With just one spot left to fill on each team, the coaches enter the final night of The Voice Blind Auditions filled with a weird amount of love for one another. It’s kind of like when summer camp is over and it’s time to go home.
Only…they still have, like 24 weeks left of the season. Once the coaches remember that, the competitive spirit returns. “If I hit my button and someone else does too, you can expect to see the claws come out,” says Blake Shelton, and he, Adam Levine, Shakira and Usher all, at some point, declare confidently that their team will win.
The night kicks off with Carson Daly bringing Mark Larson, a 49-year-old singer who Carson used to go see in concert, to the show. Unfortunately, Mark doesn’t make it, and Carson reacts like someone told him Santa Claus isn’t real for the very first time. He had Mark’s autograph hanging on his wall and everything!
So off Carson goes to sulk in the corner, while the cool kids take their chairs. Let’s move on to who did get through, because let’s face it — we’re all just watching to pass the time before the premiere of Ready For Love, right? According to NBC, it’s pretty much The Voice…just with no singing, more dating and Eva Longoria. So, yeah. Same.
Jacqui Sandell, 24 — Oakland, NJ
Jacqui Sandell is a classical ballet dancer turned Warped Tour rock musician: arguably a rare bread. As Carson puts it, she went “from tutus to tattoos,” and boy does she have a few of the latter all over her body.
Her band, My Arcadia, is going to have to go without Jacqui for bit, as she’s challenging herself to strike out on her own. “If I can make a solo career for myself, I can finally prove I’m not a screaming chick in a garage band,” she says, forgetting to add, “No offense, My Arcadia.”
Jacqui sings Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” There’s no wow factor, but she also doesn’t make any mistakes. She has a strong range, and an interesting tone, and gets both Blake and Usher turn around.
Usher takes his typical “He’s Just Not That Into You” route (that has worked surprisingly well on most contestants), and says, “There were things that I’d like to improve more, but I’m happy I turned.”
Blake goes more affectionate puppy dog on her, pointing out that they both have tattoos, and saying “I love that little quick vibrato that you blend in to the rest of your notes, I love that little sexy sound!”
Affectionate puppy for the win! Jacqui joins, and completes, Team Blake.
Amber Carrington, 19 — OH
After high school, Amber Carrington planned to head to Nashville to live out her country dreams. Sadly, her mother passed away from breast cancer before she could take off, and she hasn’t yet made it to Nashville. “It’s hard doing this awesome adventure without my mom, but she is always with me,” Amber says.
Amber sings Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl.” She’s a little shaky and out of breath during the fast-paced chorus, and her ensemble is a little soccer-mom for her teenage years, but she handles a tough song well (and there’s always the wardrobe department). Blake, who just filled his team, suffers through a country performance where he can’t spin.
Adam capitalizes on this, and scores Amber when he is the only one to turn around. Amber’s new coach tells her, “You’re going to be one of the biggest surprises of this entire competition” and gives her a standing ovation.
Although Blake couldn’t turn, he tells Amber, “You nailed it, you really did. God I hate Adam right now.” Watch out for Battle Round steals, Adam!
Luke Edgemon, 24 — Fayetteville, NC
Luke Edgemon had his music start singing in gospel churches, where, as he put it, “We were the only white people there.” From there, he moved on to sing backup for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah, but he wants more. “It’s time to step out of the background and into the spotlight,” Luke says.
Strangely, what doesn’t make his package is that this is not his first stint on a singing competition show. Perhaps so as not to remind the audience of the existence of American Idol, or Fox in general, NBC leaves out of Luke’s story that he appeared on Season 9 of Idol, and also played a Dalton Academy Warbler on Glee!
Luke sings a soulful version of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (which, incidentally, he also sang on Idol), and it goes better for him on this show. Both Shakira and Usher turn around to fight for him.
Usher, a little perkier with Luke, says, “I am so happy that I turned my chair. I have been waiting for a voice to really move me. You did you’re thing.”
Shakira is ready to put up a fight —and a leg (Usher-style). “Your voice is phenomenal. You’re probably thinking about how Usher is your man, but I’m your girl,” she says, her foot on the chair.
Her swagger-sitting worked! Luke selects Shakira over the R&B singer, thus completing her team.
Jessica Childress, 28 — Lancaster, CA
Before she left her stable public relations job, Jessica Childress was dying on the inside. “I feel like a piece of my soul is shriveling up,” she told her husband, encompassing everybody’s Sunday night blues nightmare.
Jessica sings Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.” It’s really fun, and showcases her vocal range. Shakira hits her button, but unfortunately her chair has been deactivated because her team is full. (She’s new, guys; give her a break.) Never fear, Usher stands up, hits his button, and spins a grand entrance into Jessica’s life.
“I am fully nuclear right now!” Jessica says when she joins Team Usher.
Then she gets even more lovable. Jessica shows Shakira the moves she’s been practicing from “Hips Don’t Lie,” and it’s awful and wonderful all at once. Adorable.
“All of them would have pushed their buttons if they could have,” says Usher, gloating over the new addition that finalizes his team.
So there you have it for the Blind Auditions. Time for the coaches to retract their claws during the Battle Round, until any steal scenarios, that is.