Thanks to The Voice’s habit of leaking performance videos, we know Valeriez Ponzio, 32, of El Paso, will turn four chairs with her rendition of “Ring of Fire.”
If you’re keeping track, you know six singers have turned four chairs heading into tonight’s episode.
Blake and Adam have lured one each to their teams (Casi Joy and Josh West, respectively). Gwen has landed two (Troy Ramey and JChosen). So has Alicia (Anatalia Villaranda and Autumn Turner).
For profiles of those contestants and about two dozen others, head here. You’ll find more information than you got from the show, including details about pre-Voice music that’s already available.
Now on with tonight’s auditions …
* Kenny P, 30, Cleveland, Ohio: Kenny and his wife moved from Cleveland to Nashville so Kenny could pursue music, so they built a tiny house for them and their two dogs. He comes from a musical family; his father and grandfather both play music. He’s performed in all sorts of bands, but now sings mostly country at honky tonks in Nashville. He’s going to sing “Hello, It’s Me” by Todd Rundgren. As the performance nears its end, Gwen turns around. And she’s later joined by Blake. Blake likes his vocal power, his moustache and his hat. Kenny joins Team Gwen. Blake still has only one male singer on his team.
Enid Ortiz, 25, Tampa, Fla.: She’s a medical assistant at a pediatric office. She performs with a reggae rock fusion band. She grew up with a skin disease that led to her being teased a lot. So she’d hide in her room and write music. Enid will audition with “All I Ask” by Adele. She heads into the final moments of the performance without a chair turn, then belts out a great prolonged note. At the very last second, Blake turned his chair. That means Enid will be a member of Team Blake.
RJ Collins, 18, Chicago, Ill.: He works at a guitar shop, to try out lots of different instruments. He grew up in a musical family, but says he was shy about performing. His brother, 10 years older, offered encouragement, but was killed in a shooting. RJ turned to music. He’s going to audition with “Purpose” by Justin Bieber. Really nice opening. And it prompts an immediate chair turn from Adam. A glory note near the end of the performance gets a chair turn from Alicia as well. Adam calls RJ’s voice “special.” Alicia liked the way RJ’s soul came through his music. RJ joined Team Alicia.
Austin Tyler Jones: He started in music when he was 3. He says his mother was a piano teacher, so he had not choice. He works in a coffee shop. He and his wife met when they were in eighth grade and now have two small kids. He performed a lot of music in church. He’ll sing an Elvis Costello tune, “Allison,” but fails to turn a chair. Surprised. I think he sounded better than some singers who have.
TSoul, 29, Richmond, Va.: He adopted the stage name because everyone always told him how soulful he was. He says he didn’t get into music until high school, but he’s now been performing as an artist for about six years. Oh, and TSoul says the first song he learned to play on piano was Alicia Key’s “Fallin’.” He’ll audition with “Take Me to the River.” A great opening gets Adam to turn around. The performance unravels a bit near the end, but TSoul ends with Blake and Adam facing in his direction. Adam calls him a “special man.” Blake likes the experience in TSoul’s voice. TSoul joins Team Blake, just the second male artist to do so.
Here comes some montages.
Blake gets country singer Andrea Thomas to join his team.
Gwen gets pop singer Davina Leone to join her team.
Gotta say, I’m very disappointed, again, in The Voice production team. I thought the show had finally wised up and realized the unfairness in montaging singers who make the show.
I mean, we’ve seen at least eight or nine singers who didn’t make the show, but they can’t find time to introduce us to Andrea and Davina.
Hanna Eyre, 15, Calif.: She’s the oldest of four children and says she tries to be a good example for her siblings. At age 5, her mom introduced her to piano. She now teaches piano to several students. But she says her real love is songwriting and performing. She’ll sing Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” She gets a quick chair turn from Adam. Before the song ends, Gwen and Blake have turned their chairs as well. Adam calls her “miraculously talented.” Blake liked her range, talent and charisma. Hanna decided to join Team Adam.
Casey Jamerson, 26, Indiana: She got a full ride to play softball in college, but she decided music was her passion. She went to every showcase she could for two years and wound up in a Broadway show. Then she decided to focus on being a female rock singer. She’s singing “Shadows of the Night” by Pat Benatar. She has a take-no-prisoners approach to her performance, but can’t get a chair to turn. So we meet a second singer who can’t turn a chair, but don’t meet two who do. Makes no friggin’ sense.
Hunter Plake, 20, Baton Rouge, La.: He’s had a strange year. In June, he got married and moved into a home in Lousiana. Then came the flooding in Louisiana; they lost their house and car. Hunter says this is the first time he’s performed on a stage outside a church. He’s auditioning with “Carry On.” He gets an early chair turn from Gwen. Late in the performance, Alicia turns as well. Alicia liked his unique tone. Gwen calls him “so gifted.” Hunter joins Team Alicia.Nala Price, 17, Florida: She comes from a rural part of Florida and says her mother started entering her in all kinds of talent shows. She recalls a particular performance when she was 12 when she played a character with a British accent. She says she’s also conquered the nerves that plagued her early performance. She’s singing “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” and shows off a big voice. That prompts quick chair turns from Adam and Gwen. Nola opts to join Team Adam. He calls what Nola can do with her voice “astounding.”
Sammie Zonana, 24, Austin, Texas: She studied screen writing in high school and film in college. But she picked up a guitar as a freshman in college. Before you knew it, she stopped writing screenplays and started writing music. She now performs at weddings, saying she’s “a hopeless romantic.” Sammie is gay, is planning a wedding with her finacee and has the full support of her parents. She’s singing “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande, but certainly putting her own twist on the song. It’s one of my favorite auditions so far tonight. She gets an early chair turn from Gwen. And it looks like she’ll be a member of Team Gwen because she’s the only coach who turned.
Valerie Ponzio, 32, El Paso, Texas: She plays country Americana music. She says she started singing around age 8. Her mom would sow costumes for her and she’d sing princess songs. After lots of odd jobs, she and her boyfriend started singing as Val and the Country Line. She’ll audition with “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and expresses a pre-audition preference for Gwen or Blake. Having already heard this, I can confidently predict it’ll be the most unique vocal we’ve heard tonight. Gwen turns first. Alicia is next. Near the end of the song, Adam and Blake spin as well. Valerie picks Blake, saying he’s the coach who can take her to the promised land.