Many a viewer has said that The Voice isn’t really about the contestants, it’s about the coaches — and they may have a point.
But after Monday’s introduction of Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan to the mix (read the recap here), I was… kinda OK with that. They were bright and funny and, best of all, engaged; there was none of the “Eh, whatevs” feeling that we’d gotten from some been-there-done-that-got-the-T-shirt coaches in recent seasons.
Plus, some of the talent was showing real promise. Take, for instance, the former Team Kelly Clarkson member who returned Tuesday with reinforcements after half a dozen seasons to compete anew. Who? Read on…
Sheer Element (Team Kelly), “Leave the Door Open” — Grade: A | Not as smooth as but smoother than silk, this trio of USC alumni — including Jej Vinson from Kelly’s Season 16 team — delivered an absolutely gorgeous rendition of the R&B smash that earned chair turns from all of the coaches except for Blake Shelton. And take this for what it’s worth, ’cause I never do this: I actually went back and rewatched the number, it was so good. (Wanna do the same? Click below.)
Carlos Rising (Team Blake), “Change the World” — Grade: C+ | This 28-year-old, who recalled Kelly being one of his first childhood crushes (ouch), did a perfectly competent job on his Eric Clapton cover. There was just nothing special about it. He had a nice tone (that Chance likened to Jamiroquai’s) and good control, but “nice” and “good” probably aren’t going to take him beyond the Battles. Even Kelly, who turned with Blake, admitted that she’d wanted to hear more dynamics.
Magnus (Team Chance), “Sara Smile” — Grade: C | Having yearned for a solo that he never was given while singing in choirs, this former middle-school chorus teacher at last got one Tuesday. But, though his runs went on for miles, there was a phoniness to the one-chair turn’s performance, like he wasn’t singing from the heart but doing an impression of someone singing from the heart. At least his coach was high on him. Magnus left Chance ready to clear a space in his trophy case.
Kala Banham (Team Niall), “Both Sides Now” — Grade: A | So pristine were those first notes, I would have turned immediately for Kala (pronounced like “koala without an O,” she explained). As it was, she eventually won over all of the coaches but Blake. (WTH, dude? He’d never heard the Joni Mitchell classic?) Niall, who went so far as to block Kelly, marveled at the “brittle and tender” qualities of Kala’s vulnerable moments. Equally impressive, though, were her power notes. Live Playoffs or bust!
Jimmy Fallon, “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” | Ha. Hyping That’s My Jam by Blind Auditioning, the Tonight Show host did such a good Michael McDonald impression that Chance actually seemed to have been fooled. As synergistic promos go, this was a pretty good one. But we’d better not get extra abbreviated performances later because of this!
So, which of Night 2’s Blind Auditioners made music to your ears? Vote for your favorite in the poll below, then hit the comments.