The Voice Season 14 teams were solidified Tuesday, after one last round of Blind Auditions … and so far, it looks like Alicia Keys, who triumphed in Season 12 with Chris Blue, is headed for a repeat victory.
Sure, Kelly Clarkson, the last coach to finalize her team, may have seemed thrilled by the evening’s end — whooping it up onstage amid a swirl of finale-worthy confetti as she hollered, “My team is full!!!” — but even she had to admit she’d been “broken” by Alicia’s cunning gameplay this year.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. There are still 48 contestants left on the show, and anything could happen. We’ll see what the playing field looks like after the Battle Rounds, which kick off next Monday. Until then, here are the final five successful auditioners of Season 14.
Genesis Diaz, 19: “Praying”
This daughter of Cuban immigrants showcased a strong, bell-clear voice on Kesha’s female empowerment anthem, but unfortunately, I didn’t hear any of Kesha’s fire, fury, or heartbreak.
Who turned? Adam Levine, Blake Shelton — both at the last minute.
Sharane Calister, 24: “Make It Rain”
This powerhouse totally tapped into the pain of her foster-care childhood during Foy Vance/Ed Sheeran’s bluesy barnstormer. She possessed the pipes of a full-grown woman who’s lived a tough, full life.
Who turned? Alicia, followed by Kelly. (“It’s disrespectful if you don’t turn for someone with that kind of talent,” Kelly reasoned.)
Result? Team Alicia. Kelly was broken again.
Dallas Caroline, 17: “Always on My Mind”
This country teen, named after an Alan Jackson song, had a pretty, honey-sweet voice, but sounded terrified and hesitant. (“You were literally shaking in your boots,” Adam told her.) I also don’t think she connected to the weary Wille Nelson ballad’s lyrics, since she dedicated it to her fire-ravaged hometown of Santa Rosa, Calif., because her neighbors are “always on her mind.” What’s next, dedicating R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” to her boyfriend?
Who turned? Kelly (who told her, “You have a beautiful quality that is missing in country music”), Blake (who compared her to LeAnn Rimes), and Adam.
Result? Team Blake. No shock there.
Jackie Verna, 22: “Peter Pan”
A country-pop artist described by Adam as “Cassadee Pope-ish,” Jackie covered the Kelsea Ballerini song in a chirpy, girlish twang that I initially found underwhelming … but then she hit the chorus’s power notes and let it rip. This girl has range! She could be a dark horse.
Who turned? Just Adam — because Blake’s team was already full.
Result: Team Adam. Adam exclaimed, “I’ve never been so excited about a one-chair turn in my life!” (Sorry, Mia Boostrom…)
Amber Sauer, 35: “Shape of You”
A disciple of the “big divas” (“the Arethas, the Chakas, the Whitneys, the Mariahs”), this pro backup singer probably would have ended up on Team Kelly even if Kelly wasn’t the only coach still in the game. (“I would’ve fought like hell for you,” Kelly later told her.) I appreciated how Amber took a lightweight tune that controversially beat out four powerful female nominees at last month’s Grammys and turned it into a girl-powered soul workout.
Who turned? Kelly.
Result: Team Kelly. Obviously.
So now, the Season 14 teams are complete. Let’s assess…
Team Adam comprises pink-haired soul sensation Miya Bass, Filipina transgender singer Angel Bonilla, hipster bartender Drew Cole, smooth crooner Davison, husky one-chair-turner Mia Boostrom, R&B choir-man Gary Edwards, Nashville indie girl Stephanie Skipper, gospel firebrand Tish Haynes Keys, cancer survivor Rayshun LaMarr, and final additions Genesis Diaz and Jackie Verna.
Team Kelly has rock ‘n’ soul belter D.R. King, Latin heartthrob Jorge Eduardo, openly gay country singer Justin Kilgore, ex-child actor Dylan Hartigan, gritty Americana girl Molly Stevens, powerhouses Hannah Goebel and Amber Sauer, pop singer Jackie Foster, montage victim Jamella, and teen hopefuls Teana Boston, Alexa Cappelli, and Brynn Cartelli.
Team Blake has guitar-slingers Brett Hunter and Pryor Baird, Bublé-esque charmer Austin Giorgio, class clown Jaron Strom, gospel/folk songbird Spensha Baker, commercial country dudes Kaleb Lee and Jordan Kirkdorffer, old-school country dude Bransen Ireland, Southern rocker Wilkes, pro backup singer Kyla Jade, montage victim JessLee, and Dallas Caroline.
And finally, the only team this somewhat lackluster season with any contestant whose names I didn’t have to Google to remember is Alicia’s, which features my favorites — piano man Terrence Cunningham, chanteuse Christiana Danielle, dynamite diva Kelsea Johnson, ukulele-strumming indie girl Livia Faith, and free spirit Shana Halligan — along with Latin crooner Johnny Bliss, guitar boy Britton Buchanan, ingénue Jaclyn Lovey, singing-telegram showman Jamai, montage victims Megan Lee and Jordyn Simone, and Sharane Calister.
See you next week! Let the Battles begin.
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