Last season on The Voice, we’d be finished with blind auditions now; this year, we’re into our third night of team selection.
Leading off the night is someone else who’s struggled with image issues in the past: Houston-based folk singer Sarah Golden, whose sound catches the attention of Cee Lo. Blake decides to give him a little competition at the last moment. Christina seems to spend a moment inspecting her manicure. Cee Lo tells Sarah she can’t handle them both, and while Adam’s laughing at that, she goes with Team Red Zone. “Cee Lo is normally asleep during the show,” Blake gripes afterward. “He passes out, and he wakes up in time to blurt out something from Cee Lo Land.”
Following Sarah is 19-year-old Elley Duhe, who dropped out of school in her senior year to pursue music. She comes with her rendition of Duffy’s “Mercy,” which seems like an unwise choice; it’s a very specific sound and not an easy song to tackle. The only thing that really impresses me about her performance is her strong last note. I can’t say that I’m surprised that no one turns for her, although Adam does his best to reassure her when it’s all over, and she gets a hug from Christina and a handshake from Blake on her way out.
Then we come to 19-year-old Pip – yes, the dude goes by one name and he thinks bow ties are cool. I’ll disagree with him on that point, but the kid can sing. From his first notes into “House of the Rising Sun,” he’s got the coaches’ attention, and Adam slams his button pretty quickly. Blake is the second to go, then Christina and Cee Lo follow suit, making this our first four-chair turnaround of the evening and fourth of this season (already doubling the number we had last year). “I can really focus on the fact that you’re a guy,” Blake tells him. The coaches land some low blows amongst themselves, but it’s my team that wins, as Pip joins Team Adam.
It’s going to be hard to follow that, but Erin Willett has to. She belts out “I Want You Back” and has the attention of the audience pretty quickly, but it takes her a bit longer to garner the coaches’ ears. Blake ends up practically salivating over being the only one to turn around for her. “You’re on my team whether you like it or not,” he quips.
We next hear from 28-year-old Texan David Grace (man, there are a lot of singers on this show who’ve got Texas connections!), who has the guts to sing the rock classic “Sweet Home Alabama.” Christina’s looking at Blake, who starts yelling at Adam, who’s pointing back at Blake. In the end, they spend so long trying to convince each other that nobody pushes their button.
Carson and his Kia Optima (yay, product placement!) swing by Hollywood & Highland to give 34-year-old Katrina Parker her invite to blind auditions. Her rendition of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” actually makes me stop loathing the song, so I’m happy to see Adam push his button for her. “I win,” he declares with that adorable grin on his face, and indeed he does, as he gets her uncontested. “Adam is the most picky of the four coaches,” Carson tells Katrina backstage, putting it into perspective, while Adam tells Christina he’s shocked that she didn’t fight him.
Next is 51-year-old Geoff McBride, who’s wearing sunglasses due to a torn retina he sustained while boxing. His father was a singer, although he passed when Geoff was only six years old. Dad would definitely be proud of Geoff’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” which draws Christina’s attention while Cee Lo tries to motivate Adam to push his button. When Adam doesn’t, Cee Lo decides to do it himself. Geoff wonders why it took Cee Lo so long to turn around, though, and ends up choosing Christina as his coach.
28-year-old former model Erin Martin is next, describing herself as an “Egyptian warrior princess,” and giving us her take on the Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah.” Blake hears the Xenia-esque sound in her voice and hits his button, with Cee Lo following after him. “I didn’t even know you guys turned around!” she exclaims, laughing. Adam calls himself “confused and a little bit scared” by Erin’s sound, but it doesn’t matter, because he didn’t pick her. She joins Team Cee Lo.
Boston native James Massone follows Erin, wanting to escape his day job and chase his dream. His version of “Find Your Love” throws the coaches. Christina and Blake turn almost simultaneously, followed by Cee Lo. Adam thinks about it, but elects not to get involved in the competition. That doesn’t stop him from blurting out “He’s white!” in disbelief. An overwhelmed James chooses Cee Lo, and gets a hug from Adam on his way out the door.
Carson’s at the Lucky Strike bowling alley at L.A. Live, but he’s not bowling (that’s a shame, because I think it’d be kind of hilarious to watch a Team Voice bowling competition). He’s there to visit Winter Rae, who’s got bright blue hair and enough metal in her ears to set off a metal detector. You’d think this would make her a rocker, yet she’s a Mariah Carey fan who name drops that she’s buddies with Perez Hilton. She comes out with an interesting rendition of “Take A Bow,” but can’t get anyone to turn around. “There’s no reason for you to lose belief in yourself at all,” Adam tells her, reminding her that the coaches have all experienced rejection in their careers.
Chris Cauley comes up next, with his spin on Bruno Mars’ hit “Grenade.” It’s not bad, but I don’t feel the earnestness of the original version. Still, he’s good – and good enough to get Cee Lo and Adam to turn around. Blake chimes in with what I think is a half-endorsement of Adam. Chris suggests Adam and Cee Lo arm wrestle for him, but eventually joins Team Adam. (Adam then tweets that while he couldn’t arm wrestle Cee Lo, he could probably take Purrfect the Cat. Only Adam Levine would talk about arm wrestling a cat.)
Adam also picks up Nathan Parrott, while Blake grabs Brian Fuente, and Christina snags the show’s first MC, Moses Stone. Once again, I’m baffled by how we don’t get to see the complete blind auditions of artists who have made teams (remember Casey Desmond last year?). If they were good enough to make the show, shouldn’t they be good enough to let us see their whole auditions? Especially when one of them is in a genre we’ve never seen before? Alas, time constraints foil us again.
Our last artist of the night is the awesomely named Jordis Unga. Adam loves the song she selects (The Beatles’ “Maybe I’m Amazed”), but surprisingly, he’s the only coach who doesn’t turn for her. “I am the A-hole who didn’t pick you,” he tells her. Blake makes a pitch that even impresses Adam, and points out that Dia Frampton is on tour with him at the moment. Jordis wants to know who’s going to “take me to the end of this thing,” and our coaches wisely avoid making promises. Blake’s being the first one to turn ends up netting him Jordis.
Perhaps the real surprise is that the Adam Levine Profanity Counter stays steady this time out. Did you enjoy this round of auditions as much as I did? Here are some statistics from this episode:
Number of times Adam mentions that his team won last year: 1 (5 total this season)
Number of times Adam swears: 0 (6 total this season)
Number of times Christina swears: 1 (1 total this season)
Number of times Blake swears: 1 (1 total this season)
Number of times someone says that they were the first to hit their button: 2
Number of appearances by Purrfect the Cat: 3 (5 total this season)
We’re now three-quarters of the way through blind auditions, and there are just a handful of spots left. Who will earn them? Find out next Monday!