It”s starting to feel a little bit like the film “Groundhog Day,” no? Another evening, another episode of “The Voice”. If any contestant tonight sings “I Got You, Babe,” I will be seriously freaked out. While there have been several strong participants thus far, the show really hasn”t had a breakout performance yet. And given that its two-day head start on “The X Factor” is now over, that might be a problem for the show over the long haul.
But with sixty-four total team members to select, we”ve only just begun to see the talent on display this season. And hopefully, we”ve only just begun to see the way the coaches will woo participants to their team. So far, those wooings have been one-note affairs, with each judge essentially sticking to the same script no matter the contestant. A little variety wouldn”t hurt on both sides of the equation.
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 reserve the right to completely make up a new one. Much like NBC, I”m all about the ratings. What can I say?
8:00 p.m. I love that shot of the four judges standing in the bright white light during these introductions. It”s like they are trapped in The Phantom Zone.
8:01 p.m. Our first contestant? Samuel Mouton, whose dad looks like what would happen if Jim Carrey just let himself completely go. Mouton”s tragic backstory involve him not being able to wear a baseball hat in any way that doesn”t make him look like a total douche.
8:02 p.m. Mouton picks Bob Marley”s “Redemption Song”. Well, that”s surprising. More surprising? It”s….not bad. Adam Levine and CeeLo Green turn around right away, soon followed by Christina Aguilera. What”s always awkward about these judges turning around so early is that the contestant knows he or she is in…but has to keep singing anyways. That must be more intimidating than singing to the back of a chair.
8:04 p.m. Blake Shelton enjoyed the performance, but expects to enjoy the verbal scrum that will follow even more. “I want to learn what your turn ons are,” says Aguilera, quickly kicking off tonight”s edition of “Xtina”s Casting Couch.” “You impacted us…by doing very little,” says Levine. Green also praises the way that Mouton honored the song while making it his own.
8:05 p.m. With three options before him, Samuel Mouton becomes the third member of Team Adam. I”m thinking this might be a mistake, as Green might have been the perfect mentor for him. But it”s a good get for Levine all the same. Hopefully the show”s stylists surgically remove that hat from Mouton”s head before we see him next.
8:09 p.m. A former boy band member from the group Dream Street, Chris Trousdale, is next. I fashion myself shamefully well-versed in boy bands, and I have never heard of Dream Street. I think I was OK in my ignorance. Trousdale would seem to prefer such ignorance, as he feels shame when people recognize him in his current job working at a sushi restaurant. I”d be happy if anyone remembered Dream Street, but that”s just me.
8:12 p.m. Trousdale selects The Wanted”s “Glad You Came”. That choice won”t erase his boy band image. Moonwalking while the judges are not facing him is equally unfortunate. Sadly for Trousdale, none of the judges press their buttons for him. They are not glad he came, apparently. (I know. I”m not happy with me either, if that makes you feel better.)
8:14 p.m. Keeping his head high, Trousdale invites Shelton to moonwalk onstage with him. Levine notes that Trousdale is current a dancer first and a singer second, but has enough innate performing skills to make it one day. For now, it”s back to sushi preparation for the former boy band member.
8:15 p.m. Following up on Trousdale”s disappointing performance, we get yet another REJECTED CONTESTANT MONTAGE. Man, just typing that pumps me up.
8:18 p.m. We”re eighteen minutes in, and we have only seen two full performances. I wanna sleep tonight on this episode instead of my bed, because LORD all the padding would be comfy.
8:19 p.m. Our third performer of the night? Nelly”s Echo, who fled Nigeria due to political unrest with just two suitcase for himself, his mother, and his three brothers. He used music as a balm during his tough childhood while his father stayed behind, falsely incarcerated for crimes he didn”t commit. (You think I”m gonna snark on that? Hell no.)
8:21 p.m. Nelly”s Echo is a killer name. Killer. Way better than “Nelson”.
8:22 p.m. Echo appears onstage with an acoustic guitar, crooning Bill Wither”s “Ain”t No Sunshine.” Aguilera and her fan turn around after a few bars, with Levine joining in after a vocal flurry midway through the performance. Given how much Green seemed to be enjoying the performance, I”m surprised he didn”t press his button.
8:24 p.m. It”s weird for “The Voice” to air a contestant”s biography pre-performance, then have the judges ask questions already answered inside that package. Yes, I understand these are blind auditions in which the judges are meeting these people for the first time. But as presently edited, it feels like a redundant time waster, especially when we”re averaging only one performance every ten minutes thus far this season.
8:25 p.m. After words of encouragement from the judges, Nelly”s Echo becomes the fifth member of Team Aguilera. He picked a perfect song to showcase his vocal talent, which will bode well if/when it comes time for him to choose tunes to perform later this season.
8:30 p.m. Our first duo, 2Steel Girls, are the next contestants. Allison and Krystal are a mother-daughter duo from Nashville that form one-half of a family band. The Steels have made sacrifices in order to fulfill their dream of making music. Those sacrifices include selling their own house in order to continue performing. I have to admit: I am not gonna sell my house to continue for the privilege of continuing to recap “The Voice”. Luckily, I don”t have to do so.
8:32 p.m. They perform Carrie Underwood”s “Before He Cheats”, which is an AWKWARD duo for a mother/daughter duo. (It”s not as awkward as “Afternoon Delight” in “Arrested Development,” but still!) Things start off shaky, with the verses too low for Krystal”s range, but their harmonies take the song to another level, prompting Green and Shelton to press their buttons for the pair. It”s still kinda creepy, but it sounds awfully nice.
8:34 p.m. Levine seems disappointed that he missed out on a mother/daughter duo. Ahem. Green and Shelton both make their pitch, with Shelton promising to keep their relationship intact throughout the harsh journey of the entertainment world. It”s a smart move on his part to appeal to their familial relationship in addition to their career aspirations. Both judges seem anxious not to let this pair slip away.
8:36 p.m. After some onstage deliberation, 2Steel Girls join Team Blake as its fifth member. While they are two people, they are considered a single act against the 16-member per team limit. (Thank you, Internet, for helping clarify that for me.)
8:37 p.m. SUCCESSFUL CONTESTANT MONTAGE! Whoa. This is a thing that exists, apparently. That seems like madness. Lisa Scinta and Marissaann become the sixth and seventh artists to join Team Aguilera, and Loren Allred joins Team Adam. All that happened within about eight seconds. What the hell is happening? Anyone picking this moment to get a drink would have missed out on nearly half of the contestants chosen tonight. We spent all that time on Trousdale, and no time on these three. All we learned from this montage is that everybody hates CeeLo Green, apparently. I blame his parrot.
8:42 p.m. Direct from The Bronx it”s Domo, who notes, among many, many, many things that, “…in China, I”m like, Lady Gaga.” Oh my. Remember what I said the other night about “The Voice” not having joke contestants? I”m not sure this exactly qualifies, but the show seems to enjoy letting this woman hang herself on her noose of her ego.
8:44 p.m. Domo is performing The Pussycat Dolls” “Don”t Cha,” because of course she is.
8:45 p.m. I”m not saying Green pressed the button with his manhood. But I”m not saying he DIDN”T, either. Levine seems anxious to find out what the hell Green is looking at. The other two judges seem to mildly enjoy the vocal performance (which, to be fair, is fine if uninspiring), but not enough to press their button. With no other judge picking her, Domo automatically becomes the fourth member of Team CeeLo.
8:47 p.m. If nothing else, Domo is one hell of a self-promoter. She knows how to use her voice to talk about herself and lead impromptu chants extolling the rhyming qualities of her two-syllable stage name. Whether or not she can use said voice for advancing deep into the competition is another thing. I suspect she knows that as well, thus the massive marketing push tonight. The other three judges seem perfectly happy to let Green coach this bedazzled ball of crazy this season. I feel terrible for Daniel Rosa already. Domo might literally kill him through fear and intimidation alone.
8:52 p.m. Our last artist of the evening, Nicole Nelson, dubs herself a hippie that enjoys being part of an eclectic group of musicians in Burlington, Vermont. She also enjoys ordering sushi from Chris Trousdale and muttering “Dream Street” over and over under her breath while looking for her wallet.
8:53 p.m. Oh no. Leonard Cohen”s “Hallelujah”. So damn overplayed at this point. That being said, it”s overplayed because it”s a powerful tune. Eight million covers of this song have tried to completely kill its virtues, but so far they have been unsuccessful. After a long wait in which it seemed like no one would choose her, all four judges press their buttons in rapid succession, making her the third unanimous choice in this first week.
8:54 p.m. “As you sang, it kept getting better and better,” notes Levine, helping explain the late flurry of button pushing. Nelson admits that she came out hoping to get on Shelton”s team, but instead, Nicole Nelsonbecomes the fifth member of Team Adam.
That was kind of a mess of an episode, with long stretches of nothing suddenly gave way to blink-and-you-miss-it montages. Domo made the strongest impression tonight, but not one ounce of that relates to the title of the show.
Updated team rosters, ranked in order of strongest to weakest…
Team Christina: De”Borah, Devyn Deloera, Adriana Louise, Aquile, Nelly”s Echo, Lisa Scinta, Marissaann
Team Adam: Bryan Keith, Joe Kirkland, Samuel Mouton, Loren Allred, Nicole Nelson
Team Blake: Terry McDermott, Gracia Harrison, Eric Musicman, Julio Caesar Castillo, 2Steel Girls
Team CeeLo: Daniel Rosa, Trevin Hunte, MacKenzie Bourg, Domo
A duo is a hard sell in this competition, and Domo is the type of contestant that is antithetical to the premise of the show. Yes, I”m being overly critical. But if you call a show “The Voice” and a contestant gets selected by flaunting just about everything but her voice, I”m going to call foul.
And now individual grades…
They Stood Out: Nelly”s Echo, Nicole Nelson
They Scraped By: Domo
They Got Robbed: Lisa Scinta, Marissaann, and Loren Allred. (They were robbed of air time, not a place on a team. But it still counts!)
What did you think of the third blind auditions? Have any early favorites after this first week? Did Domo play things exactly right or set herself (and the show) up for mockery? Sound off below!