There's no spelling 'superstar' without 'team.' Blind auditions roll on...
Happy blind audition hump day!
We’re getting closer to the Battle Rounds after last night’s new additions. Instead of stocking up solely on superstars, the judges now have to think holistically, choosing singers according to how they’ll fit within their teams. “I feel like everyone on my team is different and I like that,” said Adam. “This year I wanna do something different,” said Blake, adding that last year he “built a country army.”
Although tonight’s new batch were all surprisingly terrific, there was no four-chair-salute or contestant of Tessanne-vocal-proportions (perhaps Timyra-Joi?)
Also, is anyone getting the slightest bit annoyed by Blake’s same old line about being a three-peat winner? Yes, it’s impressive and true, but it’s quickly becoming the equivalent of Tyra Banks’ robotic “You’re still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Top Model” spiel. Good thing he decided to switch it up and actually bring his trophies in to do the talking, much to the other judges’ chagrin.
Semi-famous contestant: Briana Cuoco, sister of Kaley Cuoco (last week was E.G. Daily)
Best one-liner: “No man that wears that outfit is in a humble position,” said Adam on a certain judge’s Thriller-jacket.
Now the new crop…
RAY BOUDREAUX, 25, of Louisiana, is a single dad to adorable daughter Audrey (he remains friends with her mother). He’s got a buttery, smooth Paolo Nutini-like voice with the looks of a Ken doll. He mows lawns on the side and flying to the blind auditions was the first time he had ever been on a plane. Without even hearing him sing, Ray gets +1,000 points for the cute-kid-peanut gallery. Backstage his daughter yelps, “C’mon daddy, you can do this!” So articulate for a toddler!
Sings: “Use me” by Bill Withers
Verdict: Blake moves first, then CeeLo. Adam is impressed by Ray’s eclectic qualities. “I think this is an incredible genetic feat here, you look like Blake, but you sound like CeeLo!” CeeLo compliments his “blue-eyed soul.” But Ray chooses Blake, who promises to keep his sound “swampy.” Backstage, Carson was shocked he didn’t go with CeeLo and I was, too.
LINA GAUDENZI, 23, of Florida, is a former model who once moved to Paris by herself, singing in cafés. She’s studied classical music, opera, and has the powerhouse pipes that scream Team Christina.
Sings: “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
Verdict: Christina and Blake duke it out for her. Lina’s falsetto finale is just gorgeous, prompting Blake to shout, “Damn, girl!” Christina asks which genre she sees herself in and Lina says blues and folk. Blake tries to interpret that as country. To which Christina zings, “I think he speaks kind of one language over there.” Lina chooses Christina. (Divas unite!) “America needs change,” Christina proclaims, while fanning herself.
JUHI, 16, of Tennessee, is really cutting it close for best personal style versus last week’s Holly Henry. Juhi is a super-smart (“above 4.0 GPA” according to dad), blue-haired, babydoll-dress-wearing, grunge-loving chick with aspirations to major in aerospace engineering or computer science. I think I squealed a little when she said she wants to her sound to be a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain. CeeLo described Juhi as “someone who I would’ve made friends with in school.” Me too, CeeLo, me too!
Sings: “Mercy” by Duffy
Verdict: Christina makes the first move, followed by CeeLo. Seeing them both turned around, Juhi had the cutest reactions, from “I’m flipping out right now!” to “This is so weird!” She chooses CeeLo.
NEXT: A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll
JUSTIN BLAKE, 20, of Tennessee, is a father-to-be. Carson describes him as someone who “knows the value of hard work.” Justin drives an 18-wheeler towing mobile homes for a living. He takes a big risk by choosing to sing from a judge’s catalog.
Sings: “Sure Be Cool If You Did” by Blake Shelton
Verdict: Surprisingly, Blake did not make a move. Adam was the only judge who moved, and wins by default. “That takes nerve to come out here and do one of my songs,” said Blake, who lamented not turning, hoped he could try to steal him from Adam later on.
TIMYRA-JOI, 15, of California, has a voice way, way beyond her years. Listen especially for when she hits the chorus — she just blows it away. Timyra-joi thanks her vocal coach, who has helped her family in more ways than in just vocal training — she gave free lessons when Timyra-joi’s dad lost his job and a place to stay for six months.
Sings: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys
Verdict: Christina is all over this one, giving her the “woman to woman” talk. Blake and CeeLo also turn. She chooses Christina. Blake gets tired of the other judges ganging up on him, calling them the “coach alliance.” Timyra-joi reveals that she went in with the intent to choose CeeLo, “but Christina just fought for me and I just went for my gut.”
MONIKA LEIGH, 28, of Colorado, works in Guest Relations at a hotel. She has a smoky, deep voice, reminiscent of Joss Stone, with the luscious Rapunzel hair to match.
Sings: “The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King
Verdict: Adam is first, then CeeLo and Blake. I was surprised Christina didn’t pounce. Adam declares, “it’s gonna be a man fight!” He also says, “I would consider you to be the centerpiece of my team.” Blake says, “I can give you three reasons why you should pick me,” and then clomps his trophies on the his chair-desk. Monika declares that she’s “not very country,” but Blake says only one of his winners was a country artist. Blake wins the man fight.
BRIANA CUOCO, 24, of California, is personal assistant and little sister to The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco. “She’s deserved this her whole life,” said Kaley.
Sings: “You and I” by Lady Gaga
Verdict: Christina turns first, the CeeLo. And Briana’s reaction is to sit down on the stage. Backstage we see Kaley crying. “You held those notes out really, really strong — you made me happy!” said Christina. Though I wasn’t totally crazy about Briana’s voice, I thought the palpable sisterly love was really sweet. “I hope one day I’m just as successful as she is,” said Briana. She chooses Christina, citing “girl power.”
GEORGE HORGA JR., 19, of Oregon, is from a tight-knit Romanian family and wants to make the Romanian community proud.
Sings: “Treasure” by Bruno Mars
Verdict: He totally sounds like an Adam protégé, but only CeeLo makes a move and wins by default. I thought it was kind of funny that Christina suspected he was a looker by the female audience members’ reactions. “He’s cute,” said Blake. “I knew he was,” said Christina.
Then for some reason, the producers decide to not show these singers perform. They were also chosen:
Anthony Paul sings “With You” by Chris Brown, and goes with CeeLo.
Jacob Poole sings “Marry Me” by Train, and goes with Christina.
Cilla Chan sings “Come and Get It” by Selena Gomez, and goes with Blake.
Last is a singer who, Carson says, “drives our coaches wild:”
PRESTON POHL, 26, of Texas, used to play guitar in a Christian rock band but wants to bust out with a solo career. “A lot of people didn’t even know that I could sing,” he said.
Sings: “Electric Feel” by MGMT
Verdict: Preston impresses everyone, but not enough for a four-chair-turnaround — only Christina doesn’t budge. The smoky quality of his voice turned an MGMT tune into “a Marvin song,” according to Adam. Preston is impressed by CeeLo’s Slim Thug reference, but chooses Adam.
I think these were the best blind auditions of the season! I kept changing my favorites after every commercial break, but I think I’ve settled with young guns Juhi and Timyra-Joi on my to-watch list. Or at least ’til someone from tomorrow similarly blows me away. Also, what did you guys think of Kaley’s sister? Was the show right to save Preston for last, compared to last week’s Tessanne finale? What qualifies as a showstopper these days anyhoo? Sound off in the comments!