The Voice Recap: 'Twere Blind, But Now They See

Condolences to folks who love the backs of The Voice coaches’ heads and those cheesy light-up “I Want You” signs at the bottoms of their chairs: The blind auditions came to an end this week, with Adam, Cee Lo, Xtina, and Blake each completing their respective teams of 12.

On the positive side, though, the upcoming weeks of Battle Rounds mean we’ll most likely get treated to more of Xtina’s crazy/incredible “Lay-ay-ay-dy Maaaarmalaaah-ahh-ahh-ahh-ahhh-duh” vocal stylings, as she coaches her dozen charges and whittles them down to just six contenders for the Season 2 title. The Lady Aguilera gave us a sneak preview of her antics after choosing the final member of her team, Sera Hill, and noting that the soul singer’s rendition of “I’m Going Down” had gotten her in the mood to hollerate, too. After .00673 seconds of encouragement, Xtina willed a bedazzled mic to appear in her hands, trotted up to the stage, and joined Sera for one final refrain. She may be the most ridiculous judge in reality TV today, but there’s no denying her chops. (Side note: Xtina never did define “chops” for Blake, did she?)

In any event, 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 artist — 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 9 successful auditioners from least to most promising, and review their work in a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less. (Second side note: Anyone else wonder if the producers prepped the coaches not to turn around for arrogant Cameron Novack? Because honestly his “You Oughtta Know” was pretty terrific.)

9) Cheesa (Team Cee Lo) | Decent singer, but the big notes on “If I Were a Boy” sounded more like braying. Her family lives in the garage for this? How unfortunate!

8) Adley Stump (Team Blake) | More pitch problems than a concave roof, yet Blake & Xtina battled for the Okie sorority gal like she was the next coming of La Underwood.

7) The Shields Brothers (Team Cee Lo) | Frenetic-fun energy on Billy Idol cover enough to get them off parents’ farm, but pedestrian vocals will probably return ’em to the homestead.

6) Orlando Napier (Team Adam) | Confession: His over-wide hat brim bugged me. A lot. But his John Mayer cover was smooth & solid — even if Adam may have turned too quickly.

5) Lex Land (Team Blake) | Tone at start of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” was sultry as a Savannah summer night, but final two-thirds were a nervous mess. Help her, Blake!

4) Lee Koch (Team Xtina) | Breadmaker would rather make dough via music. Loved his modern lyrical delivery on a classic Bob Dylan track, but Xtina’s a ??? pairing.

3) Whitney Myer (Team Adam) | Liked how this hard-working songbird infused “No One” with a funky bass vibe, though her voice got a wee bit tremulous toward the end, no?

2) Sera Hill (Team Xtina) | Powerful, soulful voice, but got a clear case of the nervous jitters when Xtina joined her on “I’m Going Down.” Kinda love her already!

1) Wade (Team Cee Lo) | Only Cee Lo turned for what he called “a Stax version of a Motown-inspired Amy Winehouse song.” C’mon judges! Show some love for the most original and complex vocal of the night!

What did you think of this week’s installment of The Voice? Who were your favorites? Any downloads for you from the episode, or the season? Sound off in the comments!

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. Tyriq says:

    I haven’t downloaded any music from the show, but I have been enjoying the performances and the judge antics. Xtina is a force of natural woman. no? lol

  2. Mik says:

    I don’t know how well she is going to do in this competition, but I liked Lex Land the best. She had some issues, but she got major potential (in my mind, anyway).
    Lindsey Pavao, Pip Andrew, Mathai, Jamar Rogers and Juliet Simms are my favorites heading in to the battle rounds.
    Good luck to all of them.

  3. Danielle Notaro says:

    Loved Wade, and really how could they pass up Novack-what a shame-he would have been fun as well as a great singer.

  4. the Growler says:

    How was Wade the most original? His whole performance was a frenetic imitation of various artists’ vocal stylings. He is a total showboat and very amateur-ish. Sera Hill is way better. And I didn’t think Cheesa has the least potential. It had to be Lex, who was horrible even if she’s already an experienced professional. The Shields Brothers, meanwhile, has the most potential…for trainwreck.

  5. marie says:

    Don’t care whether or not the coaches were asked not to choose Novack for their teams: “arrogant” doesn’t begin to describe this guy’s obnoxious, entitled manner. I couldn’t have tolerated that kind of smug, condescending self-adoration for one single week and I’m glad I won’t have to. (Gosh, I DO sound mucho cranky: that’s what that kind of personality does to me!)

    • Andre says:

      @marie, my thoughts exactly. He had blood rushing to my head and drumming in my ears just from the few minutes he was on screen. We don’t need a sub-par Adam Lambert 2.0 with that entitled attitude.

      • Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

        Good lord. I’m as far from an Adam Lambert fan as one can be, but to compare that obnoxious moron to Glambert is an insult to Adam and his cadre of spandex-and-leather-wearing granny fans. At least Glambert had charm and humility to offset his over-the-top theatrics. And a voice.

        • Jess says:

          I agree. I was totally rooting for judges to NOT turn around for Novack because I was put off by his “stank attitude” as Michael Slezak would say, but to compare him to Adam Lambert is really out of left field. As theatrical as Adam can get in some performances/songs, he’s got the voice, the charm, and a tangible connection to his music to pull it off. No, no, and no for Novack.

  6. marie says:

    Liked Whitney, Sera, and some guy in the middle, as I recall, but don’t remember which one (I really have a tough time remembering contestants until they’ve been around for more than a single show, sorry!). Someone should tell “Cheesa” that her name spells “CHEESE-uh,” not “CHESS-uh,” as she’d like to be called (being cranky again, I guess, but these kinds of things annoy me). LOVED Christina getting up to sing with Sera (although I agree that the bejeweled mike close at hand was a little convenient), and her little 2-second singing demonstration of what she liked about Wade’s rendition of “Rehab” gave me chills. I may not care for most of her material, but that lady surely can SING. Chills!

    • Wow says:

      Okay, I didn’t like her singing either, but snarking about the fact that her name uses non-English phonetics is actually shockingly xenophobic.

      • marie says:

        I am not a xenophobic person and my intention (at least this time) was not “snark.” Can you provide an example of a language in which “Cheesa,” with a double “EE,” would be pronounced with a short “E” sound? That’s a real question; I can’t think of one off the top of my head. (Probably wouldn’t be the Hawaiian language, because as far as I’ve heard, every vowel in a word is pronounced separately.)

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Don’t feel badly, marie – I’ve been called xenophobic as well as “Eurocentric” on these message boards. I actually had to look up “Eurocentric” and then I remembered what it meant – it just wasn’t a word I’d heard since, oh, ninth grade world history class! I’m in agreement with you.

          • marie says:

            Thanks, d.e.t. and Helena; glad it’s not just me!

          • Johnny says:

            lol, I wouldn’t worry, Marie- people can be overly dramatic when they have a computer to hide behind. Your musings about the odd pronunciation of Cheesa’s name given the spelling (which I too noticed and found to be strange) is far from “shockingly xenophobic.” Really, “Wow,” you found this comment to be not only “xenophobic,” but “SHOCKINGLY xenophobic”? Sounds like someone needs to live a little more in order to be shocked about something more legitimate…

        • Maggie says:

          Well, the name could have originally had a glottal stop between the vowels that’s been elided somewhere along the line (kind of like how a lot of people pronounce “Margaret” as if it were spelled “Margret”), which I think would leave you with more or less the pronunciation she uses. But Hawaiian also doesn’t have “ch” or “s” — so never mind that. I guess maybe some other Polynesian language? But I think she’s of Filipino descent, and I don’t know if any Filipino languages use the double “e” at all. So got me.

        • Never mind, and sorry (aka Wow) says:

          No, Johnny is right below, I overreacted. I’m sorry. “Someone should tell her that her name spells…” seemed like snark to me, and really unpleasantly condescending. She certainly didn’t come across as illiterate, and it seems like there are lots of names from other languages whose pronunciation most English speakers find counterintuitive, so it seemed like a straightforward assumption that hers was another such, and shouldn’t be any big deal. But I don’t know that much about languages, so maybe that was a bad guess on my part. And anyway, projecting xenophobia was way over the top. Again, my apologies.

        • Claire says:

          Sorry, but people have the right to pronounce their own names however they choose. If my parents named me Cheesa, I guarantee I’d find another way to say it other than “Cheese-ah” too!

      • ohreli says:

        Thank you for remembering that, Marie. Someone in show business does want people to remember their name…if the spelling is contrary to the name she wants, its going to hinder her name-recognition for sure. (LOL at the “xenophobia” comment!)

    • Helena Handbasket says:

      I’m glad someone else noticed the spelling (or should I say speeling?) of her name didn’t match up to the phonetics.

    • Jurybox says:

      Hearing even one bar of Xtina singing that song right after hearing Sera wasn’t fair to Sera. Xtina’s voice is so powerful and rich and incredible that most vocalists pale in comparison to her. I thought she did Sera no favor singing after her.

  7. Linda says:

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t they bring back a few people last year as wildcards? If they do this, I sure hope it’s not Novack. He was an arrogant a$$. IMO, he really was not good.

    • marie says:

      Nope, evidently there are no call-back auditions this year, as the teams are already full. We won’t be subjected to Novack.

    • Davey says:

      Yes, there were a few call backs because a few judges needed to fill their teams. Not happening this year unless someone drops out.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Last year they did not invite enough people to audition (I think I read it was 164 total last year) but they ran out of auditionees before the judges picked their teams because the judges were being really picky (I actuall think they were pickier last year than year but they had only 8 spots to fill.) So they brought people back for a second chance round.
      This makes me wonder how many were invited to audition in total this year … and what happened to those with numbers near the end if they don’t get to audition because the teams were filled. If Xtina had not loved that last singer, were there 10 more waiting in the wings to audition or would they have to bring back people? Do those that don’t get to audition come back, first in line next year?

      • marie says:

        I was wondering about this too. I’d think that it was decided in advance that the coaches would fill their teams first time around this season and that there would be no call-backs, just as I’d bet that last year, it was decided in advance that they would NOT fill their teams and therefore hold the “second chance” auditions, and I’d bet that was because the producers figured this would add some drama (although I wouldn’t speculate on why they decided to change the format this season). But I was also wondering about the last potential contestants “left behind,” if you will, backstage after the last successful contestant was chosen. That must be a really disappointing situation to end up in!
        I was speculating with my partner on where in the lineup would be most favorable for being chosen, and we both decided that somewhere in the middle would be best: if you audition towards the beginning, the coaches might be reluctant to “jump at the first chance,” knowing there were plenty more contestants to come and preferring to leave some room for singers they might like even better, while if you audition towards the very end, the coaches might be reluctant to “settle” for someone just to complete their team (although, at least from the edit, Christina didn’t seem inclined to “settle”). Of course, I could be completely wrong about this, but seemed logical when we discussed it.

  8. Leila says:

    It always breaks my heart to see the younger siblings crying when the singer doesn’t get picked by any of the coaches. But most of the time they’ve been making good decisions. This show is fun to watch, even though I have to hear my husband complaining about my watching singing shows four times a week now.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      That’s funny. My husband always is asking what that horrible sound is when I watch the singing competitions – though I will admit, he does this more for AI than The Voice.

    • Lana says:

      I am soo glad to know I’m not the only one with a husband who hates my singing shows, apparently its taking up all my time. Of course I don’t mention all those other competitive shows that don’t have singing, he’ld really freak! The guy (I don’t even try to remember names yet) who had the ego problem was good and really alot better than some of those that they did turn around on. Right now I just go by voice and try not get to testy about personality until later. The one I thought should have gone thru was the older guy who played a mean guitar, I mean he was soo much better than the two rocker brothers. However in this case I think the coaches were too young to appreciate how good he was, or I’m too old, either way he was better than some of those that got thru.

  9. Johnny says:

    Whitney was one of the few this season who completely blew me away. She looks like Little-Orphan-Annie-All-Growed-Up, but her voice was fantastic. So glad Adam nabbed her- don’t want to see Christina the diva or creepy perv Cee Lo win this thing with one of their contestants.
    Hopefully the show doesn’t lose viewers during the Battle Rounds… this was where they sort of lost me last season because it was usually extremely obvious who would win each round based on airtime. Granted, there are fewer people on the teams who didn’t get airtime, but the battle rounds still might turn people off due to match-ups between people who in some cases should both deserve to go to the live shows. It seems like the coaches have to anticipate who they want to send home in each match-up, which for me wasn’t the most appealing. But it looks like they have some awesome guest coaches lined up, so we shall see!

    • marie says:

      Agree, the battle rounds sort of detract from the brilliance of the blind auditions for me. You’re right; the judges do sort of have to have an idea of who they want to go home and who they want to make it through in advance. Who knows, maybe this season they’ll really make more of an effort to evenly match the singers (still, that almost necessarily means some less deserving contestants will survive over some more worthy ones). Agree also that the guest coaches are pretty damn great – looking forward to that!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      The battle rounds are hard to watch becasue there are some great performances and some terrible ones. Vicci Martinez sang with another girl last year and both were fantastic and only one could stay. At the same time, there were other performances where both parties were not good and one undeservedly got to stay.

      • Claire says:

        Yeah, I hated that, too! Last year there were a number of cases where the judges paired off stronger singers together and then weaker singers together, so that they ended up with some of their stronger members out of the running early on while others definitely hung on longer than they should have.

  10. Jodi says:

    Sooo happy they didn’t turn around for Novack. Way too cocky. Those on the show who are surprised and genuinely thrilled to have someone turn around are who I want to watch. Not someone who feels entitled to it and who is surprised when they don’t. I also didn’t think he was that good.
    Loooved Orlando Napier. He and Wade were the best of the night. I didn’t get the love for Lex. Thought she was wayyy to pitchy.
    Was hoping Preston (the 64yo) would get an “I Want You.”

    • marie says:

      Realistically, it’s not likely Preston would have ever got a spot. (Same with the undeniably talented 50-something lady who auditioned with a perfectly nice “I Say a Little Prayer” last season.) In showing a couple of clearly-past-their-vocal-prime contestants, I think the show is trying to demonstrate how unbiased and democratic they are, but keeping it real, Preston’s voice was on the gentle decline, and you could hear it, and also deduce his age. I know we live in a society where one is supposed to gush that it’s “never too late!”, but honestly, 64 is too late to embark on trying to make a major singing career. (BTW, I’m not so very far from that age myself, so I feel I can say this from an honest point of view.) The judges understandably want viable contestants. It was lovely that Preston got a little TV prime time, and I get the feeling he has a satisfying career playing the clubs in Memphis, where he is evidently respected and appreciated. Nothing wrong with that!

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I agree 100%. And it was funny when Adam said something to Preston like, “You’re more cool that all of us”. I can’t quite remember the exact comment. Maybe the exposure will get Preston a few more gigs in Memphis, which would be great.

        • Tahoe Mike says:

          The Blues is what I love. I’d like to have seen Preston make a team just to get that music in front of the younger audience. I don’t know how well he would do as a competitor on a show like this, but I liked the guy.
          I just got to thinking that there are a ton of “Singing” shows on the air, but there ought to be a show for players. True singing is almost a lost art in today’s music scene, so is real playing. Everyone picks on the WGWG factor on idol, but we keep voting for them. Who are the guitar heroes of today? Where is the next Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia, or Eddie Van Halen? There is a show called “The Voice”, why not one called “The Sound?”

      • Snsetblaze says:

        I liked Preseton but agree with these posts. He would never sell a lot of records (millions) which is always what these shows want. He probably would sell some though – to the crowd that goes to see BB King, Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, etc. So the exposure is going to help him. He is also a wicked guitar player (which was actually better than his voice) so it might get him some studio work or work in a band.

      • memphis gal says:

        preston shannon does indeed play in memphis clubs, and it warmed my heart to see him and the blues get their moment in the spotlight on ‘the voice’. i understand the lack of marketability factor, but i still would’ve loved to have seen him get a spot. btw, if any of you are ever in memphis, check out the little gem of a juke joint called ‘wild bill’s lounge’ on volluntine, where you can experience gritty delta blues & soul from 10-3 a.m. every friday and saturday night. it’s where the beale street players go to sit in with the band when they’re done and where i always take visitors to show them a different side of the music scene here, away from the neon of beale street and the kitsch of graceland.

  11. John says:

    I almost always agree with you, but I couldn’t disagree more with Cameron Novack. Hot hot mess…I was rooting for the judges to NOT turn around, and for once I got my wish. If this was Idol, he would have gotten through all the way to the Top 24 (a la Brielle). I’m excited for Sera, but several of the singers had major nerves. Hopefully they get over those.

    • marie says:

      I kinda wanted to sock Mr. Novack in his whiny, snotty little stank-face when he glared in obvious annoyance at not getting a spot! I didn’t think he was all that good vocally, either, and his “opera” singing was nothing but shrieking. So far this season, this guy is tied with the chick on Idol who when she was cut fumed that the producers weren’t “interested in Real Artists!” for the Bad Attitude Award Good riddance to both of them.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Wow, I agree. that was an odd song choice for Cameron (I had to explain to my pop-culture uneducated hubby what that song is about). And he just didn’t sound that great.

  12. Davey says:

    What I liked about Sera was that she could belt but could also control her voice so she was yelling. Very sweet tone, too. Lee Koch was super cute and sounded sweet but he should have been paired with Adam.
    I guess the judges can’t choose 12 great singers or it would be hard to eliminate anyone. But some of the choices are questionable.
    At least a lot of these singers have unconventional looks. Will the public respond to them?

    • marie says:

      Last season, bald-headed Beverly did pretty well in the contest, as I recall, and she was about as unconventional-looking as you can get (as well as being middle-aged, another “conventional” disqualifying factor). Hopefully, the Voice viewership will prove as accepting this season.

  13. darcy's evil twin says:

    What the heck is the deal with all the people that only have one name? Who do they think they are? That used to be reserved for people like “Elvis” and “Cher”. Now we have people that don’t have an established career with one name. I don’t get that. And is it my imagination or did I hear a lot of flat notes last night? Not to mention a lot of people that think they’re Whitney but don’t have the ability to sing like Whitney.

    • marie says:

      I was thinking the same myself re the proliferation of uni-monikered contestants. It strikes me as a little arrogant, coming from an unknown (although Adele was also an unknown when she started out as simply “Adele,” and I guess I didn’t mind it from her: I guess I’m willing to make exceptions for the truly spectacularly talented, but they are rare indeed).
      I’d almost forgotten, but yes, I noticed rather more than The Voice’s share of off-key singing last night. Well, at least we know they’re not using AutoTune!

    • Johnny says:

      I do have to note, though, that Xenia used the one name last season, and she was far from arrogant. Sometimes it might be because of a too-common or seemingly unexceptional last name, which I’d assume was Xenia’s reasoning, in order to stand out more…

      • marie says:

        Good point; she seemed very sweet. And yes, maybe some single-named performers simply dislike their surnames for some reason, or feel they’re too common, but prefer not to use another.

      • Joy says:

        Yeah, I always thought that when performers actually recorded under the single name (rather than just becoming known by that way over time, the way someone like Elvis did), it was more about the distinctiveness of the name they were using than their anticipated stature as artists. But that cannot explain why Simon Cowell ever thought “Drew” was a good unimoniker! A last name that’s likely to get butchered can always be changed/shortened instead of just dropped…

  14. JD Fortune says:

    Let’s get this started…Jordis Unga for the win!

    • Jill says:

      Absolutely! Couldn’t listen to “I’m Going Down” without thinking of her version & when I hear “Teenage Wasteland” I think of Jordis. Two standout performances from her past

  15. H says:

    I really liked David Dunn but for some reason the judges did not. His voice was much better than a bunch of the people that were picked and he wasn’t bad to look at either in a taller, hotter David Boreanaz kind of way.

    • Volcfom says:

      Absolutely agree! He could play David Boreanaz’s younger brother! I’m sure the crowd was going crazy from his “rugged good looks” that he noted jokingly backstage, but I’m upset that no one turned around for him.

  16. Jess says:

    My favorites going into the Battle Round:
    Jamar Rodgers (still pissed that Idol gave his spot to Danny Gokey ugh!)
    Tony Lucca
    Jamie Lono
    Juliet Simms
    Angel Taylor
    Lindsay Pavao

    Most of my favs are on Team Adam or Team Cee Lo. Hope they don’t get cut!!!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      This is pretty much my list though I’d substiute Lindsay for Charlotte Sometimes. I also liked the guy who did the Dillon tune last night and I’d add the opera guy (I’m too lazy to look the names up).

  17. Holly says:

    I thought Wade was a little awful. Not my thing at all. Cute as a button though. And I actually liked Adley Stump quite a bit. Soooooo…

  18. David7118 says:

    I’ve seen Lex perform several times in Austin and she’s usually pitch perfect and has an amazing voice. Go to to hear some of her songs. I don’t know what happened to her last night though, nerves I guess but I’m telling you, she has the potential to take the title.

  19. betsy says:

    i’m glad the blind auditions are over – even though I like them, this has gone on long enough.
    really looking forward to Idol tonight!

  20. Jim says:

    I’m glad they didn’t pick that arrogant Novack guy. He wasn’t that good.

  21. sofia says:

    Michael, while I think Christina is very over the top, Nichole and Randy must take the cake for being the most ridiculous judges on tv. As crazy as she is, she doesn’t annoy me half as much as those too.

  22. Aaron says:

    I hope you are getting ready to comment on how unremarkable and dull these guys are on Idol. Proof they want a girl winner this year. Terrible. And the judges are as horrid as last season. Might be the beginning of the end for me.

  23. Mikhael says:

    I actually thought Chessa was OK. I didn’t think that she was braying at all. I think braying was what Haley Reinhart did on Idol. I always thought she sounded (and looked) like a donkey. I mean, the giant hair, the giant long face, the giant donkey teeth.

  24. Chris says:

    I work in production for this show and I can assure you that the coaches are never prepped before a blind audition. In fact, those of us behind the scenes are sometimes unbelievably frustrated at who the coaches do and don’t turn around for! We all died when no chair spun for Dez Duron.

  25. syb says:

    Liked Orlando and Wade. Sera’s a great singer, but I’m just tired of the style in these contests. Cameron was a jerk, but I can’t believe nobody took him on the basis of the performance. I liked Lex too, but it wasn’t a great night overall.

  26. jeanne mcgill says:

    Love Cameron Novack….what a superstar…so much drama about this audition is making him famous….the judges hit the button when the song was over, they were mesmerized by an amazing talent…don’t blame them. Still talking about him after all this time, now that’s amazing too.