Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"The Voice" Recap - Week One - Blind Auditions

The Voice premiered on NBC this week with the first round of Blind Auditions. This is the first year I’ve watched the voice from the beginning (last season, I only watched the final few episodes), and after Monday’s and Tuesday’s episodes, the only thing I regret is waiting until the 5th season to start watching.

I've got to say, The Voice is NOT like the ‘other’ singing competition shows out there. I stopped watching those a couple years ago. They became too commercialized and focused more on profit and ratings rather than on the contestants and the talent. But, fortunately, I stumbled on The Voice by accident last season and saw something very different—the focus was on the artists AND the talent. I saw genuine care and concern from the ‘coaches’ toward the artists. The coaches truly want them to be the best they can be. For those of you who have been watching The Voice, you know what I mean... For those of you who haven't been watching, you really should give it a go. It’s not like the ‘others.’ This one is very enjoyable and entertaining, all while showcasing some amazing talent, both raw and experienced.

It's that mix of experience level that really makes the show what it is. The Voice doesn’t hide if a contestant has had a recording deal in the past, or is in a band that performs regularly. They don’t care... a stage singer or a bedroom singer... it makes no difference. Talent is talent. The coaches see through the nerves of performing for the first time to see the talent underneath. All you’ve got to do is look at Season Four winner Danielle Bradbery—a sixteen year old who only sang in her bedroom. I don’t know what she sounded like in the beginning (because I wasn’t watching), but I heard how she sounded in the end. She is amazing. If the coach (in this case Blake Shelton) can take someone who has never performed before and produce a powerhouse like Danielle—that says so much about what the show is about.

The concept of Blind Auditions is much better than the ways other singing shows conduct auditions. The coaches don’t see the contestant performing; therefore, the evaluation (and choice of advancing a performer) is based solely on the voice... looks play no factor so cause no judgements.

Season Five of The Voice brings back the original four coaches to the panel. I have no previous experience to compare what the show was like with the original four or without, but I have to say, the chemistry between all the coaches seems fun and real. Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, and CeeLo Green make the show even better. The ‘back-and-forth’ between them is fun to watch. The ‘fighting’ for a contestant to pick one of them is entertaining. Even the ‘threats’ and ‘teasing’ is in good nature. They don’t take away from the contestants, but rather add another level of entertainment that is not over-the-top. 

Week one’s Blind Auditions has advanced seventeen people so far to the next round. From what I’ve learned (as I am new to the show), is that each judge gets twelve people, for a total of forty-eight talented artists who will advance to the next round.

TEAM ADAM has five artists already, but none of them makes my top four after Week One. It is worthy to mention, though, Donna Allen’s soulful performance of “You Are So Beautiful” was very powerful, to the point that she had Adam bouncing in his chair. She may go far in the competition, but so far, Team Adam... not my favorite. 

TEAM CEELO has coveted four highly talented singers but also does not have one in my top four. He did get Kat Robichaud—a rock and roll powerhouse with a strong and raspy vocal element. Her performance of “I’ve Got the Music in Me” shows that she will probably go a long way in the competition. CeeLo also won over Caroline Pennell (after she won over CeeLo). With her rendition of “Anything Can Happen,” we heard a very soft but captivating vocal range. Adam likened her to the spinning girl in a music box. Caroline showed a hint of Sinead O'Connor, which I think can grow and take her into the top ten.

TEAM XTINA landed four talents—two of which are in my top four. Matthew Schuler took the stage and had every one of the coaches spin their chairs within the first ten seconds of the song. His performance of “Cough Syrup” was solid, but it was the charismatic and solid vocals that easily won over the coaches and put him on my list. Destinee Quinn also takes a spot in my top four with her performance of “Cowboy Take Me Away.” She is an experienced club singer, and it shows. Her controlled vocals have a definitive country sound, and I can’t wait for Christina to help her bring the power I know is there.

TEAM BLAKE also has four amazing singers on his team, with two of them in my top four, including my top pick of Week One. First off, Blake managed to obtain Austin Jenckes after his performance of “Simple Man.” Austin has very natural and calm vocals. Nothing was forced, and all was just flawless.

It is, however, 19-year-old Holly Henry who takes my top pick of Week One. Holly has never performed in public before but has this unique quality to her vocals. She sang “The Scientist” by Coldplay, and every nerve in my body suddenly came to life. I can’t explain it—chills ran through me, emotions began rising from nowhere, and the rest of the world became a distant and faded place. It's as though her voice transcends time and space. She seems to possess this amazingly unique ability to take her emotions and put them into the song, but not like other artists who use their emotions to make the song more real—Holly seems able to take her pure and raw emotions, put them right into the song and actually transfer every one of her feelings directly into you with her voice. It’s truly an amazing experience to hear her sing. With guidance and coaching from Blake, you’ll see her in the top ten... then the top five... top two... and maybe... The Voice.

Come back next week for my review and opinions about Week Two’s Blind Auditions as the coaches try to fill their teams with whom they want. Can Blake Shelton take it all for a fourth season?
Follow me on Twitter and Facebook so you don’t miss the weekly posts on what I see, hear, and think on The Voice.

Watch the voice every Monday and Tuesday on NBC! Check your local listings for times.
Go to for all the great info on the judges and artists. You can also find the links (for iTunes) to download the performances from each night.

Who caught your ear? Who’s your favorite? What do you think of the show? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, or interact with me on Twitter and Facebook.

See you next week Voice fans!

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