NBC aired three blind auditions during the first week of “The Voice,” but there will be no head-to-head competition between this show and “The X Factor” anytime soon. That means the teams should be roughly half-filled by the end of tonight”s hour. Adam Levine and CeeLo Green both got strong talent last night, so let”s see if Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton can step up their game tonight. Also, let”s pray no one-hit wonders show up to perform said one-hit wonder as their audition song. I”ve had enough of that for an entire season after last night”s Cupid debacle. I shook my head to the left (to the left) and to the right (to the right) far too much after that debacle. My neck is sore.
With that in mind, let”s kick off tonight”s running diary. As always, all times are EST. As always, if the prepackaged sob story that accompanies a contestant is too dull, I will probably just insert the artist inside my in-progress spec script for “Revolution”, which debuted to surprisingly strong numbers last night for NBC. Because why not?
8:02 p.m. Let”s kick things off with our first contestant, Trevanne Howell. She”s a single mother of two from The Bronx. She got pregnant at the age of 17, just before all the lights went out in the world. Luckily, they came back in time for these auditions.
8:03 p.m. She”s singing a Whitney Houston song. Well, go big or go home, I suppose.
8:03 p.m. Howell chooses “I Have Nothing”, not “I Will Always Love You.” Whew, bullet dodged there. It”s quite a lovely take, but you can tell the judges are waiting to see what she does with the chorus before making their decision. Carson Daly is VERY UPSET with Aguilera for not pressing her button. I”m very upset Carson Daly has two shows and yet “Terriers” never got a second season. Life”s hard for us all. In the end, not one coach turns around.
8:05 p.m. Huh. That might be the most surprising non-vote in these early episodes. Aguilera commends her bravery in choosing the song, but felt the vibrato was too shaky. Green felt that Howell”s consistent power actually worked against her, since the performance didn”t have the peaks and valleys of Houston”s original. “You have to be so good to sing that song,” says Levine to Aguilera after Howell leaves the stage, almost trying to convince himself that they did the right thing.
8:10 p.m. Moving on, we meet Collin McLoughlin, which I initially heard as “Kyle McLachlan”. That got this “Twin Peaks” fan way too excited. McLoughlin left business school in order to pursue his passion. If you guessed that his parents were thrilled about that, well, you guessed wrong. “What were you thinking?” asks Carson Daly, Life Coach.
8:12 p.m. Wait, McLoughlin is wearing THAT necklace….and he plays the acoustic guitar…AND he”s performing Cat Stevens” “Wild World”? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. With all that said, it”s still a great rendition of the song. Shelton and Green turn around during the first verse, with Levine pressing his button during the chorus.
8:13 p.m. So, in other words, “Suck it, grad school!”
8:15 p.m. Levine praises McLoughlin”s pitch, saying that it”s one of the purest tones he”s heard on the show this season. Green and Shelton offer up praise as well, but in the form of fairly bland commendation. And maybe that”s why Collin McLoughlin becomes the tenth member of Team Adam. Afterwards, Shelton seems genuinely angry, believing he would have been better suited to nurture McLoughlin”s mellow, acoustic-based musicianship.
8:21 p.m. Oh good, another pretty teenage girl. Just the type of artist to whom “The Voice” and only “The Voice” can give an opportunity to make it big in the music industry. Joselyn Rivera was born was a neurological disorder, and the prescription? More cowbell. No, seriously: The doctor prescribed music in order to help Rivera develop both vocal skills and self-confidence.
8:22 p.m. Rivera takes to the stage to perform Kelly Clarkson”s “Stronger”. She seems to struggle in the early goings, unable to really puncture the air with the notes. But when her voice finally soars halfway through the number, both Aguilera and Shelton press their buttons.
8:24 p.m. Amusingly, Aguilera doesn”t know that Shelton pressed his button, so she initially talks to Rivera as if the two have already been paired up. Aguilera then says she wants Rivera to add “diversity” to her team, which is…an odd thing to say? But I guess it doesn”t matter, because Joselyn Rivera becomes the tenth member of Team Christina. And the first member of Team Diversity, I guess.
8:31 p.m. Up next? Benji, who has a passion for Formula One cars. Unfortunately, he apparently doesn”t have the bank account for Formula One cars. Luckily, no cars worked after the worldwide blackout, after which people started to plant vegetables inside the hoods of automobiles. With a career racing cars no longer a possibility, Benji did the only logical thing: he decided to become a singer. Like ya do.
8:32 p.m. Benji sings what sounds like a Muzak version of Guns N” Roses” arrangement of “Knockin” On Heaven”s Door”. This must be what the dentist”s office in hell sounds like. But Levine loves what he hears, and presses his button within seconds. Once Benji lets out a primal howl mid-song, Green yields and presses his button as well. I really don”t know what either coach heard, but good for this former racecar driver. God forbid he has to try to find a real job.
8:33 p.m. OK, fess up: who stole CeeLo”s shoes?
8:33 p.m. Levine thinks that Benji could win the entire competition. Levine is very wrong. Green praises Benji”s screaming ability. Let me go step on a rusty nail and impress Green before we learn who Benji picks.
8:35 p.m. I”m guessing Levine”s hyperbolic praise sunk in, because Benji becomes the eleventh member of Team Adam.
8:37 p.m. SUCCESSFUL CEELO MONTAGE! Todd Kessler, Ben Taub, and Emily Earle become the eighth, ninth, and tenth member of Team CeeLo, respectively. I”m guessing Green will be singing “Forget You” to the editor of tonight”s episode, I imagine.
8:41 p.m. Back from commercial break, we meet 52-year old Lorraine Ferro. Remember Molly Shannon”s character Sally O”Malley? Ferro reminds me a bit of her. Let”s see if she can kick, stretch, and kick. Or, you know, sing. That might be more applicable here.
8:42 p.m. I laugh every time Carson Daly introduces himself to contestants backstage. Is he worried that they won”t know who he is? Or is just so used to hitting on girls to young to remember him that it”s an involuntary verbal tic at this point?
8:44 p.m. Ferro chooses to wow the coaches with Demi Lovato”s “Skyscraper.” Boy, I know these auditions were filmed months ago, but Drew Ryniewicz”s performance of this song on last week”s premiere of “The X Factor” is one hard act to follow. Sadly for Ferro, no judges turn around for her. That doesn”t seem to matter, however, as Ferro seems happier than ever to be onstage even though she didn”t get selected.
8:51p.m. Our final contestant of the night is Mycle Wastman. Wastman tells the camera that his grandfather, who raised him after the death of his parents, just passed away ten days before this audition. So, yeah, no “Revolution” jokes here, thank you kindly. “I definitely don”t sound like I look,” promises Wastman.
8:52 p.m. Wastman chooses Al Green”s “Let”s Stay Together,” and this man spoke the truth: he sure doesn”t sound a damn thing like he looks. After the three males judges press their buttons, we can sleep easy knowing that our only image of this singer won”t involve that stupid hat atop his head. Levine and Green give the performance a standing ovation when it ends.
8:55 p.m. “You got the whole spectrum,” says Green, stating that Wastman excited him more than any other contestant of the day. Green feels the two are a perfect fit. Why? “In 2012, right now, nobody does soul music better than CeeLo Green.” That”s both a humblebrag and a humble plea, somehow. Pretty impressive trick there. “You are the best vocalist that we”ve heard all day,” Shelton says, a statement with which Levine agrees.
8:57 p.m. In probably the easiest match of talent and coach to date this season, Mycle Wastman becomes the eleventh member of Team CeeLo. No surprise there. What is a slight surprise, however, is Shelton going home empty-handed tonight. The coach of the second season”s winner had trouble attracting talent tonight.
Updated team rosters, ranked in order of strongest to weakest…
Team CeeLo: Daniel Rosa, Trevin Hunte, MacKenzie Bourg, Domo, JR Aquino,Nicholas David, Avery Wilson, Todd Kessler, Ben Taub, Emily Earle, Mycle Wastman (Total: 11)
Team Adam: Bryan Keith, Joe Kirkland, Samuel Mouton, Loren Allred, Nicole Nelson, Melanie Martinez,Brian Scartocci, Alessandra Guercio, Adanna Duru, Collin McLoughlin, Benji (Total: 11)
Team Christina: De”Borah, Devyn Deloera, Adriana Louise, Aquile, Nelly”s Echo, Lisa Scinta, Marissaann, Beat Frequency, Paulina, Joselyn Rivera (Total: 10)
Team Blake: Terry McDermott, Gracia Harrison, Eric Musicman, Julio Caesar Castillo, 2Steel Girls, Liz Davis, Kelly Crapa (Total: 7)
Even though we only saw one full performance from the four new members of Green”s team, I feel OK putting him on top tonight. Levine”s two picks didn”t hurt his team”s chances, but didn”t particularly help, either. I wouldn”t call Rivera a top-tier contestant, but Aguilera”s team is still better than Shelton”s in the aggregate.
And now individual grades…
They Stood Out: Mycle Wastman. In an episode of good-but-not-great audition, he clearly stood out. We didn”t need to hear the judges say that to know it for ourselves.
They Scraped By: Benji, Joselyn Rivera
They Got Robbed: Trevanne Howell. Was she perfect? Absolutely not. But given the sheer amount of teenage talent on the teams right now, having a 33-year old would constitute something original in the overall talent pool. Now that would be the kind of diversity I can get behind.
What did you think of the fifth blind auditions? Did the talent stack up compared to other episodes to date? With the auditions now half over, are you feeling better or worse about the show”s decision to expand the teams to 16 members each? Sound off below!