Following a very strong opening night of The Voice’s ninth season, night two of the Blind Auditions began with coaches Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton all on equal playing field, each with two artists apiece on their teams.
The first artist, who goes by Blind Joe, is a blind musician who gigs around at honky-tonks and came to The Voice in the hopes of really developing his professional music career. “The Voice is unique in that you can be your own artist,” he said. He sang “If It Hadn’t Been For Love.” Shelton turned first, likely drawn in by his country sound. Levine followed, and then both Stefani and Pharrell decided to turn at the last second, starting off the night with another quadruple turn. Levine made it very clear that he wants a country singer on his team this season, but Blind Joe made the obvious choice and picked Team Blake.
Ivonne Acero, who auditioned in season eight when she was only 16 years old, returned after not getting any chair turns last time. She came back with more experience under her belt, ready for her second chance. She sang a beautiful version of Taylor Swift’s “Style,” and Stefani and Pharrell turned almost instantly. “I wasn’t thinking about Taylor,” Stefani said, emphasizing that Acero really made the song her own. She struggled with her choice, but she ultimately picked Team Pharrell.
The next artist, Gage Navarro, didn’t get into singing until eighth grade, when he picked it up as a way to impress girls. But he fell in love with music and unfortunately had to push it to the side when the Southern California drought took a toll on his family’s golf business. He said he hopes The Voice will help him focus on music again. He sang “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” by Cage the Elephant. None of the coaches turned, but Stefani praised his rhythm. It was just missing the special “oomph,” in the words of Levine.
Regina Love, who toured as part of a contemporary gospel group and recorded multiple albums, came to The Voice to revitalize her career. She sang “Rock Steady,” and the coaches took their time listening to her, but Levine turned first, eventually joined by Shelton. Love joined Team Adam.
Young artist Zach Seabaugh sang next, auditioning with “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. The coaches were all very surprised to learn that his low, unique voice belongs to a 16-year-old. Levine, Pharrell and Shelton all turned. Seabaugh said he considers himself a country artist, but there’s something different about his sound that attracted Levine and Pharrell and would make Seabaugh a good fit on either of their teams as opposed to the obvious choice of Shelton, whom Seabaugh went with.
Evan McKeel sang next, and he got another four-chair turn. In a rare move, Pharrell actually asked him to sing a little more, and he sang some of “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder, which won the coaches over even more. McKeel had trouble deciding because all the coaches mean so much to him, but he ended up going with Team Pharrell.
Up next, Bryan Bautista sang “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. He just didn’t quite have the range to sing the song, especially at the beginning. He found his footing a bit later in the song, but it wasn’t enough to get one of the coaches to turn.
Country artist Emily Ann Roberts sang “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack and got an early turn from Levine and a late one from Shelton. Levine again made a passionate pitch for her, desperate for a country artist on his team. “Sometimes the thing that doesn’t quite fit fits the best,” Levine urged. Surprising no one, she chose Team Blake.
Ellie Lawrence auditioned with “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off,” and Stefani, Pharrell and Levine turned right away. Lawrence went in saying she wanted to work with Stefani because she has forged a path for so many female artists. She indeed stuck with her gut and joined Team Gwen.
Next, Natalie Yacovazzi sang “Oh! Darling,” and despite it being a pretty impressive performance, none of the coaches turned. She agreed that it wasn’t her best performance, and hopefully she’ll keep pushing herself and come back.
Closing out the night, James Dupré appeared on The Ellen Show because of one of his singing videos that went viral. His Blind Audition led to very fast turns from Pharrell, Levine and Stefani, and they were later joined by Shelton. Dupré is undeniably a country singer, so Shelton leaned into that part of his pitch, even though he was the last chair to turn. He surprised the coaches and audience by choosing Team Adam. Levine was certainly thrilled to have his first country artist to round out his team.
Do you think Dupré made the right choice? The Blind Auditions continue next Monday at 8 p.m. on NBC.