Team Miley makes “herstory” with The Voice’s first all-female team going into the battles.
Miley Cyrus became the first coach on The Voice to go into the battles with an all-female team. As she puts it, she made “herstory” on the reality singing competition. Team Miley and Team Jennifer look the strongest so far going into the battles. The Voice’s Nashville diva has a strong team of edgy, unique artists who stand out in the top 48. Team Jennifer, on the other hand, boasts powerful singers full of personality and technical prowess. Still, they might have dark horses up their sleeves. Blake and Adam’s teams look pretty conventional given their past histories on the show. Blake welcomed in mostly country artists while Adam picked up mainly pop-rock artists. Keep reading to see which contestants made the cut this week!
Miley’s team is coming in like a wrecking ball this season. I’m still not over how unique Team Miley is. Her team encompasses a wide range of genres, everything from indie to country. In the last week of blind auditions, a few more talented chanteuses joined her team, each one with an old-soul, beat-to-the-march-of-her-own-drum vibe.
Chloe Kohanski: “The Chain”
From the start, this girl was meant to be Team Miley, owning a personal sense of style and a rock-and-roll grittiness. Chloe Kohanski is a young psychedelic rock singer from Nashville. Singing a well-loved Fleetwood Mac classic, she possessed a strong lower register and an addictive raspiness. When she reached the end of the song, her voice shredded.
Ilianna Viramontes: “New Soul”
Iliana is the daughter of an FBI agent with a side passion for gymnastics. She came out with a cutesy, bubbly cover of Yael Naim’s indie tune “New Soul.” Her voice has a nice Amy Winehouse tone to it, and her gave reminds me a little of Season 9’s precocious singer-songwriter Madi Davis. She does have a pretty voice, but Team Miley is fairly unique, so I think her chances of survival in the competition will depend on song choice. I’d like to hear her do a more somber, introspective song.
Megan Rose: “Ode to Billie Joe”
This spunky SF native is a country girl at heart. She has a tragic backstory: Her father has MS and can no longer play music but takes joy in hearing his daughter sing. Megan has a pleasant vibrato and a strong, controlled voice that emoted beautifully in this Bobbie Gentry song. She was the last contestant to join Team Miley and helped her coach make “herstory.”
Montaged: Katrina Rose singing “Kozmic Blues”
Ol’ Red isn’t messing around this season. Blake’s team is country through and through, save for a few pop artists here and there. No particular country artist on Blake’s team stands out to me at the moment, especially now that Miley’s pulling out all her country stops. But I wouldn’t worry for Blake. At least one country contestant on his team usually makes it into the finale.
Dennis Drummond: “She Talks to Angels”
Hailing from a family of steel mill workers in Ohio, Dennis has some connections in Nashville with Season 10’s winner Adam Wakefield. Growls came out of this blues singer naturally and his performance exuded an understated grittiness. Jennifer and Miley made good points about the drawbacks of his performance, particularly on his lack of dynamics and control. Blake’s country storytelling charmed this 6’8’’ blues singer onto his team. Still, he might have the acoustic songwriter charm of past contestants like Taylor John Williams and Joshua Davis.
Kristi Hoopes: “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love”
This fresh-faced 19-year-old came in rocking a floppy hat and a powerhouse voice full of twang. She likens herself to a country hippie chick, exuding a laid-back seventies vibe. Her performance of this Trisha Yearwood classic was fun and full of sass. Even with Miley’s support for Adam, this country chick was Team Blake from the beginning.
“In my gut, my heart, and my soul, I need to pick Blake,” the young contestant explained.
Rebecca Brunner: “Believer”
In the very last second, Blake Shelton scooped up this bubbly Michigan native who nannies by day and gigs by night. “Believer” is no easy song, and Rebecca mostly did this song justice. She had some breathing issues at the beginning of the song but picked up in the middle with a raspy and rich tone. I’m interested in seeing future song choices for her because it could definitely affect her chance on the show.
Montaged: Natalie Stovall singing “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” and Ryan Scripps singing “Body Like a Back Road”
J-Hud got herself a few more soulful pop artists in the final week of blind auditions. I suspect that they’re going to get some solid coaching from her since she not only won The Voice UK, but also survived a reality singing competition (American Idol) herself. My favorite contestant on her team this week was Meagan McNeal, who performed a sultry cover of “Can’t Feel My Face.”
Ignatious Carmouche: “Latch”
Ignatious was recently crowned The Voice‘s Snapchat winner on Adam’s team, which meant he got a chance to meet Adam Levine and get a spot in the blind auditions. Adam did not turn around for him. Awkward much? Adam did have some words for the soul singer: Go with Jennifer Hudson. Ignatious came in with a tender and beautiful (although maybe a little too verbatim) rendition of Disclosure and Sam Smith’s “Latch.” He has a gorgeous falsetto, very similar to Sam Smith’s.
“You almost sound like a saxophone with words,” Jennifer praised.
Meagan McNeal: “Can’t Feel My Face”
I’m surprised this jazzy, velvety rendition of The Weeknd’s radio bop only got one chair while there were three chair turns for performances that were less impressive. Meagan is a single mother from Chicago who gigs. She has a totally adorable retro vibe that’s complete with cat eye frames and all. She really went for the money notes and executed them cleanly and beautifully. Anyway, she secured a spot on Team Jennifer, who is the right coach for her in the end.
Jeremiah Miller: “Slow Hands”
This teen comes from a background of wrestling and worship singing. His take on Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands” felt energetic and it reminded me a little of Nick Jonas’ vaguely angsty, raw tone. He has a tween heartthrob package going on for him, but I’m not sure if his voice stands out enough for me.
Adam Levine picked up some more pop artists this week, including two of the week’s most hyped contestants: Whitney Fenimore and Jon Mero. Team Adam might be flying under my radar at the moment. Maybe next week’s battles will change my mind.
Brandon Brown: “Georgia on My Mind”
This shy violin teacher from the Bronx gave a rich, soulful rendition of a Ray Charles classic (originally written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell). It was smoky and full of emotion, but also understated and subtle. I almost suspected that he would pick J-Hud (who rolled out all of the stops and even making fun of her fellow coaches). I’m glad he picked Adam, whose laidback honesty and criticism can help Brandon grow.
Whitney Fenimore: “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
This Americana singer gets bonus points for this clever and folksy rendition of one of Drake’s biggest bangers. She has a voice that’s both airy and rounded. It’s almost country, but not quite. I dig her creative vibe, and I’m looking forward to hearing more of her “flips” on current music. I feel like she might have the potential to go really far in the competition. She reminds me of Season 9’s emotional singer-songwriter Amy Vachal and Season 10’s powerhouse sweetheart Alisan Porter.
Jon Mero: “Versace On The Floor”
No one can make this song sound as sexy as Bruno Mars does. But this four-chair turn came close. His endless reservoir of energy reminds me a little bit of last season’s winner, Chris Blue. Coming from a corporate singing background, he sounds polished and professional. He oscillated between high and low notes effortlessly.
Michael Kight: “Sugar”
If you haven’t already guessed, Michael Kight is a Maroon 5 fanboy. It’s a ballsy move to sing a coach’s song. After a few years in Nashville, this soulful singer decided to show off his talent on the big stage at The Voice. He sang the Maroon 5 radio hit “Sugar” in a jazzy, stripped down minimalist arrangement. He navigated the song with an impressive falsetto, reeling in Adam when he hit a high note in the chorus.
Gary Carpentier: “Home”
This gigging music man closed the blind auditions with a buttery smooth cover of Michael Buble’s tearjerker. He freaked out when Adam Levine turned around and lost a little bit of his control towards the end of the song. He has a pleasant, clean voice, but I’m not sure if it stands out enough on Adam’s team.
The Top 48 contestants of Season 13 are now revealed. This season has an inordinate line-up of edgy, old-soul female singers, a pleasant surprise given past seasons’ emphasis on pure pop vocalists. Although they’re new to the game, Miley and Jennifer might just power their way into the finale this season with the unique vocalists on their teams.