The coaches get picky – and competitive – as season 7's blind auditions conclude

By Andrea Billups
Updated October 07, 2014 10:00 AM
Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Season 7 of The Voice turned a competitive corner Monday in the fifth and final night of the show’s blind auditions.

Adam Levine, a veteran coach and two-time winner, showed he was still in it to win it, snagging the night’s most mature contestant and the evening’s only four-chair turn with Aiken, South Carolina, radiology technician Beth Spangler, 30.

Maybe it was her black leather overalls, or sassy haircut, or sunshine smile. But likely it was Spangler’s sparkling vocal range and her ease in helming Beyoncé‘s “Best Thing I Never Had” that had the coaches in a full-on fight for her attention as each got picky in sparring over the last few star contestants.

The battle sent Pharrell Williams out of his seat, and he approached her onstage as he made his case, telling her she was “effortlessly melding so many different influences.”

“I think everyone should be standing up right now for that performance,” Williams told an overwhelmed Spangler. “They are talking the talk but I’m walking the walk.”

Blake Shelton appealed to her heart. “I fell in love with your voice instantly The same light that shines out of you comes through in your voice.”

Even Gwen Stefani was not above pulling both the girl card and the fashion card, praising Spangler’s look and assuring her that, as a designer, Stefani could hook the singer up with the best rags.

Spangler, however, listened to her gut and said she picked Levine because she felt he could best guide her to become, as he said, “the absolute best version of yourself.”

“I thrive on four-chair turns,” Levine bragged afterward of his big victory.

Stefani, despite losing Spangler, also came up big, landing Ryan Sill, 20, a former engineering student from Sterling, Virginia, whose mom is an opera vocal coach. Sill’s pop-star good looks and charming rendition of Mary Lambert‘s hit “Secrets” had the No Doubt vocalist fending off Shelton, who was also in the hunt.

“That was so good. I usually don’t press my button so quickly. You surprised me with some of your high notes,” Stefani said, telling Sill that she only has three guys on her team.

Shelton, who called Sill “cool,” shot back: “That shows you what she thinks about guys!”

In the end Sill picked Stefani, professing that he’s been a big fan of hers. Shelton was not amused and declared war, noting that the panel’s lone female “used her charms” to steal. “Because you did that, it’s going to be a long-ass day. You just wait,” Shelton teased.

The three-time winner later rebounded by snagging 15-year-old YouTube sensation Justin Johnes, of Long Island, who shocked the judges when he noted that the show marked his first stage performance.

Williams picked up two final artists including one after his own heart, Brittany Butler, 21, a student from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her musicality and nuanced modern jazz turn on “Girl from Ipanema” certainly turned heads. And after praising her “effortless” singing and “scatting,” Williams called her a kindred spirit.

“We’re both slightly weirdos,” he told Butler, who quickly thanked him for noticing.

Levine also came up big by winning the night’s first artist, Matt McAndrew of Philadelphia, a grocery-store worker who teaches guitar and voice. His version of Christina Perri‘s “A Thousand Years” had Levine turning on the song’s third verse, and calling McAndrew’s singing “accomplished.”

“I was moved,” he said as Williams quickly intervened to make his case for their collaboration.

“Any artist that I have ever worked with will tell you that I take my ego off at the door. You are a subject of the painting, my friend,” he told McAndrew.

Even after losing, Williams couldn’t stop his praise. “His voice is crazy, and the crazy thing is, I think he’s a star.”

The Voice returns Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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