Season 7 | Episode 5 | “The Blind Auditions Part 5” | Aired Oct 6, 2014
Last week: Pharrell perfected the art of the undersell, while Adam utilized tough love to acquire contestants. Blake showed off his ability to use acronyms like “OMG” and “LOL” with ease, and we all got “Gwen’d.” Now let’s see who will fill each team’s final two slots on this week’s The Voice.
“Collaboration” might be my middle name
Our first contestant is Matt McAndrew, a tattooed 23-year-old from Philadelphia. Matt’s “A Thousand Years” is lovely (despite some nerves), showcasing a delicate, expressive tone and inspiring three button-pushes and fierce competition amongst the coaches. This ultimately turns into a tug-of-war between Pharrell and Adam over who is the most collaborative. Adam’s insistence that collaboration is “his middle name” seals the deal, and Matt joins Team Adam.
They’re gonna nice each other to death
Next up is Brittany Butler, a striking 21-year-old music major. She chooses to give “The Girl from Ipanema” a jazz treatment. Although it’s a little overstylized at times, her quirky vocals and sporadic scatting are enough to turn the chairs of both Gwen and Pharrell. Blake predicts the two are going to “nice each other to death” over Brittany, and he’s right, as Pharrell gives Gwen the floor (“The first handful of cotton candy has been thrown!”). They then have the most polite battle for a contestant in seven seasons of the show, and Pharrell gently undersells his way into adding Brittany to his team.
Boy-band boot camp
Ryan Sill, a 21-year-old from Sterling, VA, looks a little like Malibu Ken and sounds like he would be right at home in a boy band. His “Secrets” is a touch shaky to start, but he gains control and reveals a pleasing, radio-friendly voice that turns the heads (and chairs) of Gwen and Blake. Despite Blake’s insistence that there is no one like Ryan on his team, Gwen pours on the charm and snags Ryan for Team Gwen.
Swim lessons or win lessons?
Before she even begins her audition, Fernanda Bosch’s background segment makes it clear she is winning at life when it shows her teaching special-needs kids how to swim (Do you feel like an underachiever yet? Yeah, me too!). Fernanda’s “I Try” is a bit uneven but also interesting, with a distinctive tone ranging from breathy to raspy in her high chest voice, inspiring button-pushes from Gwen and Blake. Gwen bonds with her over her age (17 was when she started No Doubt!) and her swimming (Gwen also taught swim lessons!), but Blake’s hard sell ultimately convinces Fernanda to make a home on Team Blake. This inspires something akin to dancing from Blake.
Take my shirt!
Another contestant winning at life is Beth Spangler, a soft-spoken 30-year-old radiographer for a children’s hospital in Aiken, SC (where she works in pediatrics and is basically awesome). Beth’s “Best Thing I Never Had” is surprisingly pop. While her nerves dominate the top of the performance, you can still hear a big, versatile voice shining through, and she seems to gain confidence as the song goes on. That potential is more than enough to turn all four chairs. While Pharrell tries to win her by standing, and Gwen tries to bribe her with free clothes (again with this!), Adam wins Beth to his team by literally offering her the shirt off his back. Hey, could you resist that offer? I didn’t think so.
Stalking Michael Buble via Blake Shelton
Griffin is a 23-year-old Nashville transplant and bow-tie entrepreneur. His “It’s a Beautiful Day” is expansive, stylized, and really colorful despite a few minor pitch issues, turning around Blake, Pharrell, and Gwen. Blake immediately tries to butter him up by talking about texting Michael Buble, seeing his shows, and generally stalking him all over the country. Naturally, this sends Griffin into the arms of Team Pharrell.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Our second-to-last contestant is Mayra Alvarez, a 26-year-old who shares a hometown with last season’s Jake Worthington (the better half of “Shake and Blake”). ”Human Nature” is a smart song choice. While the verses are too low in Mayra’s range, she quickly recovers and settles into her sweet spot, inspiring button-pushes from Blake and Gwen. Gwen immediately plays the girl card, and Blake notes, “This is not the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; this is The Voice.” However, when Blake invites Mayra to join his Team Blake family, Gwen counters, “I’m not looking for family members. I’m looking for stars.” And Mayra joins Team Gwen.
The final blind audition this season belongs to Justin Johnes, a 15-year-old from Massapequa, NY, who was inspired to sing and dance thanks to a tape of ‘N Sync live. Justin’s “Let Her Go” isn’t the best performance this season, but his voice is flexible and enjoyably raspy in some unexpected places. He seems to struggle with breath control a little, but the tone is enough to earn Justin the final spot on Team Blake. Blake responds by giving him a T-shirt that says “Blake’s Boo.”
So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night
While we have plenty of happy endings tonight, we also have a few performers who don’t make a team. Evan Watson’s brilliant song choice (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”) and mad facial hair aren’t enough to turn the coaches’ heads. Chandra Knudsen’s adorable love of Batman memorabilia can’t save her “Hard to Love,” and Erin Kim is unable to lock in to his version of “Latch.” We’re also treated to a montage of Luka Niccoli (“Sing”), Nikki Rene (“Something to Talk About”) and Bradley McKee (“Me and My Broken Heart”).
Next week: Battles (i.e., awkward duets) begin! And how did Adam get Stevie Nicks to show up? ‘Cuz, hot dayum.
Who were your favorites from the blinds? Least favorites? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll see you back here after the next episode of The Voice.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7C on NBC.