‘The Voice’: Regina Love Sings Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” Christina Grimmie Returns

Caila Ball-Dionne | September 23, 2015 5:28 am
Blake Shelton Doesn't Know Who Janelle Monae Is
America's got talent, folks, and this man is judging it.

Stop everything: Christina Grimmie is back on The Voice. No, I didn’t misspell “Aguilera:” this is the ever so slightly less famous Voice Christina known best for being Season 6’s second runner-up. Remember? From Team Adam Levine? She did that Drake cover once?

Anyway, in true fashion, the show has catapulted her to continued moderate recognition exclusively on The Voice, where she now serves as a (mostly online) “fashion correspondent.”

Real talk: she got a job slinging Kohl’s in branded segments, and she’s damn happy to have it.

Meanwhile, those who still have music hopes and dreams competed for spots on Teams Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell and Adam Levine. Here’s who made it through:

Blind Joe, 32 – North Dakota

Let it be known that Blind Joe, who is, indeed, blind, came up with his own stage name. The country crooner sings Darryl Worley’s “If It Hadn’t Been For Love,” and wows all four coaches.

“I want win, and I am not going to give up until I have someone that can do something that is completely unique,” says Adam, adding in, “That was Adam by the way.” Awkward.

“I’m glad that I turned around to give support to someone who’s original,” says Pharrell.

“I really appreciate your performance,” Gwen tells Blind Joe. “There was something so honest about it.”

“You’ve overcame so much, it’s time to start reaping some rewards,” says Blake. “I’d be happy to introduce you to Nashville.”

The cowboy hat should have been a dead giveaway: Blind Joe joins Team Blake.

Ivonne Acero, 17 – Arizona

It’s the first returner of the season! Seventeen-year-old Ivonne Acero, who didn’t make it through the Season 8 Blind Auditions, returns for another shot. The cantaloupe farmer sings Taylor Swift’s “Style” this time around, and it’s moderately better than her nervous Season 8 performance. Nonetheless, Pharrell and Gwen turn around for her breathy, over-enunciated performance.

“I missed it the first time, but I did not miss it this time,” says Pharrell. “The control that you had is very, very, very impressive.”

“I love how creative you were, making it your own,” says Gwen.

Despite the fact that he rejected her on her first go around, Ivonne gives Pharrell a second chance to be her coach.

Regina Love, 51 – Georgia

Radio host Regina Love already has quite a music background. The soulful singer toured in a contemporary gospel group, and was signed to Evander Holyfield’s record label. True story: heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield had a record label.

Regina gives it a second shot on The Voice, performing Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady.” Both Adam and Blake turn around.

“I turned around for one reason: I thought it would be a crime if this voice wasn’t on this show,” says Adam.

“Sometimes you just got to give someone the opportunity to get up there and shine, and that’s what it takes to win this show,” says Blake. “I just want to see you stand up there in that spotlight and blow people away.”

Regina joins Team Adam, elated at her second chance in the music business.

Zach Seabaugh, 16 – Georgia

Country-singing teen Zach Seabaugh used to play football, but made the life-changing transition to music…because throwing away a JV football career is what The Voice defines as life-changing. Right. The born-again musician sings Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time,” earning nods from Blake, Adam and Pharrell.

“From the very minute you first started talking, I knew you were something different,” says Pharrell. “I would like a shot at working with you.”

“Are you Superman?” asks Adam. “You look like Superman, and that’s not a 16-year-old’s voice, that’s Superman’s voice.” Interesting, albeit nonsensical, approach.

“You have something in your voice that just rattled the room,” says Blake, before putting on the country pressure. “Just come on over to my team.”

Zach, indeed, comes on over to Blake’s team.

Evan McKeel, 20 – Virginia

Pharrell’s on the spot producing comes into play with Evan McKeel’s Blind Audition. The 20-year-old pop singer performs Mutemath’s “Typical,” and though it’s not suited to his raspy voice at all, he earns a spin from all four coaches.

“You got better as the performance went on,” says Adam. “I’m your man all the way.”

“Your stage presence was amazing,” says Blake.

Pharrell just knows Evan can do better, though, and has him sing a few bars of Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed.” The difference is stunning, proving soul is the direction Evan should go in his next performances.

“You definitely earned your position on the show,” Pharrell says after his (second) audition song.

“You brought me to tears. That was so beautiful,” says a genuinely tearful Gwen.

Having already seen Pharrell in action, Evan picks the master producer as his coach.

Emily Ann Roberts, 16 – Tennessee

When a 16-year-old country-singing gal takes The Voice stage, her team is basically a forgone conclusion. Nevertheless, meet Emily Ann Roberts, who sings LeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” in her Blind Audition. The self-proclaimed “old soul” catches the attention of both Blake and Adam, the latter of who puts in quite a fight, despite the inevitable outcome.

“I have zero country artists on my team. That means you have zero competition,” Adam reasons. “I want you more than he does!”

“I want you to think about who you’ve heard on country radio on the past couple of years. You’ve heard Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbury,” Blake says, namedropping his past winners. “Do you want a direct connection to country music, or do you want a middleman?”

Well, who’s going to choose the middleman in that situation? Emily Ann joins Team Blake.

Ellie Lawrence, 26 – Georgia

Small town gal Ellie Lawrence is likely the lone indie rocker in her predominantly country music ‘burgh, and certainly the lone blue-haired female. Even though she performs in a duo,  One Shot Ellie, with her fiancé, she opts to audition on her lonesome. Smart choice.

Ellie sings Ella Eyre’s “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” and gets the attention of Adam, Gwen and Pharrell.

“I thought you were straining in the higher moments, and I would like to refine a little bit of it,” says Adam, hoping a critique will help him stand out,.

“I just loved the way you used the rasp in your voice,” says Pharrell.

Gwen doesn’t even need to stay anything. Ellie is such a fan that she joins Team Stefani with no convincing whatsoever.

James Dupré, 30 – Louisiana

Prior to landing on The Voice, country rock singer James Dupré’s YouTube videos landed him an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and even a record deal with Warner Music Nashville. Alas, neither panned out into a fully developed career, which is where he’s hoping The Voice will help out. Because that generally works.

Fully confident that the mid-’90s Hootie And The Blowfish backlash is over, James sings “Let Her Cry,” earning nods from all four coaches.

“What moves me are people who are fresh, different, and you’re a natural,” says Pharrell.

“Your intent, your honesty the richness of your voice is really attractive,” says Gwen.

“County music is my life, it appears to be your life too,” says Blake. “I’ll make it my personal responsibility to make sure that whatever happens on this show, you end up in the right hands.”

“Fitting in is boring for anybody who wants to be extraordinary, and that’s what I think that you are,” says Adam. “I think that you can really make it the distance on my team.”

In a season first, a country artist picks Adam over Blake. Let the gloating commence.

Un-televised, but not (totally) unnoticed:

Perhaps we’ll see them in the Battles. Perhaps they’ll fade off into obscurity. Perhaps both. Whatever the case, Noah Jackson, Tim Atlas and Hannah Ashbrook all join Team Gwen after un-televised performances.

And thus wraps Season 9, Week 1. There is plenty more triumph, heartbreak and Christina Grimmie when The Voice returns for more Blind Auditions on Monday.