‘The Voice’s Digital Series “The Comeback Stage” Week 1 Recap
The first week of Blind Auditions on season 15 of The Voice came to a close on Tuesday. Along with that, we now have the first two members of Kelsea Ballerini’s team on “The Comeback Stage,” Ayanna Joni and Ele Ivory! Both auditioned in the first week of The Voice season 15 but failed to turn a chair. After being encouraged to return by all the judges, Ayanna and Ele got the chance of a lifetime! Kelsea Ballerini, The Voice’s fifth coach this season, invited them to join the digital companion series, “The Comeback Stage.”
Let’s take a look at how the first week of episodes went!
First up, we have Ayanna Joni. Her story in the premiere episode was touching. She used to be in a girl group but when she had a child at 18, she had to set aside her musical aspirations and grow up quickly to raise her daughter. Now that Ayanna is in a better place with her family, she came onto The Voice stage to pursue her dreams. She is a wedding singer but hopes to become a solo artist.
Kelsea liked what she heard in Ayanna’s Blind Audition. She originally covered “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato. Now singing “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande, here is Ayanna’s rehearsal with Kelsea Ballerini:
Where Ayanna fell short in her Blind Audition, I think this song better showcases her voice. As Kelly said after the audition, she needed a song with a little more space to show off. Kelsea said she brought Ayanna back because her tone is “unique, smooth and rich.” I think she was a great choice here! And this song really shows off her talent more than her Blind Audition.
Fifth coach Kelsea Ballerini also provides some useful insight for the singer. Her tips so far have been very technical, getting into the details of what makes a successful performance. I like hearing from a new, younger coach as well. Sometimes The Voice coaches seem so much more experienced and famous than the artists on their team so there’s some disconnect. Kelsea feels relatable and like a natural fit for this.
Then, on Tuesday night’s episode, we met Ele Ivory. Ele is from Nashville, Tennessee, and works in a cave as her day job. She also works in artist relations and was hoping to jumpstart her own music career on The Voice. Ele sang “Jump” by Julia Michaels in her Blind Audition. It wasn’t the best display of her voice and she admits that the pressure got to her in the moment. She had some pitch issues, which kept the coaches from pressing their buttons.
Now, Ele is back to sing Selena Gomez’s “Back to You,” accompanying herself on piano. And wow! What a transformation already. Take a listen to it here:
This song seems to be a much better fit for Ele. It gives her space to show off her awesome tone and she is able to put a unique spin on it. She has a pretty standard indie voice but her falsetto is really outstanding! “The Comeback Stage” hasn’t announced who she will be battling, but I like Ele’s odds here.
And this was the whole point of the companion series! Sometimes, song choice can be everything. If the artists don’t get it right the first time, in the past they’ve been out of luck. But with “The Comeback Stage,” they get a second chance. In fact, one of them will earn a spot in the Top 12! Not a bad consolation prize for someone who wasn’t able to turn a chair.
And Kelsea continues the positive energy and constructive criticism from the broadcast version of the show. For Ele, she talks about the chills she gets from her voice and how beautiful her tone is. I have to agree! So far, Kelsea has been on point with her critiques. “The Comeback Stage” is an exciting addition to the usual show and I’m interested to see how it plays out this season!