11 Best and Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions Week 2 (Guest Blog)

A Season 2 semifinalist, I blog about the NBC competition for TheWrap

It's Week 2 of the blind auditions, and there's a lot of ground to cover. Now let's hunker down by the fireside and talk my favorite (and least favorite) moments from this week's “The Voice” on NBC.

1. Weird and wonderful
Sam Behymer is the adorable singing nanny of two boys and refers to herself as their personal Mary Poppins. All signs pointed to quirky, and her version of “Royals” didn't disappoint. While it was a touch affected with hints of Zooey Deschanel, it was also wild enough to win me over – with unexpected shifts and random squeaks that somehow worked for the song. Coach Adam Levine called it “weird and wonderful” and wisely nabbed her for his team (because he has never met a quirky singer he didn't like).

2. Favorite of the week
This would have to go to Sisaundra Lewis. The 44-year-old mother of three's “Ain't No Way” was sublime – the right amount of grit, range, joy and tribulation. THAT is the voice of someone who has lived, and her audition was (for me) what this show is about in its best moments – giving amazing singers a chance at center stage who wouldn't otherwise be deemed marketable by traditional industry standards. I was surprised it took four chairs so long to turn and further shocked by Adam and Usher's backhanded praise (which drove her straight into the loving arms of Coach Blake Shelton). Really, you guys? She has room for improvement? Well, you're both acting like that withholding frenemy who refuses to compliment their BFF on a new outfit — and it's not a good look for you.

Watch Lewis's performance again above.

Also read: 10 Best & Worst Moments From ‘The Voice’ Blind Auditions Week 1 (Guest Blog)

3. Vintage soul done right
Sam Cooke is my jam, and DeShawn Washington's “Twistin’ the Night Away” was fantastic (making it mind-boggling that he had only one chair turn). Go Coach Shakira for getting it (and him).

4. This is war
The '90's are alive and well on “The Voice” stage thanks to Clarissa Serna's rendition of “Zombie.” I usually have a visceral, negative reaction to this song, but Clarissa made it her own – giving it more energy, range and grit than the original and garnering four chair turns. Shakira won her over to her team with a convoluted analogy about war and Hannibal versus Alexander the Great and tacticians versus strategists, and, oh God let's move on, because I can't.

5. Gargling with broken glass and other vocal tips
Patrick Thomson's gritty rendition of “Can't You See” was spirited and a little reminiscent of last season's Cole Vosbury, resulting in two chair turns via the dynamic duo Shevine. Blake complimented him on his pre-performance routine of gargling with broken glass (ouch!), and Adam promised he would never ask him to do that. Despite wearing plaid, Patrick went with Team Adam.

Also read: Ratings: ‘The Voice,’ ‘Blacklist’ Returns Deliver Strong Monday for NBC

6. Montage madness
Here we go again with the montages. I know the show wants to fly through these blinds, but I can't imagine how frustrating it is to make a team and not even see your audition air. It's a disservice to viewers and contestants. NO ONE likes it, and I wish “The Voice” would take note.

7. Don't judge a book by its cover
Stevie Jo's ponytail screamed alternative rock, but his voice screamed “Usher!” during his assured and soulful take on Coach Usher's own “There Goes My Baby.” Stevie was the biggest surprise for me this week – another pleasant reminder that you can't judge a book by its ponytail. The other coaches gave up and let Usher have him, because – Usher.

8. Let your foot do the talking
The Brothers Walker are a duo with a twist, because they're TWINS with similar facial hair and tons of dry charm. Their “Keep Me in Mind” was strong, with solid harmonies and great individual voices (extra points for not wearing matching clothing!). Usher was so moved he pushed his button with his foot, exerting the bare minimum of energy required to get them on his team.

Also read: 5 Things to Expect on ‘The Voice’ Premere: Plus, Watch the Coaches Sing Each Other's Hits (Video)

9. '80's rockers unite
We were visited by the best of the '80's in two different ways this week. First, Ryan Whyte Maloney served us some delicious '80's Corporate Rock by singing Journey's “Lights,” earning him a well-deserved spot on Team Blake. Then Nashvillian Meagan Ruger channeled '80's Rock via 2002's P!nk (“Just Like a Pill”), giving an energetic performance that also landed her on Team Blake.

10. You have soul. I have a soul.
Emily B.'s “Wicked Game” was my favorite song choice this week. The new mother (who previously had a harrowing encounter with life-changing brain surgery) was luminous onstage, giving us a slow burner of a performance that culminated in some dramatic notes and inspired three chair turns. While Blake had the most convincing argument (“You have soul; I have a soul!”), Emily chose the more nurturing (and convincing) Shakira.

11. Baby you're a firework
Audra McLaughlin rounded out the week with a scorching performance of “Angel from Montgomery” that was both silky smooth and wonderfully gritty. While all four coaches fought hard for her, Blake's play of the Miranda Lambert card and vivid description of the Team Blake fireworks he was seeing won her to his side. Note: Maybe those “fireworks” were a result of whatever was in Blake's cup? Just a thought.

Also read: Insider: CeeLo Green Quit ‘The Voice’ to Avoid Being Fired (Exclusive)

Don't forget to check out my new album “In & Out of the Dark,” which is available on iTunes NOW. For more updates, follow me on Twitter at @katrinapmusic and visit my website,www.katrinaparker.com.

“The Voice” airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.

  • Diane

    No more montages!!! It's so frustrating not to be able to see full performances of all of the contestants.

    • Katrina Parker

      Agree! Let's be done with the montages!

  • Amy

    I loved Sisaundra Lewis too!

    • Katrina Parker

      I'm rooting for her!

  • David Perkins

    I, too, am mystified by the montages. This week, the show chose not to air the full performances of six artists who managed to turn chairs. Instead, they devoted precious air time to lengthy back stories and full performances of three artists who didn't turn a single chair. It makes one wonder why. Is it because the Blind Auditions are aired after the Battle and Knockout Rounds have been taped? If the producers and editors already know that the six artists in the montages are doomed, it could be their reason for slighting them in a montage. Do we know The Voice's taping schedule? Are the Battle and Knockout Rounds complete BEFORE the Blinds are aired?

    As for the talent in week two of the blinds, we saw the performances of 13 artists who turned chairs (not including the six montages). They're all talented people, but I wasn't particularly moved by any of them in the way I was by artists in week one. My favorite was Sam Behymer. I agree the nanny's performance was certainly quirky, but it was also a bit shaky. Let's hope Adam can help calm her down. My relative indifference to this weeks artists was mirrored by viewer reaction. Only two of this weeks chair-turners made the iTunes Top 200 Singles chart — Clarissa Serna's ‘Zombie’ at #86 and Morgan Wallen's ‘Collide’ at #184. That's kinda ho-hum in comparison to the five artists who made the chart after their week one performances.

    • wat

      I'm pretty sure the Battles/Knockouts are aired long before the Blinds air and the contestants have a few months in between before the Live shows begin.

      But I don't like the montages either. Either they're a spoiler that those particular contestants with less coverage will fall during the Battles or Knockouts, or it's a completely disrespectful slight to them if actually made it through.

      • Elle Kay

        Blinds were back in October and the battles/KO's were in the early part of February.

        • wat

          I thought they were filmed in October too until I heard Adam mention he won Season 5 more than once during the Blinds. Now I have no clue when they were filmed.

        • Katrina Parker

          That sounds about right!

    • Katrina Parker

      It is disconcerting that they spend so much time on artists with no chair turns and then montage people who actually make teams…I imagine it's because it's a TV show first and a competition second. They need auditions where the coach reactions and contestant responses are entertaining. They also need to focus on some people who don't make it (maintaining an element of surprise), so there's an arc of some kind.

      Just because I get it doesn't mean I approve though (I remember the pre-blind audition process being long, hard and stressful, If they opted not to air my audition, it would have been kinda heartbreaking).

      & yes, they do air blinds after the battles have been filmed. I remember our battle being in a November and the blinds airing the following February (and I'd hate to think it factors in, but who knows – I HOPE not).

      • David Perkins

        And, because it's a TV show, they've got to give viewers the opportunity to complain that “those coaches really missed out by not turning their chairs for so and so. What were they thinking?” (Maintaining an element of controversy.)

        • Katrina Parker

          Exactly!

  • wat

    My favorite of the week is Stevie Jo. Something tells me he has great hidden potential.

    Otherwise I still don't have a clear favorite. :( I do like most of Team Usher so for now I'm siding with him as a coach. I can't wait for the battles to begin. There will be some interesting match-ups for sure. I'm especially looking forward to the battles with Grimmie, Delvin, Biff, and Sisaundra personally.

    Also Sisaundra's journey with Blake sure will be interesting lol

    • Katrina Parker

      Stevie Jo was EXCELLENT. He's quite possibly my favorite male voice so far.

      Biff was a hoot. A battle with Biff can only be entertaining. :)

      • wat

        Haha agreed. I love when guys have soft voices and falsettos like Usher.

  • hhs

    I know this was last week but dis anyone really like Bria Kelly?

    • Katrina Parker

      I thought she was really great, but she's not my usual cup of tea (and I always worry about young singers who already have raspy voices and then further push their voices to be more raspy – I have an instinct to pour them a cup of throat coat & give them my vocal steamer, because that can shred your voice long term).

      • Guest

        I agree. Not a fan of female rasp.

        • Katrina Parker

          Oh, I love rasp! I've got it myself – I just worry when it sounds like someone is shredding their voice a bit. :)

  • hhs

    Sisaundra Lewis reminded me SO MUCH of tessanne chin

    • wat

      How? Their styles are not even /sorta/ similar and they look nor act anything alike lol

    • Elle Kay

      Only superficially because of them having Celin Dion in common. Adam had to twist Tessanne's arm to get her to do the classic R&B songs she did on the show. Sisaundra is a great singer, but I don't expect any reggae breakdowns from her.

      • wat

        Exactly. Tessanne is more geared to reggae/rock/pop. She only did a few R&B ballads because Adam insisted and told her to trust him. It paid off for her big time, though. And it suited her well. Then again, what didn't? She jumped in and out of genres flawlessly.

      • Katrina Parker

        Haaa, I agree that we won't be seeing any reggae breakdowns from Sisaundra. Good point. :)

    • Katrina Parker

      She didn't remind me directly of Tessanne, but I definitely had a strong reaction to her performance. I loved her voice, her story and can't help but root for the underdogs (and anyone on this show over a certain age always invariably becomes the underdog – no matter how sensational they may be).

  • David Perkins

    After Clarissa Serna's performance, Shakira's references to Hannibal and Alexander the Great (and to tactics versus strategy) were almost entirely jaw-dropping. Comments like these are not what one expects from a coach on The Voice. Clearly, Shakira hails from an alternative universe in which real history and reality TV are somehow connected. Wow! No need to look for Cee Lo's replacement. She's already living among us.

    • wat

      I don't see her taking a full time job, though.