In the oft-mentioned, never-ending quest to dethrone Blake Shelton on “The Voice,” Adam Levine is building himself a very strong team.
Only two artists on Tuesday’s show turned all four coaches' chairs: James Irwin and Ashley DuBose.
Both singers caused each of the stars to pull out all the stops in trying to win them to their squad. And both went with Adam. (It turns out the strategy of telling everyone “I want to beat Blake and you’re the singer who can help me do it” pays off.)
The country star even took to Twitter to express his frustration at losing out on some of the top talent.
The Maroon 5 frontman, who also won the rights to coach Tessanne Chin and James Wolpert in previous blind auditions, now has four of the six hopefuls good enough to get everyone fighting over them. (Blake and Christina Aguilera have one apiece.) Tuesday's victories might not make Adam the favorite (this is going to be Blake’s competition to lose until all his acts are eliminated), but it puts him in a very strong position heading into the battle rounds and shows that he’s pretty good at persuading people to do what he wants.
In addition, Adam started the show by out-talking Blake and CeeLo Green to get Will Champlin on his team. “He reminds me of a male version of Michelle (Chamuel),” Adam said of Chicago keyboardist and songwriter Bill Champlin's son.
With all apologies to Ashley — a single mom whose performance may have had the most record-ready vocals of the night — James was the “Voice” act whose story should inspire most singing-show hopefuls.
He auditioned last year and failed to turn a chair, then spent the intervening months working on his music, refining his voice and getting more ready for the big stage. This time, all four coaches turned around quickly enough to result in some great reaction shots of his family screaming in joy, and allowed the coaches more of a chance to craft their pitches.
“I wasn’t here last season, but I’m here now. I want to win. I want one win. So please pick me for your coach,” Christina begged.
Instead, Irwin forgave Adam for last season and picked the rocker.
Crisis in confidence
Sometimes, even one of the best singers in the country needs a little pick me up.
Apparently feeling a bit down on herself, Christina went fishing for compliments as she successfully won the services of Stephanie Anne Johnson over CeeLo. Lamenting her perceived one-dimensionalness, she noted, “I don’t play a guitar ... I’m not musical in that sense.”
Predictably, that got the rest of the judges rallying to her side with positive feedback.
“You’re Christina Freakin’ Aguilera. Who gives a crap?” Blake said. Adam likewise noted the obvious fact that whether she plays an instrument or not, Christina is, objectively speaking, rather good at making music.
“That’s why I came back to the show. I love you boys,” Christina said.
Watch your language
Olivia Henken was probably hoping for Blake to turn around for her. The Louisville native didn’t get that, but she did have Christina and CeeLo arguing over her.
CeeLo’s case may have been doomed by his word choice. “I will challenge you,” he told the 25-year old. “I will put you in some different positions.”
That perceived innuendo caused the expected gasps and laughter from the other coaches and the audience.
“Professional positions,” CeeLo clarified.
Olivia picked Christina, who was thrilled to get her. “Those dimples are going to win over America,” the superstar said, apparently forgetting that the show is called “The Voice” and not “The Face.”
CeeLo got his revenge later when he turned literally at the last possible second to compete with Christina for R. Anthony. He claimed that he waited because he wanted to savor the performance, and it worked.
“Wow,” Christina said, shaking her head at losing out on the talent.
Good thing CeeLo wasn’t competing against Adam for him.