Tuesday night on “The Voice,” 14-year-old Preston C. Howell earned a rare four-chair turn during his blind audition of The Mamas & the Papas‘ “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” The Miami crooner/dancer heard four wildly different pitches from coaches John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, but whose team did he ultimately decide to join? And does he have what it takes to join “The Voice” winners list at such a young age? Watch Preston’s blind audition video above.
“When I turned around, you didn’t look like your voice was coming out of your body,” Gwen proclaimed after she learned of his young age. When Preston explained how he looked up to jazz artists like Michael Buble, she walked over to block his view of John. “I think that we all would die to have you on our team. I would really love to work with you,” Gwen said before singing an old jazz song a capella.
Kelly stated, “You’re such a class act. I feel like I need to aim higher as a parent. What I loved most about you, Preston, is that you didn’t imitate. Yes, you obviously have that influence, that big band sound, but originality is something that is gonna take you really far, and possibly to the finale on this show. Obviously I would love to be your coach. I hope you pick me.” She later reminded him, “I won with a 14-year-old.”
John declared, “Most of the time this show is about fireworks and big riffs and big runs, but you said, ‘I’m gonna do a standard and I’m just gonna sound beautiful doing it.’ The whole idea that you could come out here and do this at your age, to do a song that most people wouldn’t have the cojones to do is such an audacious undertaking. A lot of people know I love the kind of music that you did.”
Finally, Blake raved, “Your voice is timeless. You’re either born with that or you’re not, and you were born with that not very long ago. I’ve done a lot of work with Michael Buble. We recorded together, he’s a friend of mine. When you can do what you just did and get all four of us to turn around, congratulations. I’d be honored to be your coach.”
When it finally came time for Preston to make his decision, he stuttered, “I pick, oh my gosh, I gotta pick John.” With that, Preston became the youngest artist on Team Legend. But can he go all the way and win “The Voice” Season 17?
In his “The Voice” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the performance: “For the final audition of the night Preston C. Howell took the stage for ‘Dream a Little Dream of Me.’ Not only did all four coaches turn their chairs, but they also gave him a standing ovation once he finished. The biggest gag though was the revelation that he’s only 14 years old! He grew up listening to the standards with his dad and enjoys dancing while performing. Kelly enjoyed that he ‘didn’t imitate’ which is a problem with most performers of standards. All the coaches made passionate pitches to Preston, but it was a safe call for him to go with John, the one coach with the most experience performing jazz.”