The Voice Recap: A New Frontrunner Raises the Roof Along With the Bar

In some ways, every season of The Voice is the same, right? Early on — and it never fails — we wind up picking a favorite or favorites, only for them to wind up getting cut by the end of the Live Playoffs (if not sooner). But I really don’t think that’s going to happen with the four-chair turn who especially dazzled Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Camila Cabello in Monday’s episode. The artist in question — the last one reviewed down below — is blessed with a voice that just doesn’t quit — maybe because it’s so mammoth that it doesn’t ever have to quit. Were you equally impressed? Read on, and we’ll discuss not only her performance but all of the evening’s Blind Auditions, then you can hit the comments with your critiques.

Andrew Igbokidi (Team Camila), “when the party’s over” — Grade: A | The coaches might as well have handed a fast pass to the Season 22 finale to this first-generation American (of Nigerian descent). The heartthrob-in-the-making’s Billie Eilish cover, as emotional as it was gorgeous, earned him four chair turns and — at least to my ears — the status of frontrunner.

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Cara Brindisi (Team Gwen), “All Too Well” — Grade: A | This bighearted music therapist hit the stage with an altogether radio-ready voice that’s as warm as a jar of honey left out in the sun. About the only think that I could see — well, hear — working against her is the fact that viewers have heard a lot of singers just like her. Kinda surprised that only Blake and Gwen turned for her.

Valarie Harding (Team Legend), “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” — Grade: B | Damn! This 41-year-old mother of four was able to stretch notes like they were the rope in a tug-of-war. And, as John and Gwen noted, she often zagged vocally when we might’ve expected her to zig. But is she the best in her lane? TBD.

the voice recap andrew igbokidi morgan taylor blind auditions
the voice recap andrew igbokidi morgan taylor blind auditions

Julia Aslani (Team Gwen), “Let’s Stay Together” — Grade: C |

Though the equestrian stumbled a bit out of the gate, she recovered well enough to show us that she has a pretty, light voice and an appealingly casual singing style. There was just nothing in either the one-chair turn’s vocal or presence to make you go, “Wow.” Well, maybe her mane (which was shampoo-commercial amazing).

The Dryes (Team Blake), “Islands in the Stream” — Grade: C- | Married for 10 years, this cute couple looked like they were having a blast. Unfortunately, Katelyn is a much stronger singer than husband Derek, and the karaoke quality to their performance didn’t bode well for their longevity in the contest.

Ava Lynn Thuresson (Team Camila), “… Baby One More Time” — Grade: C | This recent high-school grad, who’d cut music out of her life after the death of the cousin who taught her to play guitar, served up a rocking reinterpretation of Britney’s hit. But that inventiveness was more impressive than her voice, which veered too often into yelly-ness.

the voice recap andrew igbokidi morgan taylor blind auditions
the voice recap andrew igbokidi morgan taylor blind auditions

Madison Hughes (Team Blake), “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” — Grade: B- |

A 25-year-old videographer, Madison just might have the most unique voice of the season. It’s like what you might get if Jewel’s voice had a baby with Cowboy Junkies. I worry, though: “Different” doesn’t always get far on The Voice, does it?

Sasha Hurtado (Team Camila), “River” — Grade: C+ | At first, I was all in on this two-chair turn’s rendition of Bishop Briggs. Sasha had some nuance to her performance that elevated it well above, say, Ava’s. But then her inexperience sorta showed through and things went a bit off the rails. (Maybe Sasha bit off more than she could chew with her song choice?)

Morgan Taylor (Team Legend), “Cuz I Love You” — Grade: A+ | “Anxiety controls literally every aspect of my life,” this 20-year-old told us before blowing the roof off of the studio. But it sure as [bleep] didn’t show once she got that mic in her hand. The four-chair turn absolutely slayed, delivering a performance that kept getting bigger every time you thought that it couldn’t possibly. Stunning.

So, were you as wowed by Andrew as the coaches? Who else caught your ear? Vote in the poll below, then hit the comments.

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