The Voice Recap: Ain't About What's Waiting on the Other Side [Updated]

Things we learned on The Voice tonight (that we never knew we didn’t know): Blake Shelton might not be opposed to occasionally rocking pink undergarments. A song called “The Cupid Shuffle” is all the rage at weddings and bar mitzvahs. You can be among YouTube’s Top 100 most-subscribed musicians and still need the help of a reality singing competition to hit it big. And there are only three bars in Anchorage, AK.

Okay, so that last tidbit might not actually be true. (Blake’s sense of humor is drier than a county without alcohol, making those jokes of his often seem borderline convincing.)

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One thing Blake and his fellow judges always seem serious about, though, is being respectful to the contestants who stand in front of them, asking for a chance at making their dreams come true. While uni-monikered Cupid made a boneheaded move performing his novelty hit instead of something that proved his chops, I loved how the judges — even though none of them had picked him to join their teams — took a moment and let him rip into a few bars of “Let’s Get It On,” just to redeem his reputation and restore some of his self-confidence. Turns out the guy is pretty great, even if he’s not headed to the Battle Rounds.

And while I was a little bummed nobody turned their chairs around for Agina Alvarez’s “Turn the Beat Around,” on the other hand, I totally understood Xtina’s explanation that the two-time victim of the record-label game had everything cranked up to 10, when a little subtlety might’ve helped. (Hey, if you’re going back to your boring day job with nothing more than a parting gift, wouldn’t you rather have some performance advice from a world-class vocalist than the point-and-jeer cruelty favored by most of The Voice‘s competitors?)

Speaking of taking things seriously, I took the liberty of ranking the eight singers who advanced to the Battle Rounds while receiving more than 10 seconds of airtime. Here’s my take (and my hopes for some pre-Battle Rounds makeovers!):

8) JR Aquino’s “Just the Way You Are” (Team Cee Lo) | Alaska native with more than 45 million views scraped against the guard rail of pitch on this Bruno Mars cover, but I have to admit I was super impressed that Avery ended up choosing the one judge who called him out on his struggles with hitting his notes.

7) Alessandra Guerico’s “The Climb” (Team Adam) | Absurdly gorgeous one-time Idol auditioner sounded like she got ahead of the music on the opening verse of Miley Cyrus’ slice of inspirational treacle, but the nerves didn’t kick in in earnest till Adam turned his chair. Her coach thinks she might be a real contender with a little more seasoning, and he may very well turn out to be correct.

6) Beat Frequency’s “E.T.” (Team Xtina) | The female half of this husband-wife team really faltered on her upper register, but there were a few moments on the chorus where Beat Frequency got me to almost reconsider my loathing for this particular Katy Perry track. On an unrelated topic, I scribbled a note during their performance that asks, “This chick’s crazy-crimped coiff is going to be BFFs with Xtina’s weave.” (Vote “yea” or “nay” in the comments.)

5) Brian Scartocci’s “Isn’t She Lovely” (Team Adam) | Anyone else think this single dad kinda looked like a geeky Chris Daughtry? And while I’m asking questions, can anyone help me figure out if I actually dig Brian’s soulful howl, or if I find it just a little too affected/stylized to take seriously? Whatever the case may be, I did very much enjoy Blake’s unsuccessful courtship of Brian, comparing their tastes in vests, the guy’s scorpion belt buckle, as well as this doozy: “You have soul; I have a soul.” By the time Blake hinted he was wearing pink — just not anywhere the audience could see — I was in full-on guffaw mode.

4) Avery Wilson’s “Without You” (Team Cee Lo) | Some of this 16-year-old’s runs were truly tremendous, and that’s not even taking into account his tender age or lack of vocal training. My one concern, though, was the way the end of the song fell to pieces like a single Cheerio underfoot on the kitchen floor. Was that just the excitement of getting four chairs turned around, or is he not as good as the end-of-episode pimp slot would lead us to believe?

3) Nicholas David’s “Stand By Me” (Team Cee Lo) | One of the night’s most memorable auditions, and not because of Nicholas’ unkempt beard and dollar-store hat, either. The jazzy inflections in the burly dude’s delivery helped bring to the surface all the pain and struggle of his former hardscrabble existence. True, he only managed to get one judge to turn for him — but it was the right judge, no? A possible Season 3 dark horse, for certain.

2) Liz Davis’ “Here for the Party” (Team Blake) | Watching Blake lure Liz away from Xtina and onto his team using his ACM Best Male Vocalist trophy was hands-down the night’s funniest moment, but considering the slick, easy power of Liz’s vocals, it was easy to understand why the country judge broke out the heavy artillery. My only complaint would be the incongruousness of the singer’s barely-there black miniskirt against a blouse and hairstyle that seemed like a better fit for a secretary at a shipping yard .

1) Melanie Martinez’s “Toxic” (Team Adam) | I can’t lie: I found the exactness of Melanie’s half-black, half-orange bangs to be mildly disconcerting, but she’s got a judge now to (hopefully) help her with her styling issues, and perhaps to foster the creativity she used to conjure up an intriguingly creepy twist on a Britney Spears classic. That waifish quality to her voice might normally spell trouble in the live rounds (with the show’s sometimes aggressive house band), but Xtina was correct in noting the teenager also has serious power in her voice when she chooses to use it.

And, of course, because context is crucial, let’s view tonight’s successful auditioners as part of the larger Season 3 pool:

26) Casey Muessigman’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (Team Blake)
25) Joe Kirkland’s “Gives You Hell” (Team Adam)
24) Daniel Rosa’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Team Cee Lo)
23) Julio Caesar Castillo’s “La Bamba” (Team Blake)
22) JR Aquino’s “Just the Way You Are” (Team Cee Lo)
21) Samuel Mouton’s “Redemption Song” (Team Adam)
20) 2Steel Girls’ “Before He Cheats” (Team Blake)
19) Devyn Deloera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” (Team Xtina)
18) Nelly’s Echo’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Team Xtina)
17) Alessandra Guerico’s “The Climb” (Team Adam)
16) Beat Frequency’s “E.T.” (Team Xtina)
15) Aquile’s “Your Song (Team Xtina)
14) Brian Scartocci’s “Isn’t She Lovely” (Team Adam)
13) Mackenzie Bourg’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (Team Cee Lo)
12) Trevin Hunte’s “Listen” (Team Cee Lo)
11) Avery Wilson’s “Without You” (Team Cee Lo)
10) Nicholas David’s “Stand By Me” (Team Cee Lo)
9) Liz Davis’ “Here for the Party” (Team Blake)
8) Adriana Louise’s “Domino” (Team Xtina)
7) Terry McDermott’s “Baba O’Riley” (Team Blake)
6) DOMO’s “Don’t Cha” (Team Cee Lo)
5) Gracia Harrison’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” (Team Blake)
4) Melanie Martinez’s “Toxic” (Team Adam)
3) Bryan Keith’s “It Will Rain” (Team Adam)
2) De’Borah’s “Hey Soul Sister” (Team Xtina)
1) Nicole Nelson’s “Hallelujah” (Team Adam)

Who were your favorites from The Voice‘s fourth episode of Season 3? Were there any moments that made you cringe? Anyone else you thought the judges shouldn’t have rejected? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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. Elena says:

    I really enjoyed Melanie’s inventive cover of Toxic so she was my favorite of the night by far.

  2. melanie says:

    Tyler Lillestol did amazing with You Got It Bad. White boy singing R & B…..I hope they bring him back next season.

  3. Aria says:

    Alessandra was the third member of that “Grenade” group with Pia Toscano and Brielle Von Hugel on “Idol.” I thought she was really great. Did NOT get the hype over Avery Wilson or Beat Frequency. For me, the standouts of the night were Melanie Martinez and JR Aquino.

  4. Sandra says:

    Avery was unbelievable…..

  5. Dawn says:

    Did anyone else miss JR Aquino’s performance? They teased him going into commercial, but then it never showed. I even went back and double checked. Very odd…

    • PFitzDC says:

      They showed it; not sure how you missed it. He talked about being on YouTube, he sang Bruno Mars, 3 of 4 judges turned around and he went with Team CeeLo. And that’s when Blake made the joke about 3 bars in Anchorage that Slezak references above.

  6. Scout says:

    Yay! Slelittle is back on house! Thank you!

    Domo?!~ To quote Britney: “No no. [insert disgusted face here]”

  7. forwarddad says:

    Slezak I knew you had Melanie first even before reading it. I suppose we can anticipate your banging the drum for her throughout this season. Being quirky doesn’t always translate to being good.

  8. T says:

    Reading that D to the O to the M to the O was ranked number 6(??!) makes me want to poke my eyes O to the U to the T.

  9. David says:

    My top three of the night were Avery, Nicholas, and Brian. I am not as turned off by the R & B singer as some of y’all. Especially when they’re only 16 and they already sound that good.

  10. Toia says:

    I am with you on the top 5 but I just don’t understand your Domo love I find her tedious and she couldn’t love herself anymore. Her petformance didn’t live up to all that ego. Tonight for the main part was a snooze feast we had Rachel Berry 2.0 the YouTube guy who missed half his notes. The guy who got the glory spot that I literally can’t remember. These episodes are the Blake and xtina’s boobs show (you can tell when they’ve been back from make up cuz her boobs arent so crazy it should be a drinking game of something) and for real I dont care about the life stories of all these ppl when half of them will be gone in a few weeks

    • Larry says:

      I agree with you on these life stories. I don’t think The Voice should be going down the road that Idol and X Factor have gone with all these sob stories. Everybody has hurdles in life I understand but I watch The Voice for the talent not the stories, plus I think a lot of people vote for the best sob story instead of the best voice. I know a few people who do that and/or the hottest looking be it female or male. It’s about the best singer, lets keep it that way plzzzzz.

  11. Lois Benton says:

    Move 18, 21, 22, 23 and 25, in any order you please, to just behind Aquile at 15. Then move 1, 6,8,9, in any order you please, just behind the ones you just moved behind Aquile, and you would be getting close. I don’t like country music at all and I like Gracia Harrison: There’s a star for ya. I’ve listened to your number 1, Nicole Nelson, multiple times, trying to feel that magic, but it just isn’t happening. She’s okay. Your 2,3,4,5,7,10,11,12,13,14 are the biggies; there’s some serious talent there. Your 15,16,18,21,22,23,25 have a shot, depending on what they do next. If I had to pick a top three, it would be Gracia Harrison, Mackenzie Bourg and Brian Scartocci.

  12. professor1453 says:


  13. EveatEden says:

    Really? De’borah at number 2? No way!

  14. rochelle says:

    Beat Frequency gave the worst audition of the year I thought. The woman’s voice was really off pitch, and her husband’s wasn’t memorable. I don’t know what Christina was thinking.

  15. Rain says:

    This was my least favorite night so far this season. Really didn’t love this crop of choices, but since I have so many early favorites I’m not too worried. My list is def. different than Slezak’s!

    8) Beat Frequency – I’m not a fan of duets for this show to begin with, and these 2 were just horrible. I have no clue what the judges heard that I didn’t.
    7) Liz Davis – Worse than a bad karaoke version of this song – not sure what all the fuss was about. I love playing that song loud in the car and belting along but this was nothing like the fun Gretchen Wilson version. It barely sounded country! Gracia was a much better country artist.
    6) Alessandra Guerico – Sounded like something you’d hear on Glee, she’s got a beautiful voice and would be great on Broadway – but I’d never listen to a cd of hers.
    5) Melanie Martinez – I just am not a fan of this weird overly stylized music that seems to be so popular. Each season someone like Melanie is picked and goes really far and I’m always amazed because I find it so boring and irritating!
    4) Brian Scartocci – I liked him because of his backstory, not sure how I truly felt about his music. I’m curious what I’ll think next time I hear him.
    3) JR Aquino – It was a little rocky but I’m hoping that was just the nerves. He seemed like he had a nice voice hopefully when he gets more comfortable up there he’ll be good!
    2) Nicholas David – Def. interesting, I’m intrigued to see what he does next.
    1) Avery Wilson – Loved Avery so much, I just can’t understand how a 16 year old with no training can be so talented!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I agree with your list for the most part. I’d switch JR and Melanie. I loved Avery’s voice but not sure I will like the type of music he will record. David would do well on the indie circuit – he doesn’t sound like Ray Lamontagne but he reminds me of that type of singer.

      And I did think of Chris Daughtry right away when I saw Brian Scartocci.

      Liz Davis – her voice was too heavy for that song. Both Gracia and the mother daughter duo were better.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        Oh yeah, and my first thought with Melanie was that she sounded like Dia Frampton. But I did hear the Bjork as well. And many other indie female singer-songwriters.

  16. Tim Martin says:

    Quite a few really good voices so far, but … Bryan Keith has been the best, in my opinion. Dude is the truth and will ultimately be crowned the season 3 champion.

  17. Eli says:

    Is it just me or did that Alessandra girl have a boob-job? And if so, is this a common thing for 17 year olds in America? I’m from Europe and it would be a bit shocking here so I’m curious.

    In regards to the singing, Melanie was easily my favorite of the episode (and I loved the hair, also the photography showed actual talent).

  18. It's the climb says:

    Ok. I’m over teenage girls trying to make their mark with “The Climb”.

  19. Kiki says:

    Nicholas David and Brian Scartocci were the standouts of the evening for me. But then I thought it was called the CUBAN shuffle.

  20. Lois Benton says:

    It’s sad, but the itunes version of the performers I liked aren’t as good as the auditions. The producers need to stop editing the quirks, because that’s what makes the performers interesting. I hate to resort to youtube capture, but if the producers are going to process the heck out of the songs, then what choice do I have?

  21. Chris G. says:

    Nicholas David’s “Stand By Me” (Team Cee Lo) | Sounded like The Love Boat theme song.

  22. RD says:

    Although I believe the talent to generally be better this season,I feel that raising the team tally to 16 is making the judges far less selective.It almost seems like they’re saying ‘oh,well,I can dump this one later’.How do they pare down their teams,by the way? Surely we don’t have to watch 32 sing-offs…?

  23. Lois Benton says:

    One of Adam’s team, who didn’t get much airtime, Adanna Duru, seemed to be the best of the three young girls whose audition didn’t get airtime. I did buy Adanna Duru’s Edge of Glory, even though I’m not that fond of that song, because her version is very nice. THe other two girls who weren’t featured were good too, just not as good. The performances weren’t very exciting, but that’s true of others were were featured, so they were just editing victims.

  24. Trent says:

    Blake was absolutely hilarious on this episode. He’s always been likable, but IMO he has taken over this season on sheer personality alone. And because he’s so comfortable and effortlessly funny he has become the one judge everyone else jokes with as well. So glad he’s staying on for next season!

    Very confused by Cupid. You go on the show to change your “one-hit-wonder” status, then you sing your one hit? He was obviously humiliated, so props to the coaches for inviting him to sing “Let’s Get it On.” If he had only done that first…

    My top picks were Avery and Melanie. Both very young and hugely talented. Knew that Blake would want quirky Melanie — if he has a pop-music type, she’s it. And given what he’s done for Dia, I’m surprised she didn’t pick him. As for Avery, WOW! Can’t believe he’s 16. With that voice, that face and his dancing talent, I predict he will be the first Voice alumni to hit it big in the pop world. The next Chris Brown/Usher…