Their teams … are … full! The coaches on “The Voice” polished off their teams Monday night, finding just the right singers for the final few spots and then standing back and surveying the results with apparent satisfaction.
“I have the greatest team I’ve ever had in the history of ‘The Voice,’ ” declared Adam Levine, the first to complete his team, in noting that he had covered all his bases with a mix of singers in different genres.
In fact, all the coaches’ teams seem especially strong this year. Blake Shelton also noted that he’d assembled a collection of singers in a variety of genres — country, pop, rock.
“That’s worked for me in the past,” he said with a smile. “I’m pretty sure I’ve got the winning team.”
Or maybe it will be Pharrell Williams, who low-keyed his way to scoring a much-coveted singer Monday, a vocalist Levine called “the greatest singer in the show’s history and the most beautiful.” Or Gwen Stefani, who thought her team might just be strong enough to make her the first female coach ever to win the show.
We’ll find out soon enough. Next week, it will be on to the battle round, when the coaches and their teams will be aided by guest mentors Brad Paisley, John Fogerty, Missy Elliott and Selena Gomez.
Here are the singers who made it through on Monday:
Dustin Christensen: This 35-year-old from Orem, Utah, has both a “lazy eye” and an apparent strong work ethic: He holds an MBA from Northeastern University. He also enthralled the coaches with his gritty-strong “Downtown Train,” spinning all four chairs. Williams heard John Cougar Mellencamp in Christensen’s voice. Levine heard a little room for improvement. Shelton said he heard Neil Diamond, and then wooed Christensen by having the audience hold up pictures of his own face on a stick to indicate their endorsement. “For me to set that up just for you, it’s almost like when a guy asks a girl to marry him and he has an airplane write in the sky,” Shelton told Christensen. “That’s how much I want to impress you. That’s how badly, Dustin, I want you on my freaking team. Please pick me.” He did.
Dustin Monk: Making it a double-Dustin evening (later, there was a contestant named Dawson, but he didn’t make it through), this abundantly tattooed 27-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., raised in a double-wide trailer in rural Georgia by a single mom who struggled with addiction, turned Levine and Shelton around with his bluesy “Bright Lights.” Levine said he picked up both shades of himself and a “kernel of brilliance” in Monk’s voice. Shelton said he disagreed, saying Monk wasn’t like Levine because he sounded “like a man” and that he heard not a “kernel” but “the whole cob” in Monk’s voice. Monk settled the bromantic sparring by picking Levine, saying the Maroon 5 singer’s having pushed his button first” had tipped the balance in his favor.
Chase Kerby: This cute 30-year-old, whose family owns a candy store in Oklahoma City, turned Stefani alone with his tender take on “The Scientist” — and before she could even hand him his Team Gwen T-shirt, he gave her a present of his own: a box of candy. Sweet!
Shelby Brown: This small-town Alabama 16-year-old has a voice way bigger than the bowling alley she usually performs in and far more mature than her years. After spinning all four chairs and earning a standing ovation by lending a country flavor to the pop song “Stars,” it seemed like a foregone conclusion that she’d choose Shelton, who promised to make her a country star. But Levine managed to turn the teen’s head by telling her she had “other songs” inside her and urging her to explore. She shocked everyone by picking him, completing his team. Nice to know the show can still surprise you.
Amy Vachal: This gorgeous 26-year-old artist-turned-singer, a Swarthmore graduate from Brooklyn, N.Y., emphatically spun Shelton, Stefani and Williams with her ethereal “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” on which she played guitar. Shelton hollered, “Please pick me!” even as Vachal was still singing her song, and at the end, the coaches gave her a standing ovation. Levine said that although he had been unable to push his button for Vachal because his team was full, he believed she could “win this whole thing.” Stefani called her “pure,” a “beautiful Pocahontas fairy-princess angel-like singer.” Shelton called her a “superstar” and compared her to Norah Jones and Colbie Caillat. But Williams got the girl with a soft sell, telling her that, while either of the other coaches could help her “dive headfirst” into what she wanted to do, musically, he’d like to be the one to do it. After Vachal picked Williams, Shelton told him he had “just won the show again.” Levine griped, “Adam’s team is full. Bring out the greatest singer in the show’s history and the most beautiful. Yeah, cue her.”
Blaine Mitchell: After a knee injury benched his major league baseball dreams, this 24-year-old from Fort Worth put his energy into the alternative-rock band he formed with his brother, earning money on the side singing country music at a local joint called Cowboys Dancehall. His “Drops of Jupiter” spun around both Stefani and Shelton, but it soon became apparent that only Shelton and he had eyes for each other, bonding over the scene at the dancehall. “Is this ‘The Dating Game’ or ‘The Voice?’ ” Levine quipped. To which Shelton replied, “Hey, the world is changing. I’m up for that, too.” Ha! Mitchell picked Shelton, completing his team.
Summer Schappell: With Shelton out of the picture, Stefani and Williams had a clear shot at this plum-haired, boot-wearing 21-year-old country singer, raised, in Redding, Calif., by her doting grandparents. “That’s pretty good,” Shelton said of Schappell’s twangin’ “Strawberry Wine,” perhaps providing extra impetus for the two coaches still in play to turn. Stefani told Schappell her voice was “soothing” and promised to enlist Shelton’s help in coaching her. The No Doubt star nabbed the country singer, completing her team.
Sydney Rhame: After passing up a slew of singers, Williams finally found the one who had that special something to complete his team in this Atlanta 16-year-old, who sang “Photograph” with a lush tone that belied her tender age. Williams told her he would “protect everything that you already are,” and that, if he pushed her at all, it would be to make her shine “even brighter” because she was already a “shining star.” The singers who came out before her were “good,” he said, but he was “waiting for great.”
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