Aspiring pop-rock belter Madison Cain has had a unique journey — pun intended — on The Voice. Her father is Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and writer/co-writer of such perennial singing-show-staple ballads as “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms.” But when Madison tried out for The Voice this Tuesday, the coaches didn’t exactly embrace her with open arms. In fact, she turned no chairs.
Madison’s cover of Alanis Morissette’s bunnyboiler “You Oughta Know” lacked all of the jagged-little-pilliness of the original, and her choruses were tentative and unfocused. She did show some potential during the shouty chorus, when she sounded more comfortable in her upper register, but she was still pitchy, dawg. Kelly Clarkson, a big Alanis fan and an expert when it comes to woman-scorned songs (see: “Never Again”), said she’d wanted Madison to be more “reckless.” Blake Shelton thought Madison needed some “anger issues” in order to convincingly do Alanis. It looked like Madison and The Voice were about to go their separate ways.
But Madison’s journey (heh) wasn’t over. She didn’t have to stop believin’ so soon. Instead, she got shipped off the Island of Misfit Toys, aka the “Comeback Stage” team mentored by new fifth coach Kelsea Ballerini. It figures. Of course, the show wouldn’t want to let go of rock royalty so soon. And hey, Madison’s stepmom, Paula White-Cain, is the spiritual adviser to Voice executive producer Mark Burnett’s old buddy, Donald Trump. But Madison will need more than spiritual coaching to get Battle-ready this season.
Here were the other successful auditioners of Tuesday night.
Caeland Garner, 31: “Dancing in the Moonlight”
The dobro-playing, long-haired pal of Season 13 Team Blake finalist Red Marlow charmed the crowd and the coaches with his folksy take on King Harvest’s soft-rock hit. I was digging his sweet ‘70s vibe. I could imagine Ron Burgundy’s entourage frolicking and hot-tubbing in a viral video to this.
Who turned? Blake and, surprisingly, Jennifer Hudson.
Result: Team Blake. Obviously Caeland couldn’t betray ol’ Red.
Lela, 15: “Havana”
The bilingual Latin/R&B babydiva from Miami showcased a pleasingly sultry, smoky tone during this sophisticated and self-assured performance of Camila Cabello’s summer smash. Everybody, now: How is she only 15?
Who turned? Kelly, Jennifer.
Result: Team J.Hud. These two spunky, sassy ladies are going to be great fun together.
Cody Ray Raymond, 26: “Born Under a Bad Sign”
This military man-turned-open mic hippie wasn’t doing anything new — every season has at least a couple bluesy dudes angling to be the next Laith Al-Saadi, but he was charismatic heartthrob material. And when he said he grew up listening to Alice in Chains Nirvana, and Boyz II Men, I realized there might be layers to this dude.
Result: Team Kelly. I hope Kelly makes him sing “Man in a Box.”
Jake Wells, 23: “When the Stars Go Blue”
OK, here’s my new favorite. I loved everything about this quirky kid. The Ryan Adam cover. The dorky Christmas sweater. The triangular ‘90s Gavin Rossdale bob. The nose ring. The nervous Joe Cocker mannerisms. And of course, that soft, trebly, almost bird-like voice. Swoon.
Who turned? Just Adam Levine. “I turned around for one reason,” said Adam. “There’s a lot of talent. I thought to myself, ‘This dude is different, and I love that about him.’ And to not reward that on this show would be the antithesis of what this show is.”
Result: Team Adam. I think the other coaches will soon regret not turning. Jake is special.
Abby Cates, 17: “Scars to Your Beautiful”
When Abby said her day job is playing Disney princesses at little girls’ birthday parties, I expected a saccharine-sweet, cutesy performance. But there was a certain maturity and gravitas to her Alessia Cara empowerment anthem.
Who turned? Just Kelly — who compared Abby to Tori Kelly.
Result: Team Kelly. Abby is on the right team.
Funsho, 28: “Finesse”
Funsho put on a fun show! (See what I did there?) The Nigerian-born dynamo started off stiff, but by the end of his Bruno Mars cover, he was dripping in finesse. With his soulful, supple vocal, affable personality, and American-dream backstory, he could be a contender.
Who turned? Kelly, Jennifer, and Blake.
Result: Team Adam. Adam’s oft-used “I turned first!” argument actually worked this time.
Tune in next Monday, for the last of Blind Auditions and the start of the Battle Rounds.
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