The Voice season 19 Blind Auditions begin with returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. Gwen Stefani rejoins the panel after a season off. Carson Daly returns as host. The season premieres tonight (Oct 19). We’ll be live blogging all the Blind Audition performances right here.
REMINDER: NO SPOILERS IN COMMENTS. Keep spoiler talk under spoiler posts above, thank you.
The show begins with a clip in which the coaches discuss the challenges of Covid. Here are the coaches, getting ready to leave their houses. Everybody is back in the studio, except for the live audiences. Instead, a virtual audience watches from a wall behind the big red chairs. Artist families are watching from home as well.
Tamara Jade – Cuz – 30 – I Love You by Lizzo – She had a colorful childhood. Her mom, a musician, is from the Caribbean. In 2016, she moved to New York City. She was performing everywhere, even the VMAs with Lizzo. However the pandemic has put a halt on her career for now. NBC posted a preview clip of this audition last week. Check it out. Kelly and John turn right away. Both are on their feet going crazy. Gwen turns next and finally Blake. It’s a four chair turn. Kelly reminds her that she did a vocal competition too. Blake said he was last because the others turned. But, Blake thinks she can “win this thing.” John is impressed with her versatile phrasing. Gwen mentions that she can help Tamara with her rap singing. She does need some work with that! But Tamara has a great personality, which should help her go far. That, in addition to her glorious, growly range and self-confidence. 4 Chair turn. Tamara chooses Team John Legend. Kelly regrets not blocking John.
There are no backstage or congratulatory hugs. John looks embarrassed as he picks up a broom handle with a rubber glove to shake Tamara’s hand. If everybody on set is tested for Covid, wouldn’t contact be OK?
Lauren Frihauf – Come to My Window by Melissa Etheridge – 16 – Lauren lives on a farm in Byers, Colorado and studied rock music at the School of Rock. Living rural has given her time to concentrate on her music. Her mom started the School of Rock in Colorado. She’s been watching The Voice since she “was little.” Lauren has an interesting tone, but it’s tentative. This song in particular requires passion and a big voice. With some coaching, she might do some interesting things, however. Gwen and Kelly are suprised by her look, which is very innocent, like a church singer. Gwen notes her vocal style and personality. Kelly is advocating for Gwen! Of course, so does Blake. John is hurt. He thinks Lauren has a ton of potential, saying her vocal has “a point of view.” In the end, Lauren goes with Gwen. She can’t believe she beat John Legend. Gwen launches a team t-shirt at her with a t-shirt gun. – Gwen and John turn. Lauren picks Team Gwen
Joseph Soul – Is This Love by Bob Marley – 34 – Joseph is of Polynesian heritage and hails from Maui, Hawaii. He grew up without electricity. He started DJing at 12 years old and had a Vegas residency. He as a very smooth soulful voice. Considering his Hawaiian roots, I was expecting straight up Reggae, but he sings the classic in a retro soul style. And it’s pretty easy on the ears. Kelly and Blake hit their buttons, and can’t believe he wasn’t a 4 chair turn. Kelly raves over his raspy falsetto, and sweet tone. Joseph says Hawaii is the southernmost US state. I had no idea. Blake pulls out a big chart on the stage with all his wins on it to brag. Oh. Commercial break! Now we’re back. He picks Kelly because of her experience in “multiple genres.” Blake and Kelly turn. Joseph picks Team Kelly
Ian Flanigan – Colder Weather by The Zac Brown Band – 30 – Originally from New York, Ian lives in a motorhome with his family. They homeschool their daughter. They travelled across the country playing gigs until the pandemic hit. He accompanies himself on guitar. His tone is a stand out. He has an appealing and authentic Americana vibe going. His raspy voice seems to belong to an older singer. His sound reminds me a little of the late John Prine. Blake hits his button. He’s the only one, but it’s probably just as well. John is looking for a hat, beard and giant gut. Ha. It’s true. “It sounds like it lived a thousand lives,” says John of Ian’s voice. Kelly compares his voice to a passport that’s travelled around the world. Blake compares him to Joe Cocker. Only Blake turns.
Hailey Green – Soulshine by Allman Brothers – 14 – From Mississippi, she has played football since age 5. She also sings the National Anthem at games. Personality wise, she seems very mature for a 14 year old. And as it turns out, vocally too. Hm. Nobody hits their button, and it’s a little surprising. She’s got a strong voice. Oh well, she’s only 14 and could come back. Kelly can’t believe she’s so young. Gwen loves her hair buns. Kelly thinks she should definitely come back. Blake thinks she’s about a year away from being ready. Gwen suggests that she write some songs about how she feels. Aw. She’s in tears. But she could totally come back and get a turn. – No turns.
Jim Ranger – Blue Ain’t Your Color by Keith Urban – 38 – Jim lives in Bakersfield, California, is a 3rd generation of preachers, and works on a campus with his wife. He becomes very emotional talking about her. They’ve been married a long time. He puts a unique spin on the Keith Urban hit. His growly voice lends the song urgency and passion. He does not hold back. John is the first to turn, Gwen and Blake follow. Gwen mentions that she’s on the country charts, with Blake (that’s not the plus Gwen thinks it is…). In order to woo Jim and add some comic relief, John introduces a fun clip that mocks political attack ads. According to John, Blake is a liar. Therefore, Jim should not choose him. This sounds familiar. Ha. TWO commercial breaks air during Jim’s Blind. I think that’s a first. As a result, the audition feels like it goes on forever. In the end, Jim unsurprisingly, picks Blake. After, they sing a tune together about Bakersfield. – John, Gwen and Blake turn. Jim picks Team Blake.
UPDATE: Jim auditioned for American Idol season 9 making it as far as the Hollywood Round. Check out his audition in front of Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson and guest host Avril Lavigne (Avril said no). After ten years, Jim has improved markedly as a vocalist.
Eli Zamora – Ya Lo Se Que Te Tu Vas by Juan Gabriel – 25 – Eli is from El Paso, Texas but raised in Mexico. Currently, he’s a gondoliere in Las Vegas. After being present for an armed robbery in a store, his father moved the family to the US. His style is dramatic and romantic. Kelly is swooning, it’s no surprise that she hits her button. Also, she has said in the past that she’d love to win with a Spanish speaking singer. His style is very old fashioned, which is probably why the others didn’t turn. Kelly becomes VERY excited after learning he’s from Texas. He mentions auditioning a bunch of times. I wonder if he auditioned or even competed on La Voz. Only Kelly turns.
UPDATE: YEP Eli competed on La Voz in 2019. Check out his audition.
Payge Turner – Call out my Name by The Weeknd – 27 – The producers are hiding this one. No intro at first, just the coaches chairs. Blake and Gwen turn, followed by the video package. Eventually we learn that Payge is from Trinidad, Tobago and moved to Kansas with her father. Moving to the states was a real culture shock. An alt-rock singer, she eventually landed in Seattle to further her musical career. Her vocal is a real standout. She has a deep rich tone, lovely phrasing and a dramatic delivery. She deserved more chairs! The couple battle it out for Payge. Apparently, Gwen’s parents considered the name Paige. Blake calls her a “real performer.” In the end, Payge picks Team Gwen. Blake and Gwen turn. Payge picks Team Gwen.
Corey Ward – Way Down We Go by Kaleo – 33 – From South Carolina, Corey was young when his parents divorced. He has been playing music for 20 years. A tragic thing–his mother has small cell cancer that’s now in her brain. He points out that small cell isn’t curable. His performance is edited down, which indicates he won’t get a turn. He’s a decent singer. Too bad he didn’t get a spot on the show. It would have been a nice thing for his family. He looks so defeated at the end. Sad. Gwen was waiting for some range. Kelly wanted him to open up more. John thought he had control issues – No turns.
Marisa Corvo – Perfect by Pink – 33 – Marisa is from Staten Island, New York and comes from a big Italian American family. She moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University. It was a culture shock. As a young woman, she struggled with being a lesbian. Her parents didn’t accept it. They sent her to religious conversion therapy. Finally, her mother’s Italian parents stepped in. OMG Grandma said, “Every family has one!” and sensible grandpap: “She was born that way.” Marisa’s parents eventually came to embrace who she is. She’s got a great voice, but it lacks grit? I’m not sure about this song choice for her. It takes a minute, but she gets 3 turns. “You have range for days,” says Kelly, who thinks she could make the finale. Gwen and Marisa bond over being Italian. Blake pitches her with weird tomato analogies. Hm. She picks Kelly, and it sounds like Marisa got the coach she wanted in the first place. – Blake, Gwen and Kelly turn. Marisa picks Team Kelly.
John Holiday – Misty by Johnny Mathis – 35 – The performance begins with the cameras focused on the chairs. And for good reason. The singer is male, but sounds like a female jazz singer. John turns immediately. Kelly and Gwen turn. But John blocks Kelly. It’s tonight’s one and only block. Surprised it took so long. John has the lower, male sounding vocal register going too. He could probably do one of those hokey girl/boy self duet acts like on AGT. The video package eventually runs and viewers learn that John is gay, from Rosenberg, Texas and is a professional opera singer. Ruth Bader Ginsburg attended a few of his opera perfoamnces. She’s his “Shero.” Obviously taped before she died. He has performed all over the world and plays piano. Kids always teased him for his high voice, but his grandmother accepted him 100%. He wants to inspire little boys who might be like him. Blake tries to psych John into picking Gwen. John picks Team Legend.