The upcoming season of The Voice is introducing a second chance for artists who fail to turn a chair in the Blind Auditions. “The Comeback Stage” digital series will feature six of these singers. They will be coached by Kelsea Ballerini and one will earn a spot in the Top 13! But if this series had existed in previous seasons, let’s take a look at some of the no-chair turners who later found success on talent shows and could’ve used that second chance.
The most recent winner of American Idol, Maddie Poppe, auditioned for The Voice back in season 10. She sang “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine but failed to turn any chairs. She did get to sit in Adam’s chair though! During the talks with the coaches after her audition, she and Adam swapped places while Pharrell gave his feedback. Idol ended up being more suited for her anyway, allowing her to sing original songs, but The Voice missed out on this one.
Caleb Lee Hutchinson
Speaking of Maddie, her boyfriend Caleb also auditioned for The Voice before his run on Idol. Caleb failed to turn a chair on season 9 of the show after singing “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. However, when he returned to television on the latest season of American Idol on ABC, he came in second! Quite an upgrade from not even making a team on The Voice. Plus, could you imagine him being mentored by Kelsea Ballerini? That would’ve been amazing to see.
When Jake Worthington auditioned for season 5 of The Voice, he was only 17. While his performance of “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” got the audience going and had the coaches rocking, none of them turned their chairs. In his audition for season 6, Jake changed his pace and sang the slower ballad “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” That performance got him three chairs turned! Adam, Shakira, and Blake all fought for him to join their team. Jake eventually chose Team Blake and finished runner-up behind Josh Kaufman.
Sonika Vaid, also 17 at the time of her first audition, barely got a few seconds of airtime on season four of The Voice. She was part of a montage of artists who did not turn a chair. But when she auditioned for season 15 of American Idol with a Carrie Underwood song, she put that all behind her. Seeming much more seasoned at that point, and now 20, she made it all the way to 5th place!
Cade Foehner brought his signature growl and charming looks when he auditioned for season 11 of The Voice. Though he failed to turn a chair, he said he wasn’t devastated by that outcome. In fact, he considered it a great learning experience, especially getting to work with the show’s vocal coaches. And it all paid off! Cade ended up in the Top 5 of American Idol‘s last season.
Bryan Bautista made it all the way to the Top 8 on Christina’s team on season 10 of The Voice. But before that success, he failed to turn a chair on season 9. He initially auditioned with “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, which wasn’t the best choice. When he returned and sang The Weeknd, it was a perfect fit. He continued to be in that space, utilizing his falsetto and smooth, silky vocals on songs like “Pillowtalk” by Zayn.
Dez Duron first auditioned for season two of The Voice. Now, I don’t want to speculate why no one turned their chairs that season but he sang “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. Come on, man. That over-sung boy band tune is the best you’ve got? Well apparently not! He came back with a vengeance on season three, turning CeeLo, Christina, and Blake’s chairs and finishing in the Top 8 on Team Xtina!
Delvin was part of the season 5 premiere episode, but failed to turn any chairs when he sang “Closer.” The next season, airing just five months after his first audition, Delvin turned all four chairs by singing “A Song For You.” Again, it’s crazy to think how much song choice affects these Blind Auditions! Situations like this is what “The Comeback Stage” will be perfect for working on. Delvin joined Team Adam, where he stayed all the way through to the Top 8. He even went up against eventual winner, Josh Kaufman, in the second round of Battles that season. Impressive, to say the least!
Anita auditioned for The Voice during season three with “No Woman, No Cry.” After finishing her song, none of the judges had turned. Then, Adam encouraged her to sing it again acapella and the judges all regretted not turning for her! Even so, she didn’t come back for another Blind Audition until season 7. When she returned, she sang “Turn Your Lights Down Low” and turned all four chairs. Anita went on to finish in the Top 10. What a difference a little more training and a few years can make!
Deanna Johnson was late to the party in season 5, only having spots left on CeeLo and Blake’s teams at the time she auditioned. Though she had a good showing, it wasn’t enough to turn their chairs. When she came back to audition for season 8, Deanna turned four chairs and made it all the way to the Top 10 on Adam’s team! That season, she found her niche singing gospel and spiritual songs, which helped her overcome her stage freight.
Nolan Neal auditioned for season 10 of The Voice. While the judges liked his tone, his song choice fell short. So when he returned in the Blind Auditions of season 11, he wasn’t taking any chances. Nolan covered “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John and turned all four chairs! When you think about the fact that the difference between a no-chair turning performance and a four-chair turning performance for Nolan was only a few months, he would’ve benefited greatly from “The Comeback Stage.”