We’re just an hour away from a complete Season 4 roster for The Voice.
Each coach needs just one more artist for his or her team, and I’d be surprised if the show didn’t save some of its best talent for last.
Then it’s on to the battle rounds next week, where members of each team will square off against one another in The Voice’s version of the boxing ring, with the loser heading home and the winner advancing.
Before we wrap up the blind auditions, some great news for The Voice.
Its ratings were up last night, showing viewers out there like the quartet of Shakira, Usher, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton every bit as much as I do.
About 13.7 million people tuned in Monday night, giving the show its best Season 4 night yet, even though it was up against the NCAA men’s basketball finals.
And let the auditions begin …
Jacqui Sandell, 24, Oakland, N.J: This young lady is a former classical dance student who once danced for the Russian ambassador. She sang along the way, and now sings in a band. “From tutus to tattoos,” Jacqui says. “That would be my autobiography.” Now she’s thinking of a solo career to show she’s not just “a screaming chick in a garage band.” She launches into a cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Dreams” and gets Blake and Usher to turn around in a heartbeat. Usher says there are things he’d like to improve, but he’s glad he turned around. Blake calls her voice “sneaky” and her sound “sexy.” And Jacqui becomes the final member of Team Blake. Grade: B–
Mark Lennon, 49, Venice, Calif.: This guy joined his brother’s band, Venice, in high school and apparently is still in this group. Turns out Carson Daly was a fan of Venice back in the day. “For some reason, it never really happened for us,” Mark says. At age 49, he calls the blind audition process “genius.” His audition song: “Come Together.” No doubting Mark is a seasoned performer. He works the stage with ease. But until that final note, the song offered no moments. And no chairs turned around for the lead singer of Venice. “You sound 19,” Adam says. Grade: C
Dustin Hatzenbuhler, 24, Minneapolis, Minn.: Here comes a guy in serious need of a stage name. He says his band formed in high school, made an album and got pretty popular, until they all parted ways. He since put together a solo album, but says it didn’t do as well as he had hoped. Now his parents are hoping The Voice might be his big break, and his ticket out of their home. He’ll sing “Haven’t Met You Yet.” OK, maybe Dustin won’t need a stage name yet. This is a pretty pitchy performance. Nope, he can’t manage to turn a chair. Looks like he’ll be hanging around a while, Mom and Dad. Grade: C–
Amber Carrington, 19, Rockwall, Texas: This teen says she’s been singing most of her life. She raised the money to move to Nashville after school, but then her mom died of breast cancer, prompting Amber to quit singing for a while. She’s now decided her mom would want her to keep pursuing her dream. She’ll audition with Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl.” And, poor girl, Team Blake is full. But Adam spins his chair. After all, he’d love nothing more than to defeat Blake with a country singer. Adam is the only coach to turn around. He predicts Amber will be one of the biggest surprises in the competition. Amber said she’s hoping Adam can broaden her horizons. Grade: B
Luke Edgemon, 24, Fayetteville, N.C.: His dad is a minister, his mom sang in the choir, and church is where Luke was introduced to music. Right after high school, Luke says he packed his bag and headed to L.A. and started working as a background singer. “Now it’s time to step out of the background and focus on music that matters to me,” he says. His audition song: “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Hmm, this guy just might be the best singer we’ve heard so far tonight. Very nice tone. And his first run-through of the chorus gets Shakira and Usher to spin their chairs. That means one last chance to fight over a singer. Usher calls his voice “incredible.” And Shakira puts her foot on her chair, Usher style. And, guess what? Luke decides to join Team Shakira. Grade: B
Jessica Childress, 26 Lancaster, Calif.: This young woman works in public relations, but said she’s always wanted to do music, though she’s never done it full time. She landed the p.r. job straight out of college, but says music is what she was born to do. She’s going to sing “Marry You.” And she’s going to sing it very well. Shakira, knowing her team is already full, is tapping her button futilely because Jessica is sounding great. That was, hands down, the best audition of the night. No fair. Usher doesn’t even have to fight for her. Grade: A–