The Voice Recap: Drop Dead, Gorgeous!

The Voice scored twin victories Sunday night: Becoming the highest-rated entertainment program in six years (with an average 37.6 million viewers) and avoiding FCC penalties when Christina Aguilera’s plunging neckline miraculaously hung on to her heaving cleavage like Mario Manningham clutching that football for a 38-yard catch during Super Bowl XLVI. (Whew, and whew.)

And so it was up to Monday’s Voice telecast — the first in its regular timeslot, and without any help from the nation’s biggest sporting event — to keep the momentum going (creatively speaking, at least).

The good news for NBC was that the show’s second outing of Season 2 moved along at a zippy clip, packing in a Prince medley from Blake, Adam, Xtina, and Cee Lo; eight successful audition packages; and the crushed dreams of four additional contestants with decent but ultimately unmemorable voices.

Interestingly enough, two of the ejected hopefuls — tall and comely Pamela Rose and Yale football star/likely future matinee idol Dez Duron — were used to drive home the point that even though the show’s judges are probably as succeptible to physical beauty as anyone else, that The Voice‘s blind-audition format ensures that for at least one shining moment, contestants are judged by talent alone. Not that the fall of unspeakable hotness didn’t result in a little bit of regret. “I’m so angry right now,” groaned Xtina, attempting to will the hands of time to move backwards after laying eyes on Dez’s exquisite pompadour and v-shaped torso. “You’re beautiful,” a tongue-tied Adam told Pamela. “Congrats on that.”

The Voice, now with 20% less sex appeal!” –

I kid, I kid! You can’t download pretty onto your iTunes, only “Don’t Waste the Pretty.” So let’s get on to the business of discussing the singers who advanced to the Battle Rounds. In the interest of not getting too attached too soon to any one singer — coaches will have to narrow their personal pools of 12 vocalists down to six in the not-too-distant future — let’s rank last night’s octet, and review their work in a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less:

8. The Line (Team Xtina) Not-in-love duo’s ‘American Girl’ felt wobbly as a restaurant table with one wonky leg. Why did all four coaches turn around?

7. Jermaine Paul (Team Blake) Why’d Alicia Keys’ backup singer have to go and make things so ‘Complicated’ with the runs and the melisma and the borderline hysteria?

6. Angie Johnson (Team Cee Lo) Story of Carson finding the Air Force hottie on YouTube was more exciting than her slightly shrill cover of ‘Heartbreaker.’ Nerves to blame?

5. Angel Taylor (Team Adam) Adam was right: ‘Someone Like You’ started rough. Richness of voice and emotional connectedness trumped pitch perfection. Has likability too!

4. Gwen Sebastian (Team Blake) Blake was right: She used tenderness and power in the right places on ‘Stay.’ Two-tone hair, metallic eyeshadow, and bag-lady togs must go.

3. Kim Yarbrough (Team Adam) Kim’s ‘Tell Me Something Good’ was a bit too Chaka-esque, but she brought zest and winning humor to the stage. Oh, and those pipes! Grrrrll!

2. Lindsey Pavao (Team Xtina) Not 100% convinced by the strength of her vocals, but great tone and creativity on display with ‘Say Aah.’ Needs to work on pronunciation.

1. Jamar Rogers (Team Cee Lo) Gokey’s Idol buddy brought true funk and perfect pitch to Seven Nation Army. Loved non-weepy outlook on his hardscrabble backstory, too.

What did you think of The Voice‘s Season 2 sophomore outing? Who was your favorite contestant? Which of the successful singers wouldn’t have made you turn your chair around? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. John says:

    Damn you Gokey for rearing your head again! But I loved how they handled Jamar’s story, and here’s to second chances. I actually really liked The Line…they reminded me a bit of Chelsee and Rob from last season’s Idol.

  2. Chad says:

    Liking the voice much more than Idol this year. That’s for sure.

    • Russ says:

      I can’t remember if Cee Lo was a giant perv in the first season, other than that I am liking it more than idol as well.

      • Sara says:

        He was. I think it’s a little more exaggerated this year because that’s what the judges joke about and that’s what people are seeming to expect from him lol.

  3. Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

    Two shows in and I’m ready to say farewell to Idol (except for that fabulous online series, “Idology”) forever. The Voice brings superior talent and judges who give actual, actionable critique. Those who were not selected were simply victims of nerves, not the Idol producers’ pet freaks. And I really enjoy the element of having the mentors compete to be selected by the contestant. Looking forward to the Battle Round.

  4. betsy says:

    I was so surprised by Jamar’s backstory – I figured it would be about his turn on Idol, but they didn’t even mention that (did they?) – instead it was much deeper than that. I hope he goes far on the Voice.
    After Jermaine Paul sang, we all felt like we’d been yelled at for two minutes. It was actually kind of awful – and then he was SO ARROGANT – he actually told Blake “Don’t let me down!” while they were hugging. As if he’s doing Blake a BIG FAVOR by being on his team. Ugh.
    I loved Lindsey’s voice and creativity on that song. Her poor pronunciation kind of added to the smoky flavor.
    Christina’s boobs were SO DISTRACTING. I kept waiting for them to just burst out and flop around for a few seconds. It looks awful and uncomfortable and unnatural and PLEASE COVER THAT UP so I can look at her face instead of staring at her boobs and waiting for a disaster. You can even see a blue vein about to burst on one of them. UGH!!

  5. Jaded says:

    I really loved Lindsey’s performance! The Voice is definitely my favorite singing show these days. The Idol auditions are just so boring and it feels like you have to sift through a ton of crap just to hear someone sing decently.

    • John says:

      Lindsey was my favorite, too! I definitely go for that cool, indie, kewpie-voiced thing…after all, Dia was my champ last year. I think I’m gonna go listen to “Losing my Religion” again…

    • Delon says:

      This show is superior to Idol in every aspect. I have so much fun and a great time watching it. Idol is depressingly boring. With Randy’s presence it becomes insufferable. I was all for The X Factor before it debuted, but the first season didn’t turn out to be as much fun as i’d wished it would be. The Voice is the most fun out of the three.
      Oh, btw, Lindsey Pavao!

      • Sheri says:

        You’re SO right. I watch the show twice so I can see and hear if I missed anything. The fact that the judges do performances, really makes this show stand out from the Fox singing shows.

      • Bad Breaker says:

        I think you keyed in on why The Voice is so popular…”Fun”. That’s what AI used to be and Xfactor never was.

  6. betsy says:

    I was so surprised by Jamar’s backstory – I figured it would be about his turn on Idol, but they didn’t even mention that (did they?) – instead it was much deeper than that. I hope he goes far on the Voice. Although, I have to say, he looked like he was dressed as a Carrot for Halloween.
    After Jermaine Paul sang, we all felt like we’d been yelled at for two minutes. It was actually kind of awful – and then he was SO ARROGANT – he actually told Blake “Don’t let me down!” while they were hugging. As if he’s doing Blake a BIG FAVOR by being on his team. Ugh.
    I loved Lindsey’s voice and creativity on that song. Her poor pronunciation kind of added to the smoky flavor.
    I have a feeling that the contestants we’re seeing who sing and don’t make it (like the two you mentioned above) are going to be coming back in the second chance rounds.
    Christina’s boobs were SO DISTRACTING. I kept waiting for them to just burst out and flop around for a few seconds. It looks awful and uncomfortable and unnatural and PLEASE COVER THAT UP so I can look at her face instead of staring at her boobs and waiting for a disaster. You can even see a blue vein about to burst on one of them. UGH!!

  7. Laurie says:

    Stopped watching Idol last year. Love The Voice. This format is great. The judges always crack me up with their friendly smack talk. Plus, Adam and Blake are pretty to look at.

  8. Dina says:

    New viewer and I must say, I really like this show. It is tiring when other competition shows spend so much time on the back story. We seem to get just enough back story and they get to the actual singing/judging quickly.
    I liked Lindsey (agree about her enunciation) and Angel. They both need a little work but liked how the tone of their voices.

  9. Dom says:

    Slezak, I have to admit I’ve been stalking TVLine waiting for your recap. The Voice has distinguished itself as the best of the music competitions on tv. I agree that Jamar was clearly the best of the night, but I liked Jermaine although more for his attitude than his singing. I really wish Xtina had chosen Dez! The boy is gorgeous, plays football… at YALE, and chose a Backstreet Boys song. I find it criminal that we can’t get at least another performance from him.

    • dan says:

      I think he’ll be back, along with a few others (Pamela Rose and maybe the guy with the long hair and peace-sign hat), that we saw extended auditions for with nobody turning around. There is a reason the producers/editors showed us those clips. I think they’ll wind up in the second-chance round when all the contestants have auditioned and the teams haven’t yet been filled with 12 people each.

  10. Nicole says:

    Lindsey brought that extra uniqueness to the show. I wanted to see something different this season. A voice that stood out from the rest and that is exactly what she brings. Plus her rendition of that song was incredible.
    Have to agree with the above comments her pronunciation added to the performance it made you lean forward and really listen to her, follow her on every word.

  11. Rain says:

    Overall I liked Sunday nights choices better, but still really enjoyed last night!
    8. The Line – Liked them, didn’t love them. I’m not a fan of having duos on the show, I find it hard to compare them to solo singers.
    7. Jermaine Paul – Hoping his next song is a lot less “Complicated” so we can hear what he truly sounds like. I feel like he’s a much better singer than we heard last night. And to totally ruin the beauty of what The Voice stands for, he’s freakin’ hot!!
    6. Angie Johnson – Loved her cover of Adele that they showed in a clip, wasn’t thrilled with Heartbreaker. Happy she’s sticking around.
    5. Angel Taylor – Liked her, didn’t love her. Def. seems like a fun personality to have on the show.
    4. Gwen Sebastian – Very pretty voice.
    3. Kim Yarbrough – Personality I loved, song not so much. I’m not sure if I disliked her singing or just the song choice. Looking forward to hearing more from her.
    2. Lindsey Pavao – Reminded me of Dia and Xenia from last season, seeing as how I despised having to listen to them every week I’m not excited by this choice. I’m not a fan of the odd sounding tone and really didn’t like the hair that everyone seemed so in love with.
    1. Jamar Rogers – I’ve never heard this song before, I enjoyed it. Loved his enthusiasm for life!
    I was really upset that no one turned a chair around for the guy in the hat (I can’t remember his name). That’s my kind of voice, gravelly rocker. I’m hoping they bring him back for the second chance round.

    • Carol says:

      The song Jamar sang was Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes, whom I love! In all my years of watching singing competitions, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a White Stripes song performed — that definitely made my night. Jamar was my favorite.

  12. RealityCheck says:

    Hate to burst bubbles, but it is probably a matter of time, before the judges are prepped before hand as to the hotness factor of particular contestants, and which ones to push the button on..

    • RT says:

      I was thinking the same thing last night while watching.

    • Amy says:

      I guess these “reality” competitions have jaded me…I assumed this might already be happening.
      That said…was my first time to tune in and get hooked other night on E’s replay of it and I was like “How’d I not see this last year?!”
      Last year I glanced a few times but maybe it was too late into the show and since I didn’t see how it worked I didn’t “get it” and was bored. Other night I was instantly hooked, liked everything about it, format, judges vibe, the talent-the talent-the talent.
      And…how’d I NOT tune in last year just to watch Blake Shelton…hot, hunky and adorably funny too. I’m in.

  13. Cursty Lee says:

    Jamar is overrated. He wasn’t even good enough for Idol. And boohoo for the sob story. So that’s what he and Gokey have in common. Angel Taylor’s pronunciation of some words is too affected. Old lady who sang “Stay” is too much of a Jennifer Nettles copycat. Alicia Keys backup singer is just too much. Hated him. Contestants should be wise to stay away from Adam. He threw some of his singers under the bus last year. Goaty bleating girl over the older dude with the unique voice? Javier against second-chance girl? Overrated fat dude over pink-haired glam rocker?

    • Erin says:

      He wasn’t even good enough for Idol? We’re talking about a competition that has seen winners like SCOTTY MCCREERY, TAYLOR HICKS, and LEE DEWIZE. Clearly there is more to the Idol formula than talent, and the producer’s ability to create a story out of splitting up the two after putting them through the ringer was more important to them. There were a LOT of people shocked and upset by that elimination. And “boohoo for the sob story?” It’s not like he shoved it down anyone’s throat.
      Apparently you need to stop watching the show since you hate EVERYTHING about it. Or maybe you need to do some yoga or something to balance out your anger.

      • GMom says:

        A lot of good singers have not been picked (on A.I., that is) because they didn’t have a good “back story”. I don’t care about the back story! It’s a SINGING competition (to quote Simon, even though HIS show had tons of distracting backup dancers and backup singers and light shows, etc!!), not s therapy session. I would like to know a little more about them AFTER they’re picked.
        I really like The Voice, but I agree that Adam threw some of his singers under the bus like Rebecca Loebe (MY favorite). I didn’t watch after that except for the final results show. American Idol is still my favorite, tho.

    • T says:

      What the hell are you talking about?? He’s way too good for “Idol” and I’m so happy that he’s getting a chance to shine here. And as for the “boohoo sob story”??? A guy that’s been clean and sober for 6 years, despite the fact that he was diagnosed HIV positive as a result of his drug use and can still be grateful for his life, give back to others and still have huge dreams for himself….yeah cry him an f’in river.

  14. meredith says:

    Jamar was totally different in style than he was on Idol, when he sang “Hey Delilah” multiple times. He sounded really good. And he was so excited about getting Cee-Lo to turn his chair around. It was cute.
    I saw Angel Taylor on tour in 2010 when she opened for Kris Allen and Barenaked Ladies. I even bought her cd! I like her a lot, but last night she looked really nervous (on tour she sang while playing piano, so maybe that was it) and didn’t sound all that great. Maybe nerves?
    Jermaine Paul, WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING AT US? That was really awful.
    My favorite audition was Lindsay. Nice originality and interesting choice of song.

  15. Tina says:

    Really liking the Voice so far. If the format is the same as last years, we’ll see the Yale guy, the pretty girl and the old rocker with the brown top hat again when they have the last round of blind auditions for the rejects. They’ll get a second chance. The Voice and The Sing Off are tops for me, all about the talent. Simon, take notes!Get judges who are more current AND know what they’re talking about.

    • GMom says:

      I agree about The Sing Off!! Actually, it is my favorite. The judges are knowledgeable and very helpful. And the talent is awesome. Pentatonix, this year’s winner are unbelieveably talented!
      I also have one of Angel Taylor’s CDs. She is really good. I had to look it up to see if it was the same Angel Taylor!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      “The Sing-Off” is incredible and so was Pentatonix, the group that won the whole thing.

  16. Holly says:

    I admit I was doing the channel surfing between the Voice and the CBS Monday line up – of course not during the abomination that is Two and 1/2 men – so I missed some back stories. Is this Angel Taylor the same Angel Taylor that was a 2010 VH1 you ought to know artist? I mean I have her CD. Seems strange to see her on the voice.

  17. Deb says:

    I like the voice…somewhat. 1) bickering judges – annoying 2)judging the voice – okay, but sometimes I question what exactly they are hearing 3) second chance artists – oksy, but be honest about the fact that you aren’t presenting “undiscovered” voices
    Unfortunately, I fear it may suffer the same fate as last season when the blind auditions were good but the live performances were not.
    Someone tell Christina to put some clothes on, PLEASE.

  18. georgina perkins says:

    i think the voice focus is more on talent which is why i enjoy the music. if someone is nice to look at a bonus but not a MUST. I love the judges and the banter its real and relatable. Hands down one of the top shows for me.

  19. Lois Benton says:

    I spent months after Idol 8 and 9 searching the internet looking for Jamar Rogers. I LOVED his wonderful take on “Hey there, Delilah” on Idol 8 and wanted more. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even capture that snippet from youtube before it disappeared. LOVE him!

  20. Kim says:

    Love the vocal talent on The Voice, but I hate the amount of time they waste on the backstories. They could easily cut that piece in half. I’d really rather see more of the singers, even if they aren’t being selected for the teams.
    As for X-Tina, she really needs to tone it down a bit. The longer she’s on the panel, the less I find I like her. Her annoyance factor increases with each show.

  21. JoMarch says:

    Alicia Keye’s back up singer (forgot his name): if he couldn’t get a contract on his own with all the people he must know, he’s probably not all that good. I didn’t like his audition one bit.

    • PFitzDC says:

      I agree–I was unimpressed with Jermaine’s singing and then thought he was a real jerk in pushing the coaches to make a commitment to him. I don’t mind the strategy of trying to ferret out the right coach, but he was entirely too full of himself–in fact, I think Blake regrets giving up a spot on his team to this prima donna.
      Separately, was amazed at how many people had the chutzpah to take on signature songs of one-of-a-kind singers (Adele, Jennifer Nettles, Chaka Khan, Pat Benetar). I was not intially impressed with Gwen Sebastian’s audition, but as she started to change up the phrasing a bit in the second half, I grew to like her a LOT.
      And I disagree with Slezak on The Line–I liked them quite a bit!(But you are soooo right on Angie Johnson….)

      • PFitzDC says:

        I should clarify that I was surprised by the chutzpah to take on signature songs of singular artists–and NOT change the arrangement or phrasing!
        Just leave yourself open to being smacked down as “no Pat Benetar” or “no Adele”…..

      • seattlejohn449 says:

        I LOVED GWEN SEBASTIAN!! Was dragging my feet as I started watching the show worried it would be all about the judges but as I started listening to the talent I got really into it and then Gwen just sealed the deal…I hope her country flavor gives her an advantage to go far on this show!

  22. Cursty Lee says:

    I don’t hate the show. I just think Jamar is overrated. Can’t stand him. And really, Angel Taylor’s pronunciation of lyrics is annoying: “Don’t forget me, I beyged, I remember you seyd… Sometimes it hurts insteyd.” I can’t stop watching. Maybe it’s Christina’s boobs. Or Blake’s wild-eyed hotness. But really, I believe Adam screwed his contestants last year to ensure a Javier win. Couldn’t stand Javier either. Loved Vicci and Dia.

    • Eli says:

      Haha, I agree about Angel Taylor. I thought she was singing the wrong words.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      It seems as though there’s another female vocalist that prounounces her words in the same odd manner as Angel Taylor but I can’t think of who it is – it’s escaping me at the moment.

      • Eli says:

        I can’t tell if this is an honest question or an attempt at sarcasm? Are you referring to Adele? Haley Reinhart? Or are you genuinely trying to think?

  23. papoila says:

    The more I watch this show the more I’m convinced that despite the irrefutable talent it displays it wouldn’t be half the fun or have half the quality with different judges. Their playful picking on each other makes for a healthy competition and very entertaining television. Besides it’s kind of nice to see judges who actually give constructive criticism with all the bullcrap we’ve been forced to put up with in other reality singing competitions(I’m looking at you, dawg and Nicole Whatchamacallit).
    Also, it might be the recent trauma brought on by the Steve Jones debocle of 2011 speaking but I think I’m warming up to Carson Daly!
    Regardless, LOVING The Voice this year, hope they can keep it up.

  24. Jess says:

    OMG I was right, Jamar was Gokey’s buddy from Idol!!!! This is very exciting! It was bothering me last night with a “is that…?” hanging over my head! I really liked him in Idol (and was pissed when the producers decided one half of the Jamar/Gokey duo had to go and chose a better singer over the guy with a dead wife)! He was my fav last night!

  25. Michael says:

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again…what separates this show from all of the other singing competitions is the BAND. They are what made the Rock Star shows great and they are the reason that the Voice is clearly better than all other shows of the genre. The house band does not get enough credit or recognition..they are just ridiculously good.

  26. Brian says:

    I hope this show dethrones “American Idol”. There are so many reasons “The Voice” is superior…

  27. Ronnie says:

    I like to see the judges really listening. Esp. seeing Adam gesture to the audience to quiet down so he could hear the singing voice of the artist. They really are trying to appreciate the talent. And yes, I’m sure that we have not seen the last of the rejected. The judges will not have filled their quota and will pick up a couple of others. You can bet Xtina will go for the Yale guy when he comes back.

  28. Eli says:

    Gosh, I really liked a lot of the people they passed over (the bearded dude with the Willy Wonka hat who looked like a cross between Josh Krajcik and Casey Abrams, the Hoja girl who sounded a bit like Adele, the Gavin DeGraw look-alike), but wasn’t sold on some of the ones they picked (the older Chaka Khan woman, the girl at the end who sang “Someone Like You).

    • Eli says:

      Oh, and the hot football player, who actually had a great voice but would have benefitted from a more inspired song choice- I honestly think that would have made all the difference and he might have been chosen.

    • Bad Breaker says:

      I also liked the bearded rocker. I would have turned around for him but not the Hoja girl. I thought she was off-key her entire song.

  29. Bad Breaker says:

    My favorites so far are Jamar (very talented with a truly winning personality), Lindsay (excellent job and an inspired song choice) and the former mouseketeer (great voice, smooth yet gravelly at the same time).
    The Yale hottie was indeed some nice eye candy but he just sounded so 90s boy band. His performance sounded really dated…but I’ll bet we see him again.

  30. araviss says:

    This show is mostly about the coaches and less than half about the talent, it seems. I, too, wish Xtina would stop showing off her boob job.
    Still the audition rounds are so much more fun to watch than AI’s.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      The audition rounds are great but I seem to remember the “battle rounds” last year were like getting hit upside the head with a two by four. The coaches would pit very good singers against one another in the initial rounds and it killed me to watch very good people get sent packing.

  31. Cursty Lee says:

    I can’t wait for Jordis Unga!

  32. darcy's evil twin says:

    I was finally able to watch my DVR recording of Monday’s “The Voice” late last night. Mr. Slezak – I must disagree with you about The Line. I loved them! I’d say my favorites so far are Tony Lucca and Gwen Sebastian (and yes – the two-toned hair must go. I’m not a huge fan of two-toned hair, clothing, or cars). Lindsey Pavao had an interesting tone to her voice and my jury is still out on Jamar Rogers, but I did rather like him.
    I wasn’t particularly fond of Alicia Keys’ backup singer OR his massive ego. Does that count for two backup singers? He was what Simon would call “shouty”.
    My husband was asking me what the deal was with the chairs being turned around, so I explained the concept. when Angie Johnson started belting out “Heartbreaker” my husband said, “Okay, this is a perfect example as to why the chairs are turned around”, LOL.
    And I agree with some other viewers – we haven’t seen the last of the John Fogerty sound-alike rocker (we kind of liked him) or the cute guy that made the fatal mistake of singing a Boy Band song.

  33. janie says:

    Thank you guys for reminding me who jamar rogers is!! it was driving me nuts!!
    i love this show, so im not saying anything bad about it.. but i dont know if its fair that we have people who have never sang in front of a crowd going up against seasoned performers.. and i dont just mean the mickey mouse club guy or the backup singer for alica keys.. Angel Taylor already has an album out.. I have it!! its good.. her video was played on VH-1 all the time in 2010.. in fact she was one of Vh1’s You oughtta know: artists on the rise”
    i think its ok if a person has made albums before and just never succeeded and its been years.. but in this case it was less than a year and a half ago.. i like her.. but is it fair?

    • blue devil says:

      Looks like for every 1 person who knows her, aka you, there are about 30 of us who’ve never heard of there before. Music industry is a tough business. For a lot of reasons very talented singers/musicians don’t pan out and are dropped from labels if they had the chance to get one. Voice is different from Idols because they specifically target and vet the youtube singers, bar singers, … who didn’t have an opportunity to showcase themselves to the nation but who deserve so. I like that distinction. As much as I like to see a caveman show up and surprise us with his hidden talent, I like to see deserving hard working singers get a second chance

  34. Keith says:

    I liked Angie Johnson the best. She has strong pipes and can sing country or rock. Her Adele cover was incredible. She has great range and runs when you listen to her other songs on youtube, etc. Plus, she has a great story. She has served our country for which I am thankful for. I hope she wins it all. Having said that, there were a few others that I thought sounded really good and a couple I was surprised that no judge turned around for. My two least favorite that got selected was the first girl from the first night that sang country and the older lady.

  35. H says:

    Angel Taylor sang at my church this morning along with David Dunn our worship leader who should be on Monday night’s blind auditions. They were AWESOME!!