Katie Kadan’s been singing professionally for eight years. Brennan Lassiter said she’d never sang outside of church.
But both turned four chairs Monday night when The Voice aired the first of its pre-taped bind audition episodes for Season 17.
By the end of the night, nine singers had landed spots on the show.
John Legend and Kelly Clarkson landed the four-chair turns, Katie and Brennan, respectively.
Blake blocked Kelly, his new chief rival now that The Voice is Adam Levine-less.
And Gwen Stefani blocked Blake to the delight of everyone on the set except Blake.
Here’s a recap of Monday’s show, with my picks for the Top 3 performances of the night.
BEST OF THE NIGHT
Katie Kadan, 38, Chicago, Ill., “Baby, I Love You”: Her stellar and soulful version of the Aretha Franklin classic prompted an almost immediate chair turn from John Legend, followed by Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani, making her the first four-chair turn recipient of Season 17. That was a sassy vocal filled with personality. Kelly quickly learns she’s been blocked, likely by Blake. John complimented Katie on the rawness and fire in her voice and said she’s perfect for the show. Katie joins Team John Legend.
Kyndal Inskeep, 22, Nashville, Tenn., “Never Been to Spain”: Kyndal’s “Three Dog Night” cover displayed a mix of soul, country and rock that could take her far on the show. She was only a couple of lines into her performance when Gwen turned around. Blake turned too, only to discovered he’d been blocked by his girlfriend. That left Gwen and Kelly to fight over Kyndal. Gwen likes her distinctive style. She has strong stage presence too. Kyndal decided to join Team Gwen.
Kat Hammock, 18, Encinitas, Calif., “Vienna”: Though she’s still a teenager, Kat took a seat behind her keyboard and launched into a Billy Joel cover, showing off a lovely, lilting vocal tone. Still, it wasn’t until the song was nearly over that Blake and Gwen turned almost simultaneously. Having failed to land an artist at that point, Blake made a plea of desperation, and it worked. Of course, he also called Kat’s voice “magical.” I’ll second that. Kat decided to join Team Blake.
ALSO ON TEAM BLAKE:
Marina Chello, 37, Plainview, N.Y., “Walk Me Home”: Taking a second shot at music after landing a record deal when she was young, Marina displayed a really nice vocal tone from the opening note of her Pink cover. But it wasn’t until she displayed her vocal firepoer that Blake turned his chair. Kelly turned as well. Indeed, Blake said he was drawn to the power in her voice. And how connected she was to her performance. Marina joined Team Blake.
ALSO ON TEAM GWEN:
Jake HaldenVang, 24, Charlotte, N.C., “Wish I Knew You”: Jake delivered a really impressive opening on his cover of the song by The Revivalists and it paid dividends in the form of quick chair turns by Blake, John and Gwen. As Gwen noted, his performance lost a bit of steam after that, but still showed great potential.Gwen said she loves his range and the personality in his voice. Jack joined Team Gwen.
Rose Short, 34, Killeen, Texas, “Preach”: Her intense opening on the John Legend cover failed to turn a chair, but Kelly spun as soon as Rose hit the chorus. At which point, Rose unveils the power in her voice and prompted a chair turn from Gwen as well. Gwen calls her voice “ridiculous” and especially liked the connection she made to the lyrics. Rose opted to join Team Gwen.
ALSO ON TEAM JOHN:
Will Breman, 25, Santa Barbara, Calif., “Say You’ll Be There”: He promised a jazz-i-fied, funk-i-fied version of the Spice Girls song. He certainly changed the song up, but it was the scatting midway through the song that prompted chair turns from John and Gwen. John liked his interesting take on the song, then took the stage so he and Will could sing a bit of “Ordinary People” together. Will decided to join Team John.
ALSO ON TEAM KELLY:
Brennan Lassiter, 20, Dacusville, S.C., “You Are My Sunshine”: Brennan promised a country-fied version of her audition song, and then delivered just that, with a very impressive vocal growl thrown in for good measure. She also showed tons of stage presence for someone who said she really hasn’t performed outside of church. The combination turned all four chairs. And though Kelly seemed resigned to losing the country singer to Blake, Brennan opted to join Team Kelly.
Alex Guthrie, 25, Marietta, Ga., “Love and Happiness”: Alex was well into his Al Green cover when a big note near the end of the performance prompted a chair turn from Kelly. Gwen soon followed. Kelly liked the “jam session” feel of his performance and the versatility in his voice. As it turns out, Alex once opened for Kelly, who apparently told the stage manager he has “the voice of an angel.” Alex joined Team Kelly.
FAILED TO TURN A CHAIR: