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.
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?