The highlights of the third night of Blind Auditions for The Voice
season 14 were two singers who both performed in Spanish, Johnny Bliss and Jorge Eduardo. The fact that the two existed isn't all that surprising, as The Voice
usually averages one foreign language singer a season. The shocker is that the coaches, especially Kelly Clarkson, were so into both singers. It gave the impression that either Johnny or Jorge could break The Voice
's long curse of foreign language artists.
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To some Voice viewers, it might be a stretch to call foreign language singers' disadvantage a curse. However, it's not at all off base. Typically those artists who sing in a foreign language, even just once, don't do well in the competition. It's great way to be noticed, initially, but it can quickly be used as a gimmick and crutch. In fact, most of the foreign language performances on The Voice have been a last-ditch effort to gain buzz by a flailing artist.
One of the most memorable examples of this trend was season 3's Julio Cesar Castillo. Julio, a member Team Blake, was the first Voice artist to ever sing a song entirely in Spanish. Julio performed the song "El Rey" in the first round of the Live Playoffs during The Voice season 3. For his efforts, he was eliminated immediately afterwards. A lot of Team Blake artists were seemingly sacrificed that year for the team's star, eventual winner and one of The Voice's true success stories, Cassadee Pope. Julio, however, was one of the first casualties.
Ever since Julio's elimination there's been a trend of artists trying to perform in foreign languages and going home soon, if not immediately afterwards. While the fact that The Voice audience is predominantly English speaking can't be discounted, the eliminations do have a lot to with the fact that the foreign language is the whole act. It's not that artists who sing in Spanish, or any other language, don't have nice voices but they have a rather forgettable sound, besides the fact they're not communicating in English.
The Hope of Jorge and Johnny
This is where Johnny and Jorge might have a chance to succeed, especially the former. Jorge might've launched the excitement over Spanish singers and revealed that Kelly Clarkson desperately wants to mentor that type of singer. However, even though Jorge made it into fourth place on The Voice Mexico, his voice didn't sound all that special. If Jorge's stage presence and language were stripped away, the vocals were average. He was fine, but Kelly was the only one who was truly (and inexplicably) excited about him.
Johnny is on much better footing. He not only turned around all four chairs, there was a real magnetic quality to his voice. There was a velvety quality to Johnny's voice that transcended the fact that he was singing in Spanish. Even if the words weren't decipherable to most viewers, the emotions and quality of his performance came through clearly in the audition. Johnny was confident, memorable and lovely to listen to as he gave his own unique spin on the song.
Johnny's performance of "Preciosa" was far more enjoyable to listen to than Jorge's rendition of "Despacito." Although that could just be that "Despacito" is one of the most overplayed and recognizable Spanish songs, even to non-Spanish speakers. Johnny, though, just had a star quality that attracted Alicia and Adam in particular.
It is a little bit shocking that Johnny was one of the only artists to get all four coaches to turn around on the third night of auditions, because there were better artists who performed. However, Johnny is special. The potential is there for real greatness.
One performance does not make an artist and it's pretty unlikely that Johnny will sing in nothing but Spanish all season. Still, Johnny does stand a good chance of making Spanish singing more than just a gimmick on The Voice.
But what did you make of Johnny and Jorge? Do you want to see more singers perform in a foreign language? Which artist has a better chance to do well this season?
(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)