To let you experience the anticipation and excitement of Tuesday night’s episode, we’ll save that big reveal for later (in true Voice fashion!) In the meantime, here’s who made it through to the Battles!
Will Champlin – 30, California
First up for the evening is Will Champlin, son of Grammy winner Bill Champlin of Chicago fame. While Will performs for corporate gigs now, he hasn’t reached his father’s level of musical success, and is ready for the next step. With his wife, daughter and father supporting him from backstage, Will performs Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You.” He definitely received his father’s music genes, and receives spins from Blake, Adam and Cee Lo after a few soaring high notes.
“If the Gavin DeGraw choice reflects any sort of taste, I know something about that,” Adam says.
“You sing your ass off. That’s probably why you have to wear suspenders to keep your jeans on!” Blake jokes, adding, “I think we could win this thing together.”
After carefully considering his choices, Will chooses Adam. “He reminds me of a male version of Michelle Chamuel,” Adam points out.
Stephanie Anne Johnson – 29, Washington
While Stephanie Anne Johnson appreciates the ability to pursue her passion of music on a nightly basis as a cruise ship performer, she misses her friends and family at sea eight months each year. Hoping to take her lounge act to dry land, the powerful singer with the soul and classic rock background auditions with KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree.” Both Cee Lo and Christina spin for Stephanie after she nails a few high notes, much to the delight of her (adorable) grandmother watching backstage.
“I heard soul and conviction,” Cee Lo says.
“You came alive, you woke us up and we pushed our buttons,” gushes Christina.
The confident Stephanie says, “You haven’t had a winner yet, and we’re going to fix that,” which could describe either coach, but in this case it’s Team Christina.
Incidentally, Stephanie went to school with Season 1 finalist Dia Frampton! Small world, indeed.
Sam Cerniglia – 29, Illinois
It’s been a tick since a wedding singer has auditioned, and now Sam Cerniglia fills the void. Sam is one of the more adorable contestants to date, both in that he works for Groupon (maybe he knows the Groupon Cat!), and that he has a palpable devotion to his family. Both of his sisters are afflicted with debilitating diseases, and he’s incredibly touched when one delivers in a video message for his big performance.
Sam sings Michael Buble’s “It’s A Beautiful Day,” which has Blake’s ears perking up immediately. He does sound a lot like Buble, with soulful moments of Ray LaMontagne, and only a little hiccup of wedding singer cheesiness. Cee Lo is equally impressed.
“What you’re doing took me to a Michael Buble concert,” Blake tells him, which the vest-wearing singer takes as the ultimate compliment.
“Your style is very mature, so you sounded like the perfect gentleman,” Cee Lo says.
Sam ends up joining Team Blake, if for no other reason than the strong Buble tie. That, and dudes with vests really need to stick together.
James Irwin – 31, Missouri
It’s history time! No, it’s not a performing toddler or octogenarian (fingers crossed for either of those tomorrow, though): it’s a returning Blind Audition reject who has made some serious improvements. Or he caught the coaches in a better mood; whatever.
James Irwin, who was passed over last season, not only makes it past this Blind Audition, but he gets all four coaches to turn around! (Fine, there are more exciting moments in history, but take what you can get during the Blind Auditions). His intense performance of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” builds throughout, and has everyone clawing for the soulful contestant.
“I still think there are things that need some work,” Adam tells him, using the Why Men Love Bitches method of courting.
“I think you captivated all of us,” Christina tells James, remind him that she was not one of the short-sighted coaches who rejected him last season.
“Whatever you did in that span of time from last time that you auditioned to now was great,” says Blake, adding, “You’re ready to win this thing now.”
Opting for constructive criticism over compliments, James picks Adam. And that, everyone, is why you should always play hard-to-get.
Olivia Henken – 25, Kentucky
When you lack a sad back story, you just have to own it. If you don’t, you’re going to come across as a little whiny, proclaiming that being a thin, beautiful, long-haired, blond country singer draws far too many comparisons to other country singers for you to really break out. Yes, Olivia Henken: I’m looking right at you.
Annoying complaints aside, the 25-year-old pageant veteran has been performing since she was 4, and it shows. She powers through Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs,” with minor shaking and pitch issues. Her powerful vocals attract Christina’s attention right away, followed by a last minute spin by Cee Lo. Blake must be banking on a Blind Auditions steal.
“I was struck by your voice. I just felt the power,” Christina says. Foreshadowing early cracks in the X-Ad-Lo alliance, Blake promises to help Christina with country song choices if Olivia joins her team.
Cee Lo means well, but his promise to help Olivia push her boundaries just comes out wrong. “I will not allow you to be complacent with just country. I will put you in some different positions,” and following some sophomoric groans from his fellow coaches, he adds, “Professional positions.”
The damage is done, though, and Olivia joins Team Christina. “She’s like Barbie,” Christina exclaims, with undertones of, “And I will destroy her if she rises too far.”
R. Anthony – 33, Florida
Dedicated family man R. Anthony took a hiatus from performing when he and his wife had children. With her enthusiastic blessing, he is back in pursuit of a music career. He gets choked up when he dedicates his audition to his wife and two daughters.
R. Anthony sings The Script’s “Hall Of Fame” and has the crowd on their feet. He’s got a soulful voice with just the right amount of rasp, and Christina spins for him. At the very last moment, Cee Lo also spins, which floors the first spinner.
“I love soul and runs. When someone can do them really well I love it,” Christina tells him.
“I loved your performance,” Cee Lo says. “I didn’t wait until the last minute because I wasn’t sure of it, I just wanted to experience it.”
Christina is fuming when R. Anthony picks Cee Lo. She’ll come after you with that fan if you’re not careful, Cee Lo!
Justin Chain – 23 – Alabama
Justin Chain is just about as country as they come. He’s dressed like Blake in his pre-stylist days, and he’s from Alabama, where he almost played football. The country singer was in a bad motorcycle crash…which Carson Daly has pictures of (inappropriate), but after a long recovery is back on his feet.
Justin sings Jason Aldean’s “She’s Country,” which catches Blake’s immediate attention. He’s actually a very solid singer, but no one else bother’s to turn around after Blake, knowing how this one will shake out.
“You think any of us would try to compete with you on that?” Christina asks, in which “that” refers to the dad jeans, cowboy hat and cowboy boots wearing performer still on stage.
Justin and his new coach then have a good laugh about how they’re wearing the same shirt, and are both inbred. It’s just best to assume the latter is a joke.
Ashley DuBose – 23 – Minnesota
Closing out the night is single mother Ashley DuBose, an IT worker who wants to focus her time on music and parenting. Ashley sings Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” and while it’s a little too derivative of Rihanna at first, Ashley gets stronger and finds her own voice throughout. By the chorus, she has impressed Christina, Blake and Adam, followed shortly by Cee Lo.
“Your voice cuts like a razor through this entire place,” Adam says, adding his signature “I think that you definitely could win.”
Not to be outdone, Cee Lo tells Ashley, “I want to be routing for you front row at the Grammys!” You hear that, publicist? Cee Lo wants FRONT ROW tickets next time.
“I believe you met her bar on this song and you expanded upon it,” Cee Lo tells her.
“I was waiting for something to go wrong, and it never did,” says Christina, always the optimist.
Blake pontificates on the coach/contestant relationship instead of praise. “It’s about making somebody the best that they can be,” he says. “Clearly I’ve figured that out over the past few seasons.”
After much debate, Ashley chooses Adam.
On the un-televised front, soul singer Keaira LaShae joins Team Cee Lo, pop singer Amber Nicole joins Team Christina and country rocker Emily Randolph joins Team Blake.
Can you believe it? We’re just one night away from the conclusion of the Blind Auditions already ! It seems like just yesterday that Christina and Cee Lo returned in all of their glory. Time flies when you’re having fun and rejecting contestants.
The coaches round out the teams on Monday, before the Battles kick off the following week!