. It rarely comes way before that, but this season, it has arrived on the third night of the Blind Auditions.
It’s not that this slate of auditions is bad; there’s just not anything truly remarkable. The coaches’ chemistry is clicking as good as ever, in some case even better, but the talent doesn’t support it. After a strong first two episodes, The Voice has slowed down considerably and there are only a couple standouts. At least the Blind Auditions of season 10 are very nearly about to come to an end and the Battles will hopefully be better.
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Hannah Huston (“Unaware”)
Hannah is a 24-year-old pre-school teacher and she’s exactly as you’d imagine her being from that description of her age and occupation. Hannah is bubbly, excitable and nearly ends her auditions with getting no chairs to turn around for her. (This last bit obviously has no bearing on her personality; it’s just a good transition.) Pharrell, Xtina and Blake all turn at the very last second and then pretend that they are Hannah’s biggest fans. While Blake seems the most sincere in his appreciation and adoration, she doesn’t choose him. Hannah, instead, goes with Pharrell.
Result: Hannah chooses Team Pharrell
Brian Nhira (“Happy”)
If you’re underwhelmed by Hannah’s shaping of young minds being “just a teacher,” meet Brian. Brian has assisted with his family’s missionary missions in Africa for years and has sung for the young kids there. This charity work led Brian on the path to becoming an independent artist within and outside the church. Brian takes a big risk in his audition by singing Pharrell’s “Happy,” but it pays off as Pharrell is one of the two coaches that turns around for him. Blake is the other one. Blake fights hard, but it is a losing battle. Things are finally finished off when Pharrell asks Brian to sing “Jesus Loves Me,” which is arguably way better than his original audition.
Result: Brian chooses Team Pharrell
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Aijia (“Say Something”)
The Voice has had contestants on before that have brushed with fame and celebrities. Usually, they are pretty tenuous connections, the deepest ones being that they were once a background singer or opening act for another more famous artist. Aijia is the closest relation to a celebrity ever on The Voice. She is married to pop singer and Dancing with the Stars alum Andy Grammer. While Andy thinks his wife is an amazing singer, the coaches don’t agree and pass on her. The coaches are right, but it doesn’t help that Aijia has an absolutely horrible song choice.
Result: No chairs turn
Brittany Kennell (“Strong Enough”)
Brittany is a young country singer who has recently moved to Nashville. She says Shania Twain was her first concert and her inspiration to get into music. I’m thinking Shania is more than just her musical inspiration because Brittany looks strikingly similar to the famous country star. I’m just saying she might want to check her birth certificate for her real mom. When Brittany opens her mouth to sing, she is another double because she sounds vaguely similar to Gwen Stefani. If you think this is the perfect Blake artist, you’d be right. Pharrell also pushes his button, but he’s fighting as much of an uphill battle as Blake was with Brian Nhira.
Result: Brittany picks Team Blake
Natalie Yacovazzi (“Mr. Know It All”)
Natalie was first on The Voice in season 9 and didn’t get any chairs to turn around.This time around, Adam presses his button almost immediately for her. Once Adam turns around, he goes completely stone-faced, almost angry-looking. This expression turns all the other coaches off. Adam explains that this was his strategy to make sure that no one else turned their button, which sounds like a lot of hooey, but whatever. It did technically work because Adam is the only one to press his button for Natalie. This is outrageous no matter what Adam was planning, though, because Natalie is one of the best singers of the night. Granted, that bar isn’t particularly high.
Result: Natalie goes to Team Adam
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Malik Heard (“Chains”)
The highlight here is not Malik’s audition. He’s good but, like most things on night three of the Blind Auditions, pretty forgettable. The real entertainment is the intense pitching session between Xtina and Pharrell for Malik. They go back and forth with one another in a really amusing fashion. Pharrell says he produced both Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears when they were Malik’s age. Xtina counters that she grew up with them on The Mickey Mouse Club. You get the picture. Maybe I drank something wrong or I’m just trying to find anything truly positive about this episode, but this might be the first time I’ve actively enjoyed Xtina. She’s genuinely funny and not just pretending to be enjoying herself. This really shouldn’t sway Malik’s decision, but maybe it does because that is who he picks.
Result: Malik chooses Team Xtina
Peyton Parker (“Dreams”)
Peyton is a young country singer, but special mention must be made to her parents who are literal saints. They moved their family to Nashville to pursue Peyton’s singer career after her cheerleading career ended in a tragic injury. It’s actually quite impressive that this backstory doesn’t make me completely and immediately hate Peyton. Peyton’s parents’ sacrifice is somewhat rewarded by the fact that she gets three chairs to turn around. She nearly gets all four because Adam nearly presses his button as well. Pharrell and Xtina try very hard to get Peyton on their team, especially Xtina. Unbelievably, Xtina is really endearing again and I might just have to end up calling her Christina if she keeps this up. Peyton doesn’t share the same opinion and goes with the obvious and boring country artist choice.
Result: Peyton chooses Team Blake
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Kristen Marie (“Mad World”)
Kristen is a college singer with a pre-Law minor, which is such a cliche that it actually hurts me. Thankfully, Kristen’s voice is neither a cliche nor painful. She has a nice jazzy quality, even if she is bit stagy and theatrical. She gets Blake and Xtina to turn. Everyone pretends like Blake has a chance because Kristen and Blake are both from Oklahoma, but it’s nonsense. Kristen really does belong on Xtina’s team and that’s who she picks.
Result: Kristen chooses Team Xtina
Nate Butler (“The Walk”)
Nate is a young singer who has an impressive range, but that’s about it. He gets three coaches to turn around (Adam, Blake and Pharrell). They fight hard but, really, they are just fighting to pick up an artist they are going to dump in the Battle Rounds. Sorry, but it’s true. Adam is that lucky or unlucky coach.
Result: Nate chooses Team Adam
Ryan Quinn (“Can’t Find My Home”)
The first four-chair audition of the night is also the last. It’s also the second actually memorable audition. So at least The Voice is ending on a high note and I mean that literally. Ryan has a high-pitched range that makes Adam (and, frankly, the rest of the coaches) jealous. Ryan feels like Nate Butler’s ultimate and more entertaining form. All the coaches fight hard as per usual, but it is Adam who squeaks out the win. The attractive male singers with the high feminine voice have to stick together.
Result: Ryan chooses Team Adam
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)