It’s time to start getting picky on The Voice. Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, and Pharrell Williams delivered that message loud and clear during the fourth round of blind auditions Tuesday night, as they inched closer to filling their 12-person teams. Even Adam, who started the night with nothing close to an upper hand—he’s been the clear underdog so far—was far more reluctant to push his button.
Perhaps it’s part of his season 7 identity: the slightly more salty to new guy Pharrell’s sugary sweet. Where Pharrell will woo you with his sweet talk, Adam was far more calculated. He has a goal: To win; and he has a plan for how he’s going to do it. And that method worked rather well for the Maroon 5 frontman Tuesday night, as he added four strong singers to his roster and even beat out Pharrell for one of the most sought-after contestants of the night. “It feels good to be king again,” he said at the end of the night. Careful there, don’t want to go all Uncle Scar on us.
It’s a tough choice, but considering the fact she tackled Etta James’ oft-untouchable “At Last” with more aplomb than a diva three times her age, I’m giving 15-year-old Katriz Trinidad the crown. Her soulful, sultry performance was, if anything, too perfect. In fact, that was Gwen’s only criticism: “I want to make it feel a little less rehearsed and a little more relaxed, and just strip you down and undo the perfection,” she told the teenager, who ultimately chose Pharrell.
Most overused ploy
Listen, I know Pharrell’s new to the whole reality competition show thing, but you don’t just give outstanding ovations like iPod Shuffles. Either no one told him that fact, or he’s using the standing-O to secure the singers he really wants. And until tonight, it was working well for him. He had a nearly spotless record until 20-year-old Chris Jamison came along. The Pittsburgh native took on John Mayer’s “Gravity” with a distinct brand of soul that had all four judges fighting for him. Adam gave constructive criticism, saying he lost a bit of control but that he wants to work with him to make him a winner. Pharrell peppered him with his signature nice-guy antics, but it didn’t seduce Jamison, nor did the standing ovation. The singer opted for the more scrutinizing Adam.
Most desperate moment
After telling her that “I’ve been dreaming about an artist like you for my whole career” and practically promising to sign her to his label, Pharrell got on his knees and begged for Katriz to join his team. It worked this time, but I’m sincerely hoping this doesn’t become his next standing-O.
Best reality show pilot idea
After competing for 25-year-old cute-as-a-button gospel kid Ethan Butler, who ultimately went Team Adam, the two hugged it out and had an idea: “Let’s do a road trip together. We could be the new Duck Dynasty.” Am I the only one who thinks that’d actually make an excellent show? There was once a competitive reality show about an adopted woman trying to find her father; this one has a shot at a greenlight.
Most predictable pairing
Craig Wayne Boyd is a burly, long-haired fellow from Mesquite, Texas, who wore a rather aggressive brown leather jacket with tassles on it. He sang a Travis Tritt song with arguably more good-natured twang than Travis Tritt himself. So, yes, of course he chose Blake Shelton. And watch out: As Blake put it, they’re about to “turn The Voice into a honky-tonk.”
Biggest girl power moment
Amanda Lee Peers was brought up in a family of born-again Christians. She was active in her church choir until she came out as gay, and no longer felt welcome. “I used music to let it all go,” she said. And she brought that emotion to the stage with her Tuesday night during her take on ZZ Ward’s “Put the Gun Down.” It wasn’t enough to have all four judges turn their chairs, but it was enough for Gwen, who excitedly welcomed her to her all-girls roster with a “Team Gwen” T-shirt. Who needs boys after all?