On day three of The Voice‘s blind auditions, we get to meet a couple of real contenders for the season — in fact, Kelly Clarkson may just triple down on her winning streak if tonight’s big recruit is as solid as everyone thinks he is.
Here’s a look at who made it through this time.
Jacob Maxwell (20 – Coeur d’Alene, ID)
What to know: His hometown is considered a special gem by Adam Levine and Kelly Clarkson, and if people like Jacob didn’t want anymore tourism attention to the place, well, their rave reviews aren’t gonna help.
The performance: Jacob’s acoustic performance of Taylor Swift’s “Delicate” is so sweet and simpering that Kelly has trouble even telling it’s a fella until she turns around for him. The performance begins to lag a little in the middle, but at the end he notches up the intensity a bit with a clean belt to show that he’s not auditioning to create a Pre-K naptime album. John compares Jacob’s “pure” tones to Jeff Buckley and James Morrison, and that’s enough to win the guy over to Team Legend. (John later admits he may also be in favor of Jacob’s potential dreamboat appeal, although the guy may have to stop talking about pooping his pants for that to pan out.)
Team: John Legend
Karly Moreno (23 – Mission Viejo, CA)
What to know: She spends her downtime skating with her brothers, but music is just as important to Karly — in fact, she’s got an adorable sizzle reel video of her then-5-year-old self being promised a future audience of millions by her dad. D’aw.
The performance: It’s appropriate that her highlights vid has a No Doubt song behind it because she does have some of that same ’90s rad aesthetic going on. Her performance of “Starving” is so bubble gum sweet, though, that it takes Adam a long time to turn for her. After some careful consideration, however, he’s heard enough clarity and precision to give her a chance. John does throw down his two cents, however, to say that she may need to extend her range to make it farther in this competition.
Team: Adam Levine
Carter Lloyd Horne (19 – Marietta, GA)
What to know: His family was hit super hard by the economic crash of ’08, and while they were staying in a hotel, Carter got a guitar from his grandma. The instrument became a means of escape for him, and by gigging now, he’s hoping to help his family finally recover from their losses.
The performance: From the first note, Carter’s voice is very take-notice as he belts out “Drinkin’ Problem” with a very rustic rasp and an Alan Jackson-esque air of authority. Blake and Kelly make him work for it, as they wait ’til the last note is done to turn. Kelly’s had some trouble recruiting boys to her squad, though, and Carter doesn’t seem too interested in breaking that streak.
Team: Blake Shelton
Talon Cardon (18 – Orem, UT)
What to know: He’s currently working as a server at an asian cuisine restaurant to make ends meet, but Talon has been trying to assemble a career in music all the while. He’d grown up wanting to be a police officer, but after a terrible accident almost claimed his dad’s life, he’s instead set his sights on a full-time music venture.
The performance: The first few lines of “Say You Won’t Let Go” are super low and difficult for him to reach, but once he gets to the smoother full portions of the lyrics, there’s a soulfulness to his boy-bander tones that catches John’s attention at the very last minute. Adam compliments his potential and fitness for Team John, who can help him iron out the rougher spots in the beginning and reach those high notes that seemed out of range.
Team: John Legend
Patrick McAloon (40 – Barrington, RI)
What to know: Patrick is auditioning alongside his teen daughter Ruby — not with her, separately — which means that the dinner table is bound to be awkward if and when only one of them gets through. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happens.
The performance: Patrick goes first with his transportative take on “Runaway Train,” and his Richard Marx-meets-Peter Gabriel appeal gets Adam excited — despite a formidable plea by Blake, Patrick recognizes that he belongs on Team Adam. Then comes Ruby with her rendition of Selena Gomez’s “Back to You,” and her whole set is riddled with very audible nerves that overshadow her Ellie Goulding-ish tones. She earns no turns, which is awk-WARD for everyone once they find out she’s following her dad. Adam, ever the kid whisperer, somehow manages to recover on behalf of everyone by promising her that the world is still ahead of her and she should be proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her dad this early on in her life.
Team: Adam Levine
Alena D’Amico (26 – Detroit, MI)
What to know: Her fiancé didn’t find out she could sing until they were in the car and she broke out with it, but now her fam is all-in on supporting her musical ambitions.
The performance: There’s a lot of power behind Alena’s rendition of Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood,” but it takes coaches Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton a bit to hear what they need for a turn amid the scattered reaches of her range. Her sound is round and rich, but not perfect, and Kelly takes a note from Adam Levine to point out that flaws do exist in her performance, and she’s the one to help fix them. Sold.
Team: Kelly Clarkson
Kanard Thomas (28 – Jacksonville, FL)
What to know: He’s got a cute little son-slash-look-alike cheering him on today, and he wants to provide the kid a more solid parenting situation than he had as a kid growing up with his aunt.
The performance: He might have some rhythm on the stage during his rendition of “Riding with the King,” but there’s still a little too much reservation of spirit for the coaches to come around for it. Bebe Rexha, however, has heard enough to give him a shot at the Comeback Stage and thinks she can draw out the best parts of his vocal talents with another number. Judging from the previews of his next step, she might be right.
Dexter Roberts (27 – Fayette, AL)
What to know: Hunting, fishing, four-wheelin’, muddin’ — this guy likes all the country fun — but life in the forest got dicey for him after a particularly nasty tick bite that caused him everything from lethargy to heart palpitations. Luckily, he’s been treated for it and arrives to the studio in tip-top condition.
The Performance: There are moments in Dexter’s crisp country performance where he sounds a lot like Blake in the “Austin” era, and after he delivers a clean southern ballad in “Like a Cowboy,” he’s got the attention of all four coaches. None of them have a chance against Team Blake, though, despite their best efforts to convince Dexter to choose a less obvious route. If it ain’t broke …
Jej Vincent (22 – Davao, Phillippines)
What to know: His family made the choice to immigrate to the U.S. when he was a boy, and it was not an easy feat — to help them get by, Jej has worked as a dishwasher, a bedmaker and most recently, a nursing assistant. He has since moved to California to pursue music to prove to them that he can make it.
The performance: Kelly Clarkson has had a difficult time recruiting men to her team this season, but her luck changes with Jej Vincent, whose take on Drake’s “Passion Fruit” is moody, melodic, tight to the notes and full of surprises and makes him a four-chair-turn performance. “You’re a better singer than all of us!” Adam chants with sing-song glee. John loves the “wild, inspired song choice” and how precise and creative his runs were. Blake says he’s probably talking to the winner of this season so far. Ultimately, it’s Kelly who wins him over by telling him he’ll stand out as one of the few males on her team.
Team: Kelly Clarkson
Adam Levine: Trey Rose, Jimmy Mowery, Domenic Haynes, Karly Moreno, Patrick McAloon
Kelly Clarkson: Karen Galera, Rizzi Myers, The Bundys, Alena D’Amico, Jej Vincent
John Legend: Maelyn Jarmon, Lisa Ramey, Matthew Johnson, Savannah Brister, Julian King, Talon Cardon
Blake Shelton: Gyth Rigdon, Kim Cherry, Lili Joy, Hannah Kay, Carter Lloyd Horne, Dexter Roberts