Three-time winner Blake Shelton struggled a bit for the right artists in the first week of blind auditions on The Voice, but he closed out Monday night’s show by stealing a major talent away from nemesis Adam Levine.
After the Maroon 5 front man scored the night’s country rock talent, Patrick Thompson, who seemed perfect for a country music coach, Shelton and shocked all three of his fellow judges by earning a dazzling R&B singer that everyone wanted on their team.
It took just a few bars of Aretha Franklin‘s “Ain’t No Way” to show everyone that Sisaundra Lewis was likely an artist to beat.
Lewis, 44, a former back-up singer for Celine Dion (who appeared in a cameo video to wish her good luck), was on fire with a fiery, soaring falsetto and rich sustained notes that had Shakira dubbing her voice “ravishing.”
Shelton was honest and Lewis felt his sincerity. “I realize right now that I am completely over my head,” he told her, dazzled by her skill. “I would buy your record if it came out tomorrow. Please pick me.”
And so the evening’s most dynamic soul singer turned away Usher – who called it one of his all-time favorite songs – and went with Shelton. “The way Blake looked at me and was talking to me and the things he said, it felt like home,” said Lewis, a mother of three from Orlando.
“I don’t get it, the whole Blake-Sisaundra thing,” Shakira said in shock.
While Shelton also landed another strong artist, Traverse City, Mich., native Ryan Whyte Maloney, who showed off his sweet high range on Steve Perry‘s “Lights,” the other coaches picked up three more artists each on the way to next week’s first battle rounds.
Usher proved his prowess by stealing what seemed like a sure-thing from Shakira in Melissa Jiménez, a self-described Jersey Yorker, who has recorded with Wyclef Jean and earned praise for her take on the Alicia Keys hit “If I Ain’t Got You.”
While Shakira called their pairing “unstoppable” in the end Jiménez turned to Usher. She praised his skill as dancer, singer and entertainer who has covered both pop and soul. “I would love to be the female version of that,” Jiménez said.
Shakira came up big with an artist who seemed destined for Team Adam. Clarissa Serna, 27, of Corpus Christi, Texas, drew praise from Levine as she covered the Cranberries hit “Zombie,” earning four chair turns.
“You have your own way of doing it,” Levine said of Serna’s version. “I just thoroughly enjoyed myself through the entire thing.”
But Serna was swayed by girl power. “I think I’m gonna go with my Latina soul sister,” Serna said of Shakira, earning the ire of Shelton, who told the other male judges, “Sharkira is taking a lot of good talent from us.”
Other artists headed for Team Shakira are Louisiana’s DeShawn Washington, 23, and Lindsay Pagano, 28, from Philadelphia. Usher picked up entertaining duo, The Brothers Walker (Coty and Clinton), identical twins, 26, from Bernie, Mo., and 19-year-old Tanner James, while Levine got strong new artists in 25-year-old Sam Behymer of Morgan Mill, Texas and singer-songwriter Joshua Howard.
The Voice‘s blind auditions continue Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.