‘The Voice’ Recap: A Country “Angel,” Twin Greetings & Hungarian Soul

The Voice - Season 9

 

The teams are filling up, but there’s still a some blind auditions to be completed before we round out each of The Voice coaches teams. So without further adieu, let’s dig in to Night 4 of The Voice’s blind auditions and see if there’s a potential victor in this group.

THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" -- Pictured: Krista Hughes -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
THE VOICE — “Blind Auditions” — Pictured: Krista Hughes — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

The Performances

The first performer of the night was Darius Scott, a freelance stylist who wants music to be his primary focus going forward. Early in his performance of Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna,” there’s little discernable about the vocalist other than that he has a smooth voice. But midway through, Adam Levine turns. Emboldened by the chair turn, Scott began to show inflections that show his true range, grabbing the ears of Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, who turn at the same time.  Adam gave him the hard sell, but in the end Darius reveals his first tattoo was a N*E*R*D* tattoo, so Pharrell wins out.

Quirky girl Korin Bukowski reveals her offbeat nature in the pre-performance package, but the University of Miami pre-med student has got some serious chops musically. Taking on the recent Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness hit, “Cecilia and the Satellite,” Korin immediately shows a different tone in her singing voice and delivery. Gwen Stefani gets in fairly early, but the other three coaches hold off. Gwen tells her that she loves her tone that she says is “interesting and weird.” It’ll be interesting to see how far this unique vocalist can advance.

Krista Hughes is a small town country girl, raised by her grandparents who got her into music. Playing seriously since she was 15, Krista opts in for the Bonnie Raitt and John Prine classic “Angel From Montgomery.” Offering a soulful opening note, Adam Levine turns first. After a few more inflections and showing some serious rasp and full on soul, Blake Shelton, Gwen and Pharrell also turn. “Thank you for being good,” beams Gwen. All of the coaches marvel over what they just heard, but as soon as she starts speaking to Blake with a twang in her voice, the other coaches know the writing is on the wall. She chooses Blake, who quite possibly could win the season again with Hughes leading the way. After the performance, Blake stands in front of Gwen and mimics the No Doubt song “Hella Good,” dancing and singing, “Y’all didn’t get that girl so I’m gonna keep on dancing.”

Fifteen-year-old Chance Pena is the next up and he has the looks that will likely win over the female fans of the show. Though young, Pena has been singing at local bars and barbecue places and his professionalism shows. The teen has a different sounding voice and it’s the emotion that ultimate leads Adam Levine to turn around as Pena belts Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire.” He’s the only chair turn, and Levine taunts the other coaches about how bad they screwed up. While all the other coaches agree, there’s only a handful of spots left and Levine is likely the best coach for Pena anyway.

THE VOICE -- Season: 9 -- Pictured: Viktor Kiraly -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)
THE VOICE — Season: 9 — Pictured: Viktor Kiraly — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

It’s time for a little international flare, as Hungarian by way of New York Viktor Kiraly decides the time is right for a return stateside. After finding some success in Hungary with his music, he’s ready to see if he has what it takes to make it in America. Picking Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is a risky proposition, but he deftly handles the soulful favorite with grace and the right attitude. Adam Levine gets in early.  As the song comes close to the end, Viktor hits a note that gets the other three judges to turn as well. Adam makes the strongest pitch and offers that Viktor has a chance to win it all. While stating in the pre-performance package he would like to pick Pharrell, ultimately Adam’s pitch and early turn won him over.

SoCal teen Cole Criske offers one of the night’s more emotional moments, dedicating his performance of John Mayer’s “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” to his late father who was killed by a drunk driver. Gwen gets in on his AC-smooth sounds early, Blake debates but ultimately decides Cole’s too good to pass. The final chair turn comes from Pharrell. While Adam didn’t turn, he campaigns hard for Gwen. But when Blake pulls out the Xenia-card from Cole’s hometown, he sways the youth. Team Blake gets a smooth vocalist outside of his country roots. A disappointed Gwen kicks off her heels and throws them at Blake as he goes to greet the teen.

Sleeper Agent vocalist Alex Kandel reveals that she’s ready to test out life as a solo artist and is taking the first step on The Voice. Though known for such high energy tracks as “Get It Daddy” and “Get Burned” with Sleeper Agent, Kandel shows a softer side by taking on Echosmith’s “Bright.” Gwen turns first, followed by Adam with a look as though he’s not sure about his decision. Gwen compliments the character in her voice, but both she and Adam call out the fact that her performance waned a little late. Gwen’s pitch however hits home and Alex joins Team Gwen. Given Kandel’s history, we expect her to improve and with the right song choice, she could make a deep run.

Celeste Betton reveals a life of overcoming a few obstacles in life, but finding her way back to music. She picks the song “Love You I Do” from Dreamgirls and delivers a perfectly soulful rendition of the track, but the judges are a little slow in turning, likely due to the fact that their teams are filling up. Ultimately Pharrell is the one who realizes that Celeste is too talented a singer to pass up. Adam and Gwen praise her, and Blake credits Pharrell for connecting with Celeste. “I had to reward all that ambition on my stage,” admits Pharrell.

The night’s final performance comes from twin sisters Andi and Alex, a harmonizing duo from Green Bay. Coming from a musical family, they’ve been singing since the age of five. Admitting that life is pulling them apart, they decided to give it one last shot to see if they can go anywhere. The lilting, folky version of Dido’s “Thank You” registers with Gwen and Adam, who get in early. Blake and Pharrell listen intently, and they too can’t deny what they’re hearing. The sisters get a standing ovation from the four coaches. Adam heaps on the praise, Blake brings up that he took a duo to the finale. Gwen compliments the arrangement. And Pharrell brings up that he took folk singer Sawyer Fredericks all the way.  Adam gives one final hard sell and ultimately wins the twins.

Rankings:

  1. Krista Hughes, “Angel From Montgomery” (Team Blake)
  2. Andi and Alex, “Thank You” (Team Adam)
  3. Viktor Kiraly, “What’s Going On” (Team Adam)
  4. Cole Criske, “Dreaming With a Broken Heart” (Team Blake)
  5. Korin Bukowski, “Cecelia and the Satellite” (Team Gwen)
  6. Chance Pena, “I See Fire” (Team Adam)
  7. Darius Scott, “You Make Me Wanna” (Team Pharrell)
  8. Celeste Betton, “Love You I Do” (Team Pharrell)
  9. Alex Kandel, “Bright” (Team Gwen)

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