Hello, and welcome to what we like to call “F— You, Simon Cowell” Week at The Voice.
(And by “we,” I mean my lovely colleague Hillary Busis, who’ll be helping me recap not one, not two, but THREE DIFFERENT EPISODES this week.)
Since every TV network has launched its own version of America’s Next Top X Factor Duets, our favorite Voice coaches are now competing with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and, uh, some dude who’s married to Nicole Kidman. So, just to remind you why you should be watching The Voice instead of those other shows, season three begins with the coaches reciting each other’s credentials. Adam’s always on the radio. Christina’s the voice of a generation. Blake’s one of the best in country music. And Cee Lo… wait! Does Cee Lo have a cockatoo on his shoulder? Okay, I’m sold.
The coaches kick off the audition rounds by covering the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” in costumes that appear to have a patriotic theme. Adam’s wearing an American flag t-shirt. Cee Lo’s decked out in some kind of George Washington puffy shirt. And Christina’s rocking a chained bustier, just like Thomas Jefferson used to wear.
Preserving that “USA! USA!” spirit, we’ve got the first contestant, Scottish rocker Terry McDermott, who declares, “My wife’s American, my son’s American. I love it here!” Maybe you remember Terry from a band called Driveblind? Okay, maybe not. But you’ll definitely remember him now, because the guy’s rendition of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” blows everyone away. Christina’s absolutely right that he has a strong, clear radio quality to his voice (and a strong, clear radio quality to his hair, too, which is styled up in a Golden Age of Noel Gallagher mop). Blake says he can get Terry to win without even singing. Between Terry’s Scottish accent and Blake’s Southern twang, he says, “I’ll let you go up there and talk for a while, we’ll smoke some cee-gars and win this thing.” That sounds good to Terry, who chooses Blake. But Terry’s son says he should’ve picked Adam or Cee Lo. Daaad! So embarrassing!
Next up is De’ Borah form Chicago. And—check out what she’s wearing! It’s like Clifford the Big Red Suit!—I love this lady’s style and energy from the moment she struts onto the stage like the second coming of Janelle Monae (with a little Meshell Ndegeocello thrown in). Why does Carson have to take this moment to remind us that The Voice isn’t about looks? De’Borah’s looks are amazing. Everything about her is awesome: her supportive church pastor parents (“Dope parents, right?”), the way she talks (“Boom! I am gay!”), and that phenomenal gospel-meets-funk-meets-rock’n’roll holler she’s got going on. So I’m very disappointed when she picks such a toothless song. If I get through The Voice without hearing another Train track, I’ll eat Cee Lo’s cockatoo. But at least De’Borah puts some actual soul into “Hey Soul Sister.” As Christina raves, “She’s a sassypants.” And, luckily, that sassypants picks Christina.
NEXT: A garbage collector’s son makes Carson cry