Jennifer Hudson Returns To ‘The Voice’ As Season 15 Blinds Begin

Jennifer Hudson returned to “The Voice” as the Season 15 Blinds begin! (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

Oscar and Grammy-winning performer Jennifer Hudson returned to The Voice to join Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and fellow American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson to the coaches’ chairs.   Did any of the coaches find the talent necessary to join Cassadee Pope, Tessanne Chin, Jordan Smith, Sundance Hand, and Chloe Kohanski in the winner’s circle?  Read on to find out!

15-year-old Sarah Grace delivered a fiery cover of Janis Joplin’s “Ball and Chain” that immediately caught Kelly’s attention. However, it took a while for both Blake and Jennifer to turn around for the Houston, Texas native.  Kelly stated that Sarah Grace had a “stank face for days.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hudson interjected that Sarah Grace showcased “sass” in her performance.  But, Kelly added that she knew how to win the show with a 15-year-old as she did last season with Brynn Cartelli. Eventually, Sarah Grace joined Team Kelly.

After Kelly met Sarah Grace’s family, 23-year-old Tyshawn Colquitt hoped that The Voice could help his family (including his numerous family).  He chose to tackle Sam Smith’s “Like I Can” for his Blind Audition. My jaw dropped when he revealed his falsetto that caught the attention of both Jennifer and Blake. While Blake gave it the old college try, it was their respective mission of “bringing R&B & Soul back” that made him enlist in Team Jennifer.

As Blake and Adam told Kelly that this season marks Jennifer’s fourth season as a coach (she is a coach on The Voice UK), we were introduced to Tyke James. The 17-year-old Laie, Hawaii native who reminds me a lot of Season Eight champion Sawyer Fredericks was about ready to take the stage. With his entire family backing him, Tyke took the stage and performed Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”  The Maroon 5 frontman was the only person that took a chance on him. Hopefully, Adam will work his magic because Tyke needs a lot of work!

Mercedes Ferreira-Dias came back after not receiving a chair turn last season. She tackled Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine” for her second chance to return to the show. What I enjoyed about Mercedes’ performance was her impeccable connection between the lyrics and the notes. I was blown away by her vocals performance, and she got the attention of both Kelly and Blake.  Adam, who encouraged her to come back to the show, wanted her to choose the “Medicine” singer to coach. However, both Jennifer and her mother (who had a giant crush on the “God Gave Me You” singer) recommended her to pick Blake.

While Blake gave Mercedes’ mom a hug backstage, several coaches warned Jennifer Hudson about the block feature. This feature, which was introduced last season, allows one coach to block one of their rivals from picking up an artist of their choice. Adam blocked Jennifer from acquiring 19-year-old New Jersey native Radna, who delivered a fiery interpretation of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best.” Despite blocking Jennifer, it did not stop Blake from turning his chair around.  Adam threw out every single compliment in the book and threw Blake “under the bus.” Despite Jennifer trying to assist the six-time Voice champion, it was Adam who scored his second artist of the night. He vowed to both Radna and her family backstage that he would do everything in his power to guide her to victory.

21-year-old Kameron Marlowe worked at a car dealership but has a passion for music. During his pre-performance package, he admitted that he listened to Blake’s music 95 percent of the time. He tackled Luke Combs’ “One Number Away,” that caught the attention of both Kelly and Blake. While Adam delivered an impersonation of his longtime rival, Kelly tried to physically block the “Neon Light” singer from making a pitch. Also, he had the Universal Studios Hollywood audience chanted “Choose Blake!” and Kameron chose his new coach.

As Blake met the Marlowe family, 39-year-old Mikele Buck is an Iraq War veteran, who searched for bombs with his fellow troops. He used music to escape the horrors that he experienced in the Middle East and came home to have a family and pursue a career in the music industry.  Mikele tackled Brooks & Dunn’s “She Used to Be Mine” for his Blind Audition. When he performed, Mikele reminded me of watching Tate Stevens on X Factor USA. At the last second, both Kelly and Blake turned their chairs around.  Adam advised Kelly to try to get Mikele to join her team over Team Blake.  Kelly used Jason Aldean, Kaleb Lee, and her husband and Blake’s manager, Brandon Blackstock, as leverage in hopes that Mikele joined her team.  She was successful as he joined the “Miss Independent” singer’s team.

38-year-old Patrique Fortson was the last male singer to face the coaches. He told Carson Daly that he was “The Clark Kent of the Music Industry.” The former child star sang Oleta Adams’ “Get Here,” and his voice gave me chills and almost made me cry. His velvet vocal range made me smile and caught the attention of both Jennifer and Adam. Before the two coaches duked it out, Kelly called Patrique’s voice “a gift,” and Jennifer wanted to help Patrique appear on numerous stages around the world. He sang a few bars of “And I Am Telling You” to confirm his allegiance to Team Jennifer.

The final Blind Audition of the night was 13-year-old Kennedy Holmes. She took a significant risk and performed Adele’s “Turning Tables” in hopes of landing on a team.  Her voice reminds me of a young Kelly Rowland, and her vocal runs were incredible.  She also has the charisma needed to get far in this competition. Kennedy’s performance earned the first all four-coach turn (Adam, Blake, Jennifer, and Kelly Clarkson in that order) in the season. Before the coach banter started, Blake whispered to Jennifer Hudson that he “believed that she could win.”  As Kelly danced around the stage, the “God Gave Me You” singer declared that Kennedy was the “best singer to audition this year.” Kelly stated that she admired Kennedy’s falsetto and head voice, while Kennedy went into fangirl mode when Jennifer started to talk.

Kennedy revealed that one of her first performances was “I Am Changing” and it was a “dream” to sing with Jennifer.  Jennifer stated: “I’m Ready!” and grabbed a mic from a Production Assistant and rushed to the stage to Kennedy. The two performed an impromptu duet of the Dreamgirls track. That duet was electrifying, and it reminded me so much of when original coach Christina Aguilera performed with contestants during the Blinds, when she was on the NBC singing competition. Kennedy chose to enlist in Team Jennifer.

Tomorrow night, The Voice: Season 15 Blind Auditions continue!

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar