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The Voice recap: Keep Your Head Up

Sadness, success, and one mispronunciation of Shakira’s name

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The Voice Brandon Roush
Trae Patton/NBC

The Voice

TV Show
Reality TV, Music
run date:
Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys
Current Status:
In Season

It’s another night in Voice-land, and here’s what we know so far: Good singing comes from good struggle; if there are any musical genres left in America, they’re country and everything else; and our fearsome foursome is actually, like, a good judging panel.

No joshing: With the second week of the blind auditions now behind us, it’s clear that Blake and Usher and Shakira and Adam are a stacked deck of personalities, handling the rococo formal requirements of both the genre and The Voice’s particular spin on it — be both judge-y and supportive, half-and-half constructive and comedic; know nothing about the contestants but connect with them immediately — with a high-sheen celebrity. So yeah. I’m about it.

Other tidbits, as per The Daly: Shakira has seven contestants on her team so far; Adam and Usher have six each and Blake, five. Also those quick snippets that made you think Blake and Adam had changed clothes? They were lies: The judges don’t ever change clothes. (Don’t you read the comments?) Also, way to pre-fab your gloating, Blake — just because NBC acts as if country music were the music industry’s most inscrutable mass entertainment. And also, who is “Shick-ira”?

CUT TO: “Let’s hear some singers!”

First is 20-year-old Audrey Karrasch, a former Ford model thanks to the power of the Internet. But her years modeling in New York re-enforced a lack of self-worth, which she worked to reclaim with a move down to the musically “very wide and diverse” Charlotte, North Carolina. The Voice is a chance to be recognized for her singing and not her looks (err, “attractiveness”). What does she sing? She sings “Price Tag” and the whole crowd starts playing along. Audrey’s hair is amazing! Audrey can do anything!

Blake turns and then Usher. Shakira and Adam are bizarrely able to resist the performance. Audrey is a little too too, sure, but she’s also playful and spot-on with the song’s vibe. Blake speaks first but then it’s Audrey’s turn to speak and and she is snipping at Adam to can it because he couldn’t even turn around. Blake is “really excited,” but Usher tells Audrey that she’s got a smooth voice and great articulations, plus she’s totally his girl. She goes Usher.

Then comes Brandon Roush, from Louisville (which he pronounces correctly, with a double-emphasis on the ou in “Lou”) and sporting a great head of hair. He sings “With a Little Help From My Friends” with a power-rock twist. Would I listen to it on the radio? No. Would I spin my chair around? Oh yes.

Shakira hits her button first, making Brandon’s family cra-a-azy backstage while the three men abstain. She loves the depth of his voice, but Adam offers another reason they might connect: His hair is “beautiful.” And then there’s this weird moment where it comes out to the judges that Brandon works with autistic children and everyone awwws, but isn’t it against the show’s rules to touch streams like this, between backstory and stage? It should be. Bonus points: Brandon’s “You want me, well I love you” to his new mentor.

NEXT: Orlando Dixon and America