It can be hard to find your place in a new clique. But it seems that, on just their second night on The Voice panel, newbie coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell have already found their roles—and embraced them with open arms.
Gwen? She’s the cooler, more stylish best friend who always wants to give people makeovers. She’ll even give you a shiny new shirt to prove you’re part of her gang. As for Pharrell, he’s the nice albeit kind of dorky guy who uses lines like, “Dude, you are so melodically articulate.” Even before auditions kicked off, the Grammy winner lamented that, as all the other roles had been filled—including “Mr. Charming” (Blake Shelton) and “Queen of Awesome” (Stefani)—by default, “the only thing left for me is to just be nice.” But he used that to his advantage: In an effort to woo 25-year-old R&B singer Danica Shirey, he equated Adam to the charming jock of the group, saying, “He’s all fit, I’m so scrawny, but I know what to do with that voice.”
And it worked. If we learned anything tonight, it’s that nice guys don’t finish last. In fact, Pharrell was the clear winner of the night, scoring three of the best singers, including the reigning One to Watch Maiya Sykes.
But Gwen, with her glossy “Team Gwen” shirts and cool-girl charm, was close behind. Adam and Blake, meanwhile, look to be in danger of being outshined by the new toys. (Cue sad Toy Story music.) But anyway, back to the singers. Because this show is all about them, right guys? Right?
Mr. Nice Guy’s biggest get of the night? Sykes, a Yale graduate from Los Angeles, California, who took Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” glossed it up with her own brand of soul and put a giant bow on it in the form of an earth-shattering high note. It took just a couple seconds for all four judges to turn their chairs, and only a few moments until Pharrell was on his feet. It was enough for vet Blake to proclaim, “I think you can win this show,” and she’ll undoubtedly be one to watch. Which brought us to…
Sure, Adam and Blake had turned their chairs, but it was clear that only the young and agile were cut out for this battle. Gwen argued that Maiya’s already got the voice, all she needs is the fashion, the look, the material things. (In other words, “Get in, loser, we’re going shopping.”) Pharrell, meanwhile, made it all about Maiya, saying, “I am so interested in who you are and that’s the story I want to amplify.” He followed it up with a direct shot at the lady to his right: While she may be bribing you with brand names, I believe “you’re your own brand.”
Christian indie rocker turned graphic designer doesn’t scream badass. Nor, like it or not, does The Neighbourhood’s ubiquitous “Sweater Weather.” But, despite all that, 25-year-old Taylor Phelan took the rather safe song and injected it with his own brand of what Adam considered Elvis-like swag. Blake praised his stage presence and admitted, “Dammit man, you’re a great singer.” But Phelan liked the sound of “melodically accurate,” and went running to team Pharrell.
Reagan James, the she’s really 15?! 15-year-old from Kelly Clarkson’s hometown of Burleston, Texas, said point-blank she wanted Pharrell to be her coach. Unfortunately, despite her beautifully strong yet raspy rendition Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love,” Mr. Nice Guy didn’t turn his chair. When Pharrell asked her what her favorite genre was and she responded with R&B, he put his head down in shame. “I’m sick to my stomach right now,” he said. “Speaking from a missed opportunity, you are such a threat to the game.” After Reagan surprised the crowd by picking Blake to be her coach, Gwen, too, was despondent, saying, “She didn’t want me. I’m so sad.”
Most depressing moment for indie chicks everywhere
Self-proclaimed “awkward” girl Caitlin Lucia of Huntington Beach, California, collects Pez dispensers. She has, like, a thousand of them. She’s also, she was quick to admit, really bad at flirting. In other words, she’s archetype of the leading lady of an indie rom-com. And she brought that quirky, folk-y vibe to “You’re the One That I Want,” from the very un-indie Grease. But, it wasn’t enough to persuade any of the judges to turn around. In other words, we’ve seen this before, but “quirky” doesn’t always cut it.