One contestant has the faux frenemies joining forces

By Amanda Bell
October 08, 2018 at 11:47 PM EDT
S15 E5
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  • TV Show
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It finally happened, guys. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton finally dropped the veil of animosity that they’ve held up for so many years to show off the supportive bromance lurking beneath. Not only has Adam stopped vying for country artists out of respect for his favorite show frenemy, but he becomes one heckuva cheer squad for Blake as he tries to go out for the night’s most promising contestant.

Let’s take it from the top of the new crop, shall we?

OneUp (35 – Manhattan, NY)
“Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by The Spinners

So far, duos haven’t been able to make it to the finish line on The Voice, but if they know how to harmonize and divvy up a song well enough, pairs like this can at least offer a new sort of entertainment factor to the show. OneUp — a couple whose partnership extends to the romance department as well — do more than merely coordinate their dance moves. They also harmonize rather nicely and seem to know which one should riff with a bold note to mix it up. Jerome claims to have the lock on falsetto, but Adam slips in a few big and brassy notes as well. The two may each have to iron out some pitch issues to be truly competitive, but, as coach Kelly Clarkson’s happy tears indicate, they have an infectious positive energy going on that could easily make up the difference in the crowd favor factor. Who doesn’t love a good love story?

Team: Kelly Clarkson.

Natalie Brady (33 – Nashville, TN)
“Barracuda” by Heart

No season of The Voice is complete without at least one really rad female rocker, and it sounds like Natalie Brady’s ready to occupy that space. Her rendition of this song is as on the nose as it could possibly be without Ann Wilson herself taking the stage, which means, of course, Adam Levine is all-in from the first verse. Her song selection here is obviously a choice match for her deep, metallic tones, but as long as she can mine for the same kind of gold records that kept Chloe Kohanski interesting week to week, she can go far.

Team: Adam Levine.

Hannah Blaylock (31 – Nimrod, AK)
“Baby, Now That I’ve Found You” by The Foundations (Alison Krauss’ version)

There’s a reason so many of the coaches are left fumbling around for an explanation as to why none of them has turned a chair for Hannah Blaylock here; she’s definitely good enough to get past this stage of the game. It’s not just the fact that she has a professional background — she’s had a band, former recording contract, tour, the works — but she’s also got such clean, sweet tea tones that it’s hard to believe Blake Shelton wouldn’t turn for her even if he already has a female country artist on board his team. Sure, her voice is pretty small and shaky at first, but there’s enough range and raw talent here for any of the coaches to work with. Pity.

Team: N/A.

Mike Parker (23 – Gainesville, VA)
“So Sick” by Ne-Yo

If you had your eyes turned away from the screen during Mike Parker’s performance, you might’ve suspected that John Legend was in the house because his tones were pretty reminiscent of the EGOT winner’s signature sound — minus the stellar execution, of course. He doesn’t have nearly the same range as Legend, but his ambition alone is enough to get Jennifer Hudson’s attention. He’s gonna have to put in a lot of work to stick in this thing, but given the loveliness of his full voice, he’s got a shot.

Team: Jennifer Hudson.

Joey Green (35 – Crowley, TX)
“Baba O’Riley” by The Who

One of Joey Green’s favorite bands is the Goo Goo Dolls, and it shows because he’s got a similar rasp as Johnny Rzeznik. Green’s performance is a touch stiff in the middle, and Adam Levine is disinterested by his missed pitch points, but Blake Shelton and Jennifer Hudson are both taken by his vocals and passionate performance, and Blake, in particular, thinks he can help the guy channel his “red dirt country” persuasion.

Team: Blake Shelton.

Zaxai (29 – Brooklyn – NY)
“Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone

Being a singing ball of sunshine has taken some contestants pretty far in the past (hey, Chris Blue!), so Zaxai definitely has that going for himself. Better still, his positive disposition is a good match for this song, which doesn’t require him to overdo it with the runs to keep people dancing. He makes it look easy breezy to be a full-package entertainer, and while it feels like we haven’t heard everything he can do on the technical front, this is good enough for JHud Productions.

Team: Jennifer Hudson.

Erika Zade (20 – Miami, FL)
“New Rules” by Dua Lipa

Erika Zade credits her Cuban background as being the source of her sass, but whatever the reason, her liveliness is certainly a boon for her blind audition tonight. She’s got a full-bodied voice that, while a bit stunted by this song’s rapid pace, does seem to have some potential. Though he doesn’t turn, Adam Levine is especially impressed with the modernity and radio-readiness of her tones, and he thinks Team Kelly is exactly where she needs to be to thrive in this competition.

Team: Kelly Clarkson.

Jared Matthew (31 – San Diego, CA)
“I’m So Tired of Being Alone” by Al Green

Well, this has to be a first. Jared Matthew, unlike many of the other artists who’ve come out for this season, doesn’t have a strong background in music. Instead, he’s an astrophysicist (call him Dr. Matthew, guys) who works with NASA and is developing a neutrino detector, whatever that is. Despite his status as a novice, though, he’s got a very classic aesthetic to his voice and an intensity that cannot be overlooked. Both of the fellas go out for his team patronage, but while Blake offers him a good time and loads of fun, Adam levels with him about his strengths and weaknesses, offering to help him hone his falsetto skills. Being the smart guy that he is, Matthew opts for the latter option.

Team: Adam Levine.

Sam Robbins (21 – Portsmouth, NH)
“Time In a Bottle” by Jim Croce

Tonight’s comeback kid is Sam Robbins, whose performance of this number is just a bit too soft for the coaches’ liking. The haunted quality of the original is definitely lost in translation, but at the same time, he’s got a good handle on his notes, which is what makes Kelsea Ballerini choose him for the second chance option of the evening. Even with this song choice, he’s got a little bit of a Britton Buchanan vibe going on, so don’t count the kid out yet.

Team: N/A.

Colton Smith (21 – Albertville, AL)
“Alive” by Sia

The coaches are really feeling Colton Smith’s soul and competence with rhythm. His range is also decent, even from the limited snippet we hear of his audition. His voice is a touch more generic than you might expect by looking at him in all his ’70s groovy dude gear, but, hey, it’s a tough song so maybe playing it cool is the right thing to do.

Team: Jennifer Hudson

Kayley Hill (28 – Nashville, TN)
“Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac

Blake Shelton seems blissed out that he gets to be the coach for Kayley Hill, and it’s easy to see why. Her note control and range is pretty impressive, and there’s something exciting about her bell-like tones. To Blake’s ear, she’s got a vulnerability that he wants to draw out, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of numbers he pairs her with going forward outside of the more obvious realm of Stevie Nicks’ music.

Team: Blake Shelton.

Kirk Jay (22 – Bay Minette, AL)
“God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts

Last, but definitely not least, is Kirk “Country ‘Til the Day I Die” Jay, whose personal story of resilience after growing up in extreme poverty is inspiring, but not quite so much as his proud dedication to the country music realm. His love of the genre is so fierce and authentic that it even inspires Adam Levine to put down arms against Blake Shelton and start pointing his own finger at the guy’s head as he roots for Jay to join Team Blake. After all, he knows just as well as anyone that Blake’s been trying to diversify the country music scene for several seasons — see also: Keisha Renee and Spensha Baker — and Kirk Jay here has just as good a chance of succeeding as anyone, especially if he keeps going for the heartstring-tugger songs like this one. His voice is exceedingly soulful and emotional, but he seems quite at home with this song. As Adam Levine puts it, it’s like “Cee-Lo and Blake made a country baby.” No one else has a chance of recruiting this guy, even if they all turn for him.

Team: Blake Shelton.

TEAM STANDINGS:

Adam Levine – Tyke James, Radha, DeAndre Nico, Steve Memmolo, Anthony Arya, Reagan Strange, Fousheé, Natalie Brady, Jared Matthew.
Blake Shelton – Mercedes Ferreira-Dias, Kameron Marlowe, Keith Paluso, Michael Lee, Dave Fenley, Rachel Messer, Chris Kroeze, Joey Green, Kayley Hill, Kirk Jay.
Kelly Clarkson – Sarah Grace, Mikele Buck, Claire DeJean, Chevel Shepherd, Delaney Silvernell, Kymberli Joye, Sandyredd, OneUp, Erika Zade.
Jennifer Hudson – Tyshawn Colquitt, Patrique Fortson, Kennedy Holmes, Franc West, Audri Bartholomew, Natasha Greycloud, MaKenzie Thomas, Mike Parker, Zaxai, Colton Smith.

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A rotating chair-full of judges search for the next great superstar singer on this NBC reality show.
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