We’re beginning the third and last week of Season 6 blind auditions on The Voice, meaning that our four teams are close to capacity. Teams Shakira and Usher only have room for 3 more members, Team Adam can take 5, and Team Blake needs 6. Who will those final 17 singers be?
Kat Perkins starts the evening, looking to move on from her rock band and launch a solo career. Her version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” takes awhile to catch on with the coaches, but eventually Adam and Shakira near-simultaneously bite. Usher follows a few moments later. After a relatively tame pitch session, Kat joins Team Adam. One thing’s for sure, though, she’s going to have a high standard to live up to, considering the show just had a rock chick named Kat Robichaud who knew how to command the stage.
After another commercial featuring last season’s runner-up Jacquie Lee (and some mention of a Voice “summer tour” we can’t yet confirm), it’s time to hear from Gabi Ramirez. That’s short for Gabriel, by the way. And he comes to us with a version of Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team” that unfortunately, doesn’t impress the coaches. As for us, we’re still disappointed that Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House” wasn’t actually about a LEGO house. Why not, considering one actually existed. But we digress.
Paula Deanda is looking to rebound after a teen pop star career that involved opening for Rihanna and appearing on TRL. It all sounds great, but as we know, there are no guarantees of continued success in the music industry. After being dropped by her label, Paula’s on our stage in search of another break. Our coaches are all looking at Shakira, but when she won’t make a move, Blake decides he’ll turn instead. So it’s a battle between Shakira and Blake. “This is a no-brainer,” Adam quips, then he drops this bomb.
Adam (to Blake): You’re a no-brainer too, but in a different way.
Despite calling herself a “huge fan” of Shakira’s, and Blake being a country artist, Paula selects Blake as her coach. Again, Blake lands an artist that’s far out of his musical wheelhouse, and we’ll have to see if it works – as it did with a girl you may have heard of named Cassadee Pope – or blows up spectacularly.
Here comes Jake Barker, who’s relatively new to the music scene and found his audience on YouTube. This audition will be his first-ever live performance. Then again, Danielle Bradbery said that too, and look where she ended up. Although Jake is not an adorable teenage girl, and his version of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” isn’t comparable to what Will Champlin did with it last season, he’s still got the ladies in the audience impressed – as well as Usher, Adam and Shakira. Unsurprisingly, Jake goes with the man that turned first, and punches his Team Usher card. Expect him to become the heartthrob of Season 6.
Montage time again (insert groans here). Usher picks up Tess Boyer, while Adam gets Josh Murley and Austin Ellis, and Blake lands Cali Tucker, the niece of country great Tanya Tucker. These selections push Teams Adam and Usher to almost full capacity.
Next up is Luke Cooper, whose first go-around in music did not go so well for him. Now a single father and a nurse, Luke is hoping to get off to a better start the second time. Luke opts for “Radioactive” by our friends Imagine Dragons, and excuse us while we flash back to Will and James Wolpert battling over this song last season. Considering those two gentlemen were two of the most underrated vocalists on the show, it’s hard not to feel underwhelmed for a second. But although no one pushes a button for Luke, it’s clear he gave that performance everything he had.
Ria Eaton could be fashion twins with Season 2 runner-up Juliet Simms. Vocally, though, her version of Anna Kendrick’s “Cups” is more pop than anything else. At near the last second, Ria wins over Blake and Shakira. Since they’re not involved, Adam and Usher decide to become color commentators for the resulting debacle, much to Blake’s annoyance.
Blake: What is this, SportsCenter?…Is this Siskel and Ebert over here?
Adam: Yeah, kinda.
But their efforts are in vain. Not even Adam and Usher leading the audience in a round of applause for Shakira can dissuade Ria from choosing Blake as her coach. Afterward, Shakira blames Adam and Usher for her loss.
She doesn’t have to wait long for another artist that impresses her. Cierra Mickens is next to sing, all the way from Alaska (say it with us, The Simpsons fans: “Clap for Alaska…”) Cierra puts her own spin on the first song ever performed on The Voice, the Gnarls Barkley hit “Crazy.” Shakira and Blake turn around quickly, while it takes Usher some time to decide to offer the final spot on his team to her.
Yet Shakira is so determined to win over Cierra that she approaches her on the stage for some “girl talk” while the guys just look between each other – and Adam decides to sit literally behind Blake as his “backup.” That is, until Blake kicks him out for making faces while he’s talking. Cierra ultimately decides to become Shakira’s first pickup of the night, and keep your eye on her going forward.
Tyler Montgomery hopes to have the same success (although maybe he should’ve hid those photos of him dressed up as Elvis when he was a child). Tyler’s take on Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” is not what you’d expect to come out of him, and while it seems to be entertaining our coaches, no one’s moving toward a button. Tyler strikes out with the panel, and both Adam and Usher seem surprised that he’s a man.
Look, we’ve found another duo! It’s best friends Alaska and Madi, who come armed with an incriminating photo of Blake with a mullet from a past singing competition. That’s entertaining enough, but the country duo’s performance of “Barton Hollow” draws Adam and Blake’s interest, setting up another battle between the two longest-tenured coaches. Adam immediately starts mock crying when he finds out that they’re from Oklahoma. It’s clear these girls are going Team Blake, so the fun here is just watching Adam’s hilarious reactions to everything Blake says and does.
Ddendyl (say that three times fast) comes to us with her version of the classic “Stand By Me,” and Shakira jumps at her performance immediately. Nobody else bites, so the girl with the interesting name becomes Team Shakira by default.
After we fast-forward through a few more unlucky folks who didn’t make the cut (with the usual “we only have limited spots left, so we’re being super picky” lines), NBC does their usual routine of hyping up and then closing the show with a four-chair artist. His name is Josh Kaufman, and he performs “One More Try” by George Michael. Adam turns around for him before he’s finished the first sentence, and despite the best efforts of the other coaches, Josh ultimately signs up with Team Adam. While there’s no doubt Josh is amazing, The Voice is really killing its own suspense by always having the last audition end successfully – and teasing its results on top of that.
Everything’s even now: Adam has 11 singers, Blake has 11, Shakira has 11 and Usher has 11. Conveniently, we only have enough show time tomorrow to get through maybe four full auditions. It all comes down to one more episode before the rosters are set and the competition begins again. The final night of The Voice Season 6 blind auditions is tomorrow at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC.