The Voice

Autumn Turner, Hunter Plake, Caroline Sky earn steals on The Voice


Three more artists were stolen and six more were eliminated during The Voice’s third battle round episode Monday night.

Here’s a recap.


Team Alicia:

Jack Cassidy versus Hunter Plake: Jack is the worship leader and the grandson of Shirley Jones and the son of Patrick Cassidy. He turned two chairs in the blind audition, singing Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.” Hunter comes from a church background as well. In fact, he said his blind audition — he turned two chairs, too — marked his first appearance on stage outside a church setting. You might remember him as the guy who lost his house and car to flooding in Baton Rouge shortly after getting married.

The battle: Alicia has them singing by Calum Scott’s “Dancing on My Own.” Hunter opens and, honestly, I didn’t remember him as having such an outstanding voice. He has a really distinctive tone, filled with emotion. Jack is doing okay, but there are points where he loses control of his vocal, just like I recall him doing in the blind audition. Gwen says Hunter has to make a record; Adam says Hunter took the match hands down.

The verdict: Alicia awarded the win to Jack, saying she wants to help him cut loose. Yeah, well it’s the second time Alicia has awarded the win to the weaker singer in the battles. Fortunately, Adam and Gwen swoop in to steal Hunter. He opts to join Team Gwen.

Team Adam:

Malik Davage versus Kawan DeBose: Adam matches up his two R&B singers. Malik is the guy from a rough part of D.C. whose dad has been in jail since he was 2 years old. He sang “Sure Thing” by Miguel in the blinds; only Adam turned. Kawan turned three chairs in the blinds with his cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” He joined Team Adam after the Maroon 5 frontman promised to make him a top priority on this team.

The battle: Adam will have them sing a song — “Love Me Now” — by battle round adviser John Legend. Yikes, rehearsals didn’t go so well. But once they hit the stage, Malik and Kawan finds their respective vocal grooves. Malik is the flashier performer, tossing his hat into the crowd at one point. But there’s no denying Kawan silky smooth vocals. Or his range. For this performance at least, he was clearly the more unique singer.

The verdict: Adams says he’ll advance the singer he thinks he can work with the best, then awards the win to Malik. Perhaps he took at peek at Malik’s pretty impressive social media following. Anyway, so much for Kawan being a top priority; he’s eliminated.


Team Gwen:

Stephanie Rice versus Caroline Sky: Stephanie is the young woman who was disowned by her parents when she came out as gay. She delivered a wonderfully emotional version of “Piece by Piece” in the blinds, turning two chairs. Caroline was just 16 when she auditioned with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” She turned two chairs as well.

The battle: Gwen has them singing “The First Cut is the Deepest” by Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart and others. The song choice seems tailor made for Stephanie, and she turned in another emotional performance, demonstrating great stage presence as well. But the real surprise for me in this performance was Caroline. Her opening was superb and the couple of glory notes she delivered … damn!

The verdict: Gwen awarded the win to Stephanie. Difficult to argue with that because she was certainly solid, has a great back story and, as Blake points out, probably has a clearer artistic identity. But Caroline’s performance was definitely steal worthy. Glad Blake recognized that and rescued her from potential elimination.


Team Blake

TSoul versus Josh Hoyer: TSoul — real name Terry Pinkard — has already released an album, a Christmas album and an EP. He turned two chairs in the blinds singing Al Green’s “Take Me to the River.” Josh has released plenty of music as well — three albums in the past three years with plans for an EP later this year. The oldest singer in the competition at age 40 when he auditioned, Josh turned two chairs in the blinds.

The battle: Nice song choice by Blake and company; he’ll have his two male soul singers tackle Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour.” Hey, that was a great performance by these guys. Josh unleashed an impressive growl and rasp on three of four occasions. TSoul delivered an impressive vocal too. But it was TSoul’s stage presence that probably tipped the scales in his favor. He’s got a distinctive style that will help him stand out as well.

The verdict: Blake awarded the win to TSoul. Because he wasn’t stolen, Josh was eliminated. Shame, because that was a very solid performance.

Team Alicia:

Autumn Turner versus Vanessa Ferguson: Autumn is the former member of a girl group who competed as a figure skater for several years and now coaches ice skating. She turned four chairs in the blinds. Vanessa turned two chairs with “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers and was previously a member of the BB King All-Star Band, performing on cruise ships.

The battle: Nice song choice. This duo will sing “Killing Me Softly with His Song. Vanessa might have turned more chairs in the blinds, but it’s Vanessa who looks like the polished professional on stage. Vanessa shows off great power with a couple of big glory notes, but Vanessa gets my vote on this one. She just looked completely at ease throughout that performance.

The verdict: Alicia, who’s taken a gamble on potential with Jack Cassidy and Quizz Swanigan, decided to go with the more ready-for-prime-time singer this time, advancing Vanessa. Likely remembering Autumn’s four-chair turn, Adam and Gwen try to steal her. She decides to join Team Adam.

Team Adam:

Julien Martinez versus Johnny Hayes: Julien is the guy who was nearing the end of his blind audition cover of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy” when he let out what Adam called “a birth of Satan” scream and got two chairs to turn. Johnny was also a two-chair turn, auditioning with Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” He tried out in Season 11 and failed to turn a chair.

The battle: Adam has them singing Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle.” And they turn in a fun, rocking performance. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Julien’s vocal performance. But Johnny is the guy who seized the moment, both with his raucous vocal and with his performance style. The song was better suited for him, and he took full advantage.

The verdict: Adam awarded the win to Johnny; Julien was eliminated.


Monday’s episode featured three more of those dreaded montages. Here’s how the outcomes went.

Team Blake: Enid Ortiz and Valerie Ponzio sang “Love Triangle” by RaeLynn. Enid won; Valerie was eliminated. Valerie — of Val and The Southern Line — had turned four chairs in the blinds.

Team Adam: Hanne Eyre and Sheena Brook performed “Try” by Pink. Adam advanced Hanna; Sheena was eliminated. That’s a shame. I really like her original music.

Team Gwen: Troy Ramey and Jozy Bernadette performed “Angel Eyes” by Jeff Healey. Shame this was montaged; I was looking forward to another performance by Troy, who turned four chairs in the blinds. Gwen declared him the winner; Jozy was eliminated.

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