A bumpy night: Marriage proposal on 'The Voice' turns awkward

Lyndsey Parker

The most awkward televised marriage proposal of Monday night surprisingly didn’t happen on The Bachelor. Instead it took place on The Voice, when 31-year-old R&B crooner Denton Arnell decided to pop the question to his girlfriend of three years during the Blind Auditions. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, at first, things went very right: Denton performed a funky version of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and landed on John Legend’s team. “Your tone is wonderful. You took a song that could have been a lot less exciting, but I think you’re really creative with the melody and made it your own,” John told Denton. And then it was time for Denton take his girlfriend Tiffany home — hopefully with a ring on her finger.

“Being that [John] gave me a yes, I want to see if Tiffany would give me a yes,” said Denton, and the entire audience — especially the excitable Kelly Clarkson — erupted. But then Tiffany’s skull nearly erupted, when she and Denton accidentally headbutted each other during his kneeling attempt! The microphone conveniently picked up the loud thwack of their foreheads, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some genius engineer amplified that noise for comic effect. If so, please give this show an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy Series.

Anyway, that snafu in no way dissuaded the highly amused and thankfully uninjured Tiffany from saying yes. Regardless of how far Denton goes on The Voice, I think he and Tiffany are going to go the distance. The couple that laughs together, stays together.

These were the other successful, headbutt-free auditions of Monday evening:

Beth Griffith-Manley, 46: “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”

Beth, who toured with Anita Baker for five years, has Motown in her blood, because her dad was keyboardist Johnny Griffith of legendary Detroit session band the Funk Brothers. And she was singing an Aretha Franklin song that was a nod to those family ties, because her father was also Aretha’s first piano player. Beth said she had “everything to learn from the coaches,” but honestly, I think the coaches could learn a lot from her! This performance was old-fashioned, but perfectly polished. I’d love to see what Beth could do with some modern songs.

Who turned? John and Kelly.

Result: Team Kelly. Kelly was shocked, but considering Kelly’s own Aretha ties (her “Natural Woman” performance was her American Idol breakthrough) and the classic R&B sound of her most recent album The Meaning of Life, I think this is a perfect match.

Selkii, 31: “I Try”

This South African songstress had a unique rootsy-soul take on the Macy Gray classic, very Melissa Etheridge/Sophie B. Hawkins, and Adam Levine loved the song choice. Selkii seemed like Team Adam material all the way … but then a rival coach turned around at the last minute.

Who turned? Blake Shelton and Adam.

Result: Team Blake, surprisingly. Adam tried to play the geography card by mentioning that his wife is from Namibia, but Selkii was loyal to her own spouse and took her husband Edge’s advice to go with Shelton. You might say Blake had the edge in this race! (Ha. Sorry.)

Ciera Dumas, 21: “Tell Me You Love Me”

This plucky pink-haired girl was declared “Most Likely to Win The Voice” in her high school yearbook. I think she seems more like “Most Like to Get Montaged in The Voice Battles” or “Most Like to Get Make It to 10th Place on The Voice,” but her raspy Demi Lovato cover did show potential.

Who turned? Adam and John — albeit prematurely. Ciera started off strong, but lost focus midway through. Maybe those super-quick turns threw her off.

Result: Team Adam.

Andrew Sevener, 22: “Honky Tonk Women”

The small-town Texas guitar-slinger’s Stones cover was very pedestrian and very bar-band … but as last season’s second-place finish for Chris Kroeze proved, this is the kind of contestant who can go far on The Voice. [insert shrug emoji here] 

Who turned? Just Blake.

Result: Team Blake, of course.

Mari, 20: “Boo’d Up”

This spunky, funky makeup artist had a cool look and vibe, a modern song choice, a “conversational” singing style according to Kelly, a big head of hair and a big set of pipes. I instantly liked her. And so did the coaches. “She looks cool!” yelled Blake.

Who turned? Adam, John, and Kelly.

Result: Team Adam — a surprise, since John recently dueted with “Boo’d Up” singer Ella Mai.

Abby Kasch, 20: “Here for the Party”

This Miranda Lambert-esque country badass has been singing in bars since she was 12, and that experience showed in her fiery and fearless Gretchen Wilson cover. She was a ton of fun! The energy in the room instantly elevated when Abby arrived for the party.

Who turned? Blake and Kelly.

Result: Team Kelly! She’s really been stealing Blake’s country thunder lately.

Mikaela Astel, 14: “Electric Love”

This aerial artist, YouTuber and School of Rock prodigy has been watching The Voice since she was 6. Sadly, she didn’t do any P!nk-style aerial stunts during her performance (perhaps she can save that for the Live Playoffs?), but Kelly and John still took notice of her ethereal and truly electric BØRNS cover. This was one of my favorite Season 16 auditions so far.

Who turned? John and Kelly.

Result: Team Kelly. Maybe we are headed for a third consecutive Kelly-coached teen-girl victory.

Anthony Ortiz: “What Makes You Beautiful”

This skateboarder’s audition wasn’t shown in full, and he’s only been singing for four years, but Adam told him, “I’m 100 percent excited about the raw form of what you have. I think that we can turn it into something really, really special.” So we shall see.

Who turned? Adam.

Result: Team Adam.

Oliv Blu, 20: “On &On”

This was another montage, but I loved Oliv’s infectious spirit on this sultry Erykah Badu track. John called her “free and magical.”

Who turned? John.

Result: Team Legend.

Shawn Sounds, 33: “All My Life” 

This “teacher by day, rock star by night” first got a taste of fame when he posted a video of himself singing in class and Snoop Dogg reposted it, helping it rack up 600,000 views. Shawn’s K-Ci & JoJo cover may garner many more views than that. This was smooooooth. I really want to see this guy duet with Beth Griffith-Manley at some point.

Who turned? All four coaches.

Result: Team Legend.

Crystal Rose, 26: “Wicked Game”

Crystal had an awesome look and a sad childhood backstory, but her audition was a mess. She couldn’t hit the notes, she had no confidence, and she didn’t even the capture the longing and ache of this Chris Isaak torch song.

Who turned? No one.

Result: Team Bebe. I think Crystal should have just gone straight home, but somehow she was given a second shot over on the Island of Misfit Toys, aka the Comeback Stage overseen by fifth coach Bebe Rexha.

Kayla Seeber, 18: “Baby One More Time”

I was rooting for this openly gay, quirky farm girl, but she overdid her stylizations and was trying way too hard. She sounded like a Gwen Stefani impersonator, but not even Gwen’s boyfriend Blake was impressed.

Who turned? No one.

Result: Team Bebe, for some reason. Anyway, Kayla headed over to the Comeback Stage for an online-only Battle against Crystal. And yes, I actually watched.

Kayla had my vote just for singing Two Door Cinema Club’s “What You Know,” an unusual song choice — while Crystal went with the cliché “At Last” by Etta James, which never needs to be covered on any singing show, or on YouTube, ever again. But both women were much better here than they were on TV. Too bad that (as of this writing) less than 2,500 people had watched this Battle online. Anyway, Kayla won — which was the right outcome not just because of her supercool song choice, but because Crystal’s mini-meltdown during this segment indicated she might not be ready for prime time.

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