Tuesday’s conclusion of The Voice’s Season 23 Blind Auditions not only introduced four more promising contestants, it raised a question: WTH had Alyssa Lazar done to wind up performing the only tryout to be abbreviated to near nothingness? Over the five episodes that made up the Blinds, the show found time for a Jimmy Fallon gag. It found time to remind us a zillion times over that this is Blake Shelton’s last visit to the rodeo. It found time to give Chance the Rapper a gimmick and pass down the finger-point schtick from Blake to “son” Niall Horan. It even found time to trot out a whole bunch of vocalists who didn’t get a chair turn. But it couldn’t find two minutes Monday night to let us hear the performance that had gotten Alyssa added to Team Chance? (Read that recap here.) Not cool, Voice. Not cool. Before you weigh in on the subject, let’s review Tuesday’s Blinds.
NariYella (Team Chance), “One Night Only” — Grade: A- | Swinging for the fences, this four-chair turn, who’d been singing since she could talk, delivered a performance that was so mammoth, I was surprised that she only got a standing O from Chance. I heard imperfections here and there, moments where NariYella strained and faltered, but the passion and power on display more than compensated for that. A real contender.
Grace West (Team Blake), “Maybe It Was Memphis” — Grade: B | This Nashville dog walker, a pro songwriter since she was 16, opened her mouth, and all I could think was, “Welcome to Team Blake.” Niall turned, too, but Grace was so country, there could be almost no doubt where she’d wind up (especially after the OG likened her to Pam Tillis). Lovely voice, good range, just maybe not the most thrilling performance we’ve ever heard (or heard this season).
Katie Beth Forakis (Team Kelly), “Ghost” — Grade: B- | This grad-school student from small-town Tennessee turned out a perfectly pretty, stripped-way-down rendition of Justin Bieber’s hit. But was anyone else unsure whether it was vulnerable and emotional or uncertain and nervous? Not Niall, who got goosebumps, or Kelly, who also turned for Katie Beth and immediately started imagining musical arrangements for the contestant.
Talia Smith (Team Niall), “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” — Grade: A | An intel analyst for the US Army, Talia hit the stage with a Tori Kelly cover that probably would’ve been a four-chair turn, had anyone but Niall still had a spot left on his team to fill. She was poised, energetic, controlled, terrific. “That had absolutely everything,” Niall exclaimed. And I had to agree. Can’t wait to hear what she does next (and can’t imagine what she can’t do!).
Which of the last singers added to the coach’s teams most impressed you? And can you think of any reason why poor Alyssa’s Blind would be cut so short amid so much filler? Let fly your thoughts in the comments below.
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