The blind auditions continued on Monday night’s (February 6) two-hour episode of “The Voice,” with each judge picking up two more contestants to fill out the 12-person teams they’ll take to the battle phase later in the season.
The episode opened with a flashy medley of Prince hits “1999,” “Little Red Corvette” and “Kiss” performed by judges [artist id=”509026″]Christina Aguilera[/artist], [artist id=”1163841″]Cee Lo Green[/artist], [artist id=”1350855″]Adam Levine[/artist] and [artist id=”1164298″]Blake Shelton[/artist], before the crew got right to business with the auditions.
Aguilera picked up two acts, including the evening’s first performers: platonic duo the Line. The pair’s rendition of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” got all four judges’ attention, but despite much protest from Shelton, they picked Aguilera. Shelton later told the camera he thought they were “fooled by flash and boobs.”
She also scored an interesting choice in chanteuse Lindsay Pavao, who got Shelton and Cee Lo to swivel their chairs too. In one of the more unique performances of the night, Pavao transformed a Trey Songz tune into a ballad that Green compared to Fiona Apple. It was that uniqueness that won Christina over, and Pavao chose to join the “Beautiful” singer’s team.
After being denied by two different singers, the Maroon 5 frontman picked up his first team member of the night in 50-year-old Kim Yarbrough — who revealed during an interview segment that one of her many past odd jobs was working security for the Dave Matthews Band. Her soulful rendition of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good” had all the judges dancing in their seats, but Adam won her over after asking for her name. When she said “Kim,” he corrected, “No, your name is Chaka Khan, baby.” Which is probably what any aspiring diva wants to hear after an audition.
Levine also added the night’s final contestant, 23-year-old Angel Taylor, to his team. The Los Angeles native grew up in an abusive household and turned to music to get through the tough times. Her performance of Adele’s “Someone Like You” packed an emotional punch.
Team Cee Lo
The night’s two most compelling stories came from Jamar Rogers and Angie Johnson, both of whom opted for team Cee Lo. Rogers is a 29-year-old former drug addict from New York who was also featured on “American Idol” during season eight alongside his best friend and eventual finalist Danny Gokey. During his addiction, he contracted HIV. Now that he is clean and sober, Rogers volunteers for food-delivery services for the disabled in the Bronx. He also idolizes Cee Lo, so it’s good that the “Forget You” Grammy winner turned his chair around for Rogers’ performance of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
Cee Lo also picked up Staff Sergeant Angie Johnson, who was discovered and pushed to audition for “The Voice” after her fellow soldiers uploaded a video to YouTube of Johnson singing Adele on a military base while deployed in the Middle East. The video eventually tallied over a million views, which gave Johnson the confidence to hit the stage with a gutsy rendition of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.” “I love a girl with guts and confidence,” Cee Lo told the singer.
Blake’s first choice of the night fit firmly in his country wheelhouse: North Dakota native Gwen Sebastian, a musician who agreed with her drummer husband to hold off on having kids so she could take a go at being a performer. After her performance of “Stay,” Shelton remarked, “You are a great country vocalist … and I’m a country guy. I’m your man.”
A more surprising choice for the country superstar came late in the show, when he promised he’d do everything he could for Jermaine Paul, a backup singer who has toured the world with Alicia Keys. Keys even sent Paul a video message wishing him good luck. He made a surprising song choice in Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” which also earned props from Cee Lo, who told Paul he could “hear the swag” in his voice. And even though it looked like Paul was favoring Cee Lo, he opted to move out of his R&B comfort zone and into Shelton’s country/rock genre.
Four singers got the ax during the show when no judges swiveled around to offer a spot on their team. The judges went back and forth over country crooner Neil Middleton and pop singer Dez Durmon and ultimately regretted their decisions to pass on the singers. Durmon in particular had the judges all worked up, and when they turned around to see a handsome Yale football player standing in front of them, they practically slapped themselves across the head. “And it’s a good-looking guy,” Shelton sighed.
Such is the point of “The Voice,” though. Durmon would have been a sure thing if the judges had gotten a look at him beforehand, but it’s all about the pipes — at least for now — on NBC’s reality hit, which kicked off its season to some pretty great post-Super Bowl ratings.
Who was your favorite singer on the latest “Voice” episode? Let us know in the comments!