'The Voice' Season 9 Recap, Review: Blind Auditions Close with Big Talents, Annoying Coaches
On the fifth (and final) blind audition episode of The Voice, it should always be expected that singers will get placed on odd teams, good singers will be sent home and that the sometimes grating coaches will still be grating. And, here on the final audition episode for season 9, that's exactly what we got on Monday night (Oct. 5).
Thank God the blind auditions are now over, though. I'm not so sure if I could take another two-hour block of Gwen Stefani quoting her own hits and boasting about her own success or Blake Shelton calling Adam Levine a woman or Pharell Williams just sort of sidling up to singers and scooping them off by being totally suave and just a liiiiittle bit creepy. It's been an exhausting two and a half weeks, so now we move on.
But first, let's take one final look at this year's hopefuls...
Chase Kerby, "The Scientist": Like a lot of performers on this season of The Voice, Chase Kerby has had success in the music industry before it all fizzled away, even opening for The All-American Rejects back in the day. Not only is this guy shockingly good looking (not like it matters for blind auditions) but he has the sort of soft, delicate voice that fits well in soft rock and emo, which is a space that has fared well on The Voice in the past. Honestly, this performance was straightforward but beautiful and it seems like he'll do well on this show. Gwen Stefani was the only coach who turned, and it seems like everyone else's loss. He'll do well on this show.
Amy Vachal, "Dream a Little Dream": Amy Vachal is a catch on The Voice. This cool as a cucumber Brooklyn singer gave a little twist on the classic "Dream a Little Dream," and it was smooth, sweet and full of personality and uniqueness. She's a true artist and has a unique blend of skills that make her an asset to anyone's team. Her interest in blurring the lines of any genre just lend her to Pharrell, and after getting a three-chair turn (from the remaining coaches), that's where she wound up, and that fits very well with his old school vibes.
Sydney Rhame, "Photograph": Sydney Rhame is only 16 years old but her voice is low, rich and passionate and she has so much control of this performance, which was truly dynamic. She went from a powerful throat voice to a whispered high note to notes that were so filled with emotion that she sounded near tears. The fragility of this was, as Pharrell said, a shining star. She was the final performance of this show and the final slot on team Pharrell.
Shelby Brown, "Stars": Oh, it's Grace Potter's "Stars" again. Everyone does this song, especially on The Voice rival American Idol, so I'm just sick of it on principle. But, you can't deny that it allows singers to show off a huge range, which little Shelby Brown did just well. She has just the slightest country twang, and OK, she pulled off this song better than most other people have. At 16 years old, it was very impressive and she rightfully got a four-chair turn. Despite being a country singer, she went to Team Adam.
The (Relatively) Bad:
Summer Schappell, "Strawberry Wine": Summer Schappell and her grandparents have sacrificed a lot of money and time to get her to this point on The Voice, and she's an interesting gal. With her purple hair and silver boots, you'd maybe expect her to be an alt-girl, but she's rooted in country. Her take on "Strawberry Wine" had a yodel in it that blew the roof off the house and she could potentially fare well on this show on Team Gwen.
Dustin Christensen, "Downtown Train": Dustin Christensen, like many people on The Voice, has TWO sob stories this season. He's (nearly) blind in one eye and he had some earlier success in the music industry, performing at the 2002 Olympics, before it all fizzled away. For his performance, he took on Tom Waits' "Downtown Train," which worked well with his Neil Diamond/John Mellancamp sound, which Blake Shelton and Pharrell pointed out. He seems to have an emotional dynamic, with quiet reflection and a powerful gusto, that appeals to the coaches and viewers of The Voice, so he got a four-chair turn. He ended up being the second-to-last singer on Team Blake.
Dustin Monk, "Bright Lights": There was something very sexy about Dustin Monk's performance of Gary Clark Jr.'s "Bright Lights." Maybe it's the natural groove of the song itself, or maybe it was the little rasp in this barber's voice. He almost has a little Daughtry quality to him, though he has a high range to back up his rock 'n' roll edge. He got chair turns from the coaches most naturally drawn to this sound, Blake and Adam Levine, and after all that typical Blake/Adam banter, Dustin No. 2 went to Team Adam.
Blaine Mitchell, "Drops of Jupiter": Blaine Mitchell may be a country singer by trade (and by birth as a Texan) but his true love in life is alternative rock. He has a rich, buttery voice from all of those years at the honkytonks but he also has an air of those rock roots and it makes for an interesting blend. He fits a unique space on this show, so the alt-rock girl Gwen and country guy Blake both turned their chairs. After connecting like they're on The Match Game, Blaine and Blake are the final pair on The Voice.
Berdine Joseph, an immigrant from Haiti who was teased as a child, performed "Hey Mama." She's clearly a very green singer, and while she has an interesting rasp and attitude in her voice, she's clearly not ready for this competition. Dawson Daugherty had a pretty voice, and he gave a unique, ballad-y take on Ariana Grande's "Problem," which seemed like an interesting idea. He's very young at 17 years old, and I think he could do this someday, just not now. Caroline Burns is only 16 years old but she looks about half that, standing at 4'11". She sang "A Thousand Years," and she has so much youth in her voice that she needs some time to ripen, which she will get when she comes back for season 10.
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