The fourth Blind Auditions episode of "The Voice" Season 4 aired Tuesday night, and it offered quite a diverse array of talent: a former fashion model, a teen YouTube star, a wedding singer, and a couple of long-haired rocker dudes. Do any of them have what it takes to become the next Cassadee Pope, or at least the next Jermaine Paul? Maybe. One of them might even have the potential to be the next Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. Read on to find out why.
Audrey Karrasch - Audrey's sob story, if you can call it that, is that she used to be a fashion model, and that experience did a number on her psychologically. Oh, boo hoo. This show is full of people with dying parents and doorstep-orphaned pasts, and that's the best this gal could come up with? Really? I know the modeling world can be cutthroat--hey, I watch "ANTM," too--but this wasn't exactly a tale of woe that was going to make "Voice" viewers root for Audrey. But then…Audrey sang Jessie J's "Price Tag," and suddenly she was 100 percent likable. She was a vivacious performer, working the stage to the max even though the coaches couldn't see her yet, and she kind of reminded me of Tony Manero's plucky girlfriend in that Saturday Night Fever movie sequel, Stayin' Alive. Remember? Stayin' Alive? No? Okay, don't ask me why this random celluloid image came to mind, but Audrey just sort of had this cute '80s-B-movie vibe that I appreciated. The judges appreciated Audrey, too. "I knew you were great from the beginning, because of your attack on the song," said Blake Shelton. "It takes strength and confidence to come out here and move this crowd. You're my girl--I already know it!" said Usher. Usher hadn't even finished his sales pitch before a giddy Audrey cut him off and exclaimed, "Okay! Let's do it! I pick USHER!" Audrey is clearly a girl who knows what she wants, and that could take her far in this competition. She might be stayin' alive on "The Voice" for a while.
MEMBER OF: Team Usher
Brandon Roush - Brandon sings in a band with the Worst. Name. Ever: the Dirty Grindstones. (Time to go solo, Brandon!) But otherwise, he's got all the elements of a "Voice" success story: He's a relatable dude who kind of looks like Silent Bob's sidekick, Jay; he works with autistic children by day (aw); and, well, he rocks. I thought I was through hearing covers of the Joe Cocker version of "A Little Help From My Friends" on these shows--and honestly, it wouldn't have hurt Brandon to go with a more interesting, less hackneyed song choice. But he really sold this song, rasping it up like Cocker on a good day and tossing around a mane of hair that would've made a circa-'92 Cornell or Vedder grungy-green with envy. I am still not sure why Blake was so surprised, or why, when he finally got a look at Brandon, he exclaimed, "Oh my God, that is not what you're supposed to look like!" I thought Brandon's image ("He looks like he's in Megadeth, which is awesome," observed Adam Levine) perfectly matched his gruff vocals. The bigger surprise, really, was that only Shakira hit her button for this guy. Shakira seems to dig the rocker boys--she also picked up this week's emo growler Garrett Gardner by default--and if she can pick up a few more, she may be on her way to building her own rock 'n' roll band, or at least building a strong team.
MEMBER OF: Team Shakira
Patrick Dodd - This dread-headed Memphis musician auditioned with…wait for it…Marc Cohn's "Walking In Memphis." Not too obvious, then. But even if Patrick hailed from some other city, I would have rolled my eyes and recoiled my ears at this done-to-death song choice--another song that I'd be happy to see blacklisted from the singing-show songbook forever and ever amen. That being said, Patrick's voice was not bad. He was little too Cohn-alike (he did nothing new with the tune), but he had a certain professional polish that he'd honed while gigging on Beale Street 300 days a year. "Your performance was so effortless. You know everything to do with your voice," raved Shakira. But of course, Patrick picked Adam. Patrick said he "went with his gut" on this decision, but I think his gut made a big mistake. Team Adam has a lot of heavy-hitters and frontrunners (Judith Hill, Sarah Simmons, Warren Stone), while Shakira's team is probably the weakest so far. So, on Team Shakira, Patrick could have received individualized attention from his coach; on Team Adam, he'll just be fodder, methinks. And he'll be walking in Memphis, back to playing Beale Street, sooner than later.
MEMBER OF: Team Adam
Orlando Dixon - This Berklee music school grad and wedding singer crooned Ne-Yo's breakup ballad "So Sick," and while his performance basically sounded like a Ne-Yo impression (a good impression, but still, an impression), there was some raw talent there. He sounded slick, contemporary, and smoove. I wasn't surprised that Usher turned for him--or even that Usher was the only coach who turned--but I was surprised that Usher didn't buzz in until the very last line of the song. Orlando and Usher seem like a good match, but Usher's hesitation indicates that Orlando may not be a top priority for his team.
MEMBER OF: Team Usher
Savannah Berry - As usual, producers saved the best full audition for last. This 17-year-old budding YouTube star won a chance to duet with Sugarland back at the 2011 ACM Awards, but one day she may win "The Voice" and eventually scoop up some ACM trophies of her own. Yes, she was that good. Savannah's powerful performance of Taylor Swift's "Safe And Sound" was one of those "Voice" moments that people remember, one of those auditions that gets shown in highlight reels for seasons to come...what I'm trying to say is, this little lady may be the One To Beat. Three judges turned around (I'm not sure what lone holdout Usher was thinking), and Shakira fought valiantly to claim Savannah for her own. "You want to be with someone who's fresh, who's hungry…these guys [Adam and Blake] are jaded. They're almost deaf! I know I'm gonna win this season, and I'm gonna win it with you," Shakira proclaimed. Adam, an old pro at campaigning for the contestants he really wants, and the first judge to spin around for Savannah, countered with: "What I heard was something that couldn’t be ignored. Go with the person who believed first!" But in the end, Blake just name-dropped "Jennifer Nettles" and "Miranda Lambert" and sealed the deal. No shocker there.
MEMBER OF: Team Blake
Trevor Davis, C. Perkins, and Agina Alvarez - Also known as Fodder, Fodder, and More Fodder. Let's face it, the contestants whose auditions aren't shown in the full never fare well on "The Voice." That's gotta hurt, especially for Agina, who unsuccessfully tried out last year (and received WAY more screentime then). Adding insult to injury was the fact that Shakira didn’t even hit her button for Agina's performance, which was a cover of a Shakira song. Ouch. We'll see if these blink-and-you-missed-'em montage contestants--the weakest of which actually seemed to be C. Perkins, based on the five unimpressive seconds of his audition that actually made it to the air--will receive more substantial screentime later this season, or if this unfortunate trio's time is already up.
MEMBERS OF: Teams Blake, Shakira, and Adam, respectively
So if you're keeping track, or trying to, Team Adam now comprises Patrick Dodd, Agina Alvarez, Karina Iglesias, Duncan Kamakana, Warren Stone, Judith Hill, Midas Whale, and Sarah Simmons. Team Blake has Savannah Berry, Trevor Davis, the Swon Brothers, Holly Tucker, the Morgan Twins, Danielle Bradbery, and Christian Porter. Team Usher has Audrey Karrasch, Orlando Dixon, Taylor Beckham, Chelsea M., Michelle Chamuel, Josiah Hawley, Jess Kellner, and VEDO. And Team Shakira has Brandon Rush, C. Perkins, Garrett Gardner, J'Sun, Monique Abbadie, Tawnya Reynolds, Cathia, Kris Thomas, and Mark Andrew. Next week, the four coaches will finalize their teams of 12, so they better choose wisely--especially Shakira, who still has arguably the weakest crew and could use a few more power-players among her ranks. See you then.
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