Night 2 of auditions as The Voice kicks off Season 5
After an opening night that featured two Pennsylvania singers, The Voice will introduce us to another batch of contestants tonight.
Jacquie Lee, 16, Colts Neck, N.J.
Background: Jacquie tells us she comes from a big, loud Italian family that eats a lot, but isn’t musical at all. But she started singing at 11, and now loves singing for special events and charities. She’s a junior in high school, also into sports, but says music is her first love. Music, she says, is what she wants to do with the rest of her life.
Song: “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse
The performance: Jacquie certainly sounded older than 16 during that performance. Loved the little growl she added on the second verse. And the determination she showed as the song progressed and the judges were slow to turn their chairs. On Facebook, Jacqui describes her genre as folk-soul and says she planned to release a debut EP this year. Grade: B-
The chairs: Near the end of the performance, Blake and Christina turned around.
Judges’ reaction: Christina says Jacquie would “be blind” to go with Blake as her coach. Blake says he specializes in helping 16-year-olds win the show. Christina thinks Jacquie has a “young, spunky sound.”
Her choice: Jacquie picks Christina as her coach, noting she’s a soul singer. Jacqui says she considers herself very soulful.
Barry Black, 27, Aua, American Samoa
Background: He calls growing up in American Samoa growing up in paradise. At age 5, his family moved to the U.S. His father worked in hotels, and he started working for him before deciding to pursue his love of music. He has since moved to Vegas where he performs every chance he gets. He’s hoping to prove to his family he made the right decision in doing music.
Song: “What You Won’t Do for Love”
The performance: He starts the song making noises that sound like a horn, then launches into a perfectly competent version of the song. That said, the horn sound trick will work once. After that, it’s all up to Barry’s vocals. Barry released a single called “Fever” earlier this year. Grade: C+
The chairs: Adam turns around very early in the performance. He’s quickly joined by Blake.
Judges’ reaction: Adam says he turned around to find out what the heck was going on with the noises coming from the stage. Blake says he turned around because of Barry’s artistry. Adam says Barry is “quirky, and I like quirky.”
His choice: Barry chooses Adam. “It was always Adam,” he says. “He’s a creative guy, and so am I.”
Mike Unser, 19, Pleasant Hill, Ohio
Background: Mike describes his music as alternative rock and pop-punk. “Rock and roll is all about being misunderstood and I can roll with that,” Mike says. Mike says he was unfair to his mom and his stepdad when they first got together. He now wants to play music for a positive reason. It sounds like he’s been in a Christian rock band, but says he doesn’t want to do just Christian music.
Song: “Dirty Little Secret” by the All-American Rejects
The performance: Perhaps it’s nerves, but Mike is hitting a bunch of bum notes, though he’s delivering a high energy performance and tossed in a couple of well-intentioned glory notes. Grade: C-
The chairs: None of the judges turned around.
Judges’ reaction: Adam says there was nothing wrong with the performance and encourages him to “keep swinging.” Christina compliments his “cool personality.”
Destinee Quinn, 20, Surprise, Ariz.
Background: She says she’s a working musician and feels fortunate to be able to make that her job. She says she plays “anywhere and everywhere, including a biker bar.” She’s a country singer, but says she somethings has to pull out all these different genres to get the biker bar crowd interested. She tells Carson Daly she got interested in music at age 13.
The song: “Cowboy Take Me Away” by The Dixie Chicks.
The performance: She reminds me a little of Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope and shows off an ability to hit the big notes, complete with a nice country twang. The way the voting has gone the last two years, I won’t underestimate any country singers. Grade: B-
The chairs: She gets Christina to turn around in a heartbeat. Cee Lo turns around later in the performance. The country judge, Blake, did not spin.
Judges’ reaction: Cee Lo says he’s “basking in the image of such beauty,” and says he was sold by a beautiful note near the end. Christina praises her voice and says she “loved what she heard.”
Her choice: Destinee, the country singer, joins Team Christina.
Cole Vosbury, 22, Shreveport, La.
Background: Cole says his dad plays music and tried to keep him from pursuing it. Cole’s will won out. Turns out Cole’s grandmother was also a musician, who toured with Elvis Presley and the likes. He says he wants to take his family’s local legacy worldwide.
Song: “Movin’ on Up,” yep, the theme song from the Jeffersons TV show.
The performance: Love the song choice. The guy’s not afraid to be different. He has a cool vibe, too. And a pretty distinctive voice. Actually, that was probably my favorite audition so far tonight. Grade: B
The chairs: Cee Lo turns early in the performance, but winds up being the only coach to do so.
Judge’s reaction: Cee Lo calls him the perfect combination of country and soul and says anyone who would pick that song to audition with “has to be a bad ass,” solidifying his decision to spin his chair. He also compliments Cole for getting the fans off their feet.
Contestant’s choice: No choice to make, but Cole wins a spot on the show. Adam says he feels like he “missed the boat” for not vying for Cole’s services.
Holly Henry, 19, Minneapolis, Minn.
Background: Holly says her mother is an art teacher and her dad is a musician. After high school, she went to the University of Minnesota, but says she couldn’t afford it, so she now works at a pancake house. She says she plays the banjo, ukulele, guitar and piano, and writes music, but does it mostly for herself. She says she doesn’t perform for anyone and that it was her parents’ idea that she audition for The Voice.
Song: “The Scientist” by Coldplay
The performance: Holly has a distinctive voice, and shows a good deal of range with that voice when she hits the chorus. That was a very nice, controlled performance, one of the best we’ve heard so far tonight. Grade: B+
The chairs: Blake turns in a heartbeat. Cee Lo and Adam spin when her voice soars with the chorus. Christina joins at the end, making it a four-chair turn-around.
Judges’ reaction: Cee Lo compliments her on a “wonderful voice.” Adam says he was impressed because her voice didn’t stay small as the performance progressed. Christina compliments her on a “soft, silky tone.” And Blake says she has “star quality.”
Her choice; Holly, overcome with tears by the thrill of winning a spot on the show, picks Blake. He turned around first and seemed to know what he wanted, she notes.
Sammy C., 16, Newport Beach, Calif.
Background: He’s a hip-hop artist, who says he had a disease at a young age that caused him to lose his hair. He says music has always helped all his troubles go away. And he’s hoping to turn just one chair on The Voice.
Song: “Where is the Love?”
Performance: He’s going to deliver a hip-hop performance. But the rap intro was much better than the singing that followed. That said, let’s remember he’s just 16.
The chairs: None of the judges turn.
Judges’ reaction: Cee Lo compliments his energy and his attitude. Blake says he was close to spinning his chair.
Austin Jenckes, 25, Duvall, Wash.
Background: Austin says his dad taught him to play guitar and he wanted to emulate him. He doesn’t make enough money doing music to do it full time, so he has a side job leading scooter tours. Austin’s dad wound up committing suicide, and Austin says he can get lots of his feelings out through his music. Austin says he wants to make his dad proud, and plans to play the guitar his dad taught him to play. Not only that, but he plans to sing a song he ends each of his shows with.
Song: “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Performance: Austin has a nice rasp to his voice, and after a subtle opening, lets that voice soar. Austin brings a bit of knowledge of a glory note to The Voice stage, judging from that ending. Grade: B
The chairs: Cee Lo spins at the first big note. Blake spins at the final soaring note.
Judges reaction: Blake says Austin looks like the guy he hoped he’d find when he spun his chair. Cee Lo says he sounded “comfortable and confident.” After that ending, he asks if Austin’s middle name is “Powers.”
His choice: Austin decides to join Team Blake.
E.G. Daily, 51, Hollywood, Calif.
Background: Here comes one of the best-known contestants on The Voice. E.G. has done lots of voice work on cartoons and she’s also released a good deal of music, starting off with pop and even releasing a country single back in 2010. A mom, E.G. says she wants to show her children that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.
Song: “Breathe,” Faith Hill
Performance: E.G. shows off an earthy, raspy quality to her voice. She certainly sings with passion. With three full-length albums and a bunch of singles to her credit, I’m wondering about her participation on The Voice. Grade: C+
The chairs: Cee Lo and Blake both spin their chairs.
Judge’s reaction: It takes a long time for the judges to recognize E.G. Blake says she can do things with her voice that are impossible, calling her a great vocalist.
Her choice: E.G. picks Team Blake. She says she wants to be on The Voice for her singing, loves country music and thinks Blake’s interest was in her voice.
Jonny Gray, 29 Austin, Texas
Background: Jonny says he’s a full-time musician, but would love to take his music to a grander scale. He says he’s into rock and roll, was taught to perform by his uncle around age 10. He also served a stint in the military starting when he was 18. Any time he feels stressed out in his life, he says, he picks up his guitar. Jonny also tells us he’s hoping to join Team Adam.
Song: “All These Things that I’ve Done” by The Killers.
Performance: Jonny opens the song with one of the best voices we’ve heard in two nights. And he’s quite the showman, too, trying to draw the crowd into his performance. Hey, I really liked that performance. One of my favorites from night two, easily. Grade: B+
The chairs: Cee Lo and Adam spin midway through the performance, but they aren’t joined by Christina or Blake.
Judges’ reaction: Cee Lo says he appreciates the quality in Jonny’s voice and hears Stevie Nicks and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam in his voice. He says he thinks he and Jonny could have a soul connection. Adam compliments Jonny’s performance for being “so different.” Christina indicates she might be interested in a steal later in the competition.
His choice: Despite the fact that he said he was hoping Adam would turn around before the performance, Jonny picks Cee Lo. Jonny says a Pearl Jam reference and the fact that he thinks Cee Lo knows his voice made him change his mind.
Tessanne Chin, 28, Kingston, Jamaica
Background: She says she grew up in a multi-racial home with parents who loved and played music. Her early influences were in reggae, but she also enjoyed rock and roll. She performed for a while as a background singer with a reggae legend, but also says she needs to learn how to be an international artist. So she’s shying away from reggae for her audition. Tessanne released an album back in 2010.
Song: “Try” by Pink.
Performance: Great pick for an audition song, and Tessanne’s voice soars on the chorus. She also sings with lots of passion. No reggae, no problem. And she made some subtle little changes in the song to make it her own, which was also refreshing. Toss in a big glory note, and you have the night’s best audition. Grade: A-
The chairs: Cee Lo, Adam and Christina spin their chairs at the end of the second line. As soon as Tessanne launched into the chorus, Blake joined them.
Judges’ reaction: Adam says she “could easily” win The Voice. Blake says it’s not actually that easy, but that she’s well ahead of the pack. Cee Lo compliments her on singing like a grown woman. Christina says she likes her “kind, warm sense.”
Her choice: She chooses Team Adam.