It's safe to say that the competition is heating up on Season 9 — not only between the vocal talents but also within the tension between Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
Last night, the two coaches went head-to-head to convince performers and claim favorites. Surprisingly, Adam made multiple pleas for country artists like 16-year-old Zach Seabaugh and Emily Ann Roberts. Not so surprisingly, both contestants sided with Team Blake due to their childhood roots growing up with his music.
Nevertheless, Adam was eager to steal an artist from Blake's "Country Mafia" to prove that he can offer something unique to their vocal stylings.
Let's not forget the other half of the panel this season! Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams also turned chairs during the last chord of Blind Joe's truly blind audition when he kicked off the episode with his soulful performance of Darryl Worley's "If It Hadn't Been for Love." Blind Joe was the first to get the attention of all four coaches. His inspiring story made it a truly unique performance. Lucky for Blake, being a country-music-lover worked out in his favor.
This season, judges are looking for more than just talented artists. They want the authenticity of raw, honest and passionate performances that allow them to connect with the voices they hear on stage.
Sometimes, this meant physically close their eyes to really tune in on the feelings each artist conveyed. As Adam mentioned after 21-year-old Gage Navarro's audition, a certain kind of "oomph" is needed to get his attention.
Unfortunately for the young, California native, he didn't quite have that identifying element— being the first to go home and not advance to the next round.
Along with Gage, 23-year-old Bryan Bautista and 28-year-old Natalie Yacovazzi were also rejected during round two of the blind auditions. In both cases, nervousness and difficult song choice may be to blame for their lack of the "wow-ness" factor.
But ultimately, Gwen continued to stress the importance of giving an honest performance that really makes audiences feel, connect and believe in what they sing.
A great example of this was during 20-year-old Evan McKeel's rendition of "Typical" by Mutemath. Although Gwen was reluctant to hit the red button, she was completely blown away after Pharrell asked Evan to sing an additional verse and a chorus of his favorite Stevie Wonder song, "Overjoyed."
Evan's moment in the spotlight showed off his soulful assets, receiving a standing ovation from all the coaches. At one point, Gwen left her seat and went on stage to show Evan the close-up of her teary eyes.
Despite the multiple rejections Adam faced during his standoffs with Blake, Adam finally redeemed himself during the last performance of the night when he convinced 30-year-old country singer James Dupré to join his team.
Despite Blake's promising incentive that he'll ensure James "ends up in the right hands" in his career in country music, Dupré shocked everyone when he got off stage to accept Adam's congratulatory hug. Talk about a plot twist!
Nevertheless, Adam's win almost felt like a well-deserved victory. He literally fell to the floor after hearing his name, knowing he scored a four-chair-turn performance.
This week's blind auditions included a lot of promising performances as the feud between Adam and Blake intensified and coaches embarked on their hunt to forge the best team. Gwen snagged a range of dynamic artists like blue-haired country-rock singer Ellie Lawrence, and male artists Noah Jackson and Tim Atlas.
On the other hand, Gwen faced disappointment when Pharrell won the heart of returning artist, Ivonne Acero, a 17-year-old from Aquila, Ariz., who was also known as "Cantaloupe Girl" from the last season.