The Blind Auditions Part 5 airs on The Voice on Monday, October 7. Gwen Stefani is the coach to beat, as she landed five consecutive performers during the first part of the season, and is determined to land her first champion.
Heading into episode 5, Stefani has a total of 7 team members, including notable artists Calvin Lockett and Kiara Brown. Before tuning in to night 5 of the Bling Auditions, here’s what you should know about the talented artists on Gwen Stefani’s team so far:
Calvin E. Lockett wowed the judges with his cover of the song “Just My Imagination” by the Temptations. Blake Shelton, John Legend and Stefani hit their buzzers seconds into the blind audition, and each made their case for why Lockett should join them. “I’m so glad you’re on this show because your voice is so good, it’s so relaxing,” Stefani told him. “I’m a fan of you.”
While some fans believed that he would choose Legend, given their shared R&B backgrounds, Lockett opted to go with Stefani. His reasoning was that he wanted to expand his musical palette. “My background is in the church, and sometimes your reach can stay within those four walls if you want it to,” he explained.
Elise Azkoul gave a stunning rendition of “A Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga. Stefani was the only judge to turn her chair around, and it was clear from the onset that she adored Azkoul’s voice. “I love your tone. It’s so soft, & then you kept showing more sides of your voice so then I was like, she has a strong side,” she gushed.
“So, then I just had to push my button and turn my chair around,” she continued. “You just gotta get the confidence. We’re gonna slice!” Stefani’s pitch proved effective, as Azkoul joined her team.
Jake HaldenVang covered “Wish I Knew You” by the Revivalists, and his impassioned delivery caused Shelton, Legend and Stefani to turn their chairs around within 35 seconds. Each judge made a compelling case, but HaldenVang was ultimately won over by Stefani’s passion.
“It was so difficult,” he later told the News Herald. “I really have huge respect for all of them, especially because of all of their music. I grew up with every single one of them. I can definitely say that.”
Kyndal Inskeep is an aspiring country singer who knocked the audience out with her cover of “Never Been to Spain” by Three Dog Night. Shelton was smitten with the performance, but Stefani used her block and turned his chair, and made an impassioned plea to Inskeep to pick her instead. She also deflected any possible leaning towards Kelly Clarkson.
“I’m so inspired. I haven’t been here in a while, so I’m ready to go,” Stefani explained. “She’s doing a talk show, she has a hundred kids. She has a lot on her mind!” Inskeep decided to go with Stefani. “It’s really fun to use your block,” the latter said. “It really worked out for me.”
Tallahassee native Royce Lovett performed a cover of “911” by Wyclef Jean. Stefani turned her chair around immediately, and said that she was drawn to Lovett’s animated voice. “Your voice is so animated,” she exclaimed. “You can feel the undertone of the reggae, but then you’re bringing it to this modern place, this rock place. I love that. Let’s mix it up.”
Lovett picked Team Gwen, and gave her a shout-out on Twitter following his audition. “Listen, @gwenstefani you’re exactly who I wanted!!,” he wrote. “We’re gonna rock this!! If I wasn’t singing on stage, I would have been out there dancing with you! @nbcthevoice.”
Kiara Brown is a Las Vegas resident who chose to cover “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty. Her idiosyncratic approach caused both Shelton and Stefani to turn their chairs around and make their case. “There is so much potential. Everybody wants to listen to a record like [Kacey Musgraves],” Stefani told Brown.
“You don’t always want to hear blasting in your ear. I love the singer-songwriter side to you,” she continued. “The trick of flipping the song like you did is so creative. I would love to work with you. I think it would be really fun. Beautiful voice.” Despite Shelton’s best efforts, Brown went with Stefani.
Rose Short dared to pick a song by one of the judges for her blind audition. She tore into a rendition of “Preach” by John Legend, and her vocal chops caused Clarkson and Stefani to turn their chairs around. Stefani complimented the way she built up the momentum of the song, and Short decided to join her team.
“One of the things Gwen said in her pitch to me was that some of the greatest artists are not necessarily strong singers, but their heart and ability to connect with people is huge,” Short told Idol Chatter. “And she’s right. This is actually one of the things that I say all the time and have encouraged other singers on their journey. So when I heard that I knew we were on one accord and she was the coach for me.”