The teams are shaping up nicely after another night of blind auditions for NBC’s The Voice, and the stage isn’t the only place that the competition is heating up. Coaches Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are feeling the pressure to make their best choices when it comes to rounding out their crews.
Of course, if talent is what they’re looking for to complete their team, they got it in spades during the fifth night of competition. And if different is what they want, the coaches got plenty of that, too, including the evening’s first act and first duo of the season.
Adam and Jerome, both 35 from Manhattan, comprise the duo Oneup, but that isn’t the only collaboration between the two. They’re also a couple. They offered a killer cover of The Spinners classic “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love,” complete with Motown dance moves, but it was the story of their relationship that had Kelly in tears. With a catch in her voice, she said, “At a time in this country when it is so divisive, this is such a beautiful thing. It is proof that in this country, love is limitless.”
As touching as that was, Blake had a different strategy. “I have had the most success with duos than any coach in the history of ‘The Voice’,” he said. “Why not pick a coach that has a proven track record. You need a cowboy.” A viable argument, but with Kelly, Blake and Jennifer in the running, Oneup had a tough decision that they included their families, who were meeting for the time, in. Maybe it was her tears that nudged them towards Kelly in the end.
Blake would have other chances to add to his team, but it wasn’t with Nashville’s Natalie Brady. The 33-year-old single mom makes a living performing in the city’s downtown honky-tonks, and it only took seconds before Adam realized her gritty goodness when she sang Heart’s “Barracuda.”
Viewers and longtime country fans may have recognized Hannah Blaylock as she sang the Alison Krauss smash “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You.” The 31-year-old Arkansas native was previously in the trio Edens Edge. While all of the coaches appeared to enjoy Hannah’s performance, no chairs turned. Of course, Blake was regretful after seeing the familiar face whom he had toured with, but it isn’t likely that this will slow Hannah down.
Things looked a little dodgy for 23-year-old Mike Parker as he sang Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” In spite of offering up a sweet vocal performance, the coaches seemed hesitant to turn. Finally, at the last second, Jennifer turned her chair for the Gainesville, Virginia singer and was delighted when she discovered that not only was her new teammate talented, he was also handsome.
Maybe the chairs needed to be greased because they seemed to rotate a little slowly for Joey Green, too. All of the coaches’ heads were bobbing along to the 35-year-old’s gritty cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” but, again, it wasn’t until the last seconds that both Jennifer and Blake finally turned. Of course, Kelly was kicking herself when she found out the soulful singer was from Crowley, Texas, but he seemed to know that Team Blake was where he belonged.
Brooklyn’s 29-year-old Zaxai had barely started singing Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” before Jennifer recognized his immense talent. It took Kelly just a few seconds more before she, too, turned her chair, however, it was a few seconds too many. BLOCKED! Yes, for all of the “girls versus boys” banter between the coaches, when it came down to a possible winning contestant, the gloves came off.
It was a good thing, though. Zaxai took a moment to share a hilarious story from when he was an usher at Madison Square Garden during a Kelly Clarkson concert. With his back to the stage, he felt a thud on his head and turned to find that the high-energy singer had accidentally kicked him in the noggin. Karma? No, but definitely hilarious.
After a knock-out performance of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules,” that got Kelly’s vote of approval, 20-year-old Erika Zade had a story on another one of the coaches and it may have beat Zaxai’s. With a big smile and her curls bouncing, she remembered meeting Blake during a visit to Nashville’s CMA Music Festival and giving him a copy of her demo. Unfortunately, she watched him then autograph the CD and hand it off to another fan. Ouch!
She was obviously more amused than offended, and Blake was quick to apologize saying, “I’m sorry I gave your CD away, but at least I didn’t kick you in the back of the head like Kelly did.”
It was written in the stars for astrophysicist Jarred Matthew to be with Team Adam. The 31-year-old from San Diego chose to sing Al Green’s “Tired of Being Alone,” and as great as his voice was, Adam suggested he get some help with his falsetto. He also said that falsetto was his specialty. So, even though Blake turned for the groovy R&B singer, too, Jarred was destined to be with Adam.
With Jennifer adding 21-year-old Colton Smith of Albertville, Alabama to her team and Blake adding 29-year-old Nashvillian Kayley Hill to his team, it seemed like the night belonged to the two pals. Then Kirk Jay hit the stage.
The 22-year-old from Bay Minette, Alabama, gave the surprise performance of the night singing Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” and getting all four coaches to turn—the only performance of the night to get the unanimous nod. Adam had the best description of Kirk, though. He said, “It was like Cee-Lo and Blake made a country baby.” It seemed as if the coaches were going to brawl over who would land the gifted singer, then Adam said that even he would go to Blake. With Kirk’s dreams of a career in country music, he chose the lanky Oklahoman to guide him.
Have you been following Kelsea Ballerini’s team on The Comeback Stage on YouTube? Kelsea added Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s Sam Robbins to her team and coached him up on The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”
In the coming weeks, we’ll see all five teams continue to take shape as we wind down the blind auditions and the competition really begins.