The show-opening performance of the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” by coaches Blake Shelton, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera found the latter two vocalists side-by-side and sharing a microphone atop a rapidly rising platform. Would one of the (former?) bitter rivals snap, and push the other to a disfiguring free-fall?
And the evening’s final contestant, Queens native Trevin Hunte, was encouraged by the judges to give up the name of the eighth-grade teacher who tried to quash his singing aspirations and told him he’d never amount to anything. Would Trevin expose the errant educator on an early September Monday that’s already been a public-relations challenge for the nation’s teaching professionals?
Thankfully, neither Adam or Xtina (wearing a studded bustier and a “skirt” made from vertical-blinds pullcords) will be forced to cover their popular respective abdominal muscles or heaving bazooms with a pesky body cast. Nor will Trevin’s one-time teacher be named Most Likely to Make the Son of a Garbage-Truck Driver Give Up on His Big American Dream when her school’s 2013 yearbook comes out.
But enough about so much drama that doesn’t really have anything to do with who will eventually assume Jermaine Paul’s spot at the top of Voice mountain. Instead, let me rank the auditioners of a very promising Episode 1 who advanced to the Battle Rounds, or in other words the initial eight of the 64 (yep, you read that right) singers who’ll be members of each mentor’s eight-member Season 3 roster.
8) Joe Kirkland’s “Gives You Hell” (Team Adam) | Made about as much impact on me as a slice of dry toast delivered alongside a delicious omelette and a side of hash browns.
7) Daniel Rosa’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Team Cee Lo) | I’m not certain I was entirely enamored of his slurry, breathy delivery, but this Season 2 reject definitely hit a higher percentage of notes than on his maiden Voice voyage. I guess that’s saying…something?
6) Devyn Deloera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” (Team Xtina) | Self-proclaimed “small-town girl” (in a “big city blouse” with exposed abs and cleavage) veered off pitch and got a tad gaspy at a couple of junctures, but she may not have to tackle a more challenging ditty all season.
5) Trevin Hunte’s “Listen” (Team Cee Lo) | Teenager who almost looks mature enough to be a teenager’s dad has an undeniably enormous voice, but despite a standing ovation from Blake, Xtina, and his mentor, Trevin’s choice of Big Diva Ballad and occasional wobbly note makes me think he’ll need serious vocal coaching if he’s going to make it far in the competition. (Side note: Did the name Trevin put anyone on a one-way memory train back to 1993 and Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk“?)
4) Terry McDermott’s “Baba O’Riley” (Team Blake) | Wonderful voice that’s as clear as a mountain spring, but his shaggy ’80s hairdo should be promptly deported back to Scotland. (Sidenote: Did the name of Terry’s former band Driveblind make anyone else think of Charlie’s band Drive Shaft on Lost? And should Blake make Terry sing “You All Everybody” if he advances to the Live Shows?)
3) Gracia Harrison’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” (Team Blake) | She’s like Season 2’s RaeLynn, only without the Baby Jane Hudson vibe and far greater vocal control. (Plus, she yodels!)
2) Bryan Keith’s “It Will Rain” (Team Adam) | Tattooed dude whose dad is a vocalist with Spanish Harlem Orchestra has a chipotle-smoked voice and a keen ability to finesse the emotion in a song. He may have decided against using his father’s music-biz connections, but the parental unit’s propensity to burst into tears of pure pride won’t hurt him any with The Voice voters. (Yeah, okay, the response from Bryan’s family got me choked up.)
1) De’Borah’s “Hey Soul Sister” (Team Xtina) | Chick with close-cropped hair, an absolutely infectious personality, and clothes by Urkel Outfitters made me dig a Train song of which I’ve never been particularly fond. Watching De’Borah’s preacher parents embrace their lesbian daughter — and having her quote Xtina’s inspirational ballad “The Voice Within” — may have brought real tears to my eyes, as well. (One episode in, at least three close calls with the Kleenex box. Sheesh.)
And now that we’ve counted down the best, I think it’s time to give props to the episode’s worst moment: Let’s hear it for “Social Media Correspondent” Christina Millian’s enduring inability to find her humanity on camera. Way to take the “wit” out of Twitter, sister.
Who were your favorites from The Voice‘s Season 3 premiere? Were there any moments that made you cringe? Hit the comments with your thoughts!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV