Gwen Stefani Beats the Boys to Snag a Coveted, Repeat Contestant on The Voice
Anita Antoinette returns after a Season 3 disappointment to dazzle all four coaches
She’s not just a girl. She’s a star!
Powerhouse singer Anita Antoinette returned to The Voice on Monday, showing her moxie and persistence on the third night of Season 7 blind auditions to earn a four-chair turn and praise from all the coaches as a blossoming, much-improved performer.
And Gwen Stefani showed that she came to compete by snagging Antoinette, one of the evening’s most coveted contestants, and cheekily asking veterans Adam Levine and Blake Shelton why they let her go in in Season 3.
“What have you been doing since Blake and Adam didn’t choose you?” the “Just a Girl” singer asked the Jamaican-born, Boston-based Berklee College of Music grad, who stunned with Bob Marley’s “Turn the Lights Down Low.”
The No Doubt singer’s tenacity and connection scored her a surprising win – her first four-chair turn victory against her fellow coaches – even as Levine brought up his Season 5 victory with his own Jamaican singer, Tessanne Chin.
“It was so heartfelt. You were owning the song. I am a fan,” Stefani said as an ebullient and emotional Antoinette basked in the praise.
Antoinette’s passionate, lilting and measured singing capped a night of diverse performances as the coaches added new blood to their teams heading toward the show’s first battle rounds, set for Oct. 13.
Two singers moved ahead on one-chair turns, including Bree Fondacaro of Orange, California, who sang a sweetly nuanced version of Bob Dylan‘s “It Ain’t Me Babe,” which had Shelton fired up. Also earning a spot on Team Gwen was Troy Ritchie, a Trabuco Canyon, California, bus boy and childcare worker who charmed on Fitz and the Tantrums‘s “Out of My League.”
Teenage community college student Mia Pfirrman of Covina, California, saw interest from all four coaches, including Pharrell Williams, who said the forceful brunette sounded like she was singing for her life as she powered through Katy Perry‘s hit “Unconditionally.”
“You took a lot of chances vocally,” Williams said. “You sang like this was your one and only moment.”
In the end, Pfirrman, whose parents who sang in a dance band in the ’80s, picked Levine, who said her song, while needing work, had moments that were “world-class spectacular.”
“Mia took on a beastie song,” he said. “What’s cool about it, it really shows her range.”
The Maroon 5 frontman also nabbed another beautiful and powerful singer in Kelli Douglas, a Dallas native and former teacher who, at 31, said she was a late bloomer to a musical career, having nursed a serious case of stage fright in her younger years.
She was nervous but compelling, making the Loggins and Messina hit “Danny’s Boy” her own and earning a standing ovation from Levine. “Your voice is so soulful it’s so creamy,” Williams added. “And you’re beautiful.”
Shelton, who picked up four new team members on Monday, had to earn hunky Chicago forklift operator John Martin, who dazzled all four coaches with his version of Amos Lee’s “Sweet Pea.”
“You’re the whole package,” Stefani gushed of the wholesome and lanky Martin, who dropped out of college to help his family after his father, a pastor, lost his job. After earning squeals from plenty of female fans in the audience, Martin sweetly told the group that his goal is to make “cheesy love music.”
Others moving ahead were Jessie Pitts of Montgomery, Alabama, to Team Gwen; and Ricky Manning of Cape Coral, Florida, and Blessing Offor of New York City to Team Pharrell.
The Voice returns Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET for night four of the blind auditions.