Phew. The blinds are now completely over for season 11 of The Voice, which means we can finally say goodbye (hopefully forever) to the flower-embellished Canadian tuxedo and pigtails Miley Cyrus has been sporting for far too many episodes — and we’re about to watch the contestants gain a little wisdom from their coaches and the talent they’ve recruited as team mentors. Here’s who’s on deck next week:
- Team Adam Levine: Sammy Hagar
- Team Alicia Keys: Charlie Puth
- Team Blake Shelton: Bette Midler
- Team Miley Cyrus: Joan Jett
How’s that for an eclectic mix of musicians?
Meanwhile, the coaches are all pretty psyched about who they recruited for their crews — some (*cough* Alicia *cough*) more so than others (*cough* Adam). For a pair of newcomers to this coaching game, Alicia and Miley were mighty impressive in snagging away big potential from the boys, and Alicia thinks she’s got a full set of “monsters” while Miley’s sure she’s got the “young fun” team in her corner. As for the guys, well, Blake’s certainly impressed with his ability to capture a few artists who don’t necessarily fit his usual mold, and Adam’s got a complete buffet of different talents on tap. Alicia’s definitely got the edge so far, though, and here’s how the fifth and final rounds of blinds went down to make that happen.
Shannon and Whitney (23 and 25 – Austin, TX)
“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac (Dixie Chicks version)
Aha! The America’s sweethearts (yes, plural) of this season have finally arrived. This sister duo has it all: looks, great style, character, charm, adorable loyalty to one another, and, most importantly, two times the talent. All four judges are stunned by their flawless harmonization skills, and while they came into this thing with a country tune in hopes of earning a place on Team Blake — they believe he listens to his teammates well — their first experience with the courtship skills of Alicia Keys is a game changer. As many lofty things as she has said throughout these blinds so far, she’s never been more swoony about a recruit than with these two, waxing poetic with phrases like “it’s like you represent the future…this beautiful fusion of all of us” and “you two are a beautiful example of the world I want to create.” How could they possibly turn that down? She declares herself the queen of the four chairs after annexing this power team to her turf, and she’s right.
Johnny Rez (25 – Miami, FL)
“Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls
Everyone loves a good comeback-kid story, and Johnny Rez definitely has that going for himself. The charming — albeit a little messy — singer had an auspicious upbringing with a clear-cut college track ahead of him, but falling into drugs and criminal behavior threw him off-course. Thanks to half a year of house arrest, he cleaned himself up, went back to school and walked away with a newfound love of playing the guitar. His experience level is clear — he’s gonna need some work on his falsetto, in particular, and who better to teach him than the self-proclaimed Captain Falsetto, Adam Levine? Plus, he’s a frequent Maroon 5 cover artist, so all he was really waiting on was for Adam to turn around and he was there.
NEXT: Gothic Dolly Parton, coming right up…
Maye Thomas (27 – Broken Arrow, OK)
“Roses” by The Chainsmokers
Here we have a girl who was raised by a radio DJ, looks like a cross between Madonna and Lady Gaga (yes, apparently that’s possible), and sounds a little like Lana Del Rey. She opts to join Team Miley after being told she’ll make her into the “Gothic Dolly Parton” to match her already tapped “Rock & Roll Dolly.”
Johnny Hayes (28 – Mobile, AL)
“Traveller” by Chris Stapleton
This dude was a total teddy bear, and his tones did impress the coaches at times. But there was way too much pitch disconnect for any of the four to give up one of their final few spots to him. Maybe next season, with a less-dynamic song choice?
Courtney Harrell (36 – Los Angeles, CA)
“Let It Go” by James Bay
Some people simply do not belong in the background. Courtney Harrell is one of those people. She’s already a successful musician, having written lyrics and melodies for well-known R&B artists like Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson, but she’s never quite made it to a major mic herself — she became a mother very young and had to make ends meet for her son before anything else. Now that her boy, Dylan, is all grown up and headed off to college, she’s out of reasons to delay the effort, and her voice is strong enough to have Blake slinging lingo he’s never said before (e.g. “mad respect”). And even though Alicia Keys does her Alicia Keys thing, talking up her emotional reaction to the performance and her shared understanding of the sacrifice of motherhood, she opts for Team Blake to shock ’em all. “I think he respects true artistry. I trust that I am going to be able to flourish and thrive under his mentorship,” she explains of her decision. Blake promises he’ll be a good boy and do his homework on proper song selections.
NEXT: A famous face joins the fray…
Kylie Rothfield (23 – Los Angeles, CA)
“Wherever I Go” by OneRepublic
Kylie Rothfield is already somewhat established — at least, her fancy website indicates as much — but she had a vocal hemorrhage in the middle of a Nashville show and had to take a break from music until now. She’s hoping a turn on The Voice can help jump-start her 2.0 music career, and she’s off to a good start by impressing Alicia Keys with her “bluesy, soulful spin” on a pop-rock anthem.
Natasha Bure (17 – Los Angeles, CA)
“Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley
Natasha Bure comes from good stock for a show like this. Her mom just so happens to be Candace Cameron Bure of Full House/Dancing With the Stars/The View/You Name It fame, and she’s got Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) and Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) in her virtual corner, cheering ’90s sitcom dad-style…if ’90s sitcom dads had tablet devices, that is. Anyway, her performance is far from perfect, and Adam even seems to regret his decision to turn for her — in his words, she “had a nervous breakdown” and the song “fell apart” after he did. But given her family pedigree, she might last longer on this show than people might expect. Er, maybe?
Blaine Long (40 – Phoenix AZ)
“Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hyatt
Here’s a guy who’s got the gripping personal narrative and the pipes to make it all flow. This father of two with no education to speak of is a hard-working and compassionate man; he adopted two children from broken homes and works as a painter by day and a musician by night to make ends meet for his family. Blake, Miley, and Adam are certainly feeling his steady, old-school rhythmic voice, and despite Adam’s plea that tacking him onto Team Adam would be “a fairy-tale ending” to the blinds, Blaine’s taking up Blake’s empty roster spot because, as a fellow songwriter, he knows people. There’s also probably some kind of secret Arizona-Oklahoma connection they share, because that’s just how Blake Pointy-Finger Shelton does this thing.
NEXT: Miley and Adam finally make their picks…
Nicholas Ray (32 – Chicago, IL)
“I’ve Got the Music In Me” by the Kiki Dee Band
As nice as Nicholas Ray is, he can’t escape his wedding-singer routine in his audition and doesn’t earn a turn. As Blake points out, his voice sounds a little too lounge-ready for this kind of competition. It’s back to Nickapalooza for him for now, then.
Ponciano Seoane III (25 – San Antonio, TX)
“Home” by Phillip Phillips
The guy’s name might be a little bit of a tongue-twister, but there’s no stumbling over the fact that he’s got something the coaches feel they can work with. By his tryout, it’s down to just Miley and Adam — so when they both turn for him, it’s a 100-percent “gimme gimme” game. Adam points out he and Ponciano share in their Cuban heritage, while Miley joins in on the joke and claims to be the “Cubanest.” Adam’s digging his “distinctively different, unaffected, pure, and sharp” tones, and he says enough other adjectives to bring in Ponciano as the caboose to the Team Adam train.
Josette Diaz (17 – Cresskill, NJ)
“Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
As the last person with an open spot, Miley decided to be pretty picky about who to choose, so when she hears Josette Diaz — a young woman who’s already dedicated her every waking breath to music — she’s not sure whether to tamp the button or not. Adam and Alicia encourage her after Diaz turns the Justin Bieber hit into something new, and Miley’s new recruit could not be more delighted to have her as a mentor because she’s admired the gal since she was a little girl. Which wasn’t all that long ago, really, but still. Once again, Adam seems to regret a few of his past button punches; he respects Josette Diaz’s “bright light” demeanor and would’ve clearly loved to have her on his team instead of Miley’s. Alas.
- Team Adam – Riley Elmore, Andrew DeMuro, Billy Gilman, Brendan Fletcher, Bindi Liebowitz, Elia Esparza, Simone Gundy, Nolan Neal, Johnny Rez, Jsoul, Natasha Bure, Ponciano Seoane III
- Team Alicia – Wé McDonald, Jason Warrior, Dave Moisan, Christian Cuevas, Lauren Diaz, Josh Halverson, Gabriel Violett, Michael Sanchez, Halle Tomlinson, Shannon and Whitney, Belle Jewel, Kylie Rothfield
- Team Blake – Sundance Head, Dana Harper, Gabe Broussard, Ethan Tucker, Dan Shafer, Josh Gallagher, Austin Allsup, Christian Fermin, Preston James, Courtney Harrell, Tarah Layne, Blaine Long
- Team Miley – Darby Walker, Courtnie Ramirez, Ali Caldwell, Sa’Rayah, Sophia Urista, Lane Mack, Karlee Metzger, Aaron Gibson, Khaliya Kimberlie, Maye Thomas, Charity Bowden, Josette Diaz
Tastiest coach ribs of the week:
- Blake: “Nobody likes someone that’s premature.” [insert the ‘that’s what she said’ joke here]
- Miley: “I talk dirtier than both of them, believe me.”
- Blake: “Bobbin’ my head like yeah” [to “Party in the U.S.A.” beat]…
- The most memorable standouts of this season’s blinds were Wé McDonald, Sundance Head, Billy Gilman, Nolan Neal, and the new sisterly duo Shannon and Whitney. Count on them to make it pretty far here.
- Team Alicia has so many heavy hitters on her squad, she’ll probably be the central thieving location during the battles.
- The low-hanging fruit of these teams are probably Johnny Rez, Dan Shafer, and Natasha Bure.