Monday April 08, 2013 10:45 PM EDT
The Voice: Older Artists Make Their Mark
by Andrea BillupsThe talent pool got a bit deeper on The Voice Monday, when a new crop of artists of all ages had chairs turning on another night of blind auditions.
Ryan Innes, who performed last, impressed all four judges with his righteous yet controlled soul bend on John Mayer's bluesy "Gravity."
He picked Usher as his coach but not without mounds of praise from the competition.
"This is the most fun I've had listening all day," Blake Shelton told Innes, a rounded and bearded blue-eyed soul singer from Thatcher, Ariz.
"You shook this room, man," Usher said, calling it a performance of "soul and true substance." The compliments later pushed Innes – a lounge singer who now lives in Utah and who performs weddings and corporate gigs – to tears.
Havana-born teen Mary Miranda made her mark with Selena's hit "Como la Flor."
Shakira spun in her seat after just a few lines, drawn to the purity of Miranda's voice and her natural power.
"From the moment you started the song with that long, extended note I knew I was in front of something really, really big," said Shakira, who added Miranda to her team.
Soul singer Sasha Allen, 30, a mother of two from New York City, who has sung back-up for John Legend and Alicia Keys, quickly turned all four chairs with her version of the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice."
When she was finished, Levine was up on his chair in a standing ovation, later calling Allen "magic" and praising her "God-given natural gift." A fight ensued but Levine's enthusiasm won Allen over.
Michael Austin, a 43-year-old deputy sheriff from Norco, Calif., lived out his dreams of country stardom with his fluid and earnest performance of Keith Urban's "Love Somebody."
In another coup for Levine, Austin picked him over the likely coach Shelton.
Shawna P., 45, a Decatur, Ala., native who has performed alongside stars Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson, showed off a growling and raw rendition of the Black Crowes' "She Talks To Angels."
"That's so rock and roll," said Shakira of her intense performance.
Added Levine: "You have a voice on you. We want what you got. That kind of voice needs to be on the show."
"I've been singing since most of the people who have tried out here have been alive," she said, before picking Shakira as her mentor. "I'm representing 40 and up, y'all!"