Tonight is the fifth and final night of the Blind Auditions for season 7 of The Voice. After tonight, the barn door closes and the only direction the doors will ever swing for 47 of these performers is out the back door and into the alley of life as it used to be before The Voice. But for one of these gifted men or women, the final door to a future they never dreamed possible will be flung wide open and their lives will never be the same.
The competition will be the fiercest tonight as it ever will be, and not just for the performers. Coaches Blake Shelton, Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine have already chosen 10 singers each, and each has two empty spots left to fill. Hey, how did they all end up with exactly the same number of singers? What’s the likelihood of that? Well, let’s not worry about it. Let’s just sit back with a big ol’ bucket of popcorn and a Big Gulp filled to the brim with your favorite poison and enjoy the show.
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Even the Losers Are Winners from Tonight Going Forward
Okay. Enough with the dramatics, right? Let’s be honest. Can we be honest here? Every single performer who makes it into the fold by the end of this final Blind Auditions episode has been given the world on a platter. The experience, guidance and possible connections they will receive just by rubbing elbows and singing with some of the absolute best in the business is something you cannot put a price on. You just effing can’t.
Anyone who gets eliminated early, if they are smart, will take everything they are told to heart, go get whatever it was they were missing and be the first to sign up for the next session of auditions for The Voice. What will buoy them, other than their family and friends, is the raw addiction to the rush of greatness they experienced while in the limelight on that stage. They will want to get back to it as soon as possible, mark my words.
The Coaches Get Tough as the Pickins Get Slim. Not!
The pickins aren’t at all slim tonight, it turns out. A couple of these performers made it onto our BuddyTV list of the Top 15 Blind Auditions of season 7. That list will be coming out tomorrow, so check back in with us frequently to see if you agree with our rankings. The coaches have to compete for the talent so this should be some good intense competition between the golden kids tonight.
Let the games begin…
Matt McAndrew (“A Thousand Years”)
Twenty-three-year-old Matt McAndrew from Philadelphia, PA, has a mop of maple syrup colored brown hair and a voice that gives me goosebumps. A graduate from University Arts in Philadelphia, Matt shares an apartment with his mom and sister and works at a grocery store, teaching guitar and voice on the side. He got his first guitar when he was 4 years old and played until his fingers bled. Fortunately for Matt, all that bleeding pays off tonight.
Adam is the first to turn around, followed quickly by Blake and Pharrell. Gwen says it’s incredible for a boy to sing like he does. Blake comments on the fact that even when his voice is soft, it’s intense. Adam says his voice is genre-less. Pharrell promises he can do whatever song Matt wants. Everyone tries to relate to Matt.
Result: Matt chooses Adam
Brittany Butler (“Girl from Ipanema”)
Twenty-one-year-old jazz and R&B singer Brittany Butler from Boston is most inspired by her late grandfather, who raised her alone alongside her mother. Grandpa introduced her to all the standards, and bought her her first guitar and a video camera so she could record herself and post her songs on YouTube. She attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship and misses the hell out of her grandfather who passed away in 2009.
She has this enormous mouth with teeth and gums that are equal in size and it gives her this scatty-catty-exoticness that’s both eclectic and alluring at the same time. She’s unique and fantastic and the crowd loves her.
Gwen and Pharrell both turn and it’s a battle to the death with blades made of cotton candy. Pharell turns. Blake says Pharrell and Gwen are going to nice each other to death. Adam predicts they will fight each other with rainbows and happiness. This is the first time it’s been just these two in the bull pen.
Gwen promises that if Brittany chooses Pharrell over her, she (Gwen) will steal her away from Pharell the first chance she gets.
Result: Brittany chooses Pharrell
Evan Watson (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”)
Evan Watson, a beer master from Fishkill, NY, opened once for Meatloaf and is up next with a mesmerizing rendition of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” but the judges say he has about 50% too much gravel and no one turns a chair for him.
Ryan Sill (“Secrets”)
Ryan’s mom was an opera singer who teaches voice lessons, but not to her son without too much arguing going on. He’s got perfect teeth and a formidable chin and attended James Madison University for engineering, but got music-lust when one of his YouTube videos got 800,000 hits.
Gwen turns around during the first line of the song and ends up stealing his vote of confidence.
Result: Ryan chooses Gwen
Fernanda Bosch (“I Try”)
Fernanda Bosch, 17, from Miami, FL, is a swimmer from a Venezuelan family. Her vocals are sultry and she has a great accent when she’s nervous. Her voice doesn’t present as very strong, but it becomes clear once two chairs turn for her that it was the nerves choking her sound … which is funny because she’s doing that Macy Gray song with the lyrics “I try to say goodbye and I choke.”
Blake turns as does Gwen. Adam comments and she tells him he should have turned. Blake comments on her natural sandpaper gravel rasp which in her upper level is bad-ass.
Result: Fernanda chooses Blake
Beth Spangler (“Best Thing I Never Had”)
Next is Beth Spangler, 30, from Aiken, SC, a senior pediatric radiographer at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. She is a country bumpkin from Podunk, SC, but she sings more of what she calls a “soulful style of pop music.” She speaks of her dad, whom she calls her inspiration. Dad had a bad motorcycle accident a couple of years back and lost his leg. Her father came with her to her Blind Audition and tells the world, “She don’t have to be a star for me, but I want her to be [a star] for her.” And my throat tightens. Beth says that seeing him fight for what he wanted made all the difference for her.
When she opens her heart and soul to sing, baby girl kicks the shit out of that song in the most wonderful way imaginable with the power of Jo Dee Messina and Celine Dion all wrapped up together.
Pharrell says she effortlessly melded so many influences. Adam is beside himself with wanting her on his team. Gwen says her range is crazy and attempts to bribe her with clothing. Blake says the same light that shines out of her shines through her voice.
Result: Beth chooses Adam
Team Adam is now complete.
The Voice Season 7: Meet Adam Levine’s Team >>>
Erin Kim (“Latch”) and Chandra Knudsen (“Hard to Love”)
Erin Kim, 24, of Los Angeles sings “Latch” and doesn’t get a chair to turn because he changes the melody around too much.
Chandra Knudsen of Harlan, IA, is a Batman fanatic, a part-time nanny and graphic designer for her church. She’s got the energy, but her vibrato is way out of control and no chairs turn for her.
Griffin (“It’s a Beautiful Day”)
As a kid, Griffin tried to talk his parents into moving to Nashville so he could pursue music. He comes from a family that has always struggled financially. He and sister started a bow tie company a couple years ago and then sold it successfully. He’s currently a patient accounts representative at a senior living facility and now lives in Nashville where he knows his life was meant for music, not sitting behind a desk.
Blake, Pharrell and Gwen all turn, and Blake gushes about Griffin’s good rendition of the Michael Buble song. Adam comments on his low notes which didn’t even sound like he had ice cream mouth, and Pharrell wants to bring more color to Griffin’s heart and his voice. Gwen says her signature line: “I have nobody on my team like you.”
Result: Griffin chooses Pharrell
Team Pharrell is complete.
The Voice Season 7: Meet Pharrell Williams’ Team >>>
Mayra Alvarez (“Human Nature”)
Mayra Alvarez from La Porte, TX, the same little town as last year’s runner-up, Jake Worthington, starts out gently. For all the lack of control that Chandra Knudsen showed, this girl, Mayra, has the exact opposite and in spades: lots of range and tons of vocal control.
Result: Mayra picks Gwen
Team Gwen is now complete.
The Voice Season 7: Meet Gwen Stefani’s Team >>>
We see snippet of three more performers who do not get chairs to turn: Luke Niccoli, Nikki Rene and Bradley McKee.
Justin Johnes (“Let Her Go”)
Wearing an inspirational ‘Dream’ key on a chain around his neck, 15-year-old Justin has never sung before an audience before. He begins his song sitting on the steps of the stage. ‘N Sync was his inspiration, he says, and it shows in his beautiful voice.
Blake hesitates, listens, then turns for this boy. Blake loves the purposeful little cracks in Justin’s voice, which are amazingly in tune. Blake unveils a T-shirt that says “Blake’s Boo” and gives it to little Justin.
Result: Justin ends up with Blake
Team Blake is complete.
The Voice Season 7: Meet Blake Shelton’s Team >>>
The Battle Rounds begin next week with vocal duels that only one of each pair will win. Stevie Nicks, Little Big Town, Gavin Rossdale and Alicia Keys are brought in to assist with the coaching … and the stealing between coaches will begin.
The Voice airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC.
(Image courtesy of NBC)