After a strong series premiere last week, NBC’s “The Voice” continued on with its all-talent-no-looks journey to discover the next music sensation on Wednesday night by ending the competition’s highly promoted blind auditions round and establishing eight-contestants-per-judge teams.
Unlike the previous episode, which kicked off with a flashy performance from the entire judging panel — Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green , Adam Levine and Blake Shelton — the second episode quickly recapped the competition’s rulebook and went straight into the auditions.
After serving as a background singer for the likes of Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson, contestant Cherie Oakley told viewers that she was finally ready for the limelight herself. “It’s making me teary-eyed because I’ve waited a really long time to have my shot and it means a lot,” the 29-year-old contestant said before walking onstage. Oakley delivered a high-energy rendition of Miranda Lambert’s (Shelton’s fiancée) “Gunpowder and Lead,” but failed to catch the eye of the country superstar, instead receiving a team invite from Aguilera.
“I could just tell you were attacking it … I’m interested in seeing what I can do taking a different genre in and seeing what we can create,” the powerhouse diva gushed to Oakley.
While rivalry between the judges (particularly Levine and Aguilera) was heightened during the series premiere of the singing competition, dynamics remained a bit calmer between the mentors during the second portion of the blind auditions round as seen during contestant Devon Barley’s performance.
“I didn’t spin my chair around because, honestly, I really thought you reminded me a little bit of something that Adam could definitely work with,” Xtina told the 19-year-old contestant, who joined Levine’s team shortly after. “Look at us making nice. This is so great,” the Maroon 5 frontman told the pop star, to which she playfully laughed.
Despite the pressure to form their eight-contestant crews, the celebrity panel didn’t cave in and accept just anybody, as Josh Hand (who offered an acoustic version of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”) and Angela Wolff (who delivered a cover of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”) were just two of many aspiring superstars that were passed on.
“The Voice” continued to push its looks-don’t-matter agenda, which was particularly evident when Levine pushed his red button for a male contestant who he thought was a female. “Don’t be insulted by this. I thought you were a chick. I thought you were going to be a girl when I turned around,” he surprisingly told 39-year-old Tim Mahoney, who responded, “I’ve heard that about my voice a lot.”
Wannabes of all kinds came to try out for the blind auditions rounds, including 36-year-old Nakia, whose rough voice added his own twist to his rendition of Cee Lo’s smash hit “Forget You.” Dressed in a black suit and tie, the contestant rushed to the front of the stage as the intro to the judge’s song began. Fortunately, the contestant’s cover ended on a high note, gaining a team invitation from Cee Lo and Shelton. Nakia, of course, chose the R&B singer.
As the teams grew close to full formation, host Carson Daly informed viewers that the coaches’ caution to invite hopefuls onto their teams had placed them in a position where they needed to reconsider previous contestants who were rejected. In an effort to complete the blind audition stage of the competition, contestants were invited back (by random selection) to the stage and offered another opportunity to audition.
It was this strategic move that helped hopeful Jared Black propel himself from show reject to a member of Shelton’s team, which he was originally close to joining during Black’s first audition last week. Previously declined contestant Wolff also became Levine’s final addition to his team after singing a rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
With the blind auditions round over and the teams all set, “The Voice” moves to a new timeslot, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT, and ventures into its “battle” rounds, where judges will mentor their contestants and watch as teammates duke it out against one another.
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