Just like that, after three weeks of Blind Auditions, The Voice Season 21 has its Top 48 contestants, with 12 singers apiece going to superstar coaches Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and newcomer Ariana Grande. The audition process spans six episodes, so that's a pretty good chunk of the season, and understandably so, as it’s when viewers are introduced to the contestants they’ll be responsible for voting for later. Not to mention it takes a lot of time to hand-pick 48 singers, so it's nice that most artists who get air time actually make it on a team.
This season, around 60 singers took the stage to vie for a spot on The Voice, so there were some who left with only a couple minutes of national exposure and hopefully some constructive advice from the coaches. But sometimes the artists are merely victims of bad circumstance – they’re nervous to perform in front of celebrities on national TV, or their audition comes late in the process when the teams are filling up. It’s literally a judgment call, and each season the viewing audience inevitably finds performers we’d like to see in the competition go home without a chair turn. For Season 21, here are the three singers I think should have made it past Blind Auditions.
Former boy band member Austin Percario, 25, from Los Angeles, auditioned with “This Town” by Niall Horan and sounded a little shaky in his lower register. John Legend suggested raising the key would make those nerves less obvious, and Ariana Grande said a different song choice would have showcased his range better. Kelly Clarkson loved Percario’s tone. She and Grande said he had the perfect voice for a song on Grey’s Anatomy, and now I can’t stop thinking about that! The coaches recognized Percario’s raw talent, and I think they could have worked with him on how to highlight his obvious strengths.
I was shocked — shocked — when no one turned around for Serenity Arce, the 14-year-old from Jupiter, Florida. Her audition with “I See Red” by Everybody Loves an Outlaw was strong and gritty and unique. The coaches cited her youth for not turning, but I can’t believe Ariana Grande or Kelly Clarkson wouldn’t have been able to give her tools to rein in her talents. I adored Grande telling Arce that theater was the safest space for her to develop her voice, and Blake Shelton gave the unexpected viewpoint that taking another year then going straight for a record deal would be a better path for her than a short run on this season of The Voice.
Nerves got the best of Kayla Lilly, 22, from Pennsylvania, at the beginning of her rendition of “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman. But by the end, she had found her footing and hit some really impressive (and long) notes that wowed Ariana Grande. Kelly Clarkson said she was focusing too hard on being perfect on the ambitious song. John Legend agreed that her “thrilling” high notes were her comfort zone, and I get what they’re saying, but those don’t sound like bad things to me. And definitely not uncoachable. Clarkson begged her to come back, and I hope she does.
Hopefully all of the artists who auditioned for The Voice got something out of the experience, even if they weren’t picked for a team. The Voice continues next week with the first round of Battles, and our first look at the Season 21 Battle Advisors. Be sure to check out our 2021 Fall TV Schedule for all of the upcoming premieres.
Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.
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