Tuesday was night 2 of The Voice Season 22 premiere week (Read our Recap). The episode was country heavy, and Blake Shelton finally started landing some singers. A few of them were true contenders, and one he earned with the help of his wife, Gwen Stefani by blocking the coach that the singer probably would have chosen.
That singer was Kevin Hawkins. Kevin is like this year’s Holly Forbes in the sense that we’ve seen him singing on NBC a lot in pre-season promos that featuring a short clip of his audition. He also performed an iconic song–“Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. It’s similar to how Holly sang Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”
Kevin started with a lot of power, showing that he wanted the chairs to turn, and quickly. Gwen came ready, as she was the first to hit her button, blocking John Legend. He hit the notes at the beginning with a crystal-clear tone, displaying vocal gymnastics. John turned on the heels of Kevin hitting a beautiful note on the line “Lovely as she,” the section of the song previewed in the promos.
Camila Cabello soon followed suit. Blake didn’t turn until Kevin went up-tempo, which I didn’t love. The song no longer needed all the runs and power notes. In the future, Kevin could be more tasteful with some of his run choices. However, Kevin from a vocal standpoint is on the same level as Morgan Myles from the premiere episode. He can truly sing, and is crazy talented.
Kevin compares himself to John Legend
Kevin revealed that he’s from Dallas, Texas, and that he teaches 7th and 8th grade piano.When the singer became emotional, Blake responded saying that “tears are great for our ratings.” Blake went on to use his typical “I’m from Oklahoma” pitch, and that it’s close to Texas, which annoyed Camila and John. Frustrated that he doesn’t have a chance, John compared Kevin’s jazz inflections to Anita Baker. Meanwhile, Gwen compared Kevin’s voice to a “Grammy performance,” calling him “flawless.” She loved the entertainment factor that Kevin brought. Blake joked that he’s the “next closest thing to John.”
Kevin would have likely picked John if he had the option, as he has compared his sound to “Prince and John Legend.” Even though Gwen was the logical choice as a coach with John out of the picture due to her block, Kevin still chose Blake over her and Camila.
Kevin gives Blake another strong contender in this episode. Blake also won over Bryce Leatherwood who has the makings of being a strong country contender for his team. Blake may have started slow, but tonight he won big.
Overall, my favorite auditions of the night were Kevin and one-chair turn Brayden Lape who had a very pleasant tone and has loads of potential. Honorable mentions go to Bryce Leatherwood, and country singer Sadie Bass whose audition had enjoyable moments.