It's night four of the blind auditions and at this point judges Blake Shelton, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson each have six artists, while Adam Levine has only five.
The first contestant of the night is 13-year-old Reagan Strange from Memphis, Tenn. She sings "Meant to Be" and her vocals are initially a bit shaky. Which makes sense given the lack of stage experience she seems to have. But about halfway into her performance Adam turns his chair and that gives her a burst of confidence. She flashes a million-dollar smile and settles into a much stronger performance. Which might have been a bad thing for Blake, who decides after a lot of hesitation to turn his chair as well. But even though she went into her audition saying she wanted to be on Blake's team, she picked Adam.
Foushee is the next contestant. She sings with the house band at the iconic Cafe Wha? in New York City. She's a 28-year-old who lives in Harlem and her mother was in an all-girl Reggae band back in her Jamaica. You can tell this singer will be specials, because host Carson Daly does his interview with her at the Cafe Wha? She explains that her mom was in a car accident a few years ago. Their car was rear-ended and her mother's brain was damaged. Foushee tells Carson the accident was a wake-up call for her to accomplish her goals because you never know what will happen in the future. As she walks on the stage of "The Voice," she has this presence that provokes screams from the audience even before she opens her mouth, which throws the judges a bit. She's singing "Redbone" and it's a skilled and subtle performance that excites Kennifer Hudson enough to turn her chair. A moment later, Adam does the same after Foushee casually throws out this note about two octaves above where she had just been singing. She seems like a natural fit for Jennifer but Foushee says she's going with her gut and she chooses Adam.
Next up is 22-year-old Wyatt Rivers from Durham, North Carolina. He's headed to the Tulane School of Medicine and he says in his interview that he's wanted to be a doctor since he was a kid. He says that he went to Duke Univeristy and as college was wrapping up, he decided to record some of his songs. It doesn't sound as if he has a lot of performing experience and it's not clear how he's juggle music and medicine. Although his mother says she's always pictured him as the "singing surgeon." He chooses to sing "River" and he has a pleasant pop voice but I'm not convinced he's anything special. And apparently the judges agree because none of them turn their chairs. But they all told him he should come back again because "you're one performance away" from being on the show. And that's indeed the case, since he's the fourth artist chosen for "The Comeback Stage" online series.
Chris Kroeze is from Barron, Wisconsin and he's 27-years-old. He's got that beard and long hair rocker look, which is generally a good sign for contestants on "The Voice." He and his family live in the country with his closest neighbor a half mile away. "You know those sleep tapes you buy? That's the way it always is at home." He's a veteran performer and says he plays at least 230 shows a year. "I'm definitely country, but I'm afraid of playing some rock." He says he' been working and rehearsing in anticipation of this performance because "I don't think what I'm doing is sustainable much longer." Man, I want this guy to be great. He kicks into an acoustic version of "Pride and Joy" and his voice is expressive and gravely in just the right way. It takes about two lines of the song before Blake turns his chair, followed quickly by Jennifer. He gives a hell of a rock and blues performance. After the performance is over, Adam tells Chris he didn't turn his chair because he thought it might have been a woman singing. "But a rough, tough-ass woman," he quickly explains to a lot of laughter. When it comes to decision time, he goes with Blake, which isn't a big surprise.
Then it's time for 20-year-old MaKenzie Thomas from Wallingford, Kentucky. She had previously auditioned for Season 14 and she described herself back then as a "bundle of nerves." She says she still struggles to believe she's worthy of being there but Carson compliments her on having the courage to return. "There are plenty of times when we ask someone to come back and they won't," he explains. "It's just too much." She's decided to sing "Big White Room" by Jessie J, which is an ambitious choice for any singer. MaKenzie says she knows she doesn't look like the people you'd see in a magazine, but this is the time for her to put it out there for the world. It takes a bit, but Jennifer turns her chair and when she does, you can tell she's surprised at what she sees. This subtle, soulful performance coming out of an overweight white girl from Kentucky. As the performance ends, Jennifer looks aroiund frantically, hoping no other judge turns their chair. And suddenly, MaKenzie is on Jennifer's team. As the rest of the judges chair's turn around, Kelly Clarkson sees her and jumps up, shouting "I know you, we told you to come back!" Jennifer asks her what type of music she listens to and she mentions Gospel singer L'andria Johnson. Jennifer asks if MaKenzie can sing on her songs and you can tell the request flusters her a bit. But then she whips out these impressive couple of lines of a song and you can see why Jennifer is so excited to her onboard.
The last performance of the night is from SandyRedd, a 35-year-old from Chicago. She explains she got pregnant when she 17 and didn't go to her own prom because she was "big and pregnant." She explains that she had to grow up fast and that meant giving up on the chance to go to college and it also meant putting her ambitions for a music career to the side. But she said that when he mother passed away, she felt the need to get back into music because it had always been a big part of her mom's life. She started singing at open mics around town and started a youth music and performance group. She says that it hasn't been easy raising two boys and still have a music career. "The Voice changes lives...and we need a change." She chose to sing "River," which can be a challenging tune in this context. Adam and Jennifer turn their chairs within ten seconds. With her long braided hair and sassy vocals, SandyRedd is a force of nature and as Kelly turns her chair she stands up in shock. Blake turns his chair just after although you can tell he doesn't really think he has a chance of being her judge.
As the song ends the crowd explodes and Jennifer Hudson walks put and throws first one shoe, then the second on the stage. Adam takes off on of his shoes as well and Blake walks up and places his drink on the floor in front of her. The place is going nuts but maybe the best part is seeing the tears flowing down the faces of SandyRedd's two sons. As soon as she tells the judges she's from Chicago, Adam walks up, retrieves his shoe and tells her "I'm just going to stop wasting my time." But she tells him he has a chance, "my kids love you." Jennifer and Adam both pretty much beg her to pick them but Kelly remains so stunned she's speechless. She finally manages to tell SandyRedd that "I don't care who you choose, I just want to see you on this show." And what do you know, that convinces her to pick Kelly.