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!