The coaches on "The Voice" amped up the inter-chair drama -- yes, even further -- on night two of the Season 6 blind auditions. There was name-calling, umbrage taking and the defending of reputations. (Usher and the rest of us have been advised to remember Shakira's hips aren't the only part of her that don't lie.)
There were sneaky last-minute spins to try to outmaneuver the competition (backfired!), crude jokes at one another's expense (something about rainbows and orifices it's best not to dwell on), and a not-bad, not-unfunny imitation of Shakira (nice work there, Adam). There was even a moment when several coaches abandoned their chairs altogether in order to woo a universally wanted singer.
That coveted singer was Cary Laine, a boot-wearing, country-music-loving mama from Alabama by way of Wyoming, who spun all four chairs with her rendition of "Better Dig Two." Though Adam Levine solicitously ceded his chair to her, prompting Shakira and Usher to follow suit, the smart money was surely on her picking Blake Shelton as her coach. After all, as Shelton reminded her, his former mentee, Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope, saw her album hit No. 1 on the country music charts.
Laine's adorable little son wasn't the only one who was surprised when Laine picked not Shelton, but Levine. "What?" he exclaimed.
"I felt like Adam really wanted me on his team. He really fought for me, " Laine later explained.
Laine's performance, which arrived at the end of the hour-long show, was one of several strong, coach-battle-sparking showings.
Others included …
Delvin Choice, a musically gifted Starbucks employee who'd failed to turn chairs with his blind audition in Season 5. This time, the 24-year-old from Greenville, S.C., took the coaches' advice and sang a "less dancy, more emotional" song, Donny Hathaway's "A Song for You," and spun all four chairs. He chose Levine as his coach, perhaps because, as the Maroon 5 singer reminded him, Levine had already begun coaching him back in Season 5 -- or perhaps because he told him, "There is no doubt in my mind you can win this whole thing."
"It would be really cool if he won because that's the spirit of the show, not to give up," Levine said of his new team member.
Madilyn Paige, 16, of Provo, Utah, who captured the interest of Usher and Shakira with her sweet, delicate take on David Guetta's "Titanium." Usher called her approach "very smart" in that it was not "aggressive" and "showed a gentle side" and "many different dynamics" vocally. Shakira used the words "beautiful" and "powerful." The two coaches tussled over who could better relate to and nurture her fresh talent. But ultimately, Usher got the upper hand, perhaps by playing "the Bieber card," as Shakira dubbed it.
Usher said he was looking forward to watching Paige "unfold."
Noah Lis, a 22-year-old from Palmer, Mass., who says he wants "to bring back the old jazz and pop standards but also introduce a new take." He sang most of his rendition of Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones" to the backs of the judges' chairs, and it wasn't looking too good for him. But then, at the very end, Levine and Shelton spun, and it turned out they'd been holding out strategically.
Shelton dropped the name of his pal Michael Buble (though, in fact, Levine had dropped it for him first) and said Dean Martin was one of his "all-time heroes." Levine suggested Lis could be the next Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett. But Lis seemed to have had eyes for Shelton from the start, calling him "the perfect fit for me."
"I'm really pumped that Noah chose me," Shelton said, adding he had "always wanted to work with a crooner."
Deja Hall, a 16-year-old dynamo from a military family, who impressed three out of four judges -- Blake, Shakira and Usher -- with her rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors." Shakira, who got so excited by Hall's singing she almost missed her button when she tried to hit it, called the teen's voice "beautiful" and "angelic." From the first moment she saw her, she said, "I haven't been able to stop smiling.… It doesn't matter who you choose, you're going to be a star." Shelton's hollers that he knew how to win the show fell on deaf ears. Shakira it was.
Hall credited the "connection I had with her," adding, "I just believe she was the one."
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