Starting the second episode of NBC’s “The Voice” with a Prince medley by the coaches — the most bizarre quartet ever — was nothing short of genius. Blake Shelton putting a country spin on “Kiss” was bizarrely satisfying and featuring super-suave Cee Lo Green on “Little Red Corvette” was perfect for the “Red Zone” coach.
But the most obvious winner in that choice was Adam Levine, whom one could argue is sort of the white Prince. Think about it — he may try to pass himself off in Maroon 5 videos as some badass with exploding cars and his rather notorious reputation with the ladies, but the macho man thing sort of falls to pieces with that girly voice. But like The One in Purple, chicks dig him anyway, and he has Prince’s falsetto swagger in spades. But unlike Prince, he doesn’t have to wear platform shoes. And he shops in the men’s department.
Anyway, let’s talk auditions for episode 2. We started off with a male/female duo called The Line singing “American Girl.” Shelton was wanting them, in the worst way. But all four coaches turned their chairs, and so the mud-slinging at the playground began.
Christina Aguilera pointed out that Shelton had a duo last year … and sent them home. So he countered with how he worked with so many female vocalists last year, and in fact, is married to one. That prompted Levine to pipe in and tell him to stop using his wife to get team members. And throughout it all, Green just kept his cool — do you suppose he pre-medicates himself before taping with some Tylenol for all the bickering going on around him?
The poor singers can barely get a word in, it’s getting so competitive up in here.
When Hailey Steele started to discus their choice and comments that all four coaches turned their chairs, Shelton chimed in, “But I turned mine first.”
“The Apprentice” is less competitive than these guys.
The pair chose Aguilera, who was immediately out of her chair taunting each of the other judges individually, and Shelton got one last barb in.
“They ended up going for Christina and I actually feel bad for them for that,” he commented. “I think they were fooled by flash and boobs.”
Oh, Miranda Lambert, you must have the patience of a saint.
Things got a bit more serious as Jamar Rogers prepared to take the stage. He may have overcome a serious crack addiction and homelessness six years ago, but it left him a permanent consequence — he’s HIV positive.
There was no bickering this time as only Green turned his chair, but as luck would have it, Rogers has been a huge fan of Green’s since long before his Gnarls Barkley days, and it was clear the young singer wouldn’t have even considered anyone else as he literally danced for joy onstage.
Shelton added country artist Gwen Sebastian to his team after her stunning rendition of “Stay,” despite all four artists turning their chairs for her.
“You’re tender in the right places and powerful in the right places and it matches the lyrics,” he told her. “I just really think you know what you’re doing.”
Levine may be known for tooling around with leggy blonde supermodels, but he seems to have a thing for the lush ladies of color, as well — who can forget when he told Frenchie Davis last season, “There’s something so beautiful about you.” And tonight when he turned his chair for Kim Yarbrough, he was literally out of his seat, grooving along as she sang.
When she finished, Levine asked her name and when she replied, he told her, “No it’s not, it’s Chaka Khan, baby! It’s like, I turned around and it was like, yes, this is what I wanted to see, baby,” he gushed, before coach Aguilera had a chance to make her case. “This divalicious young lady picked you as well, so we’re going to fight over you like children.”
“You guys must feel stupid,” he chided Green and Shelton.
But Shelton weighed in for his bromance partner, Levine.
“We’re more than happy to help you decide on which one of these coaches you should go with,” said Shelton, prompting some of Aguilera’s fans to heckle him. “Shhh, just shhh … I want to weigh the two for you. Adam won the thing last year. Christina didn’t.”
In the end, Yarbrough — the oldest contestant at 50 — went with Levine. After all those years of struggling, including packing shampoo in boxes, working in a potato chip factory, and even working security for a Dave Matthews concert, the fabulous jaguar will finally get her shot.
Likewise for Air Force band singer Angie Johnson, who can thank Carson Daly himself for her big break. After a camera phone video of her performing “Rolling in the Deep” for troops went viral, “Voice” host Daly picked up on it, and the clip racked up over a million hits in 11 days.
She performed Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” and automatically went to Team Cee Lo when he was the only coach to turn his chair. As you can imagine, Green was quite happy, as he always is when he wins the ladies who are easy on the eyes.
There’s no doubt whether Green is a lover or a fighter.
Aguilera picked up the very unique Lindsay Pavao, who put her unique spin on Trey Songz “Say Aah,” reminiscent of Dia Frampton’s take on Kanye West’s “Heartless” from season 1. And as Shelton pointed out, has great hair as well.
It’s hard to pick one performance of the night, but Pavao was definitely the most unique.
Rounding out the night, Shelton picked up Alicia Keys’ backup singer Jermaine Paul — and considering he’s the only contestant as physically big as the country star, Shelton best think twice about sending him packing.
And Levine added Angel Taylor to his team, by utilizing his “get in first” strategy, despite Taylor’s confessed crush on Shelton.
You know Levine wasn’t going to let that go by without commenting.
“I can’t blame you for having a crush on Blake, ’cause look at him — he’s tall and handsome …” said Levine, prompting Shelton to stand for kudos from the crowd.
“Thank you, thank you,” Shelton waved to them.
Would you two just rent “Brokeback Mountain” and get a room, already? Sheesh.
Several great contestants didn’t get a coach to turn their chairs for them, but remember — last year they had to bring some back to fil those teams, including semi-finalist Casey Weston. A few we think we might be seeing again: accident survivor Neal Middleton, collegiate cutie Dez Duron, and Pamela Rose, who Green fell in love with, watching her the whole way off the stage.
“I’m gonna miss you,” he said as she left.
We’ll see about that. Don’t miss the next round of auditions as each coach will be picking 12 team members, rather than eight this season, so a lot more spots left to fill. The current count: Team Blake, Team Adam and Team Cee Lo have three each, while Team Christina has four.
“The Voice” airs Mondays on NBC at 8 p.m. ET. Subscribe for updates on the contestants and all the latest video clips. And of course, all the coach drama.