Night four of The Voice's season 17 Blind Auditions picked up where night three left off: with the cliffhanger of Cali Wilson's decision. Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and John Legend were all on the table, Kelly Clarkson being the only coach to not turn for the young singer. She decided to join Team Blake.
The most impressive artists of the night were twins Dane and Stephanie, who auditioned as a duo with “Angela” by the Lumineers. Their tight harmonies and range got turns from Shelton and Legend, who has never previously had a duo on his team. They ended up going with Team John.
But Preston C. Howell also took the spotlight in this episode by getting a four-chair turn with his performance of "Dream A Little Dream Of Me." His classic voice made him an ideal candidate for Team John, which is where he landed. Stefani might have the most artists so far, but Legend's team is shaping up to be a strong force, especially on the technical front.
Another standout performance of the night came from James Violet, who sang “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles. He got a three-chair turn from everyone except Legend. Ultimately, he went with Stefani, who has been the most successful coach at pitching herself this season, often besting the other coaches.
Professional stage performer Injoy Fountain got turns from Clarkson and Stefani for her performance of “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande. She joined Team Kelly, explaining that she was a fan. One artist named Jordan McCullough did not turn any chairs.
Married couple Stefani and Shelton have been going head-to-head all season despite having very different styles as coaches, and they did it once again for Jordan Chase, who sang “Makin' Me Look Good Again” by Drake White. Shelton won this round, and Chase chose Team Blake.
Mike Darnell was in London this week to help Warner Bros International Television Production impress international buyers as part of the UK Screenings. He talked up new shows, including Ellen’s Game of Games, and Warner’s monster franchises, not least The Bachelor, which is poised to go all A Star Is Born with its latest spinoff The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart.
Darnell knows that if he can get a show away in the U.S., it makes the job of his international colleagues that much easier, but it was the contrasting fortunes of The Bachelor and Love Island in America and Britain that got him thinking when Deadline caught up with Warner’s president of unscripted and alternative television.
The Bachelor returned to ViacomCBS’s UK network Channel 5 after a seven-year hiatus in 2019, but it struggled to make an impression. By contrast, Love Island has been extended to two seasons a year on ITV2 and its winter edition is entertaining more than 3M viewers a night — six times The Bachelor‘s audience. Over in the States, it’s the opposite story: ABC’s The Bachelor is the long-running and dominant force, while CBS premiered Love Island to a mixed reception last year, although it did renew the dating show for a second season.
Darnell has a theory that the two shows can’t co-exist in the same market. “It does appear that Love Island has taken over the space in the UK. I notice that Love Island didn’t really work over in the U.S. and it feels like maybe the two, once one is established, it’s hard to get a foothold [for the other],” he said. And on the prospect of Love Island putting down roots beyond a second season, Darnell was not convinced. “I’m just going to be really honest. I love CBS and I work with them, but I think based on those numbers last year, it will have to grow an awful lot to continue,” he added.
Listen to Your Heart is the latest in a conveyer belt of Bachelor franchise extensions, which makes it all the more remarkable that Darnell is yet to expand The Voice universe for NBC. There are other iterations of the format overseas, most notably The Voice Kids, but NBC has yet to be persuaded. Darnell remains enthusiastic about getting a kids’ version off the ground.
“I would love to do a Voice Kids in the U.S. It’s going to be ultimately NBC’s decision — it’s been talked about here and there, but we’re still not there with them. Voice Kids has done well everywhere, so I’d like to see one in America,” he explained.
While we’re all sitting around daydreaming about an alternate reality in which the coronavirus doesn’t exist, it may be interesting to mix it up for a second and try to envision a world in which Samuel “Screech” Powers – the scrawny, Lisa Turtle-obsessed goofball on Saved by the Bell – was played by late night talk show host and comedian Stephen Colbert instead of actor Dustin Diamond. Colbert says he auditioned for the role of Screech in the 1980s and was rejected for a pretty humorous reason. Watch him tell the story below.
Stephen Colbert Saved by the Bell Audition Story
Around the 3:00 mark in this video, The Late Show guest Ryan Reynolds makes a joke about Saved by the Bell, sparking Colbert’s memory about the time he tried out for the role of Screech and didn’t get it.
“I auditioned for Saved by the Bell!” he exclaims. “That was my first professional audition. 1986? [Editor’s note: this must have been when they were auditioning Good Morning, Miss Bliss, which was eventually reworked into the hit show Saved by the Bell.] They came to Chicago. I was a student at Northwestern University, and I don’t know, somebody had seen me do something, somebody had scouted me at school. I got called down to a casting agent on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I walk in, they hand me the thing, and I was auditioning for the part of – was the character’s name Screech?”
Reynolds bursts into laughter and thinks Colbert is messing with him, but the late night host swears it’s real. “I’m not joking!” he continues. “I auditioned for this part of Screech, and let me tell you how big I was. Imagine how that character ended up in broadcast. I did my audition, and they said to me, ‘There’s a term you’re going to need to know about as a professional. It’s called over the top. You just went over the top. Don’t do that anymore.’ And I saw the subtle interplay of status dynamics that Dustin Diamond brought to that part.”
Saved by the Bell was a massive show for a certain generation, and its actors – Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Mario Lopez, etc. – will always be remembered first and foremost for the characters they played on that show, regardless of whatever else they’ve done in their careers. Imagining Colbert playing the wacky, ineffectual Screech is sorta blowing my mind right now, and needless to say, I think everyone on Earth is glad he didn’t land that role. Except for maybe Dustin Diamond, who may have been better off in life if he didn’t get the job, either. To avoid a depressing rabbit hole, it’s probably best not to look into what became of him after that show went off the air.