The Voice: Recapping auditions without seeing them perform

Welcome back to The Voice recap. We're in the third night of blind auditions and I am recapping tonight blindly.

Upon initial viewing, I'm not listening to any of the pre-interviews for contestants. I plan to truly hear the voice for what it is.

I got this idea after finding myself drawn to a few contestants last week who were not selected. I couldn't figure out why none of the judges chose them, but when I went back to listen again, I understood. They were pitchy, lacked passion and connection to their music and in general, would never be a contender to win The Voice.

Our first audition of the night came from Muskogee, Okla., natives, The Swon Brothers. For their first Voice "Swoncert," they sang "American Girl."

The pair started playing in Nashville as young artists. They definitely have the raw sound of a New Country group.

Blake, Usher and Shakira all vied for the duo, but they decided to choose Oklahoma native Blake Shelton for their coach.

Two blind auditions in Tuesday night and we've already got two contestants for The Voice.

Watching the show blind, I would not have turned my chair for 17-year-old Taylor Beckham. I immediately thought she was a young contestant based on her vocal development.

You know those contestants who sound like they are a seasoned professional during an audition? Taylor Beckham was not one of those performers. Her voice had no richness and did not show much range in notes.

Regardless, her performance of "I'm Going Down" got the attention of both Shakira and Usher.

The former gymnast selected Team Usher. He said he could work with her teenage talent.

If the judges didn't turn their chairs after the opening runs of Sam Alves performing "Feeling Good," they weren't going to, and they didn't.

Some viewers may be surprised at the lack of appreciation for the runs and vibrato, especially after seeing Taylor Beckham selected. I know I was.

But the judges were right in their critique – performing "Feeling Good" is a risky move. The song demands perfection.

If Alves performed a different song, I think the outcome would have been incredibly different. In fact, I think all four judges would have been telling him he could win The Voice and should select their teams.

Just one more example of the importance of song choice during the blind auditions. Unlike American Idol, The Voice does not have weeks of auditions leading to a top 20 of contestants. The blind auditions are the only shot these performers have leading into battle rounds.

Karina Iglesias provided the fourth performance of the night.

After a shaky start, the deep-voiced performer really picked up the pace in both energy and range. She definitely reminded me of Melissa Etheridge, and it was not just because she was performing "I'm the Only One."

There was power and energy in the performance that matched few so far in the blind auditions.

Blake and Adam both turned their chairs in Iglesias' last note.

Remember last week, when the three male judges were shocked that one of the contestants was male, when they thought he was a female? That probably didn't happen with this performance. In fact, as I turned around, I turned to my husband and said, "That's exactly how I pictured her when she was singing."

Latina superstar Shakira was disappointed after the performance. When she realized Iglesias was Latina, she spent most of the judges time lamenting.

"Oh no, why didn't I push the button? I want to die," she muttered in Spanish while Adam was trying to woo Iglesias.

He didn't need to do much wooing, though. Iglesias said she had been waiting a long time to say she was on Team Adam.

Team Adam picked up another power house. I'm not sure who he's going to lose in the battle rounds, but he is clearly in it to win it this year.

The next audition came from Garrett Gardner, performing "Seven Nation Army."

Gardner auditioned last year. He didn't make a team, and while I recognized him immediately when I turned around, I could not tell you anything about his previous audition.

But on Voice alone, he has power and sounds like a front-man for a band. Shakira was the only judge to turn, but Adam and Blake were both happy to see him back after last year's audition.

In this week's montage, we saw contestants chosen by the judges, rather than those rejected.

Team Shakira picked up Jay Sun. Team Adam got Duncan Kamakana and Usher selected Chelsea M. for his team.

We later saw a montage of rejected performers.

Then we got back to the full auditions.

Upon hearing Holly Tucker's first few notes, I would have turned my chair. Three judges did immediately. Blake followed about 10 seconds later.

Her voice was pure. Performing "To Make You Feel My Love" was the perfect song to show off her raw talent. 
Usher gave her a standing ovation and really fought for the country artist.

A quick Google search tells me she has already worked on at least five CDs and has extensive experience in the music business. In fact, several of tonight's contestants have a lot of experience performing their music.

Holly selected Team Blake.

I've noticed during the blind auditions that Shakira seems to be relatively passive when fighting the three men for a contestant. Christina Aguilera could go toe-to-toe with Blake and Adam if she wanted someone for her team. Shakira does not seem as aggressive. I think it could end up hurting her in the end.

Minnesotan Landon Medvec gave his first performance ever during the next blind audition.

He sang "You Give Me Something," and sounded like he was trying to have a gritty quality to his voice. In fact, I had an overwhelming urge to cough during the entire performance. Was I alone?

No judges selected Medvec, and at least two of them thought it was a woman on stage. I really don't know who they were listening to because I thought it was pretty apparent that Medvec was a man.

His voice was really nice when he went into the falsetto during the chorus, but as he immediately slid back into the raspy quality, I went back to thinking the performance was lackluster.

Michelle Chamuel's performance of "I Kissed a Girl" was fantastic. She had complete control of her voice but was almost awkward in her performance style. Actually, she was sort of awkward overall.

She seemed to say everything she was thinking. That honesty was refreshing on a show that doesn't always show us the thought process behind a performer's choice.

Remember Vicci Martinez? This girl completely reminds me of her. She has one of those performance styles that will take the entire stage, regardless of who is on stage with her.

She had her choice of judges – Shakira, Adam and Usher all turned around – and chose Team Usher.

Singing a judge's song can be really risky. The next two performers did just that – and for one, it paid off. But for Julie Roberts, a long time Nashville performer, singing a Blake Shelton song did not help her with a comeback to the music business.

She sing "God Gave Me You" and no judges turned their chairs. As soon as the song ended, and Blake turned around, he realized who had just performed his song. He introduced Roberts to the crowd and said he should have known she was singing.

Blake said Roberts has fallen through the cracks in the music business, and felt bad he did not turn his chair around.

Carson and her family told her that this was just the beginning of her comeback into the business.

Monique Abbadie, though, had a different experience singing a judge's song.

She performed Shakira's "Loca." All four judges turned around for the Latina star, but Blake and Adam knew she was going to select Shakira. While Usher briefly tried to court the former child star, she predictably chose Team Shakira.

Adam finally got his way with the final performance of the night – he stole a country artist from Team Blake.

Warren Stone sang Zac Brown Band favorite "Colder Weather." He did not have the same passion as ZBB, but the wide range of the song is difficult and he made it sound easy.

Adam, Shakira and Blake all turned their chairs for the good-looking firefighter.

In the end, he chose to work with Adam.

Here's how the teams shook out tonight:

Team Adam: Karina Iglesias, Duncan Kamakana, Warren Stone

Team Shakira: Garrett Gardner, J'Sun, Monique Abbadie

Team Usher: Taylor Beckham, Chelsea M., Michelle Chamuel

Team Blake: The Swon Brothers, Holly Tucker

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