Adam Levine: sexy and shrewd?
The Voice coach – and PEOPLE’s reigning Sexiest Man Alive – made a bold move on the second night of blind auditions Tuesday when he relinquished his red swivel chair to country contestant Cary Laine, who managed to turn all four chairs with her commanding performance of “Better Dig Two” by The Band Perry.
Laine, 28, a mom from Pinedale, Wyo., looked and sounded like a perfect fit for coach Blake Shelton, even calling herself country “to the core.” Yet Levine and fellow coaches Usher and Shakira did their best to convince Laine to step out of her comfort zone and join their teams.
“Blake is not the right one for you,” Levine declared after escorting her to his chair. “Don’t you want to break the mold a little bit? Do what you do, but do it through me.”
Not to be outdone, Usher also walked Laine over to his chair, and encouraged her to look into his eyes – and later his lips – for proof of his passion.
Shelton offered a convincing pitch, reminding her that Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope, who was on his team, had a number-one country album. But in the end, Laine surprised everyone when she chose Levine.
“I felt like Adam really wanted me on his team,” she explained of her decision. “He really fought for me.”
Laine was not the only one faced with a difficult decision Tuesday. Returning contestant Delvin Choice, 24, a Starbucks barista from South Carolina, failed to turn any chairs in his audition last season, but managed to rotate all four this time with his rendition of “A Song for You” by Donny Hathaway that showcased his gospel roots.
Levine called him “20 times the singer he was last time on the show” and Shakira jokingly raised her right hand in an oath, solemnly swearing to take him to the top of the competition. Ultimately, Levine proved his four-chair domination as Choice selected him, explaining that he “saw the intensity in his eyes.”
Wholesome-looking Madilyn Paige, a 16-year-old from Provo, UT, also had a tough choice between Usher and Shakira after her sweet version of “Titanium” by David Guetta impressed both coaches. Shakira passionately petitioned the young singer but simply couldn’t compete when Usher reminded Paige that he once worked with a teenager so successfully he didn’t even need to utter his name.
“I fought really hard for Madilyn, but Usher played the Bieber card,” Shakira declared in defeat, referring to Usher’s mentoring of a young Justin Bieber.
Shelton also used his celebrity connections to help add Noah Lis, 22, a jazz-inspired vocalist from Massachusetts, to his team. Lis’s version of “Me and Mrs. Jones” compelled both Shelton and Levine to hit their buttons at the last minute, and Shelton wasn’t afraid to jokingly exploit his friendship with Michael Bublé, which seemed to impress the aspiring crooner.
Shakira also added Deja Hall, 16, of San Antonio to her team, telling the teen athlete that her version of “True Colors” “had a cosmic effect on me.”
The Voice returns Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC with more blind auditions.