The Voice

‘The Voice’ Premiere: Singer Evokes Janis Joplin On ‘Stay With Me,’ Turns All Four Chairs [Video]

During the Season 8 premiere of The Voice, one of the standout performances came in the form of Sarah Potenza’s rendition of The Faces’ “Stay with Me,” evoking Janis Joplin’s raw style. Potenza’s gritty style won her a turn of the chair by all four coaches this season: Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, and a last second turn by returning Voice coach Christina Aguilera.

Levine was first to turn his chair, but Pharrell could barely contain himself after hitting the red button, getting on his feet, and whooping along through the audition. But it was Shelton who took the lead in the war to win her to his team for The Voice, pointing out Potenza’s roots in Nashville, her camouflage attire, and her cowboy boots.

“I really think we have a connection here.”

As Pharrell started making his pitch, he kept walking closer to Potenza on The Voice stage, with Levine matching his steps while he waited for his turn.

“I can’t let this one go, because you gave this generation something they have never seen before… just like you, I’m caught up in the moment.”

After complimenting Levine on his record of number one songs and wins on The Voice, Pharrell made his last plea, but in the humblest way.

“I’m supposed to say, ‘Join me, get on my team.’ No, no, no. I want to get on your bus. I want to go where you’re going. We’re going to make Sarah’s music. Please.”

But in the end, Potenza’s Nashville ties seemed to sway her decision, choosing coach Blake Shelton. Backstage at The Voice, she told Carson Daly she felt country music had the best stories to tell, and she felt Blake would be the best coach for her for that reason.

While many contestants on The Voice and other singing competitions tend to start sounding a bit alike with smooth vocal tones and sometimes overdone riffs and runs, those contestants who have distinguished themselves with an edgier style — vocally and personally — have traditionally done well on The Voice.

Most notably, Voice finalist Juliette Simms had a bohemian rocker style and a raw, soulful voice, but Potenza’s performance was most reminiscent of former contestant Beverly McClellan, who owned the room as soon as she took the stage in her blind audition, with her trademark bald head, neck tattoos, and epic, bluesy soul.

Like those former Voice contestants, it’s clear Potenza follows her own style, rocking a green motorcycle jacket, camouflage shirt, cowboy boots, a Native American squash blossom necklace… and huge white frame glasses. While talent is the top priority on The Voice, it’s always a bonus to see unique individuals with larger than life personalities who create, rather than follow, trends.

What was your favorite performance on the Season 8 premiere of The Voice?

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