‘The Voice’ Recap: Rihanna’s Former Opener & Modern Mary Poppins Audition
The end is near! The end of the Blind Auditions, anyway, which wrap up this week on The Voice. Shakira, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Usher’s teams have all gone from just a glimmer in the coaches’ pre-season eyes to almost-full collections of superstar hopefuls… most of whom will be quickly eliminated.
And those who survive a bit longer probably will be forgotten shortly after the season finale. Oh who are we kidding, it’s just a group of 47 future also-rans and one shining star.
But, for now, yay! They made it! Life on the top of the world awaits them! So let’s see which other contestants will be joining the contestants whose dreams are all on the road to coming true.
Kat Perkins – 33 – Minnesota Kat Perkins has quite a diverse musical past. After playing a yodeling cow girl for five years on tour in a country review, she formed the rock band Scarlet Haze. The band experienced some success — including opening up for Bon Jovi, but ultimately disbanded after Kat and the drummer divorced. Now she’s a singing Nanny, but one with a lot more edge than Mary Poppins.
Kat sings Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman.” The Stevie Nicks-esque rasp in her voice earns spins from Adam, Shakira and Usher, and huge applause from the audience.
“I don’t know a lot about country, but what I do know is when I hear a great voice I gotta hit my button,” says Usher. “For us to win The Voice together would be incredible.”
“You’re a rock singer,” counters Adam. “The end of your performance. That note. That seared the entire audience.”
“You are amazing. I want you desperately,” says Shakira, following her plea with a list of her own achievements.
Kat goes with the kindred spirit of tattooed arms, and joins Team Adam.
Paula DeAnda – 24 – Texas During her short-lived career as a pop singer, Paula DeAnda has tasted both success and defeat. Prior to auditioning on The Voice, the 24-year-old experienced moderate regional success with her single “Doing Too Much,” after which she was signed by Clive Davis. Although this resulted in two albums (only one was released) and a gig opening on tour for Rihanna, she was ultimately dropped by her label.
No worries: The Voice welcomes newbies and fallen stars alike on its stage. For her second shot at success, Paula sings Ariana Grande’s “The Way.” Her polished performance wins the attention of both Blake and Shakira.
“I was enjoying your performance a lot, especially when you attempted to do those high notes with a falsetto voice,” says Shakira. “I’m convinced with my coaching you will improve 100%.”
“What I see in you is this ability to attack,” says Blake, adding, “I see a victory in your future.”
Despite Adam supporting fellow coach Shakira by calling Paula’s choice a “no brainer,” the pop singer opts for a track record of success and joins Team Blake.
Jake Barker – 28 – Florida Not to slander Jake Barker’s pants as on fire, but the YouTuber claims his Blind Audition is his first time — ever — performing on stage. Even buying the idea that NBC doesn’t pre-screen contestants with live casting calls, Jake’s performance is uber-polished for someone who — again — has never stepped foot on a stage. Even his laid back attitude when Usher, Adam and Shakira all turn for his performance of Bruno Mars‘ “When I was Your Man” betrays his claim of “stage fright.”
Putting contestant conspiracy theories aside for a moment, the coaches rave about Jake’s falsetto-heavy performance.
“It’s pretty astonishing that it’s your first time,” says Adam.
“I see you as one of the greatest voices on my team,” Usher tells him.
“These are alpha dogs, all of these guys,” says Shakira. “You can allow yourself to be vulnerable with me.”
“Do you want a mom or a mentor?” Usher retorts (Fight! Fight! Fight!).
Jake’s answer is mentor, and he joins Team Usher.
Ria Eaton – 19 – Massachusetts Wanting to make her mom proud, and to support her family in tough financial times, Ria Eaton has a lot at stake entering her Blind Audition. Ria sings the Pitch Perfect “Cups” version of the Carter Family‘s “When I’m Gone,” adding runs, falsetto and a lot of rasp. It’s very unique, if a bit all over the place, and both Shakira and Blake respond to it.
And then it gets a little weird.
Non-participating coaches Adam and Usher stand in support of Shakira. Only… their peanut gallery commentary, while entertaining, just distracts from her already meandering message.
“You’re like a pearl in an oyster, and if you pick me as your coach I’m going to take that shell, I’m going to pry it open, and I’m going to polish that pearl,” Shakira says. “We’re going to show the world what a joy you are.”
“Shakira is hungry for a victory! She’s starving! She’s a she-wolf!” Adam inserts, earning claps from Usher.
Ignoring the peanut gallery, Blake tells Ria, “I think you started singing better when it crossed your mind that, ‘this isn’t going to happen.’”
Whether it was the confusion of Shakira’s supporters, her Texas roots or a middle finger to peer pressure, Ria joins Team Blake. Fuming, Shakira yells at Usher and Adam.
Cierra Mickens – 23 – AlaskaCee Lo may have peaced out from The Voice, but his spirit certainly lives on in the contestants. Alaska singer Cierra Mickens sings Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy,” and although she has a rocky start, she goes on to hit some powerful notes during the performance. Shakira turns around early, followed by Blake and — at the last moment — Usher.
Done messing around with words, Shakira immediately walks to the stage to give Cierra a big hug. “I just want to tell you how much I believe in you,” she says sincerely.
“That’s a really hard song to sing,” says Blake. “Every time I thought I heard everything you were capable of doing, there was another level to get to.”
“I know the connection we’ll make will be so significant for your entire career,” Usher says.
Should have given her a hug, Ursh! With little debate, Cierra joins Team Shakira.
Alaska and Madi – Oklahoma As if to provide a lovely segue opportunity, The Voice goes from an Alaskan singer to singing duo Alaska and Madi. The country singers met at the Oklahoma Kids competition seven years ago, and have been BFF ever since. The pair, who describe themselves as “basically sisters,” only sound like the plot to a Disney sitcom.
Alaska and Madi sing The Civil Wars’ “Barton Hollow,” and their powerhouse harmonies earn spins from both Adam and Blake. You can see where this is going, right?
“When I hear you guys sing, the only thing I can compare it to is the Pistol Annies,” says Blake, just about causing Alaska or Madi to pass out from excitement. “I’m married to one of those.”
“Sometimes you have to go against the grain a little bit to get to a higher plateau,” Adam offers desperately. “You left Oklahoma. You’re in Los Angeles. That’s where I’m from!”
Once an Okie, always an Okie. The duo stick with fellow Oklahoma native, Blake.
Ddendyl – 25 – Washington, DC Born in a small town with a 3:1 cow-to-people ratio, lounge singer Ddendyl(no last name needed) now entertains small crowds in Washington, DC. Her bagpipe-toting father crushes viewers’ dreams when he doesn’t join her on stage for her audition, but his pipes probably would have drowned out Ddendyl’s ethereal, bluesy performance of Ben E. King’s ”Stand By Me,” anyway. She’s got a beautiful tone, and it’s a wonder that only Shakira presses her button.
“I loved the air in you voice, I loved the quality,” Shakira says. “Your voice was very different than any other voice that I’ve been listening to so far.”
Josh Kaufman – 38 – Indiana Closing out the night is father of three, Josh Kaufman. As a nod to this audition being the last chance he will give himself to succeed in music before pursuing a more stable career, he sings George Michael‘s “One More Try.” His voice is soulful, strong and steady, and impresses the coaches into the first #4chairs of the evening.
“George Michael’s a bad ass,” says Adam, perhaps the first to describe the dance-pop singer as such. “This is such a tough vocal to conquer. That was goosebumps.”
“You’re amazing. You’re awesome. You’re incredible,” says Blake.
“I’m a connoisseur of music… of many different genres, but the one that always stays connected to who I am as an artist is soul music,” says Usher. “You’ve gotta have somebody on your team who’s going to make sure you make the right decisions.”
“I would love to have an artist like you that is already so mature vocally, but just needs some nurturing and support,” says Shakira, adding “I think you’re the real deal.”
Josh feels a good vibe from Adam, joining his team. It’s a big win for Team Levine.
Untelevised The Blind Auditions didn’t quite give these singers their 15 minutes of fame, but they each got almost 15 seconds, so, close enough. Pop singer Tess Boyer is picked up by Usher, Adam picks up rocker Josh Murley and soul singer Austin Ellis, and Blake picks up country legacy Cali Tucker (niece of country musician Tanya Tucker).
44 down, 4 to go, as each coach ends the night with just one slot left to fill. Check out how the teams round out when The Blind Auditions conclude tonight!
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