The blind auditions come to a close; all the judges' teams are complete
Rejoice! For once we were steeped in blind auditions and now we can see… the battle rounds in sight!
On Monday night’s final blind rounds, we saw another returning contestant wow the judges, several 20-something singers, and an Iraq vet with a big presence and equally big nickname. All the judges’ teams are now complete.
Celebrity sighting: During 17-year-old Dominic Scott Kay’s audition, you might have recognized one of his “close family friends” as actor Neal McDonough of Minority Report, Band of Brothers, and Desperate Housewives. Though Kay’s rendition of “Easy” by The Commodores didn’t impress the judges (too nasally), he’s no stranger to fame himself. Kay is the son of The Commodores’ drummer Scott Kay and also appeared in Minority Report.
Most unexpectedly embarrassing home video: As part of Matt Cermanski’s back story segment, some home video footage of his very young self sitting pants-down on the toilet singing Kiss’ “I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night” was shown.
Best Christina Diva-Watch moment: After scoring wannabe Spanglish balladeer Michael Lynch, Xtina sang a micro-duet with him onstage.
And now onto the new recruits…
MATT CERMANSKI, 20, of Pennsylvania is a returning contestant who originally got the boot for singing a bad karaoke version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” “And that’s why we didn’t pick you, because it was weird,” said Adam, who recognized Matt from last season. Matt thinks he’s got the goods this time around, by bringing a better song and his guitar.
Sings: “Have a Little Faith in Me” by John Hiatt
Verdict: Adam moves first, then Blake, and finally CeeLo. Matt picked a much better song this time, one that actually showcases that he can sing like a dude. “It was almost like watching a cat playing with a mouse — you were just having fun with it,” said Blake on Matt’s impressive falsetto. “We belong together,” said Adam, before asking him “How much interest do you have in being a country artist?” Matt stays silent. After lots of prodding from the judges, Matt chooses Adam.
TAMARA CHAUNICE, 23, of Texas has her vocal stylings planted in the church, with a mom for a minister. At the age of 11 she recorded her first album and sold copies out of the trunk of the family car. Currently a leasing agent, she wants to break out of the gospel music mold.
Sings: “1+1” by Beyoncé
Verdict: With barely 10 words sung by Tamara, Christina is the first to turn. “You touched my heart,” she said. CeeLo was the second to move. On the subject of Tamara’s religious upbringing, she jokes to CeeLo, “Come to Jesus!” “Jesus look good, sure look good,” said CeeLo. Messiah joking aside, Tamara chooses CeeLo. Also, when CeeLo gets out of his chair to greet Tamara, this is also the first time I realize that he’s wearing red leather pants to match his Thriller jacket.
BRANDON CHASE, 20, of Texas is both precocious (he graduated college at 17) and miraculous (his parents reveal he almost died after he was born and stopped breathing 64 times in a 12-hour period). Brandon’s prodigious schooling prompted Carson to say, “You sure you wanna be a musician? You’re highly overqualified for this position.”
Sings: “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes
Verdict: Brandon is a country singer through and through and Blake knows it. Grinning ear to ear, Blake moves first. “It’s in your blood to be a country singer,” he said. Blake’s followed by CeeLo, who tells Brandon that in addition to song and dance training, he can offer coaching in “flair and fabulousity.” Despite the flashy promise, Brandon goes with Blake.
NEXT: The male judges fight for the heart of a Grey lady
LUPE CARROLL, 26, of Illinois is a flower deliveryman, which he describes as “like being the ice cream man coming down the street.”
Sings: “If I Were a Carpenter” by Bobby Darin
Verdict: With Lupe’s smooth, Ray LaMontagne appeal, CeeLo is the first and only judge to turn. “I may be a little crazy, but I ain’t stupid. You sound damn good,” CeeLo said.
GREY, 25, of Florida is the lead singer of a wedding band, Berklee College of Music grad, and retail associate.
Sings: “Catch My Breath” by Kelly Clarkson
Verdict: Adam swoops in first, then Blake during the chorus, followed by CeeLo. After Grey’s 90 seconds were up, and when all judges’ chairs were supposed to be facing the front, Blake’s chair malfunctions and swivels the opposite way, “Hey I didn’t do that!” he yells, before accusing Adam of the chair mishap. Finally, a Voice chair rebels and gets its 15 seconds of fame. On Grey’s dramatic vocal buildup, Blake says, “my heart’s pounding.” “I just thought it was very matter of fact,” said CeeLo. “I think you’re extraordinary,” said Adam. For a second there, I coulda sworn we were watching The Bachelorette. Grey gives her rose to Adam, whose team is now complete. Chairs turned, Blake jokes to Adam, “She just ruined her life.”
MICHAEL LYNCH, 27, of Chicago is a landscaper and lover of Latin music. He describes his style as “pop with a little bit of Latin fusion.”
Sings: “Bailamos” by Enrique Inglesias
Verdict: Christina moves first, then Blake, then CeeLo. “Your pitch is so amazing,” said Blake. “I just knew you were gonna be Latin,” said CeeLo. But though Michael can speak Spanish, he reveals to Christina that he’s “100 percent Irish.” “You’re so taken with Spanish for an Irish white boy!” said Christina. Blake’s final plea is “Dammit I can’t speak Spanish, I can’t dance the salsa, I can’t do any of that crap, but I can win this show.” Michael chooses Christina. She celebrates by dancing a little salsa with him and even a mini “Bailamos” duet. “Match made in heaven, baby,” she said. Christina’s team is now complete.
BRIAN POUNDS, 24, of Texas used to harbor dreams of becoming a pro baseball player, but now wants to become a soul singer.
Sings: “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker
Verdict: Blake turns first, then CeeLo. Christina comes to CeeLo’s defense, urging Brian to “mix it up.” “I hate to see you be experimented with,” said Blake, before the rest of the judges gang up against him. But Brian says, “I gotta keep it country, I gotta go with Blake.“
CeeLo is now the only judge with an incomplete team. For the next contestant, Carson describes him as an “unexpected artist.”
SHAWN SMITH, 32, of New York is an Iraq veteran. While enlisted, he ran over an IED and suffered from a concussion and hearing loss. His nickname is “Big Sexy,” which is also emblazoned on his belt buckle.
Sings: “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band
Verdict: CeeLo turns and the rest of the judges applaud him on his pick.
Hooray! Blinds are over and now we can finally get to the good stuff.
There weren’t any standout voices for me tonight, except for the interesting powerhouse, yodel-ly quality of reject Deanna Johnson. She wasn’t chosen, but I wonder if she would have fared better by singing an Adele song like she mentioned.
How about you? Any highlights from tonight?
What we can look forward to next week: Celeb mentors like Cher, Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, & Miguel; Kaley Cuoco going bananas in the stands, and CeeLo in a cherry red onesie.