The Voice 4 – Premiere – Recap and Videos

The Voice 4 Premiers tonight! I’ll be live blogging all the action right here. New coachesShakira and Usher join vets Adam Levine and Blake Shelton on the panel.

The chemistry between this newly configured coaches panel is through the roof.  Uhm. Can Christina Aguilera retire? I don’t miss Miss Thang’s narcissism one little bit.  New coaches, Shakira and Usher, are not only smart and funny, but they have a down-to-earth quality missing from the panel members  they are replacing.  Shakira, is really the breakout star. I’ll be surprised if her career isn’t given a nice boost by the exposure.

I know the magic of editing can work wonders, but these 4 gel as if they were old friends having a little get together. They rag on each other affectionately and behave like the friendliest of competitors, without even a hint of passive aggressiveness (lookin’ at you again, Christina. Ahem).

The talent. Oh right, the talent!  It’s easy to forget about the singers, because they really are secondary here, serving as props for the coaches shenanigans–which is the thing that ultimately turns me off  The Voice.  But that’s how the show works. It’s like the Hollywood Squares of singing competitions.

Oh, and was it just me, or was the show laying on the sob stories thicker than usual? Dying mothers, nearly still-born babies, dead band members, alcoholic parents.  So much crying tonight. So much.

The hopefuls. They were your usual mix of newbies, 2nd chancers, and bonafide ringers.  Judith Hill, set to tour with Michael Jackson on his “This is It” tour in 2009, was on the verge of breaking through. But then came MJ’s untimely death. She’s got impressive pipes and is a seasoned performer.  I think it’s safe to say–even this early–that she’s already a front runner. I can’t imagine her not making the live shows.

The rest of tonight’s pack paled in comparison to Judith. And I have to wonder if that’s partly because she’s so obviously a pro.  After a huge gap,  the soulful Vedo and teen country singer, Danielle Bradbery, made an impression on me.


The Coaches open the show with a performance of Come Together by The Beatles – That wasn’t the hot mess the group numbers usually are!  I had no idea Shakira played the harmonica.  With Adam on drums and Usher and Blake on guitars they were like a real rock group.

The Morgan Twins – “Fallin” by Alicia Keys – Identical twins sing in perfect harmony. The tune they choose is an R&B song, but I get the feeling they could wander over into the country genre if they felt like it. All four judges turn around, with Blake and Usher being first. “Is this for real?” asks Blake. He compares them to a Doublemint commercial. Usher says his inexperience as a voice coach would actually be a plus. Shakira has faith in them, and not just because they’re twins. Oh. Look. The duo auditioned for Idol way back in Season 2 with the exact same song! Maybe it’s the only song they know, and have been singing it over and over again for the last 10 years… Blake pulls the Miranda card, apropos of nothing. And in the end, the duo choose Team Blake

Jess Kellner – “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” By Elvis Presley –  Because her mom was an alcoholic, she eventually moved in with her dad and stepmom. Music has been a way to get through her troubles. Her mom is sober now. Good for her. Jess hopes one of the coaches turns around, so she can do good things for her family. Both Shakira and Usher turn around immediately. Jess has one of those “quirky” voices that you might like, but maybe you don’t. Honestly, I find her phrasing to be super annoying and affected. Adam is really excited to watch the newbies fight over her. Shakira was haunted by the timbre of her voice (she pronounces it Tambor). Adam heard TOO much Adele. Shakira poo poos this notion. Blake says to Adam, “The battle was supposed to be between Shakira and Usher and she  just ripped your ass wide open.” In the end, Jess chooses Team Usher. Shakira is all sad-face.

Mark Andrew – “Knockin on Heavens Door” by Bob Dylan – Two of his band members were killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver. Shakira is the first to turn around. Adam turned around next. Mark has a distinctive vocal tone, but his vibrato is a little goatie. Blake ALMOST turned around. Adam loved his control, although he was not sold on his song choice. Shakira has more passion about the guy. He should pick her just for that reason, and he does. “My wife would never forgive me if I didn’t pick Shakira,” he says. Mark chooses Team Shakira

Janetza Miranda – “Titanium” She’s from a Puerto Rican family. They do bird calls. They really do. She would love to follow in Shakira’s footsteps. As she performs, her family is VERY VERY enthusiastic. As a singer, Jenetza is very, uhm. Yelly. Shakira almost hits her button. The family off stage is begging her to do it. But nobody does. Really, she’s loud, off pitch and sings with no finesse. Aw. She’s so upset that Adam sprints to the stage to give her a hug and say it’ll be OK. Shakira says the key may have been too high for her.

Danielle Bradbery –  “Mean” by Taylor Swift – OMG She’s ONLY 16!!!! Heh. She was bullied because she had crooked teeth. That’s a new one.  Singing helped her become more confident. If a coach does not turn around for her, it will make her question if she belongs in music or not. She doesn’t have a ton of stage presence yet, but she has potential.  Also, her vocals need to be more dynamic. She’s has a clean, pure tone, however.  Usher and Blake turn around instantly.  Adam turns around next.  “You are so good!” says Blake. She’s from Cypress, TX. “Your pitch is amazing.”  Shakira feels stupid that she did not turn around in her chair. This audition was her first big performance.  Usher drops the Bieber card. Smart angle with a young girl! He wants to do something with her that will “shock the world.” Blake wants to introduce her to Nashville.  Usher mispeaks and calls Nashville a state. Blake makes endless fun of him. Of course, Danielle chooses Team Blake

Vedo – “Boyfriend” by Justin Beiber – Vedo’s been singing seriously since he was 13.  His family were homeless, on the streets for a few years. He’s really hoping Usher turns around for him. His mom has stage 4 lung cancer. Nevertheless, she urged him to leave and follow his dreams. He sobs as he describes the fear of losing her. She’s well enough to cheer him on from backstage. He’s got a solid R&B voice, and knows how to perform. And…Usher turns around. Shakira says she was about to turn her chair, but realizes that Usher is his man. It was Vedo’s voice that won him over, says Usher, not the song choice. Vedo is Team Usher

Christian Porter – “Sexy and I Know It” – Stroudsburg, PA – His parents thought he was deaf, because it took him so long to speak. Right now, he’s a cover singer in a bar. We saw a preview of this performance a few days ago. Apparently, the bluesy arrangement was ripped off a You Tube artist. Shakira, Blake and Usher all turn around. Usher notes how the ladies were responding. “That is sexy,” says Shakira. Blake thought it took a lot of imagination to do what he did. Of course, he has no idea about the original arrangement. Christian chooses Team Blake

We see a couple of acts the judges didn’t turn around for. Sads.

Leah Lewis – “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood – She and her sister were adopted from a Chinese orphanage. She sings country music. Nobody expects to see an Asian girl sing country music. Her parents are older, and she wants to take care of them. Dad tears up when he talks about how important his  daughters are to him. Ah. I was kinda rooting for this girl, but her vocals are average. She’s a very ordinary singer. Nobody turns around. Oh, she’s only 15. Not revealed right away, I assumed she was in her early 20s. She needs more experience, for sure.

Kris Thomas – “Saving All My Love For You” – As a kid, he was only allowed to listen to gospel. After he graduated from college, he was discovered by a talent scout and signed to a record label. They had creative differences, and the label dropped him. He was so depressed, he began drinking and nearly drove his car into a house. He doesn’t drink now (But I’m assuming he has an arrest record. Get on that TMZ!)  Kris tackles a Whitney Houston song and acquits himself nicely. He’s got a very sweet falsetto. The coaches weren’t expecting him to be a guy? Yeah…he was a little high pitched, and he sang a girl song, but his vocals sounded masculine enough to me. Team Shakira was the only coach to turn around, and managed not to act surprised.

James Irwin – “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script – He had some label interest, but in the midst of that, his wife lost twins. They were born alive, but died shortly thereafter. He breaks down talking about his daughters. His wife got pregnant again and had a healthy baby. NOBODY turns around. Sads. Adam called it “a little bit subdued.” His vocals were lackluster. Nice enough voice, but nothing special. He lacks charisma. I’m not surprised the coaches didn’t turn around. He’s really disappointed.  It’s back home to his union carpentry job.

Judith Hill – “What a Girl Wants” by Christina Aguilera – She’s tonight’s ringer. The show makes no pretense about recruiting her. She was the background singer for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour. She sang “Heal the World” at his memorial service. Her phone rang off the hook afterward, but she felt squicky taking advantage of the situation. Usher and Blake turn around right away. Shakira is next. Finally, Blake turns around. Usher pretends like he has no idea who she is (he knew Michael and attended that memorial service). Adam says she sang that song as good as Christina. SHADE. Shakira believes she’s in front of a star. Judith hems and haws, but she eventually chooses Team Adam

About mj santilli 33323 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!