Pop Culture

'Voice' coaches get strategic in fight for contestants

With the blind auditions winding down on “The Voice,” coaches Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Shakira and Usher can’t afford to make a lot of mistakes. As a result, Monday's episode featured even more gamesmanship among the four, with a lot of waiting around to see what everyone else would do before making a commitment.

Trae Patton/NBC / Today
Coaches Blake Shelton, Usher, Shakira and Adam Levine consider hopeful Mary Miranda Monday night.

That meant that top singers had multiple coaches to choose from … and that viewers got to see the difference between a sincere sales pitch and  “Well, I guess I have to say something, since I did flip my chair around.”

Jeff Lewis got the latter after his audition earned late chair flips from Blake, Shakira and Usher.

“Let me get my little thing in here because I’m screwed,” Blake began. In other words, you won’t break my heart if you go the other way.  

After a similarly tepid response from Shakira, it was up to Usher to make the sale to a guy who loved him so much that he sang an Usher song for the blind audition.

“I’m not gonna say it will be easy. There’s a lot that comes with who I am. I just say it how it is, and I leave it to you to make the decision. If that’s what you’re all about, then come on over here, man,” Usher said.

How’s that for love?! Well, it was enough for Jeff, who signed on what is likely to be a short stay on Team Usher.

Next up was Shawna P, who got a chair flip from Shakira ... and what looked like the most reluctant buzzer-push in “Voice” history from Adam. The Maroon 5 frontman gamely (sort of) tried to woo her,  but Shawna bailed him out by choosing Shakira.

Shakira also won Mary Miranda after token resistance from Blake and Usher. The Cuban native was a natural pick for the superstar, and the two guys looked like they pushed their buttons in order to push Shakira’s. (She mouthed something unkind to them when they joined her facing the stage.) Considering Miranda teared up as soon as Shakira started complimenting her, the choice was never in doubt.

Other hopefuls caused the coaches to fight harder. Sasha Allen got all four to turn around within about 30 seconds, with Adam staring at her with undisguised longing and fascination. She chose him, causing him to exult in his success at the four-chair turnarounds.

Blake had better luck with Grace Askew, whom he liked so much that he forgot to use his inside voice and shouted his praise like a guy who forgot there were microphones around. He got his wish, and Askew’s boots walked right over to Team Blake, though Blake was compelled to walk over to Shakira’s chair and give her a hug and a kiss for her vigorous efforts to secure Grace. Likewise picking the country star was Caroline Glaser, who impressed with her “Tiny Dancer” cover.

Usher came through big on the last singer of the day. Despite the fact that Adam turned his chair around within seconds of Ryan Innes’ first note of gravity, Innes ignored his gut (which apparently wanted Blake), and chose Usher instead.

“I think part of my winning is that I don’t oversell,” Usher said.

This came seconds after telling Ryan, “You’re going far, man. You’re going all the way.”

Then again, “oversell” is a relative term.

Do you think any of the coaches made mistakes in turning their chairs Monday? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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