The coaches bicker as artists rise on “The Voice”

The Voice Season Eight coaches

Blake, Christina, Pharrell and Adam have a peaceful moment before the Blind Auditions continue. (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Last week, The Voice returned for their eighth season!

Rejoining stalwarts Adam Levine and Blake Shelton were Season Seven fan-favorite coach, Pharrell Williams, and original coach and Queen of The Voice: six-time Grammy winner Christina Aguilera.

This year, the artists have been providing higher caliber auditions to impress our favorite superstar coaches.

Before we get to tonight’s recap, here is where our teams stand:

After a slow-start, Team Adam landed Blaze Johnson, returning artist Deanne Johnson and powerhouse Tonya Boyd-Cannon. Meanwhile, Blake successfully recruited Brooke Adee, Joshua Davis and first night standouts Cody Wickline and Sarah Potenza.

Xtina grabbed a diverse group of artists that included Gabriel Wolfchild, Joe Tolo, Rob Taylor and Treeva Gibson. However, Pharrell was the “Happiest” coach of all, as he scored FIVE artists during the first week. Among the artists that he grabbed were Sawyer Fredericks, Mia Z, Meghan Linsey, Lowell Oakley and Anthony Riley.

Will Pharrell continue to “Get Lucky” with his streak or will Adam, Blake or Christina catch up to him? Read on to find out…

Up first, 15-year-old Kelsie May! The high school sophomore’s parents convinced her to upload YouTube videos and that lead her to perform Toys for Tots. She tackled Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Lookin’ At Country” for her Blind Audition. I loved hearing her vintage voice and phrasing. Plus, she has great stage presence that caught the attention of Blake, Christina and Pharrell! The “Genie in the Bottle” singer stated that she would be the only country artist on her team, but Blake countered that his mentored artists: Craig Wayne Boyd, the Swon Brothers and RaeLynn were on the radio. With that fact, Kelsie decided to go with Team Blake.

32-year-old rock ballerina Kimberly Nichole woke the Voice audience up with her powerful interpretation of Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits.” I got chills when Kimberly sang her first note. The Queen of Rock would be so proud of Kimberly with this performance. Kimberly caught the ears of both Blake and Pharrell. While Blake wanted to take her on the Sisaundra route, she chose to go with Pharrell!

20-year-old Michael Leier traveled to Los Angeles from his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota. Now at a crossroads, Michael hoped that a coach would turn around for him. His cover of Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss” was raw and tender, but I hope that his coach could help him improve on his stage presence. His performance led to the first Shevine showdown of the night. While Adam was blown away with the power of Michael’s voice, Blake attempted to counter Adam’s pitch by adding he liked his “grit.” Michael decided to go with Team Adam.

After adding two more contestants to his team, Adam Levine made everyone smile when he did a Blind Audition! He delivered a beautiful cover of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” that turned all four chairs around and picked Christina over his longtime partner-in-crime Blake Shelton.

23-year-old San Francisco native Sonic was brought up with soul music including Etta James, Billie Holliday and the late Michael Jackson. She also was signed to a label. Overwhelmed by the pressure, her label dropped her. Sonic proved that her problems were in the past as she soared on her amazing cover of Sam Smith’s “Money On My Mind” that caught the attention of Adam and Christina! I loved her crazy vocal range and I am glad that Christina got her.

18-year-old Jacob Rummell graduated high school and wanted to land a spot on Team Christina. He chose Bruno Mars’s “Count on Me.” His voice reminded me so much of Chris Colfer and he gave me chills. While he did not catch the attention of Xtina, both Adam and Blake turned their chairs around. Adam liked his individuality, but Blake’s charms worked and he grabbed his latest artist.

52-year-old Barry Minnefield worked for decades at the Hollywood Improv as the comedy studio’s executive chef. Along the way, he met and became friends with icons Jerry Seinfeld, Phyllis Diller and Jay Leno at the Improv. Before he went to the stage, Jay Leno gave a funny break-the-leg message. His cover of “Me and Mrs. Jones” was spectacular and I am so glad that Adam got him!

The final Blind Audition of the night was India Carney! She tackled one of Billy Joel’s most iconic signature songs: “New York State of Mind.” To me, Sisaundra Lewis delivered the best cover of the song during her appearance last year…so India had to conquer my high level of expectation. The UCLA student not only scored the first and last four-chair turn of the night, but also had the best Blind Audition of the season…so far. Her vocals gave me chills and I hoped that Billy Joel watched this amazing performance. After hearing all of the coaches’ pitches, India picked Christina!!!!

Tomorrow night, the Blind Auditions continue!

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar