Just under 38 million viewers tuned in for “The Voice” last night. How many will return for Night 2? Who knows!
Let’s get down to the Blind Audition business… After the break…
8:01 p.m. ET. We’re starting Monday (February 6) night’s show with a lengthy recap of Sunday’s telecast, which is what you have to do if you’re going to fill a full two hours.
8:03 p.m. Also helpful in filling time? A full two-minute preview of tonight’s show.
8:04 p.m. We kick off with our four mentors singing’s Prince’s greatest hits. I’d forgotten, but we saw this at the Television Critics Association press tour last month. So I’ve already made jokes about the spiked mine on Christina Aguilera’s head and Cee-Loo Green’s ruby pajamas, which suggest his latest effort to be cast as a spectacularly flamboyant, weirdly shaped James Bond villain.
8:04 p.m. “Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to SING!”
8:08 p.m. Our first blind audition tonight is with The Line, Halley and Leland. They met when Leland hit on her, but they’re not a couple now. At all. They debate whether they’re more like an old married couple or brother-and-sister. I’m not especially impressed by them, but Blake presses his button very early on. It seems like the other judges are having some sort of debate as to whether they’re hearing a duo, a trio or one spectacularly confused solo artist. Christina and Cee-Lo are both won over when Halley and Leland starting clapping. And even Adam buzzes in, proving that three out of four “Voice” mentors are easily swayed by on-stage clapping. It’s not that The Line was bad, but were they “Four Chairs” good? Adam loves their energy. Cee-Lo loves their compatibility and accuses them of having a “musical connection.” Christina says she knows “amazing” when she hears it. Christina also reminds The Line that Blake had a “duet” (she means “duo”) and didn’t help them. Blake mentions his wife. Adam and Christina mock him for mentioning his wife. Bicker, bicker, bicker. I can’t tell if the judges are more like brothers-and-sister or an old married triad. Halley and Leland don’t know what to do… So naturally, they go with Christina, who points, cackles and looks like nothing so much as The Wicked Munchkin of The West. “I think they were fooled by flash and boobs,” Blake observes.
8:18 p.m. Premise reminder.
8:18 p.m. Jamar Rogers got clean off of crystal meth six years ago. He was also homeless. He’s also HIV positive. Well-played Jamar. Your backstory makes Chris Rene look as privileged as a Kardashian. Carson Daly sneaks up behind Jamar and gives him his golden ticket and Jamar shows up for his audition already talking about how Cee-Lo is his Idol. He’s rocking a little “Seven Nation Army,” which is a pretty cool song choice. Oh and he’s also about 500-times better, vocally at least, than America’s favorite “X Factor” meth addict. He’s good, but none of the judges are pressing their buttons. WHEW. Cee-Lo is a late button pusher. Good for Jamar. He got his Idol. What more could you ask for? Jamar immediately makes it clear that he’s not a Cee-Lo-Fan-Come-Lately. He liked Cee-Lo before it was cool. The judges who didn’t push their buttons are all relieved they didn’t push their buttons. “You remind me of each other,” Adam says.
8:24 p.m. So Cee-Lo gets handed a cat between auditions? Just because he’s Cee-Lo? That’s kinda crazy. And kinda Cee-Lo. Anyway, Jamar’s pretty pleased with this turn of event.
8:26 p.m. Hi Christina Milian!
8:28 p.m. Next talking head segment, Cee-Lo should be petting a pot-bellied pig. Then perhaps stroking a python.
8:30 p.m. Neal Middleton likes singing. He also likes funny hats. “I’m 33 years old and I don’t have health insurance,” Neal says. But that’s not all. He fell off a 35-foot building and was told he’d be paralyzed for the rest of his life. He was not. I sall call him, “Faux Bice.” Neal rocks his way through “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” He’s… so-so. He’s no California Raisins. And the judges know it. Nobody turns around. But that’s only because they don’t know he’s wearing a funny hat. “That was an interesting rendition of that record,” Cee-Lo says. Adam loved the performance and Neal’s wife is all “Why didn’t you turn around?” Christina and Blake agree that there wasn’t enough variation. And now I’ll never get to use “Faux Bice” again.
8:35 p.m. Several more singers didn’t get selected. I’m especially relieved that the Gavin DeGraw wannabe was politely discouraged from wanting to be Gavin DeGraw on this show.
8:40 p.m. Meet 37-year-old Gwen Sebastian. She’s in love with her drummer. She’s amazed that he’s sacrificing for her. Right now, she’s specifically sacrificing having a baby. Gwen has a nice baby-doll coo that opens up into a bigger voice as she gets a bit further in. It’s probably a product of the song, of course, but the whole thing is too buttoned down to elicit passion from the audience, at least not immediately. Finally, Blake gives in and pushes his button. And then Cee-Lo buzzes in. And having waited til the very end, Adam swoops in and makes it a trio. Gwen desperately needs to stop parodying people from North Dakota. It makes her seem like she’s an Amy Sedaris character and not an actual human. Blake says Gwen is a great country vocalist and he is, as you know, “the country guy.” Has Blake given up entirely? Is he only buzzing for people who will accept his “I’m a country guy” pitch? Adam suggests she may want a fresh perspective. Cee-Lo thought Gwen’s voice was considerate and kind. Gwen listens to Adam constantly, but her heart is country, so she goes with Blake.
8:50 p.m. Carson Daly reminds us that this is, “A competition where it’s not about what you look like or your age.” Yawn. Anyway, on to 50-year-old Kim Yarborough, who worked at a potato chip factor and did security for Dave Matthews Band. She has no issues with being 50.
8:52 p.m. Wait. Apparently we aren’t doing anything with Kim, because we’re skipping straight to Pamela Ross, whose mom tells her she has a beautiful soul. She also has a relatively beautiful face, but that’s not what “The Voice” is about. Not at all. Pamela gets off to a rough and nasally start on “Already Gone.” Surely this is going to get better, right? Or was that misleading editing before the break where it looked like the judges were praising her? She’s really weak and Christina Aguilera is getting uncomfortable listening to her. I think the “Voice” producers are sacrificing this poor, awful girl to prove that their show isn’t about pretty people. “Definitely I’m very disappointed,” Cee-Lo says when he see Pamela. Adam congratulates Pamela on her prettiness. The mentors are all rationalizing their decision not to advocate on the behalf of the girl who couldn’t sing.
9:01 p.m. After that brief interruption having our superficiality tested, it’s really time for Kim Yarborough, who launches into a sassy version of “Tell Me Something Good.” The performance is pure drag, without nearly as much singing as I’d personally like. But if you love grunting and deep breathing, Kim’s the artist for you. Adam turns around first, followed by Christina. “I turned around and I was like, ‘Yes. That is what I wanted to see,'” Adam says. Christina thinks Kim is a force to be reckoned with. “You guys must be feeling stupid,” Adam tells his fellow mentors confusingly. Blake decides to help Kim, by reminding her that Adam won last year. Kim asks how the mentors see her. Both mentors agree there are no limitations. Kim selects Adam. Christina’s disappointed she didn’t reason with Kim cleavage-to-cleavage.
9:06 p.m. Angie Johnson enlisted in the Air Force and found her way into the Air Force Band. She’s had seven Middle Eastern deployments, but she’s better known for singing “Rolling in the Deep” on YouTube. She’s very proud that she got friend requests from countries she’d never heard of previously. I hope that she promptly looked those countries up. [Oh and Angie’s hot. But that’s not what this show is about and definitely not related to the success of her YouTube clip. Definitely.] She’s doing “Heartbreaker” for this audition. She’s shout-y, but she has a lot of stage confidence. Cee-Lo turns around very quickly. Christina’s hand hovers over her buzzer, perhaps waiting for something that isn’t just yelling. But even when Angie hits the last note totally, nobody else competes with Cee-Lo. That was a great last note and it nearly got Blake to buzz. “Are you as beautiful as I think you are?” Cee-Lo asks, changing into a gigantic pair of prop sunglasses to make sure. “I picked her. I’m the only one who picked her. She belongs to me,” Cee-Lo says, as Christina praises Angie for being on pitch.
9:15 p.m. I wish NBC didn’t have to show every key plot point of “Awake” to sell it.
9:16 p.m. Yale football player Dez Duron has funny hair. [I’ll leave it for you to Google and see how much of a stretch it is to call Dez a “Yale football player.”] Dez launches into a nasally karaoke version of “I Want It That Way.” Apparently he’s on the JV for “The Voice” as well. Everybody wants Adam to press his buzzer, but he’s resistant. Nobody turns around for poor Dez. If this were 1994, he’d be huge. Upon seeing him,. Christina Aguilera pushes her button ineffectually. They all blame Adam Levine for not picking him, but Adam thinks that it wasn’t a good stylistic fit. “How adorable are you? But you already know that,” Christina says. Adam is frustrated. He doesn’t know how to distinguish between good singers and bad singers anymore. Carson Daly mutters a few more sports metaphors.
9:25 p.m. It’s time for another singer to stand up on her voice alone, including Lindsey Pavao, who definitely isn’t attractive. Nope. Not at all hot. [Dislaimer: Lindsey is very attractive. But clearly nobody’s basing their decisions on that. Definitely not the producers who HAND-PICK THE PEOPLE FOR THE BLIND AUDITIONS.] Pavao also has a quirky, playfully strong voice as she does “Say Aah.” She’s a bit mumbly, but she can sing and she has total Katy Perry eyes. Christina turns around fast, followed by Adam and then Blake. Lindsey’s definitely my favorite performer tonight. Only Adam doesn’t turn around. “I love your voice,” Blake says. “And your hair is badass,” adds Blake. Christina points out that she and Lindsey have similar hair. Blake simultaneously thinks Lindsey is unique, but sounds like Fiona Apple. Christina just wants to play with Lindsey. “That’s weird,” Blake interjects. “It’s probably the coolest thing that’s happened on the second season so far,” Cee-Lo says. “You’re all so amazing,” Lindsey says. She selects… Christina. That feels like a mistake, since Cee-Lo would have been more likely to cultivate her eccentric side.
9:36 p.m. Alicia Keys liked Jermaine Paul enough to make him a background singer, but now he’s ready to be a foreground singer. Alicia even sent Jermaine a message.
9:37 p.m. I don’t like this. Instead of hearing from Jermaine, we’re actually skipping ahead to Hoja Lopez, who comes from a brainy family, but represents her family’s artistic side. Hoja’s do a weirdly affected version of “Teenage Dream.” She has a good voice, but the way she’s using it on this performance is kinda ridiculous. You could work with Hoja and make her better, but in this format? Nobody’s going to pay attention to the potential for growth. All they know is that it was weird. Adam thinks it was nerves that did Hoja in.
9:44 p.m. Remember Jermaine Paul? NOW is his time. Wouldn’t it be funny if Alicia Keys had bad taste in background singers and Jermaine turned out to stink? I think it’d be funny. Actually, at least initially it’s not funny, because Jermaine’s version of “Complicated” sounds really whiny and mediocre. Finally he gets to the chorus and it’s better, but still really shout-y. Cee-Lo buzzes in. Blake decides he likes the yelling as well. That was not worth the build-up. Jermaine’s not THAT good. But he sure thinks a lot of himself, bantering with Cee-Lo about how he wants to be kept, not just added to a team. Blake insists that being kept is up to Jermaine and he won’t make any promises. “That’s something that Adam would say, which is a lie,” Blake says. I don’t care for Jermaine at all, but I like that he’s made Blake fight for somebody who isn’t a country singer. And Jermaine respects the effort, picking Blake. That makes me like Jermaine a bit more.
9:54 p.m. Last segment. Get ready to sob.
9:54 p.m. We’re closing with Angel Taylor, whose father was abusive. When Angel was 12, her mother told her to pack up and they left. Music has helped her find “hope in the madness.” Angel has decided that Adele’s “Someone Like You” is too subtle and that it needed more vibrato and a strange hand gesture that looks like the cocking of a rifle. When Angel gets to the chorus, she sounds a bit better. It’s still a pretty pale imitation. The judges all turn. Adam begins by saying that Angel wasn’t so good in the beginning, but got better. Blake disagrees about the beginning, but Adam insists on honesty. Cee-Lo liked Angel’s low register. He can like that if he wants to. Angel has a massive crush on Blake, so she asks what he has to offer. “I don’t know what I can do for you, but I’ll be damn proud to try,” Blake responds. Adam, however, knows exactly what he’d do for Angel, since he won last year. “Cocky rock stars,” Blake says. Angel decides to go with Adam. But at least she gets a hug from Blake.
Who’d you like tonight?