Here it is: one last night of The Voice blind auditions, and only four spots - one per team - left in season four. Who will make the final cut?
First, we have to see some obvious Kia product placement, before Carson arrives at Witzend - which all Voice fans know as a venue frequented by several artists including season two's very awesome Justin Hopkins of Team Cee Lo - to chat with our first artist of the night. Apparently, our host is a fan of Mark Lennon's band. Mark steps onto the stage with The Beatles' "Come Together," which as we know the coaches performed as a group number in this season's premiere. But much to Carson's disappointment, Mark doesn't make the cut. At least he gets a nice compliment: Adam thinks that he sounds nineteen, when he's more than twice that age.
Next up is Jacqui Sandell, who has the support of her bandmates as she pursues a solo career, not unlike what brought season three winner Cassadee Pope to the show. Jacqui's take on Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" draws Blake and Usher. Usher keeps his pitch simple, saying that he'd like to improve a few things but is happy he turned around. Blake gets a little more specific, then points out that both he and Jacqui have tattoos - an argunent which backfires when Adam reminds him that Usher has his own body ink. That doesn't stop Jacqui from choosing Team Blake, though, filling the last spot on his squad.
Usher: You may have won the battle, but you have not won the war. And you're a horrible dancer.
Amber Carrington is the third artist to sing, and has a bit of a problem because she's a country artist, but the country coach just completed his team. Amber's version of Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl" isn't quite as sassy as Adriana Louise's from last season, but it's good. Adam decides to push his button for her, and goes unchallenged, so Amber defaults to being the last member of Team Adam. That makes three country artists on Team Adam this season...that's going to be something to see!
Blake: I hated seeing him get her, but I'm definitely going to keep my eye on Amber.
That means it's down to the two new coaches to round out their rosters. Dustin Hatzenbuhler is the next singer up, and his performance of Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet" doesn't win him a spot. To be fair, though, he picked a really hard act to follow in Buble, who has one of the best voices in the business.
Following Dustin is another former background singer, Luke Edgemon, whose version of the classic "I Can't Make You Love Me" earns him button pushes from both Usher and Shakira. That means it's up to Luke whose team he wants to complete, and after Shakira points out that she was the first one to turn for him and then tries to imitate Usher's posture, he joins Team Shakira.
Luke: Now it's time to pass out.
Next is Jessica Childress, who's given up a career in public relations to pursue her interest in music. Jessica's rendition of "Marry You" gets Usher to push his button for the last time - after both Adam and Shakira tell him that he should do so. Usher's so excited about his last pick that he's encouraging the crowd and going so far as to stand up before his chair turns. It's the obvious right call, and everyone knows it.
Adam: I want to marry her.
With all four open spots filled after just five performances, NBC makes the odd move of giving us a "sneak peek" at the upcoming battles. It's pretty obvious filler, somewhat like the "best of the blind auditions" from last year, and it just feels strange given how audiences are so used to the strict segmentation of the series. If it's about filling time, it seems like a wiser move would've been to show some of the blind auditions that were montaged in earlier episodes, and then the organization of the show would also stay intact.
Yet this teaser does show us a few intriguing things about the next phase of the competition. For one, Usher is all business - not to say that Cee Lo didn't take things seriously, but Usher is most definitely not fooling around, as evidenced by how he's not afraid to take two of his team members to task. The audience also gets a brief glimpse of each of the four new mentors. The one to watch should be Joel Madden, the mentor for Team Shakira, because he's also got coaching experience from The Voice Australia. He's been through the entire process as a coach and that gives him some knowledge the other mentors won't have.
The teams are set and it's time to start the fight for season four - see you next Monday for battle rounds!
For more on The Voice and its artists, you can visit BFTV’s dedicated The Voice blog, Big Red Chairs.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Excerpts appear at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @bigredchairs.