Blind auditions on "The Voice" might mean some harsh letdowns for aspiring pop stars, but on Tuesday night, some of the toughest rejections yet were reserved for the coaches.
The night got its start with 20-year-old model Audrey Karrash, who was eager to break out of the superficial world of fashion modeling and make it as a musician.
"It's finally gonna be the first time in a long time that I'll be recognized for my voice and not what I look like," she said, before launching into her take on Jessie J's "Price Tag."
Blake spun in his chair almost instantly, with Usher following him. And after she finished her high-energy performance, Blake had nothing but apparently heartfelt praise.
"I knew that you were great from the beginning because of your attack on this song," he gushed. "I'm really excited about you, Audrey."
Usher, playing it cool as usual, told her: "You're my girl, I already know it." But he couldn't say more before she cut him off.
"Alright, Usher, let's do it — I pick Usher!" she laughed.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
Quite the rejection for Blake, Usher admitted. ("I kind of had it at 'hello,'" he said.)
His fellow newbie coach Shakira was in for a painful rejection of her own.
Next up was Patrick Dodd, a Memphis-bred 35-year-old who said he performs on Beale Street, the historic center of the city's blues scene, about 300 days a year.
"I really want to be on 'The Voice' just to get some answers," he said. "I don't want to go back to Memphis with my tail tucked."
And singing his city's perhaps most famous tune, "Walking in Memphis," in a raspy croon, he ensured he didn't have to, though he did hurt a superstar's feelings a little in the process.
"You have so much soul in your voice, and your performance was really effortless," Shakira told him. Urging him to pick her over Adam, she gave some timeless pearls of wisdom: "Never underestimate a 5-foot-3 Colombian girl!"
He may have after all. He picked Adam, much to even Adam's surprise.
Shakira got a teammate of her own in Brandon Roush, a 19-year-old redhead who teaches music to autistic children.
With a take on "With a Little Help from My Friends" that proved more Joe Cocker than the Beatles, Shakira heard some spark, even if none of her fellow coaches did.
"I think that your voice is exquisite," she said. "I absolutely loved the depth of it in the verses."
Usher picked up a team member of his own with Orlando Dixon, who was relieved when the R&B star spun in his seat at the very last second for his rendition of Ne-Yo's "So Sick."
The Washington, D.C.-bred, Berklee College of Music-educated — and his mom and sister backstage — exulted when Usher did.
"I grew up listening to you, I love your work — I just want to learn so much from you! I want to be able to buy my mama a house!" the erstwhile wedding singer blurted, later calling Usher "the one person that I wanted to turn around."
"I feel like he's a diamond in the rough," Usher said.
But perhaps the night's most polished diamond came from one of its youngest, and one for whom everybody except Usher turned their chairs.
That was Savannah Berry, a high schooler who had decided to take her singing goals more seriously after her YouTube video of her covering a Sugarland song unexpectedly caught the country band's eye and won her the chance to perform alongside them.
"Missing all the homecomings and prom — I hope it's going to be worth it," the 17-year-old said of her audition.
If her reception Tuesday night were any indication, it was.
Her rendition of Taylor Swift's "Safe and Sound" turned Adam's chair first, then Shakira's and finally Blake's — and when Blake's turned, Savannah seemed to notice and brighten a little.
Shakira and Adam both fought hard, and dirty, for the 17-year-old to join their teams, but they also both knew they faced long odds when they asked her to name her influences.
"Sugarland, Miranda Lambert…" she answered.
And indeed, with Mrs. Blake Shelton one of her top influences, she picked Blake to be her mentor, despite his awkward suggestion that maybe one of her mentors would adopt her as a child. ("She doesn't need parenting!" Adam objected.)
Also Tuesday night, Adam picked up season three alum Agina Alvarez, who wowed him with the risky choice of a Shakira song, while Shakira picked up C. Perkins and Blake picked up Trevor Davis.
Headed home, however, was 22-year-old busker Betsy Barta, whose take on "Set Fire to the Rain" couldn't top Adele's, as were Jewl Anguay and Chris Johnson.
"The Voice" blind auditions wrap up next week, but not before the coaches compete for the best talent to fill out their teams.
"The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC.