The Voice Australia: Season 5, Episode 1

I had a lot of questions this episode. Some of them include:

  • Could The Voice producers have taken some of the money that went into the dramatic opening helicopter shot and used it to support Ellie Drennan or Joe Moore’s music careers?
  • Can this seasons’ coaches record a version of Adele’s Hello? Ronan, Joel and Benji’s harmonies were amazing, and Jessie and Delta’s vocal throwdown had me waving my gospel hand in the air.
  • On that note, can these coaches pledge to avoid repeating last season’s drama and ensuing awkwardness?
  • Why were there so many long line t-shirts?
  • Does Delta Goodrem ever age?
  • And of course, where is Darren McMullen?

But these questions were quickly quelled by the amazing-ness of the contestants (well one of them anyway). Let’s get to recapping!

Alfie Arcuri (James Bay’s Scars; Team Delta): This architect’s adorable nephew had me from the get-go, and I almost wanted him to go through just so I could see more of him. He completely won me over though. His rich tone, excellent pitch, beautiful falsetto and palpable emotion made this a great Blind Audition. The fact he didn’t belt the whole time, but pulled back at the end of phrases was also very pleasing to hear. I did wish that he would have held out some of his higher notes instead of clipping them off but that’s a small complaint in a pretty flawless performance.

Blake Morgan (Chet Faker’s Talk Is Cheap; Team Madden): The first of many longline T-shirt wearing contestants from tonight, Blake definitely reminded me of last season’s Nathan Hawes – from the hair, to the outfit, to the selection of coaches. I was really hoping that he would bring the energy and dynamics that his season 4 look-alike was missing, but I was inevitably disappointed. Not only this, but his performance was riddled with pitch and enunciation issues. He could make it deep into the competition though, by taking a creative approach to arrangements and interesting song choices as indicated in this audition.

Claire Fabri (Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl; no chairs turned): The start of this Honey Birdette retail assistant’s Blind Audition was very reminiscent of a Postmodern Modern Jukebox arrangement. I was sort of digging it, despite her iffy pitch. However, after the hinky transition into a more pop rock-esque arrangement it kinda fell apart – especially evident in her… interesting runs. Her mother’s prediction of a Jessie J chair turn was unfortunately inaccurate.

Jack Pellow (Hozier’s From Eden; Team Jessie): Completing tonight’s duo of longline t-shirt wearers, Jack (and his Full House-aged Mary-Kate and Ashley look-alike daughter Ivy) had an interesting performance, that I wasn’t 100% sure if I liked or not. I appreciated that he brought some tempo to The Voice stage and did a great job at keeping in the pocket and staying in pitch. On the flip side, the performance didn’t really go anywhere and his stunned expression kept me at an arm’s distance. I could go either way with Jack.

Maddison McNamara (Lianne La Havas’ Gone; Team Madden): While Maddison does need to work on her enunciation and occasional pitch issues, I really really loved her tone. Matching her exquisite tone with a unique and not done-to-death song choice made this one of the stand out performances of the evening. Here’s hoping that the Maddens can continue giving this 4-chair-turn some more interesting soul tunes while also working with her to iron out her diction.

Ace Avenue (Keith Whitley’s [NOT RONAN KEATING’S] When You Say Nothing At All; no chairs turned): Right from his introduction, I wasn’t sure about Ace Avenue (Is that a stage name?). A combination of one too many buttons on his shirt being undone and the fact that he credited When You Say Nothing At All to Ronan (and not Keith Whitley or even Alison Krauss, whom Ronan didn’t reference either) had me casting him a side eye. Unfortunately, his pitchy and overly breathy performance didn’t change my mind. When Ronan got up to sing with him though, they both sounded pretty good!

Lexi Clark (Rebecca Ferguson’s Nothing’s Real But Love; Team Madden): Ending the episode in the pimp slot, I was expecting Lexi to blow me away. I wasn’t really feeling her scratchy tone, and Jessie was right in calling out her overuse of vibrato. If she can rein it in, she could go pretty far in the competition.

My ranking of contestants who made it through (purely based on my taste!):

  1. Alfie Arcuri
  2. Maddison McNamara
  3. Jack Pellow
  4. Lexi Clark
  5. Blake Morgan

 

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