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

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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 (51)

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

    Comment by Elena – September 17, 2012 07:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tyler Lillestol did amazing with You Got It Bad. White boy singing R & B…..I hope they bring him back next season.

    Comment by melanie – September 17, 2012 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree, and he seemed super genuine. He would have definitely been someone to root for. Instead we have DOMO. What is a DOMO?

      Comment by Aria – September 17, 2012 07:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Different strokes for different folks!

        Comment by melanie – September 17, 2012 10:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Domo arigato (どうもありがとう Dōmo arigatō?) (pronounced [doꜜːmo aɽiꜜɡatoː]) is a Japanese phrase meaning “Thank you very much”. It may also refer to:

        Comment by Michael Sacal – September 18, 2012 06:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I was really surprised to see it ranked so high on the list.

        Comment by Snsetblaze – September 18, 2012 08:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. He was amazing. That last note was killer. And such a shock to see a kid who was my son’s friend in elementary school on national TV. Good for Tyler. I think we will be hearing from him again. Definitely not the end of the line. The young man has talent!

      Comment by Sharla Crosby – September 18, 2012 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Aria – September 17, 2012 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Avery was unbelievable…..

    Comment by Sandra – September 17, 2012 07:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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…

    Comment by Dawn – September 17, 2012 07:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by PFitzDC – September 17, 2012 08:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Gotta say, I just returned from a vacation spent in Alaska, part of it in Anchorage. That was no joke about the 3 bars.

        Comment by It's the climb – September 18, 2012 11:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yay! Slelittle is back on house! Thank you!

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

    Comment by Scout – September 17, 2012 08:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by forwarddad – September 17, 2012 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by T – September 17, 2012 09:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I still disagree, but your comment did make me chuckle heartily.

      Comment by Michael Slezak – September 17, 2012 10:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. And your comment cracked me up.

      Comment by Snsetblaze – September 18, 2012 08:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Michael has a thing for overconfident contestants even if they don’t sing that well. Example: Skylar Laine and her helium-infused N to the A to the S to the A to the L voice.

      Comment by not pathetic – September 18, 2012 03:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by David – September 17, 2012 09:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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

    Comment by Toia – September 17, 2012 10:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Larry – September 18, 2012 07:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agreed! If people want to know about them later… the bio after they’ve made the top 10 or something.

        Comment by checkers_530 – September 18, 2012 10:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Lois Benton – September 18, 2012 12:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree with you!

      Comment by july – September 18, 2012 08:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • *Guercio

    Comment by professor1453 – September 18, 2012 05:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really? De’borah at number 2? No way!

    Comment by EveatEden – September 18, 2012 05:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by rochelle – September 18, 2012 06:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was a bit shocked by the pick bu every team need canon fodder and I think thru might just be it.

      Comment by Toia – September 18, 2012 06:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Toia, I missed your comment, and posted same thing below. I’m not saying Christina thought they were bad, just that there are some folks she’s likely to miss than others…

        Comment by rwfblog – September 18, 2012 10:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Thanks, thought maybe I was losing it because I disliked them so much. They sounded horrible, not sure what all the love from the judges was about!

      Comment by Rain – September 18, 2012 07:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I know. I thought they were terrible as well. Then they were told they were the best duo so far. The country mother and daughter team were much better. And I’m not a big commercial country fan.

      Comment by Snsetblaze – September 18, 2012 08:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i diiiid not like these people at all

      Comment by nicole O – September 18, 2012 08:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agreed. I muted my TV and left the room just to make absolutely sure I didn’t hear them anymore.

        Comment by Jen – September 18, 2012 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s nice to have some fodder for the battle rounds. When you know you’ll have to be the one to eliminate half your team, sorta makes sense to choose some who you won’t really miss.

      Comment by rwfblog – September 18, 2012 09:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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!

    Comment by Rain – September 18, 2012 07:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • 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.

      Comment by Snsetblaze – September 18, 2012 08:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • 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.

        Comment by Snsetblaze – September 18, 2012 08:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Tim Martin – September 18, 2012 08:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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).

    Comment by Eli – September 18, 2012 09:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ok. I’m over teenage girls trying to make their mark with “The Climb”.

    Comment by It's the climb – September 18, 2012 11:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nicholas David and Brian Scartocci were the standouts of the evening for me. But then I thought it was called the CUBAN shuffle.

    Comment by Kiki – September 18, 2012 11:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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?

    Comment by Lois Benton – September 18, 2012 12:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Nicholas David’s “Stand By Me” (Team Cee Lo) | Sounded like The Love Boat theme song.

    Comment by Chris G. – September 18, 2012 12:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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…?

    Comment by RD – September 18, 2012 02:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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.

    Comment by Lois Benton – September 18, 2012 02:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 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…

    Comment by Trent – September 19, 2012 01:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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