As the teams have filled up over the past four weeks of The Voice UK, the coaches have become very selective. With one exception, every singer got either a single chair to turn, or no turns.
The first singer was 16-year-old Saskia Eng, who sang Strong by London Grammar. She sang low — so low that Olly asked his fellow judges if he was hearing a boy or a girl. She sounded kind of like Adele or Fiona Apple, or other altos. A lovely voice, though. She got only one judge to turn their chair — Tom Jones. He and the other judges were surprised at her youth. Will.i.am and Jennifer Hudson both said “I made a mistake” by not turning around. Did learning her true age change their minds?
After just one audition, we had a musical interlude. Will.i.am, Olly Murs, and Jennifer Hudson sang a pretty cool version of Where Is the Love.
Next up were identical twins, Amy and Chloe Cunliffe, who go by the name Faith. They didn’t have a distinctive sound and their harmonies were strangely off. Knowing that every slot counts, the judges did not turn their chairs.
Next was Paige Young, 25, who sang Crying in the Club by Camila Cabello. Her voice was fine and strong and on-key…but it had that little-girl quality, almost like a cartoon character. Still, that sound is still “in,” so it’s odd that only Will turned his chair — and at the last moment. He thanked her for “burning down the roof.” She’s a part-time personal trainer. Olly told her “You are honestly amazing. Your vocal is incredible.” But he didn’t push the button, so Will got her. But maybe not for long. “I look forward to stealing you in the next round,” Olly said.
Paige was followed by Shane McCormack, 20, who covered the Michael Bublé version of Moondance by Van Morrison. He sounded just like Bublé. It didn’t take long for Olly to turn, but no on else did. Olly told him, “What soul you’ve got in your voice!” What about Tom, who seems like the perfect fit for an old-school ’60s crooner like Shane? Tom said he imitated Bublé too much. “You have a great swing attitude, but I would try to be more yourself.”
Rhianna Abrey, 20, was next, singing Ghost by Ella Henderson. She had a big, strong voice and hit all the high notes. Again, only one chair turned — Will’s, at the very last moment. Even so, he cautioned Rhianna not to oversing, and to learn to control her voice, but he’s ready to “coach you through your entire journey.” She joins Will’s team by default.
Another teenager was next: 16-year-old Ross Anderson. His nervousness was charming, even though it affected his pitch sometimes. He sang Drag Me Down by One Direction. He has a good voice. After staying quiet for last week’s episode and half of this week’s, Jennifer finally turned. She was the only coach to do so. She wanted the notes “to soar a little more.” She actually asked him to sing part of the song again and sustain some of the notes. “We’re starting the coaching right now,” she said. Ross followed her instructions and belted some notes. “Don’t be afraid of it. Those little nuances take the song to another level,” JHud told him.
Next up was 41-year-old Wendi Harriot, who sang back-up to a number of big artists — include Jennifer Hudson. But Jennifer didn’t turn, and neither did anyone else. Perhaps they could hear the age in her voice and only want to launch new, young talent.
The next singer got no turns as well. Ellis Bridgewater’s voice started nice and soft and perfectly fine for adult contemporary radio. But then she got too loud and sort of shouted the high notes. Off she went.
Wait — an older person finally made it through! Wayne Ellington sang We Were Raised Under Grey Skies by JP Cooper, with a powerful voice. He got both Tom and Jennifer to turn (the only time a singer could choose their coach the whole night). “I love the sound of your voice,” Tom told him. Wayne felt he connected to Tom better, which I agree with. They have similar sounds.
After five weeks of The Voice UK Blind Auditions, here’s how the teams have filled up:
Team Olly: 8 singers
Team Will.i.am: 8
Team Tom: 8
Team Jennifer: 6
As I’ve said, Jennifer has been reluctant to turn her chair the past two weeks, and now she’s behind. She’ll have to find (and win over) four good vocalists in the next two episodes.