It may seem like “The Voice” Season 4 blind auditions just got started, but on Tuesday night, they came to an end. Each of the four coaches added a final singer – like a cherry on a sundae – to complete his or her team of 12.
Blake Shelton, quick on the trigger, capped off his team with 24-year-old Jersey girl Jacqui Sandell, a classically trained dancer who now sings with a garage band and cutely joked that her autobiography should be called “From Tutus to Tattoos.” Shelton pushed his button straight off for Sandell, and Usher, looking a little unsure, followed. By the time Sandell was finished singing “Dreams,” Usher seemed to have lost the love. “There were some things I would like to improve, but I’m happy I turned,” he said. Shelton did a somewhat harder sell, saying he and Sandell had their tattoos in common and calling her voice “sneaky” and “sexy.” Sandell’s choice was clear.
With a full team, Shelton was then unable to spin for 19-year-old country girl Amber Carrington, who came with her grandparents because her young mom had recently died of breast cancer. He, however, was able to encourage Adam Levine to turn, though, after listening to Carrington belt out “Good Girl,” Levine seemed to need little encouragement. “You are going to be one of the biggest surprises of this entire competition,” Levine told Carrington. “You are incredibly good.” Shelton, meanwhile, said he hoped to have a chance to steal her from Levine.
That left only rookie coaches Shakira and Usher with slots to fill. Both spun for Luke Edgemon, a 24-year-old Fayetteville, N.C., church singer turned Los Angeles-based backing vocalist for Mary J. Blige and Queen Latifah. Edgemon said he was ready to step out of the background and into the spotlight, and he earned his shot with his restrained, soulful “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Usher told him his voice was “incredible” and had moved him. Shakira, who’d been the first to press her button, made an even harder sell, saying “You’re probably thinking Usher is your man, but I’m your girl.” She mimicked Usher’s leg-up posture – and got a leg up. “I pick Shakira,” Edgemon said, much to everyone’s surprise.
We didn’t have to wait long to see Usher get his revenge, though. Jessica Childress, an effervescent 26-year-old from Lancaster, Pa., who’d traded a career in public relations to pursue her dreams, had Shakira tapping her – alas, dead – button and Levine declaring “I wanna marry her” with her lush, lively take on “Marry You.” She drew laughs by doing Shakira’s moves and asking Shelton, “Do your hips lie?” “On one side, when I’m sleeping, and then on the other side while I’m sleeping,” he said. Then she offered simple, heartfelt gratitude: “I recently just quit my job, the bills are piling up, and I needed this moment, and you gave me this moment.” “We’re gonna win this thing,” Usher told her. And I believe they’ve got a good shot at it.
Teams complete, next week, it’s on to the Battle Rounds, complete with coach steals. (Yay, coach steals!) Guest mentors include Sheryl Crow (Shelton), Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott (Levine), Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden (Shakira), who is also a coach on the Australian version of “The Voice,” and Pharrell Williams (Usher).
Any favorites heading in?