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Blake Shelton, fresh off co-hosting the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday night on CBS, returned to his home network NBC for another night of The Voice's blind auditions. And while the country singer may have had the “puts” (Usher’s term for audience members chanting Blake’s name), it was Usher who won first bragging rights after beating out Blake and Shakira and picking up Texan Jeff Lewis, who impressed with an acoustic version of the newbie coach’s own “U Got It Bad.”
The South continued to represent, next with 45-year-old MuzikMafia alum Shawna P, who stood by and watched as her country peers Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson got record deals. Hoping it was her time to shine, she hit the stage with a raspy cover of “She Talks to Angels” by the Black Crowes that got her compared to Janis Joplin by Adam Levine and earned her a place on Shakira’s team.
From the coffeehouse to The Voice, 18-year-old Caroline Glaser proved to her supportive parents that she made the right decision to take a break from the University of Kansas and pursue her singing dream. Shakira got America Googling the word “diaphanous,” which is how she described Caroline’s rendition of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” But it was Blake who charmed Caroline into joining his team—by recognizing her “artistry” and remarking that she sings like a songwriter. Dang, he’s good.
Following a Justin Bieber song-and-dance routine that fell flat and a conversation about Blake getting an Usher hairstyle that might possibly make him look like the Lorax, it was time for “Big Country,” the stage name of 45-year-old deputy sheriff Michael Austin, who failed to impress Blake with his “pitchy” version of Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You.” Adam, however, jumped at the chance to undermine Blake as an authority on country music. To which Blake replied, “We’re talking about Adam Levine here, right?”
Yep, that would be the same Adam Levine who wooed New York mom Sasha Allen after all four of the coaches turned their chairs around in response to her killer version of the Dixie Chicks' defiant anthem “Not Ready to Make Nice.”
And Blake didn’t have a chance in hell when it came to the fight over another Miranda, Cuban-born Mary Miranda. Quipped Blake: “Oh my God, she’s crying just hearing Shakira talk to her. We’re so screwed!” But he still made an attempt, saying that he doesn’t understand Spanish, but not many folks understand him either. Good try, but score another one for Team Shakira.
Blake did pick up country crooner Justin Rivers and pop-rocker Michelle Raitzin, however. And then it was love at first twang when self-described “bluntry” singer Grace Askew from Memphis came out in a bouffant and cowboy boots playing a big ol' chrome guitar and singing “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” There was no way Blake was losing Grace to Shakira, as he promised they would make history together.
Finishing up the night was a second four-chair turn, this time for the soulful Ryan Innes, 31, who made John Mayer’s “Gravity” his own. Blake called the performance “the most fun he had all day” and likened their teaming up to a couple getting together in a romance movie. Alas, that failed to sway Ryan, who deemed Usher his best chance at going all the way in the competition.
So what do you think of Blake's choices in the penultimate blind audition episode?