While The Voice
chairs continue to spin like revolving doors, changing out the coaches with each successive season, this may be one of their best seasons yet. With Gwen Stefani gone, it allows the coaches to focus on the music again instead of the romance between her and Blake Shelton.
Blake, along with the other stalwart Adam Levine, is finding great competition in sophomore coach Miley Cyrus and newbie Jennifer Hudson. It seems to have increased the competition among them and also improved the caliber of the acts that are landing on a team.
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Anthony Alexander ("Redbone")
This 17-year-old from Fontana, California, says his first gigs were in bars and restaurants, but for the last year he's been singing in places on the Sunset Strip such as Whiskey-a-GoGo. He sings a lot of Michael Jackson and Adam Levine music. His family is involved in his singing as well. While his dad is a guitar player for him, he also works as a camera operator and used to work on The Voice, yet Anthony's never been able to meet any of the coaches before.
He sings with a falsetto, much like Adam often does, which is probably why he's the first to turn. Eventually, Miley and Jennifer turn around as well. Blake recognized the Michael Jackson influence and knew he wouldn't be chosen, so he didn't turn around. Jennifer keeps talking about how cute he is and says she heard Prince and "Purple Rain" in his voice. Miley wants to learn from him and help him get better. Adam mentions the diversity in his voice and wants to improve his falsetto.
Result: Anthony chooses Adam
Sophia Bollman ("Invincible")
Sophia is 18 years old and from Jensen Beach, California. Actually, she's not. She's from Florida and currently living in Norco, California, but messes up her intro. She never knew her father and feels her mom is "invincible." She was involved in a kids' singing/performing group when she was 13, and that placed her in a band that played everywhere, including for Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of Kiss. Gene sends her a good luck greeting via video.
As a pop/rock singer, she brings out her pop side here but sounds a little too much like Kelly Clarkson. Blake turns at the last minute, as does Miley. He tells her she has an "incredible pop/soulful voice." Sophia tells him he rocks. Miley likes her shoes and her voice and thinks she could go far on the show. Jennifer recognizes her range. She tells Blake she was in a magazine with him and thought he'd be a cool dad, which Adam thinks is really funny.
Result: Sophia chooses Miley
Jessica Rowboat ("Imagine")
Jessica, 28, is from Queens, New York, though she was born in India to parents who are classical musicians. They moved here when she was 8 looking for better opportunities. She didn't know until she was 16 that they were undocumented and then lived in fear. She got married, and they sponsored her parents, so they are now documented. She believes the song she's chosen to sing "expresses an idea of a world where you don't think about expectations."
She backs herself up on the guitar and sings very softly and meaningfully. However, no one turns around for her. Jennifer says she could feel her heart and that it was vulnerable. Miley doesn't feel like she could hear enough of her voice and where she could go. Blake thinks she's doing what she was born to do. Adam advises her to come back and be a little more energetic.
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Karli Webster ("You're So Vain")
Carson Daly travels to go meet Carly, a 20-year-old music major from Santa Clarita, California. When she's not in class, she sits and writes songs and listens to the music that other people are making at her university. She took classical piano from the age of 3 and says singing her own music is when she realized she had a voice. Her mom raised her by playing all the '70s singer-songwriter music.
She has a great pop voice and changes the song up just enough to show what she can do. Adam and Miley both turn their chairs right away. Adam tells her that the spirit of Carly Simon was in her performance, and he believes she can go all the way. Miley likes the idea of making the '60s and '70s music current and having Karli represent women who want to work hard. Adam says that if he lost the opportunity to work with her, it would be a huge loss.
Result: Karli chooses Miley
Stephan Marcellus ("Take Me to Church")
Stephan, 26, from Englewood, New Jersey, calls himself an alternative soul artist. He tries to perform once or twice a month but says it's hard and that he's broke. His parents are from Guyana and had to start from nothing when they moved here. He was pressured to go to college and has a degree in child and adolescent studies. However, he would rather impact people spiritually through his music. He's not sure if he can compete against the riffs and runs here.
Stephan sings too quietly at first and is obviously having problems, yet Jennifer turns for him and is the only one. He explains afterwards that he didn't think he heard the right note. Adam tells him no one has ever turned for someone who had such a shaky start. Jennifer explains that it's happened to her before and that it's great he didn't stop. She thinks they can get there with the right coaching.
Result: Stephan joins Jennifer's team
Emily Luther ("Summertime")
This 24-year-old from Woosocket, Rhode Island, can't believe she's there on The Voice. Since she was young, she's enjoyed musical theatre. She got accepted to a music college and learned a lot and decided to stay out there in Los Angeles. She even signed to a record deal, but they wanted her to change too much and it put her into a depression, leading to her moving back to Rhode Island.
Emily sings very smoothly and effortlessly. Once she hits the big note, Blake turns and Adam and Jennifer follow. Adam says he almost forgot to press his button because he was so mesmerized by her. Jennifer thinks she presented a great balance and can do anything. Blake says he wanted a martini when she started singing, and he doesn't even normally drink them.
Result: Emily chooses Adam
Jennifer took a big risk by turning for Stephan. He could be one of the easy boots in the Battle Round. Adam's right that the coaches have never chosen anyone who messed up in their audition. She must have heard something in his voice in order to take that big risk.
What do you think of the coaching crew this season? Are they a better group than past seasons? And which singers from this episode stood out to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
season 13 airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Want more news? Like our Voice Facebook page
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)