‘The Voice': Blake Shelton Completes His Team
The Voice's Season 16 Blind Auditions on March 18 saw coaches Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend filling up the final slots on their teams. This night, the blind auditions segments come to a close and all teams will be solidified.
Shelton knocked off a spot on his team with the surprise addition of 16-year-old Cecily Hennigan, who turned just his chair with a cover of Jewel's "Foolish Games." That left him with one spot left, and the audience knew it had to be a country artist to fill it
Spoiler: It was. Rod Stokes, 34, from Alabama, slid right into the spirit of things with a heartfelt, heartland-approved story. "My daddy started a construction business 32 years ago. As soon as I became a teenager, he had me out here during the summers and on the weekends. We clear land, dig ponds. I operate skid loaders, trackhoes, bulldozers. It's just something I've been around my whole life," he noted.
However, Stokes' cheerful upbringing turned more serious. After leaving home after graduation to play football at college, he unfortunately found himself in a position where he had to abandon his studies and athletics. "When I was at school, my daddy had a hip replacement and had staph infection set in. He was out of work. I had to step in and run the family business," he explained.
"It was difficult. It kind of really changed my mindset on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life," he said, but amended that this particular twist of fate also led him to his musical interests. "I never sang growing up, but I started pursuing music heavily after I came back home. I sang my first solo in front of my church family when I was 20 years old. Gospel music's all I've ever known. Just never been outside of the church to sing."
Stokes sounded country through and through before he took the stage, but he chose to cover a rather unexpected selection, the delicately romantic "To Love Somebody," from the Bee Gees' '60s catalog.
He got all three male coaches to turn their chairs. Legend gave hearty approval, then stepped back for Levine and Shelton to argue about the origins of the song. (Levine: "That's a James Morrison song?" Shelton: "It's the Bee Gees.") Meanwhile, Stokes fueled the flames even more by noting that he loves '90s country, to which Clarkson let out a delighted squeal.
All in all, it was plain that this Alabama native was flattered by all the chair turns, but..."I think really want to complete Blake's team.”
Stokes' completion of Shelton's squad left the other three coaches wondering who'd score the next big country artist in the lineup (with all three eager to get their hands on one). Both Levine and Clarkson managed to do this, but as fans might expect, it was Clarkson who got the primo contestant—Jackson Marlowe, who happens to be the nephew of Red Marlow, who placed fourth on Voice season 13. Clarkson was over the moon, crowing about her "cute little cowboy" and the fact that she's finally recruited a country male artist to her team!
Country's 10 Most Successful The Voice Contestants Yet: