“The Voice” didn’t waste much time in airing its second episode — and less than 24 hours after the post-Super Bowl spectacular, we found ourselves smiling from year to year throughout most of these blind auditions.
Once again, we were treated to a show without ridiculous camera shows of jam-packed stadiums, people stressed as the Statue of Liberty, or Nicole Scherzinger changing her accent depending on what city she was in — and save from the opening performance that really proved yet again that our four coaches sound better individually than as a group, there were no gimmicks to distract from the actual auditions.
With that, here’s some of the stellar talent that was showed off this time.
The Line – They’re not dating … but they are somehow bother brother / sister and an old married couple at the same time. This is literally how this country duo decided to introduce themselves during the show — and thankfully, their music was far less confusing.
Does anyone else think this group was better than anything we saw on “The X Factor” this past season? We loved their chemistry, their blending, and they fact that they actually did not go the predictable route and choose Blake Shelton as their coach. Instead, we have someone in Christina Aguilera who could push them to have a unique sound — though we have a hard time thinking she can make them appear less adorable.
Jamar Rogers – Speaking of “The X Factor,” introducing this show’s Chris Rene! Jamar is a recovering addict, but he has been clean for six years — unlike Rene, who was close to being straight out of rehab. Rogers is also HIV-positive, but is trying to make something of his life by giving back. We’ve also never seen anyone so excited to meet Carson Daly — or someone on this show who idolizes Cee Lo Green to such an extent.
When it comes to his performance, we’re honestly a little shocked that Cee Lo was the only judge to turn around. “Seven Nation Army” is a song that is actually not too overplayed on talent shows, and his vocal range was strong even if he did occasionally try to do too much. Then again, we also had the advantage of seeing the guy totally command the stage life some sort of insane ringmaster. The only thing better than this? The look on his face when Cee Lo did add him to his team. (On a separate note, what’s with Cee Lo’s cat? Is he suddenly The Claw from “Inspector Gadget”?)
Neal Middleton – Based on his hat, we’ve come to the assumption that Neal really wants to be Slash. As a father, he’s the rocker equivalent of Javier Colon. He also came in saying that this show was his last chance to really fulfill his dream.
Unfortunately for him, his last chance ended up falling short and he won’t end up being the next Javier. We actually thought his audition would have made it through on some other shows, but it showed that the coaches here are having a little maturity in that they don’t just want a guy who sounds like David Cook or what’s already out in the marketplace. With this, “The Voice” coaches have already developed a knack for being the hardest panel on TV while smiling at every second.
Gwen Sebastian – When we saw Gwen introduce herself with her streaked her and her boyfriend that looked like he was about to melt someone’s face off, we seriously thought she was going to be rock. Then, she ended up having a silky, soulful country voice with so much character to it.
We really didn’t see much of Gwen’s story outside of the fact that she was choosing music over starting a family, but that’s all right — with her North Dakota accent, she had a personality that didn’t force her into a sad narrative. Everyone except for Christina turned their chairs around, and after some good arguments (and a bizarre focus on Cee Lo’s chest hair), she ultimately stuck with her country roots with Blake.
Pamela Rose – We’re really not sure what Pamela showed up wearing to this audition, mostly because it seemed as though it was reminiscent of about three different eras. Unfortunately, the vocals of this hopeful were also a bit all over the place. Pitch-wise, Pamela was probably the weakest audition we’d heard at this point in the show, and the coaches rightfully decided not to spin around. With that being said, Cee Lo apparently wants her phone number … so there’s that.
Kim Yarbrough – Kim is one of the oldest singers in the competition, but despite being 50 she did not appear too jaded about the industry. Instead, she was refreshingly light-hearted about some of her past jobs including working security at a Dave Matthews Band concert.
As for her actual audition, Kim was one giant party. Her rendition of “Tell Me Something Good” got Adam Levine up on his feet, and then the epic battle between him and Christina (which basically consisted of the two parties saying that she could sing the phone book in a terrifying display of patronizing behavior) begun. Considering how excited Adam was for her, we’re completely over the moon that she picked him.
Angie Johnson – We don’t see many female veterans audition for reality shows, so Angie was a pretty interesting story. She played in an Air Force band, and she’s also the soldier from the famous cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” (below) that led to Carson giving her an invitation to the show.
Luckily, Cee Lo saved her spot on the show by turning over his chair. She picked a near-impossible song to audition with in “Heartbreaker,” and the heavy instrumentation took away some of the charm that was in her YouTube cover. Nonetheless, she managed to stay in pitch the entire song — and we’re sure that her new coach is going to find a way to channel that military confidence into a serious force to be reckoned with.
Dez Duron – A football player and a Yale student, Dez literally is trying to give it all up in order to pursue a career in music. It’s a bold move, in particular since this show does not have a (cue Steve Jones) $5 million recording contract.
At this point in time, we are really wondering whether or not Dez actually regrets auditioning to “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys — he sang it well, but some of the testosterone-heavy male judges took this as a sign to not take him seriously. Meanwhile, Christina also couldn’t muster the courage to press her buzzer and he is out.
Lindsey Paveo – Can we call her the Inventor? She had an aspiration to create things as a kid, and her big story was that she has a serious problem with nerves a la Xenia from last season of the show — she’s choked on stage before, and she thinks she could do it again.
Thankfully, this didn’t happen and she actually sounded like a more vocally-prominent version of Xenia, and she is (dare we say) … inventive? She actually sings like she’s British, and she performed a hit by Trey Songz like it was something that Fiona Apple would actually sing. Her choice was ultimately Christina, opting to go with someone who doesn’t want to throw many frills on top of her voice.
Hoja Lopez a.k.a. “I want to paint stuff” – She’s got a great sense of humor, and we really wish we saw more of that during her performance. We are noticing a trend with this show — whenever a contestant is cut into footage of another contestant, this person doesn’t get picked. This happened to Hoja, as we were forced to remember Jermaine Paul through this whole audition.
Jermaine Paul – A background vocalist for Alicia Keys, Jermaine has actually opened for the “Empire State of Mind” at various locales around the world. In other words, he’s had an opportunity to really learn how to be a star from someone who already knows what it is all about. (This is one of the reasons why we need this show!)
Cee Lo literally claimed that this performance “sounded like swag,” and we agree — though Jermaine may have a little too much “swag” for his own good. Should a contestant really try to demand that he is kept around on a team? He challenged Cee Lo and Blake more than any contestant has on this show before — but he ultimately went with the latter to be his coach.
Angel Taylor – We didn’t get much of Taylor’s background despite some hints at a troubled past, but she may have given one of the best covers of Adele’s “Someone Like You” that we have heard — and it’s fair to say, we have heard around two million covers of this song.
Despite Blake giving himself a standing ovation pretty much every time someone revealed how attractive he was, Angel went against her crush and picked Adam — the first person who turned — to be her coach on the show.
Luckily, each coach picked up two acts over the course of the two hours, and now we have a much-needed break again to get excited about all the excitement and self-congratulation that will come around next week.
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