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!” –TVLine.com

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