We met our first five artists last night…now The Voice is back with the second round of blind auditions. The bar for season two continues to rise.
Before we get underway, we get the much-talked about Prince medley, and it’s worth all the talk and then some. I heard this in January and I still love it tonight, from the fun of “1999” to Adam’s incredibly smooth vocals to Cee Lo’s erm, unique wardrobe. The coaches sound great and they look like they’re having a blast, which definitely rubs off on the audience. Seriously, if these coaches weren’t so busy with their own individual careers, I would plead for them to form a supergroup.
Ultimately, though, this show isn’t about our coaches. It’s time to meet more artists. Our first audition is from a Nashville-based country duo called The Line, who met when he hit on her (but they aren’t a couple, unlike last season’s Elenowen). Their banter is cute, and they do “American Girl” pretty well. Blake is the first to hit his button, and seems surprised to find out they’re a duo. Adam’s singing along again, but he’s the last to hit his button behind Christina and then Cee Lo, and he looks a little reluctant to get involved. But this makes our third four-chair turnaround of season two. “What the hell?” Blake exclaims at the sudden onslaughter of competition. Ultimately, the duo chooses Christina as their coach. An unhappy Blake says he thinks they were “fooled by flash…and boobs.”
Next to sing is New York native Jamar Rogers, who got his envelope hand-delivered to him by Carson while Jamar, an ex-meth addict who is HIV-positive, was doing volunteer work. His is another fantastic story, that’s for sure, and he does a pretty darn good rendition of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” Jamar calls Cee Lo his “personal idol,” and he’s thrilled when Cee Lo pushes his button for him. He’s the only coach to do so, but that’s because the writing’s on the wall: Adam admits that he didn’t push his button because he thought Cee Lo and Jamar would be a “match made in heaven.” I’m not necessarily a fan of Jamar’s sound, but I really do love the guy’s story and personality, and I hope he has a blast on Team Red Zone.
Following Jamar is Neal Middleton, described as a “rock and roll family man,” which just reminds me of season one’s Jared Blake. I don’t think Jared fell off a building, though. Neal rocks out on “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” but while the coaches don’t think he’s bad, they can’t convince each other to bite, leaving Neal to get consoled by his wife and Carson. This leads right into another clip show of failed auditions.
37-year-old Gwen Sebastian is the next voice up, and she has a really supportive boyfriend who, being a drummer, understands her passion for music. They’ve put aside getting married and having kids so that she can pursue her dreams. It takes a bit, but Blake hits his button for her, and Cee Lo follows suit. At the very last second, Adam decides to join the party, which makes Blake call him and Cee Lo “bastards.” Adam throws in a little “yay” at the end of his pitch, which shows just how cute he is under all the body ink. Despite listening to Adam’s music “constantly,” Gwen goes with Blake.
Then there’s a weird moment: the show tries to create suspense by reminding us that Adam has yet to add an artist to his team tonight, but it fizzles instantly when the next words out of Carson’s mouth are how there’s a performance coming that gets him out of his chair. Whoops.
Gwen is followed by28-year-old Florida native Pamela Rose, who comes with Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” which amuses me since Kelly is one of Blake’s advisors this season. Unfortunately for Pamela, nobody turns around for her, although Cee Lo immediately regrets not doing so. However, when you hear Blake’s simple (and polite) explanation for why he didn’t pick her, it makes perfect sense. That’s why he’s sitting in that big red chair and I’m not.
After Pamela is the 50-year-old Kim Yarbrough, who’s still looking for her big break. But hey, if Beverly McClellan can bring the house down, why not, right? From the first moment, Kim has our coaches’ attention, and she wrings all the soul out of “Tell Me Something Good.” Everyone starts looking at Cee Lo, but it’s Adam who makes the first move, and Christina follows after him. “We’re going to fight over you like children,” Adam tells Kim. Blake chimes in to help his buddy Adam, pointing out that Adam won season one, and Kim does join Team Adam.
Next we meet Air Force Staff Sergeant Angie Johnson, whom you may have heard of when she wowed Carson with her version of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” He was so impressed by her that he pushed for her to get an audition on the show. No matter what you think of Carson otherwise, you have to admit that’s pretty sweet. Angie rocks out on Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” and she sounds a lot better than I ever did singing it. When Cee Lo turns around for her, even Carson freaks out, but Team Red Zone gets Angie uncontested. Still, I’m glad she’s part of the competition.
Ivy League football player Dez Duron is the next to sing. His father won a Grammy, and he breaks out the Backstreet Boys, which makes the girls in the studio swoon so much that Adam has to signal them to shush so he can hear. Everyone tries to convince Adam to push his button, but my coach has been very picky this season, and he doesn’t budge. I can understand why, though: the competition is tougher, and it did sort of feel like the musical equivalent of typecasting, whatever that would be called. Unfortunately for Dez, everyone else was waiting on Adam, so they don’t turn either and he’s sent home.
Up next is Lindsey Pavao, another singer whose blind audition was leaked before the premiere. There’s a quality to her voice that almost reminds me of Xenia at points. Christina is the first to turn for Lindsey, followed by Cee Lo and then Blake. Adam is the lone holdout. Lindsey chooses to join Team Christina.
25-year-old Hoja Lopez takes the stage after Lindsey, singing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” also known as one of the most over-sung songs from season one. That might be part of why she strikes out, although the other part of it is that she’s just not fantastic, and you have to be fantastic to move forward on The Voice.
Jermaine Paul sang backup for Alicia Keys, who’s taped a good luck message for him. He shows up with “Complicated,” which I didn’t like when Avril Lavigne sang it, but he makes it listenable to me. It’s no surprise that Cee Lo hits his button. It is a surprise that Blake goes, and that Adam, who seemed to be grooving, doesn’t. Jermaine is proactive, wanting to know who’s going to “keep” him on their team (meaning past the next round). Blake takes him down a notch, pointing out that Jermaine’s “still got a lot of work to do.” And surprisingly, Jermaine joins Team Blake. That should be a fun relationship to watch (this year’s Adam Levine and Casey Weston, anyone?).
Our last audition of the night is from Angel Taylor, who talks about music as her escape from a difficult childhood. She takes on Adele’s “Someone Like You,” which is a gutsy move considering how beloved Adele is at the moment. Adam hits his button for her first, but Blake decides he wants a piece of the action as well, and Cee Lo follows soon afterward. Backstage, Angel’s mom about has a heart attack. Angel admits she has a “massive crush” on Blake, that I completely understand, but it doesn’t help him, because she joins Team Adam. Blake is mortally wounded.
What a night, huh? Here are some statistics from this episode:
Number of times Adam mentions that his team won last year: 1 (+1 from Blake) (4 total this season)
Number of times Adam swears: 3 (6 total this season)
Number of times someone says they were the first to hit their button: 1
Number of appearances by Purrfect the Cat: 1 (2 total this season)
We’ve got two more weeks of blind auditions before our 48 artists are set. See you next Monday!
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.