With the blind auditions now well underway, the coaches are being both selective when it comes to contestants and encouraging to one another. Yes, everyone seems to be getting along just splendidly.
Adam, in a rare moment, stuck up for his bromantic rival Blake, telling the first contestant of the evening, John Martin, that the country star would be a great choice. Gwen and Pharrell were positively gooey with each other even when both competing for Blessing Offor (more on him later). Gwen talked about how much Blessing’s voice reminded her of Pharrell’s, telling Pharrell how much she loves him; Pharrell said he loves her too; Blake wanted to vomit. Blake was perhaps the most suspicious of all this kindness. When Pharrell and Blake were competing for NYC busker Ricky Manning, Pharrell added, “You can’t go wrong.” Blake didn’t see that exactly as a compliment, “You’re poisoning me or something right now. You can’t be that nice all the time.”
But geniality was in the air, as were some solid if not incredible musical performances.
It feels like a cop out on my part to pick the last contestant of the night in this category considering the show is cut so as to build to that. And yet, in what felt like a particularly weak night, Anita Antoinette was clearly way ahead of the pack with her rendition of Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low.” The performance was spare and allowed Anita to show off both her style (of which she has loads) and her technical proficiency. (Berklee College of Music? Not too shabby…) Of course, Anita also had the redemption story. No coaches had turned for her when she auditioned back in season three, but here she was, absolutely killing it, and everyone gave her the time of day. She eventually picked Gwen, who wooed her with lines like, “I think I would have probably picked you then,” “What have you been doing since Blake and Adam didn’t choose you?” and “I love you.” With No Doubt’s reggae influence, Gwen also was sonically an apt choice for Anita as well.
Best song choice
This probably says more about my personal taste in music than anything else, but the best song choice? Kelli Douglas, 31, with “Danny’s Song.” The show perfectly set the choice up, discussing her work as a teacher using music in the classroom and showing her really adorable son cheering for her. So when Douglas launched into Kenny Loggins’ tune about being in love and having a new child it just hit all the right notes for me. Douglas started out uneven, truly seeming nervous, however, she settled into the song, really making it her own, and getting three coaches to turn around in the process. Douglas eventually chose Adam, who was indeed the most convincing when he told her that “we’ll work on that together,” when discussing her stage fright.
That my second pick for best song choice would be “It Ain’t Me Babe,” the Dylan song Bree Fondacaro picked probably also says a lot about what I listen to on my own time.
Best coach move
All four coaches turned around at the last minute for Blessing Offor rendition of “Just the Two of Us.” That led to one of the most unabashedly joyful moments of the show as Adam told Blessing, who is blind, that he was wanted across the board, and Blessing exclaimed, “oh shoot!” Before his performance, Blessing, despite his soul sound, expressed his interest in Blake’s coaching on the basis of songwriting. Blessing seemed to continue to lean that way when he told Blake that he went to Belmont University in Nashville. It gets frustrating when contestants choose the coach that most closely matches his or her style of music, so there was something exciting about the possibility of a Blessing/Blake team up. That said, I have to hand it to Pharrell, who effectively shut Blake out, jumping hard on the topic of Nashville songwriting, before Blake could even get there. “I’ve not heard anyone sing a song that’s written with country intentions, but sung with a voice like yours. There’s undiscovered real estate in that world, and for me I know a couple of things about mixing genres,” Pharrell said. By the time that Blake got to give his pitch, Pharrell had already one-upped him, and Blessing picked Pharrell.
Best coach simile
Blake called Jessie Pitts’ voice “like a bowl of lucky charms. Marshmallows only.” Pitts still chose Gwen, but A+ for imagery, Blake.
A sentimental favorite
Look, 62-year-old cantor Michael Stein picked the wrong song and maybe wasn’t the best fit for the singing competition. His rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” did nothing to show off his voice. It was more of a showcase for his fiddle-playing, which is, after all, not what this show is about. That being said, I was not-so-secretly hoping that I could see more of what he did, but alas, no chairs turned.
Most unwelcome addition
Troy Ritchie gave a fine performance of Fitz and the Tantrum’s “Out of My League,” one that would have belied his personality had we not gotten to know that he was 100 percent earnest and eager ahead of time. Speaking of that eagerness, sorry, Troy, but I did not need to hear your Stewie Griffin impression.
New favorite thing to watch
I now endeavor to pay attention to Gwen’s facial expression when she turns around; It’s almost always delightful.