It’s a wrap. Well, at least where the blind auditions are concerned on this season of The Voice.
On the last night of the blinds, the coaches had just one spot left on their respective teams, so every button-push was critical.
Blake Shelton was the first to fill all 12 of his spots by adding Jacqui Sandell. The 24-year-old New Jersey native went from “tutus to tattoos” when she traded a lifetime of ballet training to join a rock band that’s been on the Warped Tour. Taking on Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Blake called her “tough-chick” sound “very sexy.”
Despite that, she’s not too out of place on his country-leaning team, which is heavy on young, cute girls – from the bleached blonde Morgan Twins to powerhouse vocalist Savannah Berry to cute-as-a-button 16-year-old Danielle Bradbery. Thrown in for good measure are a few geek-chic white guys with guitars, like Christian Porter, who made an impression with an awkwardly endearing version of “Sexy and I Know It.” Clearly Blake’s plan of attack is to pander to Middle America and tweens.
Next to complete his army was Adam Levine, who nabbed 19-year-old country artist Amber Carrington, to Blake’s chagrin. Her version of Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl” left Adam giddy, especially since Blake seemed genuinely upset that he had just filled his last slot. Adam got even more excited when she admitted she had never sung professionally before because that means she has “so much untapped talent” to be unlocked.
With that, Amber joined what’s possibly the strongest and most diverse team of the season – or at least the most memorable so far, especially since Adam scored so many “four-chair turns.” His roster includes one-time Michael Jackson duet partner Judith Hill, hipster duo Midas Whale, bilingual rocker Karina Iglesias, dreadlocked Memphis showman Patrick Dodd and former backup singer-turned-mom Sasha Allen. The only thing working against Team Adam could be that several of his acts are “older,” with nearly half clocking in at over 30. (Downright decrepit, right?)
Shakira soon completed her master plan with the addition of 24-year-old North Carolina native Luke Edgemon, who cut his teeth as the only white boy in a gospel-infused church choir and became a backup singer for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah after moving to Los Angeles. His high-pitched take on Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” had both newbie judges competing for his attention, with Shakira seemingly winning him over by lifting her leg up to match Usher’s confident swag.
While Team Blake is all about country and Team Adam is filled with powerhouse vocals, Team Shakira is more of a mixed bag. She certainly has the most Spanish-speaking singers (Cathia, Mary Miranda, Monique Abbadie). But she also has artists like Kris Thomas, who sounded like a woman on a Whitney Houston track, and 45-year-old Janis Joplin-esque hippie chick Shawna P. Could Shakira’s seeming hodgepodge prove to be a winning ace up her sleeve?
As the final coach to complete his team, Usher held all the cards when 26-year-old Cali girl Jessica Childress took the stage. Having recently quit her job to pursue her dream, she belted out Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” so well that all the other coaches seemed a little jealous that Usher had an unfettered opportunity to scoop her up. Still, he took his sweet ass time to push the button, instead egging her on from his seat by raising his arms every time she hit a high note. Finally, inevitably, he turned his chair.
With that, Usher also completed a seemingly scattered team, which he said is based on the contestants’ stories he thinks viewers will connect with. (But, um, weren’t these called “blind auditions” for a reason? Or is there something we don’t know about how much the judges know in advance?) Those stories include 26-year-old self-proclaimed “geek” Michelle Chamuel, from Amherst, Massachusetts; Joe Cocker-esque Ryan Innes; and 19-year-old Atlanta native Vedo, whose mother has terminal cancer.
With all the teams now fleshed out, let the battle rounds begin!
Previously: Second Chances for Older Artists