The blind auditions concluded on The Voice Monday night. Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams each completed their teams of 12, including one 15-year-old contestant who performed in front of a live audience for the first time.
Here are the highlights of the two-hour episode:
Matt McAndrew, 23, opened the show with a rendition of Christina Perri’s "A Thousand Years." Adam immediately turned his chair around and Blake and Pharrell followed a short time later, pressing their buttons at the same time. An intense battle between the three coaches took place with Adam telling Matt his voice was “different” and “moving,” adding there was something really “spectacular” about him. Blake followed by noting McAndrew’s voice was “soft, but still intense.” Pharrell upped the ante by commenting that Matt had a voice he’d been looking for and that he would give the singer the freedom to pick his own songs. McAndrew went with Adam.
Jazz and R&B singer Brittany Butler sang the bossa nova classic "The Girl from Ipanema," coaxing Gwen to turn her chair right away and Pharrell soon after. Stefani noted Butler “had the whole package” and that she would try and steal her away from Pharrell eventually anyway. Pharrell declared Brittany’s unique style would give her an edge in the competition, adding that he would love to collaborate with her. After a polite debate, Butler chose Pharrell.
Next up was Ryan Sill, who dropped out of engineering school to pursue music. He sang Mary Lambert’s “Secrets” and got Gwen to immediately press her button. Blake eventually followed. Shelton thought Sill’s “cool” voice would be a perfect addition to his team, explaining that it was “laid back, but still very powerful.” Stefani, stressing that she usually didn’t turn her chair around that early, noted there were a few “wobbly” parts of the performance that needed work, but Ryan’s high notes made up for them. Ryan went with Gwen.
Fernanda Bosch, 17, took on Macy Gray's "I Try." Toward the end of the performance, Blake and Gwen pressed their buttons. Shelton noted that Bosch had a natural sandpaper rasp. Stefani tried to bond with the singer by pointing out that she was also 17 when she started in her band, No Doubt, adding that Fernanda had great range for her age. In spite of that, Bosch decided to go with Blake.
All four coaches fought over South Carolina native Beth Spangler, who covered Beyoncé's "Best Thing I Never Had." Pharrell gave the singer a standing ovation and later insisted that he would continue to stand up for her. He was also amazed at how effortlessly Spangler melded different musical influences. Adam pointed out that he had only one spot left on his team and chose Spangler for her courage in not trying to fit into any one style of music. Gwen called Spangler’s range “crazy” and bribed her by promising to hook her up with clothes. Blake said he fell in love with Beth’s voice “instantly.” Adam won the battle, completing his team of 12.
Greenville, South Carolina, native Griffin had dreams of moving to Nashville in pursuit of a music career, but ended up starting a fashion business when his family couldn’t afford the move. The singer, who eventually did land in Nashville, tackled Michael Bublé’s “It’s a Beautiful Day,” convincing the three remaining coaches to turn their chairs. Blake emphasized his connection with Bublé, noting he’s a hero of his and he would know exactly what to do with Griffin. Pharrell tried to coax the singer onto his team by pointing out that he too was in the fashion business. Gwen complimented the richness of Griffin’s voice and declared it would be fun to work with him. Griffin chose Pharrell, admitting backstage afterwards that their mutual love of fashion played a part in the decision. With the addition of Griffin, Pharrell completed his team of 12.
Mayra Alvarez was inspired to try out for The Voice by watching last year’s runner-up, Jake Worthington, a fellow La Porte, Texas, native. Mayra's version of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” got both Gwen and Blake to push their buttons. The gloves came off when Blake reminded Mayra that he coached Worthington and would like to avenge that loss by taking her all the way to the top. Gwen countered by complimenting Alvarez on her courage for taking liberties with a Michael Jackson song and nailing it. To everyone’s surprise, Alvarez picked Stefani. Gwen’s team of 12 was now complete.
Shelton completed his team of 12 with the addition of fifteen-year-old Justin Johnes‘, who performed Passenger’s “Let Her Go.” The teen revealed it was his first time performing in front of a live audience. Blake was impressed with the young singer’s range, especially the low notes, which he noted Adam wouldn’t have “when he’s 80.” As a nod to Stefani -- who gave out “Team Gwen” t-shirts to all the contestants on her team -- Blake gave Justin a “Team Blake” t-shirt.
The coaches’ teams are now complete and they’re ready to move on to the battle rounds.
The battle rounds begin next Monday night on NBC.
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