The Voice

Mara Justine, Alexa Wildish, Jackson Snelling dazzle on The Voice

Mara Justine reacts to Niall Horan's attempts to land her for his team on The Voice Monday night. (NBC Photo)

Mara Justine reacts to Niall Horan’s attempts to land her for his team on The Voice Monday night. (NBC Photo)


The Voice kicked off Season 24 Monday night with Reba McEntire sitting in the big red chair that had been occupied by Blake Shelton since the show premiered in 2011.

I didn’t think Reba was nearly as much fun as Blake, but I’ll let others write ad nauseum about The Voice coaches.

I’d rather focus on the singers, because that’s where the focus of any singing show should be.

And, folks, The Voice has rounded up another talented cast for Season 24. The female talent is off the charts.

We got a taste of that Monday night when three ladies — Jordan Rainer, Alexa Wildish and Mara Justine — turned four chairs.

Reba McEntire landed Jordan, the first singer featured on Season 24. Alexa joined Team Niall Horan.

We won’t find out who Mara selected as her coach until Tuesday’s episode began. But, wow, Niall and John Legend were pulling out all the stops in an attempt to win her over.

Meanwhile, I’ve been posting profiles of lots of Season 24 contestants and will continue to post profiles of anyone I’ve missed. In each, I include info on music the artists have already released.

I’d encourage fans to check out that music. There’s no way the show is going to be able to do justice to all the great singers who will land spots on Season 24, and their original music deserves to be heard.

Now, a recap of Monday’s show, staring with my picks for the night’s top three performances.


1. Mara Justine, 21, Galloway, N.J., “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John: Mara delivered a brilliant opening and had three chairs facing in her direction in a heartbeat. She had all four before hitting the chorus. She slayed on American Idol a few years back and appears to do the same on The Voice. She delivered vocals, range and great dynamics. John called her a “magical gem” of an artist. Niall predicted American will fall in love with her voice. Niall hugged her and had Blake’s giant finger lowered from the rafters in order to win over Mara. John then took the stage to duet with her. The show ended with a cliffhanger. We’ll find out Tuesday who Mara picked.

2. Alexa Wildish, 34, Lyon, Colorado, “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac: She delivered a fabulous opening on the Christine McVie song. Talk about a nice tone and an emotional performance. And she received a well-deserved four chair turn as a result. Oh, and she’s one of those aforementioned female singer-songwriters who has already released some great music. Reba said she felt a certain calm when Alexa performed and loved the emotion she delivered. John called her voice angelic and mesmerizing. Alexa joined Team Niall.

3. Jackson Snelling, 21, Austin, Indiana, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore: Jackson showed off a really nice country tone, especially on the opening. And that earned him a quick chair turn from Gwen Stefani. Reba eventually turned as well. Reba complimented him on a great tone and doing a great job with his audition song. Gwen pulled the Blake card in trying to win Jackson over, reminding him that she has performed on two number one country hits. Still, Jackson decided to join Team Reba. The combination of a winning personality and his solid male country vocals just might make Jackson a Season 24 fan favorite.


Jordan Rainer, 33, Nashville, Tenn., “Fancy” by Reba McEntire: Jordan opened Season 24 of The Voice by singing a Reba song. And she’d just started the second verse when Reba, Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan turned. John Legend soon joined them as well. John called her an exceptional vocalist. Niall loved the energy in her performance. Reba loved her style and talent. Jordan decided to join Team Reba.

Joslynn Rose, 16, Lake Benton, Minn., “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence”: She showws off a nice tone at the opening. She also went big on the chorus and, by the time the song ended, she had Gwen Stefani, Niall Horan and Reba McEntire facing her way. Gwen loved the emotion in her performance. Niall liked the way she connected with the audience. Joclynn decided to join Team Gwen.

Deejay Young, 33, Tampa, Fla., “This Women’s Work” by Maxwell: He immediately impressed with his range, prompting chair turns from Gwen Stefani and John Legend. Reba McEntire soon followed. Deejay continued with a frill-filled performance but couldn’t quite entice a turn from Niall. Reba liked his versatily. John complimented him for singing the song so beautifully and doing such a good job with his falsetto. Deejay opted to join Team Legend.

Sophia Hoffman, 18, Chula Vista, Calif., “Tell Me You Love Me” by Demi Lovato: She came out and delivered an impressive vocal, showing off a big voice on the Demi song. She got an early chair turn from Reba McEntire and another from Niall Horan midway through the song. There was some impressive soul in that vocal too. Reba liked the power and strength in her voice. Niall liked the maturity she showed at such a young age. Sophia opted to join Team Niall.

Kristen Brown, 24, Roseville, Calif., “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood: Her opening enticed an almost immediate chair turn from Gwen Stefani. Reba McEntire soon followed. Kristen showed especially nice state presence. Reba said she was very taken with Kristen’s performance and loved her enthusiasm. Gwen called Kristen a diamond in the rough. Kristen decided to join Team Gwen.

Olivia Minogue, 19, Lockwood, Illinois, “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith: Olivia turned in a passionate performance of the Sam Smith smash and got early chair turns from John Legend and Niall Horan. Reb eventually turned as well. Niall said he loved the bluesy, raspy side of her voice. Olivia auditioned on the 10-year anniversary of seeing Niall in concert for the first time and was wearing a Niall necklace. So it wasn’t a big surprise when Olivia opted to join Team Niall.

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1 Comment

  1. Idol Girl September 26, 2023 at 9:15 am -  Reply

    I thought that the panel had great chemistry and the night one talent was very strong.

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