The Voice season 20 Blind Auditions begin with returning coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend. Nick Jonas rejoins the panel after a season off. Carson Daly returns as host. 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.
It’s the TEN YEAR anniversary of The Voice. How time flies.
Kenzie Wheeler – Don’t Close Your Eyes by Keith Whitley – 22 – Dover FL – He has a dang mullet. Right off the bat, he’s hard to take seriously YET. The parents want Blake to turn, but they really all they want IS A TURN. Kenzie got serious about music in 10th grade. And in the meantime, he’s opened for some big acts. Uh oh Kelly uses her block button. John turns second. Nick turns. And then Blake OOOOPS BLOCKED. He’s got that nice country tone with a twang and a nasally sound. Blake, who once sported a hideous mullet, calls Kenzie’s a “killer mullett.” Everybody loves that Blake is blocked. Nick is back with his little book of notes. He’s got receipts. All hell is breaking loose between Kelly and Nick! John had a country singer on his team last season, and he had no idea what to do with her. Kelly is probably the best pick here. She won with a country 1 chair turn (Jake Hoot, season 17). Blake, mad that Kelly blocked him is TEAM NICK. – 4 chair turn, Kelly blocks Blake, Kenzie picks Kelly
Dana Monique – Freeway of Love by Aretha Franklin – 41 – Houston TX – This performance is old fashioned, but Nick hits his button right away. John is next. She’s got a growly, expressive voice. I just don’t like this song choice. She was a headliner on the Holland America cruises. I’m not surprised. Cruise ship singer would have been one of my guesses. Dana had hard times. After she got divorced, she and her two kids lost their home and were sleeping in the car. At that point, she had to abandon music. Her kids are adults now, they wish her good luck remotely. Nick calls her “exceptional.” John calls her “powerful and energetic.” Kelly explains that she loses a lot to John, that’s why she didn’t turn. John accuses Blake of using reverse psychology on Dana, before launching into a Chaka Khan ditty to sway her. All Nick has–he hit his button first. Blake says she’ll make the Today show tomorrow if she chooses the unexpected. And UNBELIEVABLY Dana chooses Nick. Welp HELLO HODA. Nick and John turn. Dana picks Nick Nick gifts his team members with their very own Nick’s Notes.
Cam Anthony – Lay Me Down by Sam Smith – 19 – Philadelphia PA – He grew up in North Philly, amid a lot of violence. He was always protecting himself in school, rather than learning. Church served as an escape. He started putting up videos on Youtube as a kid, and eventually became a viral star. He appeared on Ellen. President Obama invited him to sing at the Easter Egg Roll. He’s hoping that John turns. He has a beautiful falsetto. Very nice. He’s got a bit of a rasp and a quavering vibrato. OH NICK BLOCKED JOHN OOPS. Blake turns too. John compliments Cam’s runs. He has a plan to steal him. Blake promises NOT to turn for anybody else who is in his lane. To be honest, Nick’s pitch is pretty lame. He acts like a cheap clairvoyant. “I sense you have a close knit family….ah!” Also, Nick calls Blake “stale.” Ohhhh. CLIFFHANGER. And Cam picks BLAKE! That “open lane” promise was tempting. Plus, Nick’s pitch was not good. Blake’s gift to team members…is a Jonah Hill bobble head. Ok then – Nick blocks John, Blake turns, Cam picks Blake
Christine Cain – Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles – 27 – Pasadena CA – Christine hopes that Nick turns for her, because she believes he can take her out of her comfort zone. She has wanted to be an artist for as long as she can remember. She loved dancing. Unfortunately, kids bullied her for her weight. The Voice is her 4th performance ever. I like her song pick. She’s putting a soul twist on a pop song, which is cool. She’s obviously nervous, though. She needs more confidence and a little more oomph. Plus, there is some pitchy stuff. John turns first, followed by Kelly. John was captivated by her vocal tone and energy. Kelly loved her “whole vibe.” – Kelly and John Turn, Christine picks John After wanting Nick, I’m surprised Christine didn’t choose Kelly. So John’s team gift is a little song that he makes up on the spot.
Madison Curbelo – Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin – 18 – Westfield MA – Madison has struggled with a stutter. Because singing emanates from a different part of the brain, it gives stutterers relief. Madison is no exception. However, she seems to have the issue under control at this point. Yikes. She puts on a little Jamaican patois as she sings this corny song from the 80s. Nope. She has a nice tone, but this song choice should sink her. And it does. The judges agree that she needs more experience. – No Turns
Pete Mroz – Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith – 45 – Nashville TN – He’s a sales rep for men’s golf apparel. He drives around to golf courses and pro shops, and sometimes he performs for his customers. At 19 he pursued country music. He was in a group called the Young Riders. But now, he’s a family man, although, he does gig here and there. I like his voice a lot! He seems like a classic rock guy, though. He should try some contemporary stuff. But to be honest, he’s probably past his sell by date at this point. John and Blake turn. John compliments his energy. Oh. Blake knows him. OH THEY WERE IN THAT GROUP TOGETHER AND HE DIDN’T RECOGNIZE HIM SAD. Blake says, “I haven’t seen this guy in 25 years.!” Blake stole his bass player. Whoops. The coaches think Pete should retaliate for bass theft and pick John. John and Blake turn. Pete picks his old buddy Blake.
Devan Blake Jones – Hard Place by H.E.R. – 35 – Denver CO – Devan competed on American Idol season 11 and 12, but never got past Hollywood/Las Vegas rounds. He’s hoping that Nick turns. He works as a client manager for a tech firm. He collects plants. And names them. Ten years ago, he joined an Afro Beat band. He began singing in different languages. His dad worked in housekeeping. Both his parents worked very hard. Devan tears up thinking about it. He accompanies himself on guitar. There are pitch problems that might be nerves. But he has a sweet tenor and good phrasing. He improves on the chorus. Nick is the only turn. So that worked out. Kelly was waiting for another level. Yeah, he was holding back. Nick loves his upper register. – Only Nick turns
Raine Stern – Electric Feel by MGMT – 22 – Madison WI – Next, it’s one of those Blind Auditions that doesn’t reveal the singer immediately. She’s playing an electric guitar, and has an interesting voice. But nobody turns, until John, Blake and Nick finally hit their buttons. She’s a real good guitar player! And she rocks out without sounding old fashioned. She performs with a 9 piece band. She writes and arranges all the music! She’s a black sheep in small town. At a young age, she knew she was a “queer kid.” She learned music at the feet of more experienced blues players. She plays a bunch of instruments! Blake calls her a “rare find.” Nick will fight for her! Nick loves being creative. John loves her creative energy. Blake, Nick and John turn, Raine picks Nick. Actually, I think that’s a good choice.
Madison Marigold – If The World Was Ending by Julia Michaels – 21 – Santa Clarita CA – Her mom is a clothes importer. Madison learned Chinese, to help out her mom I guess? She posted a cover of a Chinese hit. She ended up opening for Demi Lovato in China. This is a nice performance, but no button hits so far. But unfortunately, it’s an emotional song, and she just didn’t connect. Blake thought she bit off too much for a blind audition. Nick noted her good technique, but he felt it never took off. Kelly kept waiting for her to “go up.” – No Turns
Corey Ward – Dancing on My Own by Robyn – 34 – Hartsville SC – Corey was a season 19 no chair turn. Now he’s back! He admits that he was very nervous last time. He’s been practicing every day! He purposely picked a “heartstrings” song. His mom was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. He’s crying. Dang, that’s rough. John and Kelly turn immediately. This time, Corey is very grounded in his performance. Emotional and his tone is so raspy and compelling. I’m surprised more didn’t turn, to be honest. He shares that he loves Damien Rice and James Arthur. John felt Corey gave the song a whole new meaning. But Corey picks Kelly. John and Kelly turn, Corey picks Kelly I don’t think either coach remembered Corey from last time.
Victor Solomon – Glory by John Legend and Common – 22 – Peoria IL – We previewed this Blind Audition HERE. A college student at an HBCU in North Carolina, Victor performs in a Step group. His mom worked very hard to provide for them. His mom pushed him to sing in church. Well, John usually HATES when contestants cover his songs. Blake hits his button first. Actually, Victor sounds A LOT like John. John turns next, Nick follows. Blake thinks Victor has an “old man voice.” The pitch starts off shaky, and then goes off the rails. BLAKE HAS NO IDEA “GLORY” is JOHN’S SONG. Welp. Stick a fork in that. Nick notes that he sang in his father’s church every Sunday. John describes the meaning of the song. Victor gets it. Nobody else does. John rarely turns for singers who cover his songs. But John thinks that Victor is “better than me.” The two sing “Ordinary People” together for a bit. Victor pretends like he’s going to shake things up a little. PSYCH. He picks John, of course. Nick, Blake and John turn. Victor picks John.