The Voice recap: Fooled by Flash and Boobs
On the second night of auditions, The Voice coaches highlight big talent and awesomely inappropriate comments.
Welcome back for the most exciting Voice episode since… well, okay, since last night. But still! Looks like a record-making 36.7 million of you stuck around after the Super Bowl to watch the season premiere, and I’m hoping that none of you missed the second episode, which was filled with coaches pointing and laughing at other coaches. Because you know what I’d say if you missed that? Hahahaha! Hahahaha! Ha.
Auditions begin with a Prince medley and some totally Prince-inspired fashion choices: Cee Lo anchors “Little Red Corvette” while dressed like a giant Christmas tree ornament. Christina takes “1999” and Adam Levine gets high enough to match Prince’s falsetto on “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” but Blake’s Southern-fried version of “Kiss” is most inspired. You don’t have to be rich? You don’t have to be cool? I’d never realized how just how country that song is.
The night’s first audition comes from a Nashville duo called the Line, a nice girl named Hailey and a guy named Leland who (some Google sleuthing has revealed) played Keith Partridge on VH1’s The New Partridge Family. Who knew? Theirs is a classic a boy meets girl story: boy meets girl, boy asks girl out, girl says they’re better as friends, boy spends the rest of his life saying they have a “brother/sister” relationship… and trying very hard to sleep with girl.
Together, Hailey and Leland harmonize to Tom Petty’s “American Girl” in a nice enough, but kind of forgettable cover. Blake, Christina, and Cee Lo all push their buttons. Christina’s strategy? Strike down the competition. “Y’know, Blake, last year…he had a duet, and he ended up sending them home,” she reminds Hailey and Leland. Blake defends himself, insisting that he can relate to the male/female duo because, “I’m married to a female vocalist.” (Though Adam rightly calls him on that reasoning: “Will you stop using your wife to sell these people?”) Then Adam tries the hard sell: “Sometimes it’s the less obvious choice that you should go with.”
Are we starting to sense a pattern here? Christina disses the other coaches. Blake name-drops his wife, Miranda Lambert. Adam uses counter-intuitive logic. Then the contestants discuss “the hardest decision we’ve ever made.” In this case, they go with Christina, who does a lot of pointing and evil laughing at everyone else. “I think they were fooled by flash and boobs,” Blake insists. And he should know about flash and boobs. Did he mention that his wife has both? (Just kidding! Love you, Blake!)
NEXT: An emotional audition for an HIV positive singer
Next up is Jamar Rogers, who you might recognize as Danny Gokey’s best friend on American Idol. Jamar has kicked an addiction to crystal meth, and he’s HIV positive—and when he brings his mother to the audition, she couldn’t be more proud of him. “You are my biggest inspiration,” she says. “For you to stare [HIV] in the face and say, ‘It’s not the end of my life,’ gives me strength.” Then she cries. And then he cries. And then somebody who may or may not be recapping the show cries. Anyway. [Frantically waving my hands to dry my mascara.] Moving on!
Jamar sings just the kind of gruff-voiced cover of White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” that Cee Lo would love, mixing up rock and soul with flair. Cee Lo almost seems to hesitate because he knows he’s expected to pick Jamar. But then he caves in anyway. Jamar joins Team Cee Lo. They hug. And we get to see Cee Lo fiendishly stroke his white cat again. Dr. Claw returns!
Jamar’s got his second chance, and so does 37-year-old Gwen Sebastian, who’s put her dream of raising a family on hold in order to pursue her career. The man she calls the love of her life is there with her, and she says, “He’s honestly the one that gave me the courage to say, y’know, it’s okay to let go of having kids.” This is one thing I love about The Voice. Most reality shows are so used to playing up the horror stories—cancer, loved ones with disabilities, etc.—that they ignore the regular problems that might be most relatable. Not that The Voice is immune to melodrama. (Did you catch that contestant who survived a fall from a 35 foot tall building? How’d that happen?) But it’s nice to see a North Dakotan lady deal with regular North-Dakotan-lady issues once in a while.
Too bad Gwen also sings like a regular North Dakotan lady. I like her version of Sugarland’s “Stay,” but not half as much as Blake does. “I’m your country guy, I’m your man,” he promises. And she’s his country woman. “Blake,” she replies, “I would be honored to be on your team.”
NEXT: Why are older singers better than younger singers? Because older singers know Chaka Khan.
Around mid-way through this marathon episode, The Voice pauses to remind us of its very special message. Remember when they said that the show puts talent before looks? Well, now they’re proving it to us. First they introduce Kim Yarbrough, who’s 50 years old and wants to talk about how she can do anything the young’uns can do, and more. Then, just in case you don’t believe her, the camera cuts to midriff-baring 28-year-old Pamela Rose, who sings a slightly off-key version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone”—and gets no love from the coaches. The hot young girl gets eliminated. For middle-aged ladies, this is justice!
Cut back to Kim, who gets deep into the funk of Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good” and inspires a bidding bar between Adam and Christina. After some bickering, Adam scores a surprise win, and makes a little yoga prayer gesture with his hands. For aspiring rock-star yogis, this is justice!
Another inspirational moment comes when Air Force staff sergeant Angie Johnson belts out a scalding rendition of Pat Benetar’s “Heartbreaker.” Now, this is a brave woman who’s gone through seven deployments to the Middle East and has endlessly boosted troops’ morale with her Air Force band. You know what most inspires her? As she puts it, “Carson Daly just called me hot!”
Cee Lo’s the only one to turn his chair around for Angie, but that makes me like him more. The guy’s not afraid to take real risks. Like wearing those ridiculously giant sunglasses. (“Are you as beautiful as I think you are?” he asks Angie. “Wait a minute, lemme put on my reading glasses…”) And yet, she only gives Cee Lo a half-hug for drafting her to his team. Most of her love is reserved for Carson, to whom she gushes about her win: “It’s because of you!” Cue the tiny hearts bubbling up from her eyes.
NEXT: The coolest haircut ever. (Hint: It’s not Christina’s.)
My personal highlight of the night? Lindsey Pavao of the bands Boxes and A Colourado. I loved her awesomely unique, near-growling voice almost as much as her stylish, half-shaved, Girls That Look Like Skrillex haircut. And her decision to sing Trey Songz’s “Say Ahhh,” takes the prize for the most original song choice. (It’s no coincidence that nearly everyone who gets eliminated tonight has a totally overplayed or deeply lame song choice. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”? “Calling All Angels”? “I Want It That Way”? C’mon!)
Everyone except Adam agrees. Voice? Cool. Hair? Even cooler. Though Christina feels like someone might be copping her style. “Hey! Swept to one side?” Xtina says, pointing to her own hair. “Whaaaat?” But Lindsey chooses Christina anyway, maybe because they’re kinda like twins, or maybe because Christina tells her, “We’d have an amazing time experimenting.” Whaaat?
Wrapping up the night are Angel Taylor and Jermaine Paul, the latter of whom is a former back-up singer for Alicia Keys. Jermaine aces a smooth, confident R&B twist on Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated.” “With my back turned,” insists Cee Lo, “I could hear the swag.” Cee Lo wants Jermaine, but does he need him? Will he keep him? Finding Cee Lo unable to provide a satisfying answer to such questions, Jermaine opts for Team Shelton, wanting to work “one tall brother to another.” For the time being, Blake gets the laughing and pointing rights.
Wanting and needing and keeping are not so essential in Angel’s case. Though the judges are intrigued by her take on Adele’s “Someone Like You”—everyone picks her except Christina—their praise is hedged. “That’s a tough one, and you were nervous in the beginning, and it wasn’t so great,” admits Adam. But Angel likes honesty. She picks Adam. But not before confessing, “Blake Shelton, I have a massive crush on you.” Get in line, girl. Right behind Adam.
By the end of TWO FULL HOURS of Voice glory (deep breath!), we’re remembering plenty of very talented singers, but only one or two breakout stars. (I’ve still got high hopes for Lindsey Pavao.) Is this a case of being fooled by flash and boobs? Well, I could’ve used a little more flash tonight. (And maybe a little less boobs, though Christina always rocks those awesomely glam outfits they’re trying so hard to escape from.) Still, I’m dying to hear who your favorites are in the comments. And I can’t wait until we get to the elimination rounds. Okay, Jermaine? I want it. I need it. And until the season’s over, I’ll keep it around.