'The Voice' Season 8 Recap & Review: India Carney Soars as Adam Levine Auditions
Well, it's the second week of blind auditions for The Voice season eight, so there's bound to be far more hits and misses than last week's heavily tacked and talented set of episodes. Night two featured less drama from coaches Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams and more focus on the actual singers themselves.
Except for that faux audition of Adam's. That was goofy.
From the bleh to the amazing, Monday night's edition of The Voice had it all. So, let's revisit all of the best and worst performances.
Kelsie May, "You're Looking at Country": For being just 15 years old, Kelsie May has lived and sounds like she's lived a lot of life. Singing on The Voice for her deceased friend Xavier, Kelsie sounds like she's straight out of Loretta Lynn's country world, so it's fitting she sang the genre classic "You're Looking at Country." She does sound a little green, but her accent is so old school and she has so much raw, natural talent that it was hard not to see oodles of potential here. Of course, with these vibes, Kelsie is on Team Blake.
Travis Ewing, "Say My Name": It's always fun when a contestant takes a popular song and completely makes it his own. It's something Taylor John Williams did well last year, and now season eight has Travis Ewing. Not only does Travis have classic handsome boy looks, but he has plenty of cool energy to go. He gave this Destiny's Child classic a total funky makeover, rendering it almost unrecognizable. It was a standout enough performance to turn three chairs, with Travis eventually turning toward Team Pharrell.
India Carney, "New York State of Mind": In a night that was solid but less spectacular than last week's two-night premiere, India Carney closed it all out with the best performance of the season thus far. India has been tailoring herself to be a singer from day one, studying at the "Fame" high school in New York City. She's classically trained but interested in pursuing pop, so she's jazzy and classy and literally hits all the right notes, all while maintaining a modern sensibility. Her runs are also way out of this world, and she really sells it in the last few moments of her audition. After deservedly turning all four chairs, India goes for the singer from her childhood: Christina.
Michael Leier, "Last Kiss": Sure, it's easy to compare any other cover version of this song to Pearl Jam's, but wow, is Michael Leier a poor man's Eddie Vedder. His voice has some of that throaty texture, but otherwise, this is just a standard rock 'n' roll guy. Straight up. Besides his cardigan and floppy hair, there's little to be seen from Michael, at least in this audition. He has zero stage presence. Like, we get that The Voice is a blind audition, but you have to have some sort of swagger! Michael landed on Team Adam, but eh, he won't make it too terribly far.
Barrie Minniefield, "Me and Mrs. Jones": Barrie Minniefield is about to give up a lucrative career as a chef to become a singer - and it seems like he is almost on his last chance. So, he tackled the R&B classic "Me and Mrs. Jones," and he did it with a classic soulful voice and plenty of smokey undertones. Barrie feels a little aged for this competition. Sure, he's very talented, but is he really right for the musical landscape of 2015? I'm not sold. At the last second, he turned one for Team Adam.
Sonic, "Money On My Mind": Sonic got her nickname not because of a love for Sega video games but because she is fully deaf in her right ear, causing her to hear music differently than everyone else. Though she was able to hit both the high and low notes of this notably difficult Sam Smith song, it was very rough around the edges, with audible pauses and plenty of little flubs, with an incredibly sharp high note. So, yeah, technically, this was a little bumpy. But, it's clear from her style and her previous record deal that there is some raw talent within Sonic, and her new coach Christina Aguilera may just be the perfect person to bring it all out, especially considering how strong her first verse was.
Kimberly Nichole, "Nutbush City Limits": She's a little bit R&B, a little bit rock 'n' roll and a total and complete ballerina. Though there's an inherent soulfulness in Kimberly Nichole's voice, she's more interested in the alternative, and it shows in both her personal style and her distinctive blend of styles. There was some rasp, some raw soul and plenty of ambition. Her voice doesn't quite match how funky her style is, but she's solid enough for The Voice. Team Pharrell.
Jacob Rummel, "Count on Me": First off, this 18-year-old kid is from the town over from me! HARTVILLE, OHIO, REPRESENT! Despite actually being an adult, Jacob Rummel still charmingly sounds like a very young Michael Jackson or an early career Bruno Mars (hence the song choice). There are definitely some mistakes and cracks in this performance, but Jacob has some potential for sure. Like a few of the night's other hyper-young contestants, if the show wanted to be very kind to him, they would give him another year before he has to come back. But, alas, he's surprisingly on Team Blake.