'The Voice' Season 8: Christina's back and the talent is fierce

'The Voice' Season 8: Christina's back and the talent is fierce

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The Voice is back y’all, and it’s fiercer than ever. Season 8 brings us back to the basics with the Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera trio — but now, with a Pharrell flair. Blake put it perfectly when he said that this season is already bringing back a lot of memories, with Christina there with them for the show’s start.

During the first two rounds of Blind Auditions we saw many talented singers on the younger side, and heard an eclectic group of voices ranging across all genres. Pharrell is off to a good start with five singers on his team, Christina and Blake four. Coach Adam, however, is lagging behind with three. He’s going to need to kick it up a notch next week, which he so humbly told us tonight. “I don’t understand what’s happening. I usually get most of what I want.”

Here’s how it all went down.

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Our top 4 picks

1. Lowell Oakley, 19.

Song: “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” by Duke Ellington

When was the last time we saw a Frank Sinatra-esque crooner on this show? The kid is only 19, but he’s such an old soul. Oakley connected with the song and the audience, his pure tone setting him apart from the other singers. Pharrell hit the nail on the head when he told Oakley, “You’re not regular, you’re not the same — you’re other.” And on The Voice, when there are dozens of supremely talented singers, “other” is where you want to be.

Right off the bat, the battle was heated.

Adam lays it on strong: “It’s not casual. It’s dressed up. When you turn 21, we can have a drink up there. This is my world. I know what what you want to do here. If it was 1961, I’d say, ‘You got it kid.'”

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But Pharrell comes in with a smooth punch: “He says, he knows what you wanna do. I’m saying I don’t because it hasn’t been done yet, and I’d like to be the one to help you do it. I’m not trying to rebuild your house, I’m just simply going to look at your blueprints.” Welcome back, Pharrellisms.

One singer for Team Pharrell.

2. Cody Wickline, 20.

Song: “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones

“I don’t wear a country hat. I’m not Blake. But truly brilliant voices transcends all genres, and that’s the best country music performance I’ve ever heard anyone perform on this show,” Adam says. Seeing as how country singer Craig Wayne Boyd won last season, that’s saying a lot.

Blake brings him back to country roots. “That song may be the most important country song in 60 years,” he says, throwing in a country music reference that none of the coaches really seemed to understand. And then there’s also that Nashville connection.

Obviously, Wickline goes with Coach Blake.

3. Sawyer Fredericks, 15.

Song:“I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow” by the Soggy Bottom Boys

Woah. Who are you, Sawyer Fredericks? Certainly you can’t be only 15 years old!

All four coaches turned for Fredericks, and we aren’t surprised. There’s something very special about his voice — and also his appearance. He has this pure, beautiful look to him, with long blonde hair. And he doesn’t need to hit crazy notes because his tone is so captivating and somewhat jarring (in a great way) on its own.

“You have to pick me. We have to be friends. We have to be roommates,” shouts Christina. Uhh … come again, Christina?

Pharrell lays it on the line. “As soon as you started singing, that took me to another place. This is your destiny. It’s about what you want to do … even if you don’t end up on my team, I get to watch this amazing thing happen.” Pharrell kills it every time with his humble approach. One more for Team Pharrell.

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4. Anthony Riley, 27

Song: “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown

Before the music started, Riley did a smooth dance trick with his feet and the audience obviously reacted, clueing the coaches in that this guy was going to be something special. All coaches turned within seconds. We would have, too. Those moves! That soul! Riley brings a powerful presence to the stage, and he belts it out with a natural emotion that’s so refreshing to hear. Hence all four coaches’ standing ovation.

Blake’s up first, pleading his case: “You had me at ‘Ha’!…those amazing dance moves remind me of myself.” Then it’s Christina’s turn to bat: “It’s one thing to have the voice, another to work the audience. You’re the kind of guy that wants to be a trailblazer. I want to be a trailblazer with you.” Adam chimes in confidently and says, “It doesn’t get better than what you’re doing up there. Hardest thing to do is staying hot throughout the whole season. You need to diversify. I have a plan for you.”

Pharrell keeps it simple with his plea. “That was electric man. You have a big spirit.” Riley didn’t need Pharrell to sell too hard; we’re sure he knew he wanted Coach Pharrell from the start.

Other moments you’ll want to remember

William Shatner is The Voice’s No. 1 fan
These tweets speak for themselves:

He was also confused about hashtags:

Glad that was sorted out for him.

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There was an unexpected duet, which led us to say, “Pharrell’s a great guy.”
Bryce Sherlow, 16, sang Echosmith’s “Cool Kids,” and although she didn’t turn any chairs, she let Pharrell know that her school’s a cappella team won Nationals with “Happy.” What happened next was adorable, and made us love Pharrell even more. He gladly ran to the stage to sing a little duet with Sherlow, and he changed one of the song’s lines to “don’t let this bring you down” to offer some support. Aww, Pharrell!

Blake has been stirring up some trouble
On and off screen, Adam and Blake’s playful banter gives us life. Blake’s digs at Adam make us love him.

But Blake is also being a bit of a troublemaker this season. We see him visit Christina’s trailer, telling her to “get under Pharrell’s skin.” A few moments later, he tells Pharrell, “This nicey-nice thing going on with Gwen is over,” warning him of Christina’s fangs. We see what you’re trying to do, Blake.

Teams as they stand

Team Christina
Rob Taylor
Treeva Gibson
Joe Tolo
Gabriel Wolfchild

Team Blake
Sarah Potenza
Cody Wickline
Joshua Davis
Brooke Adee

Team Adam
Tonya Boyd-Cannon
Blaze Johnson
Deanna Johnson

Team Pharrell
Lowell Oakley
Meghan Linsey
Sawyer Fredericks
Anthony Riley
Mia Z

Excited for this season of The Voice? Tune in next week for more blind auditions.

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