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The Voice: Season 11, Teams Fill Up, 10/3/16

October 4th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Is it just me or did teams on The Voice fill up super-fast this season? Given the number of slots available and the show’s usual pacing, I expected auditions to last through this week. Instead, thanks in part to a major montage, the four superstar judges (actually coaches but we know what they do) completed their teams of twelve on Monday:

1.  Two cute-voiced black sisters, Whitney and Shannon, are (says host Carson Daly) this season’s only duo. They say they sing pop but they want to be on Blake’s team. For their audition, they do sing “Landslide” in a country-flavored style. Maybe because they sound a little breathy, the judges don’t respond until the audition’s nearly over. Then three judges (Blake, Adam, Miley) turn almost at the same time. Alicia joins in on the final line, so it’s a four-chair turn. Blake thinks they sound country and Adam thinks they have beautiful harmonies–but they pick Alicia.

2.  Johnny Rez is from the the South and he’s recovering from drug dependency. His nasal singing may make the judges reluctant–but Blake and Adam turn after a falsetto note in the final line or two. Adam says he’s the person to help strengthen a falsetto. Turns out Johnny loves country but he’s a Maroon 5 fan–so he picks Adam.

3.  Maye Thomas lives in Nashville but her style is more “indy-pop,” as she calls it, and her look is punk/goth. She sounds a little like Lorde, a little like Miley Cyrus. Her audition attracts Adam and Miley, who calls her “the Gothic Dolly Parton” and later says, “She’s a little bit punky.” Maye picks Miley. 

 4.  Courtney Harrell is a black woman in her thirties who’s looking to resume her career now that her son is in college. She has been a music teacher, sung back-up for John Legend, and written songs for Mary J. Blige and others. She sounds a little like Mary J. Blige, but a little like Alicia Keys, too. (I’m looking forward to hearing her do one of those singers’ hits.) Blake and Alicia both turn their chairs for her. Despite appearing to be a natural fit for Team Alicia, she picks Blake. If Blake lets her go, I predict Alicia will consider stealing her.

A montage of about four (?) contestants:  J Soul (a white guy) to Team Adam, Belle Jewell to Team Alicia, Tarra Layne (country singer, probably) to Team Blake, and Charity Bowden (another country singer, I think) to Team Miley. Did I miss anybody? I guess not!

5.  At this point only five slots are left. The judges are getting particular, but some of their last choices may be potential battle-round discards. One that may at least get to the knockouts is Kylie Rothfield, who sings “Wherever I go,” a One Republic song. I’d like to hear her do music from the eighties or nineties, because she’s got a quirky throwback voice. She’s a former Berklee (east coast) student who’s making a comeback from a vocal hemorrhage. Alicia and Blake push their buttons on the last line, and Kylie picks Alicia. That makes Alicia’s team full!

6.  Natasha Bure has star parents. Her mother is actress Candace Cameron and her father, Val Bure, is a famous hockey player. She tries to sing “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” but her squeaky little voice slaughters it. Three judges wisely pass but for some reason Adam puts her on his team, babbling about how she’s “something special.” (She’s “something special,” alright!) It’s a one-chair turn and now Adam is down to his final slot.

7.  Blaine Long breaks from the pack this season–instead of a soft aspirate voice, he’s bluesy. He’s in his thirties and supports his family with a combination of playing music and working minimum-wage jobs. Nashville insiders Blake and Miley push their buttons for him fairly quickly, while Adam takes his time, but eventually all three judges searching for one last team member start arguing over him. Miley pitches her own guitar-playing and songwriting. Blake says he’d like to match the singer with John Prine and John Hiatt songs–and I hope he does. Long picks Blake, and Team Blake is full!

8.  Ponciano Seone (did I get his name right?) is a Cuban-American from San Antonio, TX. He sings Phil Phillips’ “Home” and attracts Adam on his first line, Miley on his second. He picks Adam, who calls his voice “distinctively different, pure and sharp.” Team Adam is now full!

9.  Miley’s the last judge left who can put anyone on her team. She recruits Josette Diaz, a teenager from the Dominican Republic. Diaz sings “Love Yourself” in a pretty voice, but Miley only makes her decision on the song’s last line. Team Miley is now full, and the Season 11 auditions are over!  Now it’s on to the battle rounds, where about half of the singers will be cut, and eight will change teams.

Going into the Battle Rounds

Team Adam:  R&B vocalist Simone Gundy, squeaky-voiced Natasha Bure, former boy soprano Billy Gilman, Sinatra fan Riley Elmore, Billy Joel fan Andrew DeMuro, Maroon 5 fan Johnny Rez, WGWG Brendan Fletcher, Nashville singer Nolan Neal, gospel-flavored Bindy Liebowitz, Texan balladeer Ponciano Seone Selena fan Elia Esparza and unknown quality J Soul.

Team Blake:  various flavors of country in Josh Gallagher, Blaine Long, Sundance Head, Gabe Broussard, and Dan Harper, second-gen TX rocker Austin Allsup, reggae-flavored Ethan Tucker, alto Dana Harper, R&B singer Courtney Harrell, and unknown qualities Christian Fermin, Tarra Layne, and Preston James.

Team Alicia:  sister act Whitney and Shannon, alto We McDonald, Alicia Keys fans Lauren Diaz and Halle Tomlinson, gospel-flavored Jason Warrior, country rocker Josh Halverson, Broadway actor Gabriel Violett, Maroon 5 fan Dave Mosian,Puerto Rican singer Christian Cuevas, former Berklee student Kylie Rothfield, soulful piano man Michael Sanchez, and unknown quality Belle Jewell.

Team Miley:  R&B vocalists Ali Caudwell and Sarayah, Alicia Keys fan Darby Walker, female rockers Sophia Urista and Maye Thomas, teen vocalists Josette Diaz, Khaliya Kimberlie and Courtnie Rameriz, You Tube face Carly Metzer, Cajun singer Lane Mack, WGWG Aaron Gibson and unknown quality Charity Bowden.

Battle-round Steal Predictions

If Alicia lets Dave Mosian go, he’ll likely be stolen by one of the other three. If she lets Christian Cuevas go, somebody else (Adam?) may grab him, too. If Blake lets Courtney Harrell, Ethan Tucker, Sundance Head, or Josh Gallagher go, Alicia or Adam may grab ’em. Miley may want Nolan Neal if Adam doesn’t. Alicia may want Darby Ann Walker if Miley doesn’t.

Update:  Tuesday night broadcast is a recap of the blind auditions. 

Tags: The Voice