It’s week three of blind auditions, and I’m beginning to think the singers actually have to be blind to get through them.
So many people are getting nixed tonight, they must need crazier sob stories to survive. There’s Lauren Brooke, who has suffered through a learning disability, her uncle’s death, and an inability to master Carrie Underwood songs. There’s Jeffrey James, the Elvis impersonator who’s so angry that he isn’t drafted by the coaches, he looks like he’s ready to poison their peanut butter and banana sandwiches. And there’s VJ (sweet, cheerful VJ!) that adorable bow-tied jazz singer who gets schooled—on stage!—by Cee Lo himself, who corrects VJ’s version of “Forget You,” and sings the line “I pity the fool” a little too pointedly.
Poor guy. As Cee Lo would say, Ain’t that some shhhhh.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First up is Michelle Brooks-Thompson, or as I like to call her, WhoTheHeckWasThat?! This lady’s voice could strip the pleather off Christina’s corsets, and I mean that in a very good way. I love that she works full-time as a banker and sings for her customers. (A moment of silence, please, while we imagine her performing DR Period’s “Money” while opening a checking account.) And I love that her ex-NFL-player husband supports his wife’s biggest dream—you know, the one where she rooster-struts across the stage in front of millions of people. Isn’t that a dream we all share?
No? Well, no matter. Her version of “Proud Mary” starts out too slow, but she nails the high notes with a sledgehammer, and by the time she speeds things up, sassing back every line, the whole crowd is standing and hollering the doot! doot! doot!s right behind her. To me, she’s a natural fit for Cee Lo, but she picks Adam, because he says he feels “blessed and honored” that she’s there. Sometimes I wonder if the contestants are “encouraged” to work with certain coaches, for the sake of balance. But for now, I’ll give Michelle the benefit of the doubt. Go on, lady. Doot! doot! doot! your way to victory.
Next up is Diego Val from Peru, who learned to play the guitar at age eight, while he was in the hospital with a bone-disintegrating disease. (Ugh.) Now, he plays for sick children—and Voice coaches. His take on Neon Trees’ “Animal” doesn’t turn any chairs until he sings a verse in Spanish, which makes little upside-down exclamation marks light up in the coaches’ eyes. It’s easy to tell what they’re thinking: ¡Viva La Diversidad!
“Where you from, bro?” asks Cee Lo. And when Diego admits that he’s originally from Peru, Cee Lo marvels, “How the hell did you get all the way from Peru to come and do this show?” Diego, who’s too police to explain how an airplane works, replies, “Because that’s what The Voice does, right? They make everything possible.” Cue the polite cheers! Diego goes with Cee Lo. Cue the EXPLOSIVE CHEERS!
NEXT: When is Stevie Nicks not Stevie Nicks? When she’s a grade school teacher.