“The Voice” returned to NBC for its second season immediately following Super Bowl XLVI and got right to business, kicking off the first round of blind auditions with coaches [artist id="1350855"]Adam Levine[/artist], [artist id="1163841"]Cee Lo Green[/artist] and [artist id="1164298"]Blake Shelton[/artist] each picking up one team member and [artist id="509026"]Christina Aguilera[/artist] scoring two.
Seven hopefuls stepped in front of the judges’ revolving chairs, each hoping at least one would turn and ask them to be on their team. Two contestants got all four judges’ approval, but one, 24-year-old Daniel Rosa from Riverside, California, didn’t get a single judge to turn their chair and was sent packing.
A teenager raised on a Texas farm, RaeLynn entered the competition: with one thing in mind: to win over judge Blake Shelton, who is married to country singer Miranda Lambert, a big hero of RaeLynn’s. She decided to sing Lambert’s “Hell on Heels” despite being warned that last season Shelton didn’t respond well when a contestant auditioned with one of his wife’s songs. But confident in her choice, she did it anyway and wowed Shelton and Levine. Ultimately, she chose to stick with her roots and keep things country.
One of many inspiring stories told during the show, we were introduced to 42-year-old homeless father Jesse Campbell and his family. He’d barely uttered a few notes before Aguilera, Green and Levine swiveled around (Shelton followed soon after). “You followed through above and beyond my expectations,” she told Campbell, promising to fight for him along the hard road to the “Voice” finals. Trusting that Aguilera knows a thing or two about how to get the most out of strong vocalists, Jesse picked the “Not Myself Tonight” singer.
Simms has been living the rock-and-roll life since she was a teen and is now, at 25, looking to take that next step. Simms tackled a big song too — “Oh! Darling” by the Beatles — but brought a rough, throaty edge and rocker swagger to the track that immediately attracted Levine, Cee Lo and, eventually, Aguilera. “You brought the house down,” Christina said to Simms. Competing over the singer’s affections even devolved into a bit of mudslinging between Aguilera and Levine, who bickered back and forth over who could better serve Simms in the contest. She decided to go with neither and picked the most eclectic guy on the panel.
Team Cee Lo
Another of the night’s tear-jerker back stories came from Mann, a talented classical musician working in Nashville whose mother is fighting pancreatic cancer. The 29-year-old Wichita, Kansas, native was the second contestant of the competition to bowl over the judges with a big, classic voice. “Now that’s a voice,” Xtina proclaimed. “I love it!” Her enthusiasm led him to pick the “Beautiful” Grammy winner, and in the first night of competition, she nailed down the two best voices in the game so far.
Hey, that guy looks familiar! Lucca was at one time a Mouseketeer alongside Christina, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears on “The Mickey Mouse Club.” But it was more important here that he tore the roof off the joint with a rocking rendition of “Trouble” that earned a swivel of approval from every judge on the panel. All pleaded with him to join their team, but Aguilera seemed oblivious to the fact that she knew him as a child (a lot has happened since then, we’ll give her that). He went with Shelton, probably hoping a little of the country-rock cool that’s kept him at the top of the charts for the last few years rubs off.
After he left the stage, Aguilera realized who Lucca was and ran backstage to greet him, his wife and young daughter. She also revealed, “Britney had the biggest crush on you!”
Oh, what could have been…
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