"The Voice": All Elbows on Blake as Blind Auditions Continue

It's clear from the coaches' banter that Blake is the coach to beat for top talent.

By Sam Schulz
|  Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013  |  Updated 7:15 AM EDT
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    Blind auditions entered their second week on "The Voice" with a vengeance, and it was squarely aimed at three-time champion coach Blake Shelton — whom all the other coaches were looking to elbow out of the running for the show's top talents.

    That tack didn't work with the first hopeful, however. Ray Boudreaux, 25, a young father from Lafayette, La., wowed both Blake and CeeLo (and Adam, even though he didn't turn his chair) with his powerful blue-eyed soul rendition of Bill Withers' "Use Me."

    "I would buy a ticket to your concert," Blake said. That compliment seemed to do the trick: Ray picked Blake as his coach, though he got the best compliment (or maybe the cutest misunderstanding of what had just happened onstage) courtesy of his toddler, who yelled, "You win!"

    Next came Lina Gaudenzi, a model-turned-classical singer from Miami (and sometimes Paris) who tackled Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" with a rich, soulful tone that sounded something like one Christina Aguilera's.

    That fact wasn't lost on Adam, who sided quickly with Christina as she and Blake, who both turned their chairs for Lina, battled for the aspiring singer. "Christina saw it first," Adam said, referring to the fact that Christina hit her button first, "and she should be rewarded for that, dammit!"

    That she was. Lina picked Christina as her coach.

    Next up: Juhi, an academically-minded 16-year-old from Franklin, Tenn., (future major: aerospace engineering or computer science?) with a blue-tipped mop of hair and a passion for recording her own songs at home.

    Juhi had no trouble keeping her composure as she belted out Duffy's "Mercy" — but as soon as she finished and realized she was standing on "The Voice" stage before four star coaches, she announced, giggling, "I'm flipping out right now!"

    CeeLo and Christina both lobbied hard for Juhi, who described her singing style as "a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain." The high schooler chose CeeLo, who said she seemed "like somebody I would have been friends with in school."

    Adam picked up a team member next, when another Tennessean, Justin Blake, hit the stage — clearly gunning for a spot on Team Blake, with a bold decision to cover the coach's own song "Sure Be Cool If You Did." The performance didn't win a chair turn from Blake, but it did nab him a pick by Adam — who hadn't even recognize the song as being Blake's own.

    The next contestant of the night was the youngest on "The Voice" stage: Timyra-Joi, a 15-year-old from San Diego with years of voice lessons under her belt. The teen tackled the powerhouse Alicia Keys hit "Girl on Fire," and that Timyra-Joi was.

    Christina hit her button almost instantly, followed by Blake and CeeLo just as the song ended. And although the high schooler admitted she had expected to pick CeeLo as her coach given the chance, she chose Christina.

    Next on stage was another soulful singer, hotel worker Monika Leigh, a young singer looking to get back into music after having given up early in her career. Her performance of B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone" earned chair turns from Blake, Adam and CeeLo, who praised her effortless soulfulness.

    Adam called her performance "subtle" and "beautiful," while CeeLo remarked upon her interpretation of the song's themes. But it was Blake's more straightforward pitch  that won her over: He noted how many different types of singers had won "The Voice" under his tutelage. She chose him as her coach.

    Next came Briana Cuoco, an aspiring singer looking to leave behind her days as the personal assistant to her big sister, "The Big Bang Theory" star Kaley Cuoco, and fulfill her own dreams of performing. (As a big fan of "The Voice," Kaley admitted to having encouraged her to try out.)

    Briana tackled Lady Gaga's "You and I" with some uneasiness at first, but as her singing grew more confident, Christina turned in her chair and eventually CeeLo too. Briana's choice? "Girl power!" she said — giving Christina another upcoming diva on her team.

    But CeeLo picked up a team member of his own with George Horga Jr., the dashing 19-year-old product of a tight-knit Romanian family who had moved from Portland to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. His infectious take on "Treasure" won over the "F--- You" singer.

    "You've got so much charm and personality," CeeLo said. George also had so much family support — backstage afterward, his overjoyed dad picked him up and hoisted him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

    CeeLo also picked up R&B singer Anthony Paul, while Blake nabbed pop singer Cilla Chan and Christina picked Jacob Poole.

    But the last performance of the night earned another three-chair turn by the three male coaches. It came courtesy of Texas-bred Christian rocker Preston Pohl, a life-long full-time musician searching for his niche after his bandmate's death broke up his band.

    Preston took to "The Voice" stage with a rough, bluesy take on MGMT's "Electric Feel," earning a quick batch of chair-turns from Adam, Blake and CeeLo. Preston and CeeLo established a quick rapport, bonding over their shared love of, among other things, the Houston rapper Slim Thug.

    But Preston ultimately chose Adam as his coach — and expressed relief he hadn't earned a four-chair turn. "I probably would have passed out," he admitted.

    A few other singers had to head home Monday without making it onto a team.

    Malford Milligan, a 54-year-old (and another Texan) with a long and illustrious career in music, was heartened by the blindness of auditions, given his lifelong struggles as a black man with albinism. But his cover of "Let's Stay Together" didn't prompt any coaches to push their buttons.

    Same went for country crooner Zach Hinson, a firefighter from Yakima, Wash.

    But another batch of hopefuls will have their chance to try out for a team on "The Voice" on Tuesday night, as the coaches aim to flesh out their teams.

    "The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.

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