Team Xtina returned to form this week, saving most of her chair-turns for would-be pop-stars and potential boyband candidates. Meanwhile, Team Blake tried to diversify, Team Adam snagged some NICE pipes, and Team Cee Lo realized that halfway through Blind Auditions, his roster was looking a little empty.
The week belonged to Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine, with Cee Lo filling out his ranks with a flurry of new faces. Musicians joining Team Cee Lo included professionally trained dancer-turned-musician Avery Wilson with a phenomenal cover of “Without You,” country sweetheart Emily Earle, Alaskan YouTube sensation JR Aquino, and soulful Mycle Wastman.
Adam added six new members to his team, filling 11 of his 16 spots by week's end. Among those joining Team Adam are Collin McLoughlin, whose flawless “Wild World” cover was deemed “too mellow” for Christina’s taste, despite catching the attention of her three rival judges. Racecar driver Benji turned in a raspy and awesome “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door Cover,” complementing teammate Melanie Martinez’s equally raspy cover of “Toxic” nicely.
Christina held out for that signature Christina-esque sound and only added three contestants to her roster: husband-and-wife duet Beat Frequency, another YouTuber, Paulina, and 17-year-old Joselyn Rivera, whose backstory highlighted a doctor's prescription for “music” as the treatment that overcame numerous childhood health issues.
It was Rivera’s audition that led to a tense moment on the judge’s panel as Team Xtina and Team Blake both vied for Joselyn’s favor and Shelton allegedly referred to Christina as an “abusive” coach. Okay, not allegedly. I was watching. He said it. I just don’t think he meant it with quite the amount of seriousness with which it was taken. Still, the outburst received disapproval from both Christina and Adam.
It was a rough week for Team Blake, snagging only two team members across both nights of auditions. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. Shelton even pointed out that his chair-turn-to-newbie ratio was kind of appalling. Both of Shelton’s new recruits—Liz Davis and Kelly Capra—boast country backgrounds and his team as a whole still overwhelmingly reflects the genre, but Blake hit his button for quite a few acts that broke the Nashville mold. Those contestants, such as Joselyn Rivera, Mycle Wastman, Brian Scartocci, and Melanie Martinez, just happened to choose other judges.
Even I was getting a little frustrated. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Shelton and I have had our scruples in the past (see: Raelynn), but when given a choice between Christina or Blake, I can’t for the life of me fathom why anyone who is serious about her career would ditch the judge who actually continues to help his mentees after the camera stops rolling for the sake of working with one who doesn’t, just because she LOVED “Genie in a Bottle” when he was nine. Think about your choices, people! Make smart moves!
Though to be fair, I can understand how the whole “I want to win with a country singer” philosophy could turn off a lot of non-country talent from teaming up with the country-flavored judge. It’s tough, and I think Cee Lo faced a similar problem on a smaller scale going into this week, indulging too much in the on-screen “character” at the risk of alienating and repelling possible team members. Cee Lo likes unconventional voices, sexy women, and soul. Despite being an accomplished musician and songwriter in his own right, his professionalism and drive isn’t always projected as much on The Voice as the idea that Cee Lo Green is this wacky mastermind who lounges around in silk pajamas while fawning over his exotic pets. If you are a “serious” musician, I can see the turn-off, as unfounded as it might be.
Similarly, Blake has, over the past seasons, cultivated this persona of a good ol’ boy from the country who loves sweet girls and family acts and traditional styles and that’s fine, but it definitely limits his appeal to a very narrow demographic of talent. It doesn’t help when he occasionally admits to being unfamiliar with musical styles that deviate from his comfort zone, like reggae or hip-hop. I admire the honesty, but it doesn’t do much to change the perception that Blake is the country judge, he only knows how to coach country singers, and he only WANTS to coach country singers—even if that assumption is false.
Better luck next week, bro.
– What are your thoughts on the state of the competition now that Week 2 has drawn to a close?
– Did anyone else think it was kind of a hilariously misguided move for rejected contestant Cupid to audition with his one-time-hit “Cupid Shuffle” when he claimed to want to show the judges that he was more flexible than that?
– Did you catch the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it PURRFECT sighting?