The Voice: Regaining Sight

Its here everybody; the last night of the blind auditions. It’s been a long, tough road. I’m not going to pretend it was easy; there have been a few casualties. Even the judges are showing signs of fatigue. Christina is under the delusion that she cares about her team, making declarations that she will email them every day, even if its just a picture of an adoarable cat haning from a tree that says, “I will never actually learn your name”. Carson, being the weakest, is effected the most and the deprivation from his Kia and people who have un-traumatic childhoods is causing him to speak exclusively in hyperbole. Within the next two hours he will continually call The Voice the biggest singing competition ever, the biggest contest in the world and even start claiming that Christina is the best vocalist in the world. Before you think he’s justified, you should know he was actually talking about Christina Milan. Though in his defense he was probably just trying to find justification for her presence.

But battle wounds aside, we have reached the finish line. All the judges begin tonight with two spots left on their teams and by the end of the night they’ll be full. Lets do this.

We begin with Nathalie Hernandez, a 15-year-old singer who talks about what she did when she was “younger”. And now I feel like a slacker. How long is the audition process that she missed both her prom and her brother’s graduation? And if her parents are with her doesn’t that means they missed it too? Guess we know who their favorite is. She sang “White Horse” by Taylor Swift. Blake and Christina whipped around before she could barely finish the first note. And then Adam didn’t want to be left out (plus she sounded hot) so he turned around too. Her voice is breathy at best, immature, shaky and without range at realistic. Team Christina.

Rod Michael is a former B3 member (that’s a boy band apparently), they had a bunch of success (in Germany), but then he had to deal with the crushing despair of being average back in the states. Oh the horror. He sang “Please Don’t Go” by Mike Posner. Like any boy bander worth his salt he was working the crowd, but that’s about where the talent ended. No one turned around.

Caitlin Michele, another two first namer, discovered singing when she was 5 (as did most of us). Unfortunately for her she has horrible rainbow ombre hair. Oh, and a panic disorder. Then she compared her love of singing to an addiction to hard drugs and I no longer care to hear anything else she has to say. She took on “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine, a tough song for pretty much anyone other than Florence Welch, and while she wasn’t quite up to that level she held her own both in voice and performance. Blake thought he had her all to himself until Adam turned around later in the game. In a surprise twist Christina campaigned for Adam and it was enough to convince Caitlin. Team Adam.

Nicole Johnson, another youngin’, has been writing songs since she was 7. Her parents let their teenage daughter convince them to move to Nashville so she could follow her dreams and that worked out so well that now she’s on a reality show.  She sang “Mr. Know-It-All” by Kelly Clarkson with a very Blake approved twang, but it was Cee Lo that turned around first, kind of manically actually. Not about to lose a country singer to someone who wears pink birds on his head, Blake turned around too. Team Blake.

Middle school French teacher Kameron Corvet regales us with tales of how hard it is being a teacher. As the daughter of a teacher I am unimpressed. He’s a good-looking middle school French teacher. One, there are only girls in his class and two, they probably do not speak, they giggle and gawk. That sounds so tough. He sang “Crazy” and played along on his international guitar. He was smooth and strong throughout so of course the judges weren’t impressed.

The best moment came when we got back from commercial and were treated to a little backstage moment of the judges and Carson chatting. What made it the best was Carson crowding Christina on the couch while she and the other judges blatantly closed him out of their circle. So high school and so awesome.

Chevonne is a backup singer, most notably for Lady Gaga, which of course has inspired her to launch her own career. It looked like Gaga lent her her pants for the audition (but no taped good luck speech). She gave “Brass in Pocket” by the Pretenders a sultry spin that was working for me and also for Cee Lo and Blake, though it admittedly took longer for it to work for them. And then everything I liked about her went out the window when she used the “tragic past” card and dropped an eating disorder bomb. Luckily Cee Lo can totally relate to that. Team Cee Lo.

Kayla Navarez is claiming to be 17 (did they do all their recruiting for this episode at a high school?), but I’m thinking closer to 12. But there’s no time to focus on how ridiculous it is that young people have so much talent because her dad is sick, her mother is supporting the family on her own and its all very sad. She does get bonus points though for adding that she still considers herself lucky to even have a place to live. Gotta keep it positive. She makes the inspired choice of “American Boy” by Estelle and that risk immediately results in a turn around from Adam (though again, it just might be that she sounds hot).  That also gets Cee Lo to turn around, so really the only judge we can trust is Christina. So of course… Team Adam.  And thus team Adam is complete and he will be napping for the rest of the night.

54th generation singer Celica Westbrook told a very vague story about how she came this close to success and then it all fell inexplicably apart. Lets hope her singing is better than her storytelling. She sang “ A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. She seemed pretty generic to me, but if this show has taught me anything it’s that I have no idea what makes a good voice and all the remaining judges turned around.  Team Christina.  And now Christina’s team is complete and she can spend the rest of the night tending to her bosom (and it does need some tending).

Jessica Cayne is the quintessential southern belle in her big pink dress, her big blonde hair. But it’s all hiding her even bigger insecurity. She too had an eating disorder that only music could cure and blah blah. It is too late in the blind auditions for me to be tolerant this BS. She sang (of course) “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood. But thankfully the judges completely shut her down so that should help build up her confidence.

You can tell the judges have been cooped up in the auditorium for too long when Cee Lo is able to give a straight-faced interview with Lady perched on top of his head. You know that wasn’t the first take.

Rudy Parris is a 46-year-old hard rocker who traded in the rock for a rocking chair (I know, I’m sorry. This is what happens when I’m exposed to too much Carson).  He’s doing all of this for his daughter, which is pretty sweet without making me feel hostile, so I’m rooting for him. Christina predicted country and lo and behold he sang a countrified “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Blake was pumped to round out his team with another southern boy and hit his button, but Cee Lo was finally ready to fight and he turned around too. Weirdly, Cee Lo was way more into him than any of the 16-year-old girls than came before him. Country singers are the most predictable. Team Blake. Team Shelton is complete, just in time for a refill.

And now its time for Cee Lo to make his final choice, bring in the freaks!

Like Cody Blew, a rodeo riding, Black Crowes singing, Justin Bartha look a like who is looking to get on Cee Lo Green’s team. Mostly because he wants to wear a lot of feathers. And I think that says pretty much everything you need to know about him. He sang “Hard to Handle”, a fun song, but not one that really shows off vocal talent. But, Cee Lo could hear the flamboyant in his voice and at the last minute he spun around. Or maybe Cee Lo just wanted to get this over with and go home. I know I do. Team Cee Lo.

Tomorrow is a retrospective of the “best of the blind auditions” which will probably just be a rehash of all the people who were chosen to remind us who they are and how rough their lives have been. I can’t handle any more blind auditions so I will be taking a much needed break. Next week it’s onto the battle rounds and the introduction of The Steal!

- Devin Mainville

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