After a one-season hiatus, the coach’s comeback is back on The Voice.
Next week, each of the four coaches will bring back one previously eliminated contestant for the live playoffs.
Along with the 20 singers who survived the knockout round, those four comeback artists will compete for a spot in Season 12’s Top 12.
Two teams will compete Monday night; two teams will take the stage Tuesday night. Eight of the spots in the finals will be determined by live viewer voting (which is absolute folly, but that’s another blog for another day).
I have mixed feelings about the coaches’ comeback, partly because the process was tainted the very first time it was used, back in Season 9.
That season, Adam Levine picked Chance Pena as his comeback artist. He passed over twin sisters Andi & Alex, who now perform as Queen Hilma.
Chance is a talented teen for sure, but he had no chance of winning The Voice. Andi & Alex, on the other hand, had done better than any other Voice artist on iTunes in the blind auditions and the battle round. Better even than Jordan Smith. And that’s something Adam would have known when he made his comeback selection.
Ah, but that meant they might have been a threat to Jordan Smith. And Jordan Smith the chosen one. The Voice decided he should and would win Season 9 before viewers heard a single note from anyone that fall. I’ve always believed that why Adam failed to bring back Andi and Alex.
That history aside, there’s no doubt there are some Season 12 singers deserving of another moment in the spotlight — singers who I think left the show too soon.
Here’s my list.
1. Johnny Hayes: He didn’t turn a chair when he auditioned in Season 11. He turned two in Season 12, landing on Team Adam. His battle round match with Julien Martinez was one of my favorites. And I’m absolutely convinced he should have won his knockout round matchup with Josh West. I know there are already two male rockers in the Top 20 in Josh and Troy Ramey. But there should be room for Johnny Hayes too.
2. Sammie Zonana: This won’t happen, but should. Sammie was way better than a one-chair turn when she flipped Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” in her blind audition. And she deserved to be stolen following a brilliant battle round performance of “I Drove All Night” with Johnny Gates. Their cover was the fourth most popular on iTunes in the battles, hitting number three on the rock singles chart.
3. Kenny P: My guess is this one won’t happen either. But Kenny P absolutely slayed “I Was Made to Love Her” and should have been declared the winner of his battle round match with JChosen. Or at least gotten a steal. The only thing he did wrong was not bring JChosen’s four-chair-turn pedigree onto the stage that night.’4. Felicia Temple: Absolutely one of the best female voices in Season 12, she just had the misfortune of running up against Casi Joy in the knockouts. That came after she was declared the loser of a battle round match she clearly won. Of course, even if she was brought back Voice viewers have a poor track record when it comes to supporting talented female R&B singers unless they’re very young (We McDonald, Koryn Hawthorne).
5. Andrea Thomas: Okay, I’m not sure she left the show too soon, I’m just sure we didn’t hear enough from Andrea since she was montaged in both the blind audition round and the battle round. In fact, if she was brought back, I might vote for her just to protest those silly montages. (If I could vote, but like I said, that’s another blog for another day.)
As for the montages, The Voice showed just tiny snippets of two blind auditions, six battle round matches and one knockout round match. During that time, they aired a pair of hour-long recap shows.
Now you tell me: Does that make any sense?