The Voice Australia: Season 5, Episode 4

Of all the many episodes of The Voice Australia, this has probably been the one I hated the most. Maybe it was the excessive hype of one contestants *cough* Adam *cough*. Maybe it was the appearance of another dreaded longline t-shirt. Maybe it’s the show’s obsession with indie singer-songwriter types and teen pop divas; the shallow talent pool from this evening; some very question chair turning (or lack thereof); or the horrible producers putting some of the contestants through all 9 circles of Hell. Actually, it was all of it…

Let’s get recapping!

Andrew Loadsman (Imagine Dragons’ Demons; Team Madden):

I think the part I enjoyed most about this 30-year-old ex-brickie’s performance was Jessie J’s hilarious pitch. Aside that, Andrew’s actual Blind Audition performance was… different. Seriously though, maybe it’s just me but I didn’t really enjoy his take on Demons, so I don’t exactly understand the excessive hype (“Best audition ever!”) he got. And the fact he got 4 chairs to turn (in spite of major enunciation issues, the weird accent he adopted when he sang, an extremely shouty chorus and a very jarring transition from belting to a softer tone on “This is my kingdom come”) was also very confusing.

Alexandra Younes (Jill Scott’s Hate On Me; no chairs turned):

Despite showing some effortless belting and sweet high falsetto notes, Alexandra looked visibly bored on an uptempo song she promised sass on. Add to that – her vocals didn’t really ebb and flow either. I’m not sure if I would’ve turned for her myself, but when he predecessor got 4 chairs to turn, you know something’s up.

Calvin Swart (Taylor Swift’s Style; Team Jessie)

First things first – I henceforth ban Ronan, Delta and Jessie from even making a slight comparison between a decent-but-by-no-means-otherworldly singer to the late great Michael Jackson. That aside, Calvin did show off a nice tone in places and I also loved how he played with the tempo of T Swizzle’s hit. That being said, this performance didn’t really go anywhere (not that Style offers much vocal showcasing abilities anyway) and his final falsetto run went slightly to moderately awry. 10 points also deducted for ANOTHER longline t-shirt).

Casey Dolcetta & Barnaby Reiter (Lady Gaga’s Poker Face; Casey made it through to Team Madden)

Even though I agreed that Casey was definitely better than Barnaby (Casey’s rich tone, on point belting and effortless runs clearly trumped Barnaby’s slightly strident tone), and that despite some nice harmonies their voices didn’t blend too well together, WHY THE HELL DID THE VOICE PRODUCERS PUT THIS POOR GIRL IN SUCH A HORRIBLE PREDICAMENT??? In past seasons, the coaches would’ve just not turned their chairs and invited the better singer to audition again. Instead, they forced Casey into cutting off her best friend in the hope of advancing further in the competition. No one won from this – the coaches have sold their souls to the devil; Casey looks like a horrible person for ditching her bestie; and Barnaby has been (almost not figuratively) dropped through a trap door into a pit of snakes. Hands down, the most awkward Blind Audition ever.

Marcia Howard (Sting’s Fields Of Gold; Team Delta)

While there were definitely some pitch issues on Fields Of Gold, I appreciated that Marcia took her time to deliver an authentic, quiet and mellow moment as a much needed palate cleanser on an episode chock full of absurdity, while also showcasing a beautiful tone and effortless. I hope in the future rounds, she brings a more edgy, bluesy rock side to her performances as she showcased in her original song Solid Rock. I hope the producers don’t prove to actually be demons and age discriminate her – older contestants > younger contestants.

Col Usher (U2’s When Love Comes To Town; no chairs turned):

The fact that Col didn’t get one chair to turn has sealed this episode as probably the worst Audition episode of The Voice Australia ever. I actually hope that I wake up and this whole episode is just some twisted alternate reality. Col’s growly, gruff tone, vocal horsepower, effortless swagger and the ability to work the stage like a boss made him better than most of the other contestants of the night. If what Ronan means by wanting something ‘different’, he means yet another subpar indie singer-songwriter guy or an underbaked teen pop diva, I’m going to cry.

Aaliyah Warren (Naughty Boy ft. Beyonce and Arrow Benjamin’s Runnin’ (Lose It All); Team Jessie)

Speaking of underbaked teen pop divas… Aaliyah probably ranks in the lower portion of the many teen girls of this season. Yes she does look like a real life Pocahontas/Esmeralda. Yes she looks like pop star and sounds better live than a lot of them. And yes, she did sound a bit better at the end of her audition. However, I think a mere 50%-60% of her performance was in tune.

Adam Ladell (Coldplay’s Trouble; Team Ronan)

After the 50 or so radio and TV advertisements I’ve been exposed to, 2 backstory packages in the episode, many pre-commercial break announcements, an inspiring story, a 4 chair turn, the end-of-episode pimp slot and even a starry backdrop, I get it. We’re meant to love Adam. Even when they’re telling us it’s about his performance and not his Tourette syndrome, they’re still reminding us how inspiring and brave he is. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE THE VOICE PRODUCERS – stop milking his backstory and hyping him to keep it fair for every other contestant. It was almost a foregone conclusion that Harrison Craig would win his season and it’s not fun for the contestants, nor for us at home when we know who’s going to win at the start of the season. While Harrison was more developed and consistent vocally at this stage than Adam was tonight, Adam still makes it in the top half of tonight’s pool of talent.

Ranking of contestants who made it through (purely based on my taste):

  1. Marcia Howard
  2. Adam Ladell
  3. Casey Dolcetta (need to hear more from her though to be sure)
  4. Calvin Swart
  5. Andrew Loadsman / Aaliyah Warren
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