Duos are a rarity on The Voice -- a duo hasn’t even competed on the show since Season 11, and only once has a duo made it to the finale (Team Blake’s Swon Brothers, way back in Season 4.) And never before has a gay couple competed on the show. But during Monday's The Voice Season 15 Blind Auditions, crooning twosome and real-life romantic partners Adam and Jerome, aka OneUp, made Voice history.
“The biggest thing that we want to convey not only is our love for music, but just our love for each other,” OneUp declared before they took the stage to sing the Motown classic “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” while their supportive families -- meeting for the first time -- watched proudly from the stage wings.
Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson all spun around for OneUp’s Spinners song. And while Blake and Jennifer may have better track records with duos (Jennifer went to the Voice U.K. finale last year with a duo called Into the Ark), Kelly’s teary, heart-on-satin-sleeve speech sealed the deal.
“It’s going to sound super-cheesy, and I’ll try not to cry because I’m that girl, but in a time in this country when it is so divisive, this is such a beautiful thing,” Kelly gushed, holding back happy sobs. “It’s proof that in this country, love is limitless! It can happen anywhere, and with anyone. And look how beautiful it is. It's the most beautiful thing that's happened to me this season.”
[caption id="attachment_3616467" align="alignnone" width="980"] Kelly Clarkson is moved to tears by OneUp's love story. (Photo: NBC)[/caption]
OneUp’s harmonies, admittedly, weren’t as beautiful as their backstory. Adam and Jerome made a better couple offstage than on. But this was their first-ever public performance, and their old-school choreography was already on point. So, with a little help from a clearly emotionally invested coach like Kelly, OneUp could one-up the competition and keep blazing Voice trails.
These were the other successful auditions of the night:
Natalie Brady, 33: “Barracuda”
This tattooed rocker mom wasn’t quite at an Ann Wilson level, but she was badass beast, and I loved her sultry growl. This performance had teeth!
Who turned? Jennifer, who compared Natalie’s voice to an “oncoming train,” and Adam Levine, who said, “If Heart called tomorrow and was like, ‘Uh-oh, the Wilson sisters hate each other and we need a singer,’ like, you could be [Ann's replacement].” (Note to Adam: That isn’t such a far-fetched scenario.)
Result: Team Adam.
Mike Parker, 23: “So Sick”
This former high school footballer squandered all his scholarships due to “crap” grades -- not exactly a TV sob story! His mellow Ne-Yo cover was also uninspiring. I give it a C+.
Who turned? Jennifer -- but at the very last minute. Mike’s genuinely shocked, jaw- and knee-dropping reaction was the most entertaining thing about his audition.
Result: Team J.Hud.
Joey Green, 35: “Baba O’Riley”
When Joey cited his “post-Americana” influences the Goo Goo Dolls, Counting Crows, and Train, I figured he was Team Adam material all the way. But his ambitious Who cover was hardly at a Roger Daltrey level -- or a Terry McDermott level, for that matter. “Mr. Jones” might’ve worked better.
Who turned? Jennifer, Blake.
Result: Team Blake. Maybe Terry McDermott’s old Season 3 coach can whip Joey into shape.
Zaxai, 29: “Come and Get Your Love”
This first-generation Haitian-American was a vivacious, likable, and confident showman, if a bit old-fashioned. I’m not sure why Jennifer used her only Block of the season on Kelly here, but at least she got her revenge after last week’s showdown.
Who turned? Jennifer and a disqualified Kelly.
Result: Team J.Hud.
Erika Zade, 20: “New Rules”
I appreciated this Miami girl’s modern song choice, but somehow she turned the feminist Dua Lipa hit into a cruise ship lounge number. There was absolutely no fire, no attitude.
Who turned? Just Kelly -- but Kelly is the right coach to help Erika amp up her personality.
Result: Team Kelly.
Jarred Matthew, 31: "Tired of Being Alone"
This PhD astrophysicist was nerdy offstage, but he turned into a hunky loverman on this sexy Al Green number. His vocal wasn’t perfect, but exhibited swagger and raw passion.
Who turned? Blake (who told him, “The excitement in your voice was contagious; I don't know anybody that enjoys singing up in their falsetto more than you do!”), and Adam.
Result: Team Adam. Jarred’s obviously no dummy, so he went with the panel’s resident falsetto expert.
Sam Robbins, 21: “Time in a Bottle”
This former punk drummer-turned-folky should’ve been Adam bait (Adam even let out a “YESSSS!” upon hearing Sam’s first strummed chords), but his delivery was too soft, too “I gave my love a cherry,” with no showcasing of his upper register.
Who turned? No one.
Result: Team Kelsea. Somehow Sam still landed on the Island of Misfit Toys, aka the “Comeback Stage” team mentored by new fifth coach Kelsea Ballerini. Kelsea needs to give this sleepy kid a Red Bull the next time he performs. Sam is not ready for Battle.
Colton Smith, 21: “Alive”
The flamboyant maverick with the Napoleon Dynamite spectacles and Mrs. Roper caftan poured his heart and soul into this Sia song -- or at least the 20 seconds we got to see of it. I so wish Colton hadn’t been montaged. He was one of the more interesting contestants of the night.
Who turned? Only Jennifer, who told him, “You sang, ‘I'm alive,’ but you gave me life just from your voice alone.”
Result: Team J.Hud.
Kayley Hill, 28: “Gold Dust Woman”
Another montage! How dare NBC show such disrespect to former adviser Stevie Nicks! Kayley was no Stevie, of course, but I would’ve liked to see more of the sassy Nashville tomboy.
Who turned? Only Blake, who said he heard a bit of Dolly Parton and Ashley Monroe in Kayley’s warm, vibrato-heavy voice.
Result: Team Blake.
Kirk Jay, 22: “God Bless the Broken Road”
This distinctive Alabama belter with the crisp country voice, whom Adam described as “if CeeLo and Blake made a country baby” (ick), was the only four-chair turn of the night. I can see why all of the coaches wanted him. Kirk could probably sannnng anything -- gospel, R&B, country, folk, maybe even pop or rock -- and would be an asset to any team.
Who turned? Everyone.
Result: Team Blake. No surprise, since Kirk said, “I am country till the day I die!” -- and that even the usually competitive Adam admitted that Blake was the best fit.
Tune in Tuesday, for the final Blind Auditions of the season.