“The country’s best undiscovered artists lay it all on the line – again,” host Carson said. So was he correct? Was there someone worth waiting for last night?
Tawnya Reynolds (32) is already a performer Nashville and has been for 12 years, but is tired playing several nights a week for “little to no appreciation.” “There is a lot at stake,” she says as she heads to the stage. “One song. 90 seconds. For the rest of my life. It’s a terrifying thought.” But she was great. Most people seem to think she topped anything that was seen at the first audition. She’s all country in a corny sort of way that is perhaps half of country music’s charm. The judges loved her, especially Shakira, who even brings out an “English to country” dictionary to prove she can mentor her yet keep her true to her roots. Wisely ignoring Usher’s comments that she could be a young Dolly Parton, Tawnya opts to be mentored by Shakira, who will hopefully help her be both country and current.
Josiah Hawley, who first began singing in church was up next. If I tell you he’s been discovered as a male model, you’ll know he’s some serious eye candy – but can he sing? He performed Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” looking spookily like Adam. His performance was good and he opted to join Usher’s team.
Midas Whale (“might as well” – get it? Got it. Groan) was next, a folk-pop duo. Their harmonies were sweet but the real surprise was when they bust out into some Spanish, which it wasn’t a surprise that Shakira loved. It’s just me, I know; I’m jealous they’re bilingual and I should just get over the fact that this always reminds me of Julio Iglesias (and not in a good way, if that were even possible) but it was my least favorite part of the song. Usher was first to turn around, as he reminded them when it came time for them to pick a team, but Adam told them that they could be stars, given the right song choice and coaching and that swayed them.
Abraham McDonald almost shook with nerves while singing “Best Thing I Never Had.” He may have once won a karaoke contest sponsored by Oprah bit none of the judges turned around for him. Shakira said he’s a great singer who just needs to polish his trills, but that’s as good as it got. Abraham was philosophical: “That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.”
Cáthia, a teenager from the Bronx, was next. She is very proud of her Latin heritage, and decided to sing all in Spanish, which was a test for me, to see if I really did prefer this to a Spanglish mash-up – and I did. Her cover of “No Me Doy Por Vencido” (“I Don’t Surrender”) was sincere and beautiful. She showed a great range. Shakira loved it and turned around almost immediately. The rest of is took a little time to work it out. But Usher and Blake also turned around. Shakira won her girl over by saying Cáthia has “the kind of voice that could work in any language” and has potential to be global.
The money spot went to Sarah Simmons, a music student who got leave to audition for “The Voice.” For Sarah, “Music has been such a release for me in so many hard times,” namely her father’s struggle with addiction. He was there, backstage supporting her, which was nice. I was praying for her not to be terrible. Instead she was pretty darn good on Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.” This girl can really sing and all the judges fought to have her on their team. Adam says she “150 percent can win this show” which had her dad (and so then me) crying. Sarah proved music, not math, is her strong point by choosing Team Adam.
Sarah Simmons was probably my favorite of the night, but already I’m hooked on “The Voice” and remembering why it’s my favorite of all the musical talent shows. How about you? How is this season shaping up for you? All the judges seemed happy with their acquisitions last night, except poor Blake, who couldn’t convince any of the contestants he wanted to join his team.