‘The Voice’: Songwriter Courtney Harrell Covers James Bay As Blind Auditions End
The Blind Auditions are just the sweetest, friendliest part of The Voice – maybe of the entire reality competition genre. Coaches Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton spend most of their time in a compliments battle to win the hearts of contestants, and the remaining moments explaining to the few that don’t make it how they truly regret not pressing their button. It’s like a warm hug!
All hugs must come to an end, though. With the Blind Auditions love fest wrapping up last night (October 3), the cold, heartless Battle Round dismissal section of the show (aka the best part!) will send oh-so-many of these praised contestants back to their day jobs. So enjoy the last dribs of the power of positive thinking!
Whitney & Shannon, 25 and 23 — Texas
Sisters Whitney and Shannon live three hours apart and haven’t performed together in over a year prior to their audition. Nonetheless, this country duo – the only duo of season 11 – is in perfect harmony during their performance of the Dixie Chicks‘ rendition of “Landslide.” The pair earn a four-chair turn.
“Hearing how beautifully you guys are harmonizing, you can’t teach something like that,” says Adam. “You blew my mind.”
“You guys sound so country. You just drew me in,” says Blake. “It’s that thing you can only have, I truly believe, with siblings,” he adds, then name dropping his finalists The Swon Brothers of season four fame.
“There is no box for you of where you’re going to fit in. You’re everywhere,” says Alicia. “The world needs the two of you.”
“I really love listening to your harmonies because there is this almost psychic connection,” says Miley. “I would just love to help you find more creative harmonies.”
Despite entering the competition leaning toward Team Blake, Whitney and Shannon pick Alicia as their coach.
Johnny Rez, 25 – Florida
Huh. You just never know who’s going to get a turn these days. Despite turning away some powerhouse contestants over the past couple of weeks, both Blake and Adam turn around for Johnny Rez, whose performance of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls is nasal, goat-like, and low energy.
“I think there was one falsetto thing that you need a little bit of refinement on. I’m like Captain Falsetto,” says Adam, creating the least intimidating super hero alter ego ever. “You have a really rich, emotional tone.”
“I love IT guys that are very musical,” says Blake, weakly. Before quoting Dumb and Dumber with, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance.”
No, no there is not a chance. Johnny joins Team Adam.
Maye Thomas, 27 – Oklahoma
The craziest thing happens during Maye Thomas’ Blind Audition: Maye’s dad, a radio DJ in Oklahoma, tells Carson Daly how he happily promotes local act The Swon Brothers. Yes, that’s right: The Swon Brothers received not one, but two national television mentions in one night. Back to Maye, though, the indie pop artist sings “Roses” by The Chainsmokers, and gets turns from Adam and, the moment a lyric mentions weed, Miley.
Despite knowing Maye is destined to go to Miley, Adam gives some friendly advice: “Sometimes when you held out that note, it was a little bit flat.”
“I would love to hear you do a song that doesn’t sound so current, because sometimes I think it’s distracting,” says Miley. “We’re going to make you the gothic Dolly Parton.”
With zero hesitation, Maye joins Team Miley.
Courtney Harrell, 36 – California
Professional songwriter Courtney Harrell has written for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland, but hasn’t performed publicly in over 15 years. Though her nerves do come out a bit toward the beginning of her performance of James Bay’s “Let it Go,” her sweet tone and powerful vocals later in the performance more than make up for it. Once she really starts belting, both Blake and Alicia turn around.
“I just heard a brilliant voice,” says Blake. “I have mad respect for your voice. I can’t even believe how good that performance was.”
“This feeling that you gave me is like a very emotional feeling and now just knowing a tiny taste of your story and what a dedicated beautiful loving woman that you are,” says Alicia.
Courtney picks Blake and hell freezes over.
Kylie Rothfield, 23 – California
After spending two years at Berkleee College of Music, Kylie Rothfield toured throughout the United States and parts of Europe. Her burgeoning music career was cut short, however, after suffering a vocal hemorrhage onstage. Just now getting her voice back, Kylie takes the stage to perform OneRepublic’s “Wherever I Go.” Her soulful, bluesy take on the song gets turns from Blake and Alicia.
“There was never a moment that you didn’t have me,” says Blake. “I’m somebody that’s been through it, will be a rock for you during this thing, and I can’t wait to get in there and start working with you.”
“You are so completely yourself and phenomenal and in your zone,” says Alicia, fighting for Kylie to be the last member of her team. “I’d love t help you continue to develop your package. I’d love to close out big with Kylie on my team.”
Alicia gets her wish, and closes out her team with Kylie.
Natasha Bure, 17 – California
Let’s all remember to judge this next contestant for her voice, and not for her celebrity(ish) parent. Indie singer Natasha Bure’s mom is Candace Cameron-Bure of Full House, Dancing With the Stars and supporting Chick-Fil-A when they supported the Defense of Marriage Act fame. But back to her voice!
Natasha gives tricky inflections and runs to Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” which earns Adam’s attention. Her pitch gets shaky after she gets a turn, but her unique voice carries through.
“I heard this self-assured girl singing really well, and it was really pretty,” says Adam. “There was something there that was really different and really special.”
Blaine Long, 40 – Arizona
Adoptive father Blaine Long prides himself on being not just a singer, but also a songwriter. Though covers are outside of his comfort zone, he nails a performance of John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me,” and Blake, Adam and Miley – the only coaches with slots left – all turn around.
“I would love to hear what you’re writing, and I would love to be your coach,” says Miley.
“I’m a Nashville guy and that’s basically what Nashville is: a songwriter’s community,” says Blake. “I appreciate guys like you that put in that kind of work.”
“You did this little riff that was so spectacular: that’s what made me press,” says Adam. “We all have one slot on our team. If it were to be you, that would be the fairytale ending.”
There is no happily ever after for Adam on this go around, as Blaine takes the last slot on team Blake.
Ponciano Seoane, 25 – Texas
The multi-talented Ponciano Seoane grew up playing saxophone, but transitioned over to the guitar so he could use his mouth for singing. Smart move, because his raspy, rich performance of “Home” by Phillip Phillips earns the attention of Adam and Miley.
“You feel everything you’re singing,” says Adam. “I just hope that everyone on this show leaves a better, stronger, even more developed version of who they want to be.”
“We can totally hone in and be totally focused,” says Miley.
Ponciano joins Team Adam.
Josette Diaz, 17 – New Jersey
Closing out the Blind Auditions is Josette Diaz, who has significantly lower odds with only one slot left on any team. Nevertheless, she keeps her cool during an acoustic performance of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” and it pays off when Miley turns around at the very end. Miley points out that everyone would have pushed if they had the slots, and cheerfully declares, “My team is finally full!”
Un-televised:Why make time for contestants when you can instead make time for coach banter and recap shows? In montage form, pop singer Tarra Lane joins Team Blake, country singer Charity Bowden joins Team Miley, R&B artist Jsoul joins Team Adam and indie artist Belle Jewel joins Team Alicia.
The Battle Round begins on Monday (October 10), with a whole new rotation of advisors in to help out. Sammy Hagar will work with Team Adam, Charlie Puth will help Team Alicia, Joan Jett rocks out with Team Miley and Bette Midler brings her signature sass to Team Blake.
Best yet: several hearts will be broken. Get excited!