by Lyn Jensen
Sometimes I wonder what happens to Voice contestants who are called for the last auditions of the season. If the judges’ teams are full, are people who are waiting told politely to try again next season? Do they perform not knowing whether the teams are full or not? Is there some kind of numbers-crunching to ensure that everyone who’s waiting for an audition does get to audition?
However it’s handled, the teams for The Voice Season 12 filled up last night, and next week the cutting of teams begins with the battle rounds. I didn’t hear any contestants last night that I thought might challenge the front-runners who are emerging, but there were some that may make the next rounds interesting:
1. Vanessa Ferguson, who has some vocal resemblance to Alicia Keys and plays piano, too, is a cruise ship singer. She says her style combines R&B, hip-hop, and jazz. Gwen and Alicia turn almost simultaneously. Blake joins after a few more lines. Adam never turns, and no one lets him forget it. Ferguson’s a good match for Alicia and she picks Alicia.
2. Dawson Coyle sounds country to everybody but Blake, more on that later. The song’s nearly over when Blake turns. It’s a one-chair turn, so he’s on Team Blake, and now Team Blake is full. Blake says he’s got a pop singer now. Given the depth of Team Blake and the fact that the judges very nearly didn’t turn at all, I predict Coyle will be a casualty of the battle rounds.
3. Jozy Bernardette (how’s that for an uncommon spelling of a nickname for Josephine) is the daughter of pro basketball player Glenn Hansen. She presents herself as a rock singer, but “American Woman” is entirely the wrong song for her. (I don’t know if she’s making an identity statement, or just being gender-inappropriate.) Just the same, Gwen and Adam turn for her, which is more love from the judges than Dawson Coyle got. Blake joins in an argument over whether Gwen or Adam is the rocker on the judges’ panel. (I’d say they’re both rockers, Blake–it’s Jozy I’m not so sure about.) She picks Gwen, and now Team Gwen is full.
4? Another American Heartland Elvis Costello type (or John Hiatt type), Steven Boris, gets–just like Austin Tyler Jones before–complete lack of interest from the judges. I’d have preferred to see Blake or Gwen pick this guy instead of the first two singers they picked tonight.
4! Sheena Brook is an attractive young lesbian with dark hair and tattoos, who sings in a beach bar in Florida. In her pre-audition interview, she says she sings country, rock, pop, and island music. She also tries to demonstrate rap, but her rap sounds more like beat-boxing to me. She does demonstrate she can sing traditional country when she auditions with Sugarland’s “Baby Girl.” Since Team Blake is full, who’ll get her? Adam turns for her, so now Team Adam is full. Will he be smart enough to hang on to her and his male country singer?
5. Alicia’s the only judge/coach left with space on her team. She says she’s looking for someone bluesy and soulful. She turns her chair for a young black Southern man, Chris Blue, who’s had some success with a brother act, The Blue Brothers (his four brothers and him). He shows an old-school R&B voice on “Tracks of my Tears.” Alicia’s impressed with his falsetto vocal tricks. He says he learned them from Adam. Team Alicia is now full.
The teams–but only about 55 percent of these people will remain after the battle rounds, and much will depend on how they’re matched up:
Alicia: Lilly Passero, Autumn Turner, Felicia “Keys” Temple, Anatalia Villaranda, Lauryn Judd, Vanessa Ferguson, Missy Robertson make a crowd of female pop/soul vocalists. She also has male vocalists RJ Collins, Chris Blue, and Hunter Plake, as well as piano man Jack Cassidy and young Michael Jackson impersonator Quizz Swaningan.
Her front-runners: Chris Blue, Jack Cassidy, Quizz Swaningan, Felicia Temple, Lilly Passero, RJ Collins. Her deep bench of female vocalists, however, could score some upsets.
Gwen: Rockers Johnny Gates, Jozy Bernadetta and Troy Ramey, R&B vocalists J Chosen, Brandron Royal, country-flavored Kenny P and female pop vocalists Savannah Leyton, Caroline Sky, Stephanie Rice, Davina Leone, Sammie Zonana, Aaliyah Rose.
Her front-runners: J Chosen, Johnny Gates, Stephanie Rice, Brandon Royal, Troy Ramey.
Blake: Female country vocalists Allaya Moulden, Andrea Thomas, Brennley Brown, Lauren Dusky, Cassie Joy, Ashley Levin, old soul Josh Hoyer, soul man TSoul, country-pop male vocalist Dawson Coyle, female pop vocalists Enid Ortiz and Micah Tryba, and Valerie Ponzio who’s between pop and country.
His front-runners: TSoul, Allaya Moulden, Brennley Brown, Lauren Dusky, Cassie Joy, Enid Ortiz.
Adam: Rockers Jesse Larson, Josh West, Johnny Hayes, Mark Isiah, Julien Martinez, male R&B vocalists Malik Devage and Kawan De Bose, female pop vocalists Gabby Borromeo, Nala Price, Hanna Erye, and country singers Sheena Brook and Taylor Alexander.
His front-runners: Taylor Alexander, Kawan De Bose, Jesse Larson, Mark Isiah, Josh West, maybe Sheena Brook.
I’m going to make up a list of possible steals, too, but I’ll wait ’til next week and see how my predictions work out.