The Voice Week 1 Wrap-up: Team Xtina Leads the Way

The Voice S03E02 & S03E03: “Blind Auditions Night 2" and "Blind Auditions Night 3”


Mackenzie Bourg


It’s over. It’s finally over. The Voice’s three-day marathon of blind auditions drew to a close last night, and while I’ve had a grand old time lamenting and lampooning NBC’s decision to pit an extra night of The Voice against the Season 2 premiere of Fox’s The X Factor, it looks like the move was a worthwhile one, with The Voice eking out a small victory over it’s competitor in the ratings. Huzzah. Now don’t ever do that to me again.

I also actually rather like the blind auditions. I know that it seems like they drag on forever and the fact that after three days of auditions, Team Xtina—which currently boasts the biggest roster—still has nine open spots, doesn’t do much to dispel that feeling. However, the blind auditions are the only part of this show that, to me, truly embody what The Voice is supposed to be about. The judges don’t know what their potential mentees look like when those potential mentees first take the stage and the voice truly is the only thing that matters. Once the teams are finalized and the formal competition is underway, The Voice devolves into standard talent-show fare. It’s telling that within a few weeks of the live shows, all of the distinctively unique talent tends to be headed home. The big draw of The Voice is that looks don’t matter, but the truth is, looks don’t matter until the judges actually know what everyone looks like.

Then, of course, there are the genre biases. Blake came right out and said he’d like to take a country singer to the finals this season. Christina never comes right out and says it, but everything in her coaching points to a preference for pop powerhouses like herself. Adam likes “serious musicians,” and Cee Lo—well, Cee Lo always has the fun team, but more often than not votes with his downstairs brain instead of his upstairs one. I’m hoping this season’s addition of “The Steal” will shake up this tired old format a little bit.

So basically, the blind auditions are the only segment of The Voice that isn't completely and utterly predictable (except for when it comes to which coach the more country fried hopefuls want to work with). Don’t blow through them in one gulp just to spite your trashy cousin on that other network, NBC.

Monday’s premiere filled two spots on each judge’s massive 16-spot roster. Here’s how the rest of the week wrapped up.

Adam put on his picky pants and didn’t recruit anyone on Tuesday, which shocked no one because that seems to be his M.O. and luckily, we’re still early enough in the auditions that he can afford to do so. He got back in the game on Wednesday, snagging skinny white-boy reggae singer Samuel Mouton and self-proclaimed hippie chick Nicole Nelson after solid renditions of “Redemption Song” and “Hallelujah,” respectively. He also snagged Loren Allred who, oddly, didn’t get a featured performance or a long, drawn-out introduction. According to her bio at The Voice’s website, she hails from a wedding band. She seems wholesome.

Christina made off with two potential pop-stars on Tuesday: Adriana Louise, whose family was held hostage by gangsters when she was a kid, and Aquile, whose big claim to fame (according to his intro) was getting his jaw wired shut after he got punched in the face that one time. On Wednesday, she picked up Nigerian-born Nelly’s Echo, who fled to the United States when he was 15 and ended up in Baltimore. I dug his “Ain’t No Sunshine” cover. Joining Loren Allred in victorious obscurity, Lisa Scinta and MarissaAnn were recruited to Team Xtina even though someone deemed them unworthy of being properly introduced to us. Why did we get in-depth biographies of the reject pile and a mere 30 seconds of the people who will actually compete on this show?

Team Blake followed script, then threw the script out the window, picking up cowboy college student Casey Mussigmann, mother/daughter country duo 2 Steel Girls, and then mariachi singer Julio Castillo. Mussigmann claimed that the fact that his last name is pronounced “music-man” was a sign that he should pursue a music career. Well, my last name is pronounced “sleaze-man” and I’m not about to go rob a bank. Then again, a disproportionate number of my cousins have rocked the house arrest ankle bling in the past, so maybe his reasoning isn’t complete insanity. Not to mention, he actually is a pretty decent singer.

Team Cee Lo has been having a tough time recruiting to his team this season, picking up only one artist each night during Tuesday and Wednesday’s auditions. Mackenzie Bourg performed a decent cover of “Pumped Up Kicks,” though he only managed to get Cee Lo to turn his chair. My favorite part was when Christina said that “Pumped Up Kicks” is a fun song and Cee Lo looked at her like she was a moron. Awesome song with a deceptively fun beat? Sure, but there’s a reason the lyrics get a radio edit, Christina.


Domo

And finally, ladies and gentleman, I think Cee Lo may have found his Erin Martin for this season in Domo. Unlike Erin, Domo can actually sing quite well, but her personality is grating and her claim to being the “Lady Gaga of China” sounded a little over-generous. Again, Cee Lo’s was the only chair to turn for her cover of “Don’t Cha” (which he himself penned), and once he saw that she was a total babe, it was all eye-sex and unresolved sexual tension for the rest of the audition. She briefly hijacked the stage to lead the audience in a DO-MA, DO-MA chant that only she seemed particularly excited about. The looks on the judges’ faces were priceless. Christina’s “You’re going to have your hands full with her,” sounded like a thinly veiled, “HAHAHA NOW YOU’RE STUCK WITH HER.” As Cal Hockley would sarcastically say, “I hope you enjoy your time together.”

The Voice returns on Monday with more blind auditions. Who do you think appears to be building the strongest team? Do you want to punch Domo in the face? Who do you think Mackenzie Bourg (pictured at the top of this page) looks like: Harry Potter or Justin Bieber?



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I'm really enjoying this season so far, some fantastic singers, I really like Samuel Mouton and Nelly's Echo, I think they both have great potential, I however couldn't stand the sight or sound of Domo, yes she has a fairly decent voice but her attitude is shocking, she got on my nerves very quickly, there is a big difference in coming across confident and being a bit too arrogant, I personally hope she doesn't stick around too long.
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Team Blake is shaping up to be a little weird so far, but I'm glad there are still 12 more spots to fill. Usually, Blake has great taste, but I haven't really loved his team so far. I did feel really bad for him last night, though, when he lost Nicole Nelson. He came out saying, "I know I'm way in over my head here to even turn around..." and then she says, "I was totally Team Blake when I first came on" and you could see Blake's jaw drop.



He obviously thought that a soulful singer like her wouldn't even THINK to choose him. I think even he gets lost in his own stereotype sometimes and thinks that other "real singers" (like Xtina likes to constantly remark about how he's not, which is such bull) would never want to be on his team. I just wanted to both smack him upside the head and give him a hug for not even trying to sell himself during that one, since he obviously had it in the bag before he stuck his foot in his mouth.



So far, Team Xtina (as much as I don't like her, tbh) is actually shaping up to be my favorite team. I like bits of Team Ceelo and Team Adam as well, but overall, I think Xtina has the best.



Love this show! It... was so, so much better than X Factor. Jeesh. The premiere of X Factor was 90% bad talent with a few good singers. Like... what's the point of that? Sigh. Texas has lots of good talent, and they made the Texas auditions look laughable. I'm embarrassed by them.
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I was honestly surprised when she said that too! But if you think about it, if someone has watched The Voice in the past and really pays attention to how each judge mentors, Blake is a solid choice. He actually seems to WANT to be involved with his team members and doesn't show up just to collect a paycheck.



Christina seems to be at least TRYING to build a more musically diverse team than she did last season.



I couldn't bring myself to check out The X-Factor. I watched last season and just felt like their judges got really petty toward the end.
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I don't think Christina is ever going to win. No matter the talent that she grabs. Because she grabs fans of her and fans of hers pick her. Which is dumb, this is a business decision and with that they should choose Adam or Blake. Because they take care of their finalists post show. She does not. Ceelo does, but he tends to go for gimmicks. People that he might be able to market well. But that don't have the widespread appeal as the rest. Which is good for him. Christina looks for people that tend to kiss her arse and sing well. But have little to no widespread appeal. hence the opera singer from last year.



16 people is a lot. NBC knows it just can't play this show everyday right? Eventually people are going to get tired of it. And I am sure the singers, aside from christina have other things to do. But 16 tends to blow up the ranks and dilutes the talent pool.



And the whole "Steal" is dumb. They picked the coach for a reason, not all of the coaches are equal. I would hate to be on Adam's team and look like I could go to the finals with a coach that supports me and then get stolen by Christina.

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I actually asked my unfortunate TV co-pilot when we were watching why on Earth ANYONE would want to be on Christina's team. Adam and Blake are excellent mentors, especially after the show ends. Cee Lo can be iffy. But Christina barely seems to care even when the competition is going on.
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I still stand by my opinion from monday: 16 singers per coach is just far too many. I really like the show but even last year after they bumped the size of the rosters for the first time the show started to really drag towards the middle. There were just too many shows until it actually got exciting. And its just too hard to connect with a certain singer when there are 48 of them. Im afraid that with such a big roster to fill even the blind auditions (my absolutely favorite part of the show) might start to feel a bit too much and slow.
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I agree. Sixteen is kind of insane. Do you think the fact that singers who actually made a team didn't get the same featured introductions as everyone else, including singers who DIDN'T get chosen to stay on the show, is a symptom of the overloaded rosters? I was wondering about that. It seems kind of unfair, like right from the start, some contestants are given more publicity than others. With such huge teams, it is DEFINITELY going to be hard to connect with individuals, especially if we're already skimping on who gets time in the spotlight.
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I think that has more to do with the editing and which singers story might be easier to sell to an audience. It seems that everybody who is prominently featured before his/her appearance has some kind of sad/tragic story (like having to flee Nigeria) or is just weird/extroverted (like The Lady Gaga of China). Its always easier to sell these contestants to the audience than just a "normal" contestant with a steady job and a tragic-free family.

But another problem I see is with the whole mentoring part. Its always been a bit hard to believe (at least for me) that the judges actually work with their singers in any meaningful way outside of the few minutes you see in a clip before they get on stage. With 16 people per team it seems almost impossible. I mean, they do have their careers to take care of as well. How will they find the time?
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True. I guess it just doesn't sit right with me, regardless of the rationale. It's not like its anyone's fault for having an undramatic life.



I always wondered how mentoring worked myself. I HIGHLY doubt it's much more than what we see. Just look at everything Adam Levine does outside of The Voice-- American Horror Story, Maroon 5 stuff, etc.
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Well, maybe they actually work with them once they get down to something like 4 contestants per team but before that? They probably just hand them their song, give them a few tips, shoot the clip and are gone. But then again - how much could they actually do with such a short amount of time anyways? Could they really make them better singers by working with them for an hour or two? I dont know.

But despite all the problems I have with this show (and talent shows in general) I still love watching the Voice much more than any of its competitors. Lets just hope they dont raise the number of singers to 20 per team next year.
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I put the TV on mute until Domo left the stage. Ugh.
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I was disappointed that she could actually sing. I was hoping she would bring the whole package of being annoying AND awful.
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(sorry flagged before reply) There's a show for "the whole package" Its called the X-Factor and I didn't watch that crap. Yes Domo was a bit grating, but boy she has potential. I loved the Redemption Song kid too.
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It's cool! Yeah, X-Factor is a little too much of the whole package for me. I watched some of the first season and basically just sat on the sofa and wept through each episode. I do love a good meltdown though. The X-Factor brings the meltdowns.



Samuel Mouton was awesome! I also really liked Nicole Nelson, both for her singing and the fact that she lives in an old shoe factory AND she just seems really sweet and adorable.
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