U.S. & World
The blind auditions were in full swing Tuesday night on "The Voice," and Blake made up for lost time in bagging some of the night's most coveted talent, after he'd ended up Monday night behind the other coaches.
But that's not to say his sales pitch always worked. It didn't on the night's first contestant, 16-year-old Italian-American Jersey girl Jacquie Lee. She'd made a bold song pick, but her powerhouse take on Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" earned last-minute chair turns from both Christina and Blake. (CeeLo didn't turn, but he also couldn't keep his eyes, or his camera, off her studded boots.)
"I specialize in 16-year-old girls winning," Blake pointed out, a point hard to argue with — but Christina made a personal plea, telling Jacquie she knows first-hand what it's like to be a teenage girl in the music business. "I wanna be the shoulder you can lean on," she said.
That did it, and Christina nabbed her first team member of the night — and her first budding diva of the competition, after picking up two male singers Monday.
Next up was Barry Black, a 26-year-old musician from Las Vegas by way of American Samoa who had a certain vocal trick up his sleeve. As he launched into Bobby Caldwell's "What You Won't Do for Love," Barry did a spot-on imitation of a horn with his mouth — prompting Adam, and then Blake, to hit their buttons out of curiosity as well as interest in his singing.
Blake put up a good plea, announcing, "I am desperate for this man." But Barry wound up picking Adam as his coach. "He's a creative mind, and so am," Barry explained. "I'm gonna make him so proud."
Blake was disappointed again the next audition around, and this time, he had only himself to blame.
Country singer Destinee Quinn, 20, came to the "Voice" stage from her hometown of Surprise, Ariz., where she's a regular performer at a local biker bar — and she said she was hopeful her experience singing in that tough-luck venue, where she often had to work to turn people's heads, would be put to good use here.
It was, thanks to her intriguing take on the Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away." Her family was rooting for Blake to turn his chair — but although he didn't, both Christina and CeeLo did. Christina won out, to her delight. "It's destiny, me and you!" she told her new charge.
CeeLo picked up his next artist of the night with the next audition when Cole Vosbury, the quirky bearded scion of a family of professional musicians (his grandmother toured with Elvis), took the stage to sing the theme song from "The Jeffersons" (aka "Movin' On Up").
Nobody else turned their chairs, but CeeLo loved it. "You're a great balance of country and soul," he told his de facto team member. "You got the people up off of their feet."
The following contestant gave Tuesday its very first four-chair turn — and gave Blake his first team member of the night. That contestant was Holly Henry, an intensely private 19-year-old songwriter whose family had encouraged her to audition for "The Voice" to boost her confidence.
Holly sang the Coldplay song "The Scientist" with an airy but powerful sound all her own — inspiring Blake to hit his button almost instantly, followed by all three of his fellow coaches, and inspiring her own kid brother backstage to weep and cheer simultaneously.
"Because of you, I am officially excited about season five of 'The Voice,'" Blake told her. "I almost broke my hand hitting this button." Those confessions seemed to do it for Holly, who chose him as her coach. ("He turned right away. I just felt like he knew what he wanted," she explained.)
That score touched off a bit of a streak for Blake.
The country coach got his next team member in Austin Jenckes, 29, an erstwhile scooter tour guide who said music is a major way he grapples with the pain of his father's suicide more than a decade ago. Austin performed a song that hit close to home — Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man," which his father had taught him as a kid — on the guitar his dad had given him, his voice gravelly but measured.
CeeLo and Blake both hit their buttons right as Austin hit the song's high note, and CeeLo gave him a standing ovation. "You've got soul power, old man," he complimented him. But Austin picked Blake, despite Cee-Lo's plaudits.
So did the next contestant, during yet another CeeLo-versus-Blake battle.
E.G. Dailey had a voice most of the coaches had heard plenty of times before — but only when she was in character. The 51-year-old was a voice-over actor who'd voiced "Rugrats" characters and played Dottie in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." But she said she was eager to sing for the coaches. "People are going to hear MY voice today," she said.
And they did, when she delivered a raspy take on the Faith Hill ballad "Breathe." CeeLo and Blake both turned, and although Christina encouraged E.G. to go with CeeLo, she picked Blake at long last — saying she thought he better understood her.
The next time, CeeLo was more successful — though nobody would have expected it.
Jonny Gray, a 29-year-old Texan who had become a full-time musician since his years spent serving in the Air Force, made no bones about the fact that he wanted to study under Adam's tutelage and noted that Maroon 5's first record had helped him immensely just after his deployment.
And sure enough, when he took to the stage with a soaring but gravelly take on the Killers' "All These Things That I've Done," Adam turned his chair — but not till after CeeLo did.
"I can hear Stevie Nicks. I can hear Eddie Vedder," CeeLo said, before remarking — unaware of Jonny's service — "It's kind of ironic that you sing that line 'I got a soul but i'm not a soldier.' You seem to be both of them."
CeeLo put up a good fight, and it worked. Jonny chose to join his team, despite even his own expectations. "I feel that he knows my voice," Jonny explained.
But perhaps the biggest fight of the night was the one for Tessanne Chin, a Jamaica-bred long-time backup singer for reggae star Jimmy Cliff looking to strike out on her own. "I'd love to know how to become an international artist," she said — though she admitted she was apprehensive about singing her first non-reggae song on a scale like the "Voice" stage.
Those nerves sure weren't audible, though, as she wowed the coaches with a gorgeous take on Pink's "Try."
Christina hit her button first, followed by all the other coaches — who all began falling all over themselves to woo her to their teams.
Ultimately, she picked Adam — making his team so far the biggest in the competition, with five members compared with the other teams' four.
But a few other singers went home disappointed, after not making it onto a team. Christian pop-punk singer Mike Unser earned the coaches' respect with his take on the All-American Rejects' "Dirty Little Secret" but not a chair turn, as did 16-year-old hip-hop kid with alopecia, Sammy C., whose spirited take on the Black-Eyed Peas' "Where Is the Love?" they said he had plenty of time to perfect.
Blind auditions resume next week on "The Voice," as the coaches battle to fill out their teams.
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.