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19 January, 2015 7:07 PM
Published by Kevin Mc Stravock
Last week saw a return for The Voice of Ireland as Kian, Bressie and new coaches Una and Rachel fought it out for the best singers from the country. Tonight the search continues as more singers try to get those chairs spinning with two ex-auditionees returning for a second time. Will it be second time lucky for either of them?
Videos and recap after the JUMP...
Shannon Doyle - 2/4 - 'Big Girls Don't Cry' by Fergie - Joins Team Una
Shannon is a hairdresser but her true ambition has always been to forge a career in the music biz so here she is trying out for The Voice. She describes her mother as her biggest fan but will any of the four coaches rival that position? She has a pleasant voice, quite a sultry tone which is very smooth on this song but of course the moment everyone is waiting for is when it shifts into a higher register. Okay it's pretty solid, the girls both turn and she sort of loses control a little but it's still a decent performance and she certainly shows promise. I'm inclined to agree with Bressie that she slightly lost control of her voice after the girls had turned but I think she has the talent, it's just whether the coach she chooses will be able to bring it out of her. I think direction might be a problem as at the minute I fear she could fall into the trap of just being given generic pop tracks by any artist, something that tends to happen to a few of the artists every year, nothing wrong with standard pop but I find that if they can find a direction and can show a bit of originality, they tend to do better on this sort of show. A solid start for Shannon.
Helena Bradley-Bates - 3/4 - 'Alone' by Heart - Joins Team Kian
You only think auditioning for the show is tough but imagine turning up to your audition having buried your mother just a few days before. That's reality for Helena who, sadly, lost her mother a few days before this blind audition. Having already applied to be on the show long before and knowing how much her mum was behind her, Helena decided that she would go ahead with the audition in memory of her mum. This is a pretty great performance, it might be a bit of a cliché song but she's absolutely nailing it. 80's power ballads aren't easy songs to sing, that's why so many talent show contestants seem to fall flat when they take them on but Helena has a great voice. She's definitely a rock style singer and she nails every note here. The potential with Helena is massive, I do worry somehow that Kian may give her clichéd songs that make her come across like a pub rocker but he was very passionate in his appeal to get Helena on his team so I think he sees a lot of potential in her. As he said 'there's nothing wrong with an old-fashioned belter' and if we're talking raw technical ability here, Helena has pushed herself straight to the top of the pack with that audition.
Laura Enright - 4/4 - 'Hey Ya' by Outkast - Joins Team Bressie
Laura's passion for music was fuelled when she started university in Galway and started busking out on the streets of the city. She says that she's vastly outnumbered by guys when she's out busking as significantly more males do it than females. As soon as I hear the acoustics kick in and realize what she's singing I'm expecting to hear the Sara Blasko cover which seems to be the style quirky girls tend to aim for. However, she's not doing the same arrangement, this one is similarly stripped back but her enunciation and runs make it very much an original take on the song. She has a really great tone, it's very soulful, she might have a guitar in hand but she's not a quirky girl as such, her voice is actually very powerful and I have a feeling Laura could be very versatile in this competition. There's little bits of her voice, some of the runs she does which remind me a little of Ella Henderson so I'm intrigued to see how she'll do. Bressie has found himself a very strong contender in Laura, he better not mess it up.
Eddie Carey - No Turn - 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)' by Edison Lighthouse
Eddie says himself that he has quite an old school taste in music, mainly because he grew up listening to his dad's taste in music which was very much based around classic Irish artists like Phil Coulter. His song choice probably reflects that somehow and although he actually sounds better than I was expecting him to, it's a fairly middle of the road performance. I do like his voice but the song choice and his sort of lackluster performance ability (nerves maybe?) just don't allow him to stand out. I feel he needed to really give it an extra 10 or 20%, it sort of lacked energy and passion but he definitely has a good voice. I think with a better song choice and maybe a bit more passion or enthusiasm in his performance he could make it through in a future series.
Cian O'Melia - 2/4 - 'Way Back When' by Kodaline - Joins Team Rachel
Cian (not the coach, that's spelt with a K) describes himself as having taken the wrong path when he was younger. Having had no education and no qualifications as a consequence, he didn't make the right choices but he found himself back on the right path and music is something he's keen on delving into. He has a good voice, most definitely, I like the song choice and I like his falsetto, there's a bit of a James Blunt vibe to his voice. I think he could have given it slightly more emotion as it did feel a little vacant but he's a good singer and I like his tone. There's definite potential there and I'm glad he didn't pick Kian as that would have led to all kinds of confusion (and bad jokes).
Brian Doyle - No Turn - 'Sing' by Ed Sheeran
You may recognize Brian from Series 1, he auditioned way back in 2012 when Bryan Kennedy was a coach (much as we try to suppress that memory from our minds) and had a panic attack after his nervous rendition of Your Song. Brian said that his first audition has played on his mind ever since and he finally feels confident enough to try again. This time his nerves are still very evident, his voice shakes a bit throughout the song but he definitely looks more comfortable on stage than he did last time when he spent most of the song looking at the ground. I don't think this was the right song for him, Ed Sheeran songs are hard to sing well and this one requires a lot of natural rhythm which Brian doesn't appear to be able to grasp in his rendition of the song. Sadly nobody turns but Bressie and Kian both recognize him and remember his audition vividly when he refreshes their memories. Everyone praises him for giving it another try, fair play to him, it's not easy getting up there after having a bad experience and as they said, he will most definitely have inspired a few other people just by being there. Maybe it'll be third time lucky for Brian.
Mikaela Bonner - No Turn - 'Pumped Up Kicks' by Foster The People
Donegal girl Mikaela's audition comes after a traumatic year for her and her family. Last Christmas, her mother was extremely ill and very nearly died. After nearly losing someone so close to her, Mikaela decided that she would stop making excuses and try to make her dreams of a career in music a reality by signing up for the show. Love this song, Mikaela has a really nice tone and she's a very strong singer, it's definitely a little shaky to begin with but as she gets into it, her confidence seems to improve and so too do her vocals. I like Mikaela, I was half expecting someone to turn but she could definitely do with a little more confidence. Bressie tells her that he thinks she has a really strong voice and advises her to go out there and seek out producers who could help her put her voice on record because he thinks that is the best route for her.
Brian Dunne - 1/4 - 'My Love' by Justin Timberlake - Joins Team Rachel
Brian was encouraged to audition by his dad who wanted to help him boost his confidence. I like this, I like his tone and the stripped back arrangement of the song even if I think the original track is pretty perfect. It was a little plain perhaps, it sort of felt at times that he needed to inject a bit of personality or something into it but he definitely has something there, he just needs a little bit more confidence, which getting through to Battle Rounds should offer him. He has an original tone even if the way he performed the song maybe didn't show it off in the best manner. I don't think doing acoustic covers of chart hits is necessarily the way to go for him, I'd like to see him doing something in his folksy sort of style, a Hudson Taylor track would be perfect for him.
Denise Morgan - 4/4 - 'If You Love Me Say You Love Me' (Original Song) - Joins Team Bressie
Denise isn't a total stranger to the format, she hasn't auditioned for the show before but she has however appeared on its' UK counterpart The Voice UK (which coincidentally kicked off last weekend on BBC1). She was on the first series of the show and made it to Battle Rounds on Team Tom before she was knocked out. She says that being on the show gave her a bit of a confidence boost after giving birth to her son. If she hadn't said about her Voice UK history, I think you would probably have struggled to make the connection because she sounds totally different here. Her original track is fantastic and she has such natural artistry. I love the whole retro 50's blues feel of the song, I see a bit of a Nerina Pallot, even Paloma Faith feel to her style. She has improved so much since being on The Voice UK, easily my favourite audition so far this series. I absolutely loved this, it was fresh and as Bressie (I think) pointed out she has such a clear direction, she knows who she is as an artist and it'll make her coach's job so much easier (as long as they don't try and go against that). She properly grills the coaches asking them to name a song they would give her. Bressie is the only one to actually come up with anything, waffling something about Roy Orbison which seems to be enough for Denise. I just hope she doesn't go the same way as Ciara, my personal favourite from Team Bressie last year. Word of warning for Bressie if he's reading this blog (pfft...as if), don't mess it up.
Aoife Cremin - No Turn - 'Still Into You' by Paramore
Aoife is the second of the 2FM wildcards to audition for the show, she was picked for her effortless voice which is displayed by a very impressive rendition of 'Riptide' by Vance Joy which we hear. Sadly, song choice absolutely kills her in the blind auditions, picking this song doesn't work for her, she has quite a melodic, sweet voice and this song feels a bit too angsty and agressive for her. You sort of need a bit of a grit in your voice to do this and it just didn't work for her, the performance lacked substance and her voice sounded a bit weak on the song. It just goes to show that song choice can make or break you, if she had sang Riptide I think she'd have sailed through. It was a bit flat at times, a shame as she definitely had potential.
Miranda Thornton - No Turn - 'Can't Rely On You' by Paloma Faith
Miranda is a professional singer who is well used to the entertainment circuit having performed across Ireland, Europe and even in Las Vegas. She also entered Eurosong twice trying to represent her country. I think being a professional singer can have its' pros and cons and sadly it went against her today, she has a nice voice, I hear a bit of a country tone come through but having performed professionally, she has picked up a few bad habits and sadly she oversings it a little making it feel a bit cabaret. It also didn't help that the band kind of butchered this track, it cheapened the whole feel of the performance and I just couldn't get into the song hearing it being played like this. I'm not totally pinning the blame on the band here but the sound quality on this version of the voice isn't particularly great if you compare it to its' UK and US counterparts and with this song, it was the dealbreaker for me.
Dean Forrester - 1/4 - 'Jump' by Van Halen - Joins Team Bressie
Dean auditioned in Series 2 where he was criticized for performing an old fashioned style song, not necessarily a fair critique if I'm honest but ah well. Since auditioning, he has tried to work on making what he does sound a bit more contemporary. So he's doing a swing version of an 80's rock song. Right. No, in fairness to Dean he's doing something different so fair play even if it's not a totally original take on the song, Paul Anka having done a swing version of this back in 2005. He definitely has something there, he has a pretty good swing voice, I'm not entirely convinced that his voice is 'wow' but he has improved a lot since his audition in Series 2. Bressie likes it and as the sole coach to turn becomes his coach. Dean has talent, I'm interested to see where he'll go next.