6:09pm PT by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
'The Voice': The Coaches Can't Steal Country Artists from Blake Shelton, But They Try
The Voice aired a special Thursday-night episode featuring round three of season 12’s Blind Auditions. Six artists auditioned in front of coaches Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Alicia Keys, but not all had what it takes to advance to the next round.
First up was Ashley Levin singing “Let Him Fly” by Patty Griffin. She set the bar for the night, getting Stefani, Shelton and Keys to turn with her pretty tone and strong technical skills. Shelton relied on his go-to pitch for country artists, touting his team as the path to success for any country singer. But Stefani didn’t back down, reiterating her relationship with Shelton and the fact that she recently recorded a country song with him. Levine tried to persuade Levin to go with Keys, who said she could hear Levin’s soul in her singing. But Levin ultimately didn’t deliver any plot twists: She joined Team Blake. “Boring!” Levine declared.
Firefighter Brandon Royal followed with an energetic and smooth performance of “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” by Stevie Wonder, delivering a strong reggae sound. Shelton and Stefani found themselves facing off again, both impressed by the talented artist. Shelton once again highlighted his winning record. Gwen’s pitch focused on how Royal shows versatility and could sing lots of different types of music. Team Gwen is the right destination for anyone who wants to think outside of the genre box. Royal chose Stefani as his coach, which was the right choice.
Next up was classic-rock fan Adam Pearce. Pearce has been regularly gigging for years trying to make it as a musician. He came to The Voice hoping for a big break and chose to sang “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” Unfortunately, it was a pitchy performance, and he did not turn any chairs. Shelton and Levine encouraged him to work on his pitch and come back.
Hoping to turn things around, Julien Martinez auditioned next, singing “Pride And Joy” by Stevie Ray Vaughn. He brought grit and growl to the bluesy performance, but he didn’t turn any chairs until the final note, which was more like a final scream. Shelton and Levine both turned, impressed by the bold note he ended on, which Levine likened to “the birth of Satan.” It was a classic rivalry showdown, with both Shelton and Levine fighting for Martinez. Shelton said he wanted a rock singer on his team. But Martinez went with the more obvious option and joined Team Adam.
Next, 13-year-old Quizz Swanigan, the youngest artist to ever audition on The Voice, proved to be poised beyond his years, singing “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5 and absolutely slaying it. He inspired the first head-to-head between Stefani and Keys, who have been supporting each other all season but found themselves having to compete. It didn’t spark a new rivalry though. They were both happy to see each other turn. “I feel your heart,” Keys said to Swanigan, who was a big fan of hers, although he also admitted that Stefani taught him how to spell “bananas” with her song “Hollaback Girl.” He joined Team Alicia, and Stefani even expressed support for the young artist’s decision on Twitter. Stefani and Keys are determined to remain allies, much like Keys and Cyrus were last season.
The last artist to audition tonight was Casi Joy, who sang “Blue” by Leann Rimes. It was a strong country performance to end the night on, with Joy showing off her gorgeous tone and impressive dynamics on the classic song. In fact, Joy got the only four-chair turn of the night. All four coaches gave it their all, Keys, Levine and Stefani all desperately trying to steal a country artist out from under Shelton. Joy admitted that she sings other genres, but she still went with the inescapable choice and joined Team Blake.
The Blind Auditions resume on Monday night on NBC. Will any of the other coaches ever best Shelton when it comes to landing a country artist?