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'The Voice' recap: Coaches play nice as blind auditions continue

October 01, 2013|By Amy Reiter
  • Adam Levine, CeeLo Green and Blake Shelton turned around for Preston Pohl during 'The Voice' Season 5 blind auditions.
Adam Levine, CeeLo Green and Blake Shelton turned around for Preston Pohl… (Trae Patton/NBC )

By the end of night three of "The Voice's" Season 5 blind auditions, Christina Aguilera had added four new singers to her team, Adam Levine had snagged two, and Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green had each scooped up three.

The lucky (and talented) vocalists who'd made it through were all thrilled. That's to be expected. But what's more remarkable about "The Voice," of course, is how respectfully and supportively it deals with even those who fail to advance.

That kindness was underscored on Monday night when veteran singer Malford Milligan — a 54-year-old from Austin, Texas, who has toured with B.B. King but struggled to conquer self-esteem issues after having been bullied as a child because he is, he says, "a black albino" — took the stage.

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"This is almost a perfect show built for somebody like yourself that's had to overcome some prejudices throughout your life," Carson Daly told Milligan backstage, adding that it was "a place … where we celebrate your voice."

Alas, Milligan didn't manage to turn a single chair with his cool, laid-back take on Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," though Aguilera and Levine had clearly been tempted. Still, though the coaches had not offered him a slot on their teams — Aguilera said she'd been waiting for some defining moment that never quite arrived — they offered him ample encouragement. "Great rendition," Levine said. "Man, can you sing, dude." "He can talk good too," said Shelton, who later asked Milligan to make a record so he could go out and buy it.

Milligan, though disappointed, also seemed bolstered by the praise.

"Everybody's been so nice" on the show, he told the coaches. "It's incredible."

"We're a nice show," Aguilera said, ever modest.

"It really is," Milligan chimed in.

It really is.

And perhaps nicer still for those who did advance.

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Among them (in no particular order) were country singer Justin Blake, a 20-year-old truck driver and expectant father who spun only Levine with his somewhat breathless take on Shelton's "Sure Be Cool If You Did." Levine had no idea it had been his bromantic rival's song but was enthusiastic about his new team member. "I think you are a great country singer," he said.

Levine had to fight harder for Preston Pohl, a 26-year-old singer from Hallettsville, Texas, who'd had early success with a Christian rock band before the death of his mentor prompted him to take a break from music.  His deliciously sensual "Electric Feel" turned Shelton, Levine and Green. Green seemed to have a bit of an advantage, playing to Pohl's eclectic musical tastes, but Levine fought hardest for him, telling him he turned the song into "a Marvin song." After one of the best bits of coach jockeying for position this season — DJ Screw, indeed — Levine emerged triumphant. "I would have been devastated if he hadn’t chosen me," he said. "I wanted that guy worse than I probably wanted everybody so far." Understandably.

Shelton picked up 25-year-old Ray Boudreaux, from Lafayette, La., wresting him away from Green, who'd also turned for Boudreaux's "Use Me." "You look like Blake and you sound like Cee Lo," Levine noted of the blue-eyed soul man. In fact, Boudreaux said he'd come in leaning toward Cee Lo, but "in the moment, Blake spoke to me." Maybe it was the way Shelton described him as "swampy" that won his heart.

The country coach also trounced Green and Levine to take Monika Leigh, a 28-year-old from Boulder, Colo., who'd abandoned her musical dreams at 22 to take a workaday, 40-hour-a-week job as an administrative assistant at a hotel. Levine turned first for Leigh's "The Thrill Is Gone," and Green wasn't far behind. Shelton turned pretty late in the game, but pulled out his big guns – which is to say his three "Voice" trophies. "I can give you three reasons why you should pick me," he said, noting that only one of his winners had been a country artist. It worked. "At first, I thought I was going to pick Adam because he turned first," Leigh said. However, "my gut told me Blake, so I went with it."

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The third addition to Team Blake was Cilla Chan, whose audition was shown only briefly, as was that of Team Christina member Jacob Poole and Team Cee Lo's Anthony Paul.

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