We all know Adam Levine is prone to hyperbole on The Voice, laying on a thick snake-oil salesman pitch and doing/saying whatever it takes to convince contestants to join his team. But on Tuesday’s Blind Auditions episode, when he told 18-year-old Domenic Haynes, “I think you might be my favorite singer in all 16 seasons of this show,” he actually may have been sincere.
While Domenic’s bio package somewhat dismissively presented him as an ex-jock, novice singer and aspiring rapper, it turned out this kid had the old soul and sandpaper-and-smoke voice of a grizzled blues journeyman. His husky yet honeyed rendition of Leon Bridges’s “Rivers” showcased a natural knack for phrasing — he practically doesn’t even need a coach. But hopeful coach Adam turned with white-lightning speed (four seconds, he made sure to note during his sales pitch). And he hit his Block button in the process, to make sure that threatening newbie coach John Legend — who, along with Blake Shelton, also spun around — was out of the running. “I hate you, Adam!” John shouted. Too bad. John could’ve done wonders with Domenic.
“You’re my favorite singer I’ve heard. Your tone is so interesting and beautiful. You made such excellent choices with every note you sang. It had so much subtlety and nuance,” raved John. “Every muscle in your body is creating that sound, that ache. It’s hard not to get wrapped up in it. You have the ability to separate yourself from anybody else on this show, on the radio,” said Blake.
In the end, Adam’s sales pitch — during which he also praised Domenic’s “raw soul that is missing right now from music” — worked. Let’s hope Adam, this panel’s villain with a fair-weather-coach reputation, meant what he said, because Domenic could really win this thing.
These were the other successful audition of Tuesday night:
Savannah Brister, 17: “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing”
This soul-pop teen diva’s bold a cappella intro reminded me of Jessie J in terms of its sheer lung power, but this was a rather old-fashioned cabaret performance for someone so young.
Who turned? Kelly Clarkson and John, unsurprisingly.
Result: Team Legend. “A thousand other people have covered that song, but you really put your own stamp on the song. You made a lot of really interesting and daring musical choices and executed them with perfection. I’m so excited that you’re gonna pick me for your team,” John told Savannah. This rookie coach clearly already knows how to play the game.
The Bundys: “Closer to Fine”
In a historic Voice first, the show welcomed a trio: a coed sibling act that brought all the Corrs/Lilith Fair/Wilson Phillips vibes with their pretty harmonies on this folksy Indigo Girls cover. Duos never do well on this program; only one has ever made it to the finale, and that was in Season 4. Will three singers be the charm? Probably not, but we shall see.
Who turned? Blake — after first sister Katey sang, before he even realized there was more than one vocalist onstage — and Kelly.
Result: Team Kelly. Her name-dropping of some of the Bundys’ favorite artists (Fleetwood Mac, Little Big Town, Eva Cassidy), and her deep knowledge and love of harmonizing made her the obvious choice. Kelly knows how to play the game too.
Klea Olson, 20: “No Roots”
Klea was just fine, but her rounded-voweled, super-dramatic, Florence Welch-wannabe act didn’t offer anything original. There’s a quirky-girl character like this every Voice season, and Monday’s quirkster LiLi Joy is frankly more compelling. Klea scored some points from me for the Alice Merton song choice, though.
Who turned? No one.
Result: Team Bebe. Klea was dispatched to the Island of Misfit Toys — aka the online-only Comeback Stage — for an online-only battle against Monday’s failed auditionees, country couple Nathan & Chesi, under the watchful eye of online-only fifth coach Bebe Rexha.
Over on the YouTube, Nathan & Chesi did their country fair shtick on “Tulsa Time,” Chesi SHOUUUUUUTING her way through the song as usual. Modulation just ain’t Chesi’s thing. Klea’s “Brand New Key” was better — not just better than Nathan & Chesi, but better than Klea’s “No Roots” audition — and I thought she was the obvious winner. But Bebe thought otherwise, and N&C prevailed [insert shrug emoji here].
Hannah Kay, 18: “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
Season 16’s token throwback classic country crooner, this Texas teen had a strong if generic voice. It was a bit too ’90s country fair for me, but America will probably fall in love with her.
Who turned? Kelly and Blake, once again unsurprisingly.
Result: Team Blake. Hannah may have grown up singing “Since U Been Gone” in her bedroom, but she’s had a crush on Blake since age 6 and has dreamt of competing on The Voice ever since Team Blake’s Danielle Bradbery won in 2013. Kelly had no chance.
Julian King, 25: “All Time Low”
This alumnus of Philadelphia’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (the alma mater of Jazmine Sullivan, Boyz II Men and the Roots) impressed on a dynamite, show-closing Jon Bellion cover, flaunting a polished performance style, a cool look, and a modern hip-pop voice that I could actually imagine hearing on the radio. (Not that we’ll ever hear any Voice contestant on the actual radio, sadly. But you get my point.)
Who turned? Adam, who got blocked by John (much to Kelly’s amusement), and, of course, John.
Result: Team Legend, by default. “I see Julian in the vein of an Usher. I knew Adam would want him, and I blocked him at the perfect moment,” John gloated.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
- New ‘Voice’ coach John Legend is in search of his ‘VEGOT’ on Season 16 premiere
- Kelly Clarkson on the importance of Chevel Shepherd’s country ‘Voice’ victory: ‘Little girls need people to look up to’
- Gwen Stefani calls boyfriend Blake Shelton her ‘favorite’ in sweet Valentine’s Day post