The Voice Recap: Living La Vida 'Loca'

The Voice Recap Michelle ChamuelIt’s not every day a reality singing competition audition can make you feel like you’re about to burst with excitement when, deep down, you not only know the immediate outcome for the contestant, but also his or her long-term prognoisis.

And yet that’s exactly what happened tonight on The Voice when Blake Shelton and Adam Levine played an extended game of chicken — AKA “if you press your button, I’ll press my button!” — over Florida music teacher Karina Iglesias’s pitch-challenged peculiar rendition of Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One.”

Of course the bromancing buddies turned around at the last possible second. And of course they put on a show trying to win over the chica whose wheelchair-bound grandma was overcome with emotion from seeing Karina’s big shining moment. It doesn’t really matter if Adam’s grand plan involves using Karina as cannon fodder for a Battle Round showdown against Judith Hill or Sarah Simmons: The Voice is a series of peaks with no valleys; some of those peaks are just higher than others. (Heck, even the episode’s rejected auditioners — a former Gold-record-selling country artist, a Minnesota furniture mover playing his first public gig, and a Brazilian native who got Shakira speaking Portuguese on network television — were given some reason to smile and feel hopeful.)

Karina was part of a two-hour episode where we saw full auditions for eight Battle Round-bound singers (plus snippets of three other contestants who got at least one chair to turn). My overall impression is that we didn’t witness the eventual Season 4 champ in action — which is another way of saying last week’s episodes were significantly stronger — and thus, I’ll jump directly to a rundown of the aforementioned octet. I’ve ranked ’em in order from least- to most-promising, and tried my best to keep my reviews down to a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less. Here we go…

8) Karina Iglesias: Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One” (Team Adam) | Did some, uh, interesting things with the melody, which is another way of saying her pitch was shakier than a hairless cat in subzero temperatures. Cute vest, though!

7) The Swon Brothers: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” (Team Blake) | Bro-klahoma banter was more distinctive than their fine (but not spectacular) vocal tone. Which isn’t to say the banter couldn’t carry them a ways.

6) Warren Stone: Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather” (Team Adam) | I thought there was too much warble and not enough polish on the opening two-thirds of the tune — so imagine my surprise when everyone except Usher turned their chairs for him. Can’t discount how far his rugged good looks might take him if he survives till the voting rounds.

5) Taylor Beckham: Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down” (Team Usher) | Usher fought much harder than Shakira for the former gymnast whose squeaky upper register made me think she could’ve used another year (or three) before bringing her act to prime time.

4) Garrett Gardner: The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” (Team Shakira) | Scored points with a creative, reggae-flavored rearrangement and a gravelly tone that prompted me to scrawl the word “werewolf” in my notes. (It made sense at the time!) Still, pitch was more a B/B- than a solid A.

3) Holly Tucker: Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” (Team Blake) | Impromptu “Amazing Grace” with her parents was stunning. Solo audition didn’t stir me quite as deeply, but college-band saxophonist sings with a ton of passion at the tender age of 19. Pretty tone, too.

2) Michelle Chamuel: Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” (Team Usher) | Geeky chica brought a harder rock edge and sneaky sexual longing (not just a depressing “I did it for my boyfriend!” party-girl joke vibe) to a Katy Perry track I usually dislike. Will be interesting to see what happens if she makes the voting rounds.

1) Monique Abbadie: Shakira’s “Loca” (Team Shakira) | Loved how the former child star brought lightning tempo to the auditions while managing to showcase a big range and enviable vocal accuracy. One of the few genuine threats on Team Shakira so far.

Okay, your turn. What did you think of the third episode of The Voice Season 4? Who was your favorite? Who got a spot on a coach’s team that left you scratching your head? Who got unfairly snubbed? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments! And for all my reality TV recaps, interviews, news and exclusives, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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. Kareem shunnar says:

    I thought warren was amazing and Monique was fun a cool

  2. Barbara says:

    we never got to hear ALL the singers that were chosen, they just breezed by them :( I don’t like that they have “pros” on the show :(

    • bbl says:

      I actually love that they have seasoned singers. Who better to give the opportunity to win than someone who has put in their dues and clearly has the talent? I like watching people grow on these shows, but at the end of the day, I want to hear stellar vocals.

      • Lee says:

        I’m with you bbi. I like how The Voice has seasoned singers too. And whoever said that they couldn’t previously have a recording contract?! That’s what I like about The Voice–they have both experienced and inexperienced contestants. If The Voice only wanted inexperienced singers then why don’t they have an age limit like Idol? IMO I’d much rather see experienced singers than inexperienced singers. My feeling is get some practice first before you waste my time on national TV.

    • JAS says:

      This! It drives me crazy that they let Julie Roberts audition. Shows like this are supposed to be for people who haven’t had a shot. Yes, it sucks that she “fell through the cracks,” as Blake put it, but she DID have a chance. Her album went gold! She was successful. And by giving her a chance to audition on this show, the producers took that chance away from someone who hasn’t had a chance yet, someone who doesn’t have connections in the industry or know Blake personally. It really ticks me off. The show is supposed to be about finding new, rising stars and helping them launch their careers, not about giving has-beens second chances. They had their shots and it didn’t work out, now let someone else have a go at it.

      • C.A. says:

        You said…”Shows like this is supposed to be for people who haven’t had a shot”? Whoever said that? That’s just YOUR opinion! The show is searching for the best singer in America who doesn’t have a recording contract already. The prize is a recording contract. It doesn’t matter where they come from. They give EVERYBODY a chance. Some make it and some don’t. Even though Julie had a recording contract years ago, she still didn’t make it. I don’t see the problem.

      • allie says:

        WHY do you guys think the Voice is about people who have never had a shot? The Voice has NEVER said that – maybe Idol in years past but the Voice actually looks for folks with credibility and INVITES them to audition. Having said that, poor Julie Roberts was really bad. I don’t care if they have experience or if this is their first time on stage – I just want to hear talent.

        • abbyhope says:

          THIS. in fact, i remember when this show first started and they billed it as actually only auditioning people had been working and trying to get a break for years; musicians that came recommended from talent managers, agents, scouts, etc. that had been working the lower-echelon (bars, music halls, small venues) for years without getting their ‘big break.’ and, frankly, that’s what i want to see – it irks me more to have all these (mostly young) people who have stars in their eyes and are all “this is my first gig…” i don’t want to see pipe-dreamers, i want to see talent.

          also, agreed about Julie’s audition. i remember her from a couple years ago – ‘Breakdown Here’ was a decent single. but tonight’s audition was simply not good. she was behind the beat and off-pitch a lot… i’m sorry that Blake felt bad (he shouldn’t) and that she’s had a rough go of it these last few years, and i hope things look up for her… but tonight’s audition didn’t warrant any chair turns.

          my favorite of the night actually didn’t get any chair-turns, either… i cannot believe no one pushed their button for Sam Alves! that kid was the total package and the judges missed it completely. :(

          other than that, Monique and Michelle were the stand-outs for me. good luck to both of them!

          • seattlejohn449 says:

            I own and really enjoy Julia Roberts 2 cds and was really excited to hear her audition but not a good song choice and the vocal was off…sigh…and if Sam was the furniture mover I agree they should have picked him though apparently he was too laid back vocally and not showboating (though he sang the song beautifully)

      • analythinker says:

        I would rather watch those who have had a shot but didn’t quite make it than “new kids on the block” (like most AI contestants). It would suck to see these new kids who have not experienced the same struggles take what they *could* take. Sure, they’ve had their chance but more often than not it’s not their talent that did them in. At least they have dealt with the industry before and know what to expect. That gives them better vision, perspective, and wisdom to be on the show (maybe?).

      • Snsetblaze says:

        The Voice has never said it does not have professionals. In fact, it seems like there are as many professionals as not. The powers that be have never tried to hide the fact that there are people who have had shots or put their own work out, etc., unlike idol which had a bunch of “ringers” in but has always tried to hide it. I have no problem with those that have had a shot. I’d rather see them than the really delusional ones that Idol has brought out over the years.

      • Jan1 says:

        I hate this tee-ball mentality that everyone should get a turn. People who have been slugging it out and sacrificing for years arguably DESERVE a break much more than the hairbrush-in-the-mirror singers.

      • tnsmoke says:

        You make it sound like it was Julie’s fault she didn’t make it past her 1st gold cd. Did it ever occur to you how the music business really works. How would you like to be on the same record label as Garth Brooks and the label’s promotion department is obligated to give Garth 90% of the budget and the rest of the label’s artists are stuck with 10% for all of them combined?? These things happen all the time. There is more then shear talent that goes into selling records and if your label won’t promote you over someone else then they drop you when cd #2 flops.

  3. Adam Minter says:

    I’m personally routing for Michelle, having seen her perform around the Ann Arbor area as the singer for Ella Riot/My Dear Disco and with S/He. She’s really a fantastic singer/song writer and a great performer.

  4. MB says:

    To be honest I don’t know if I am just tired tonight but I found this episode to be kind of boring. None of the singers really moved me.

    • Artlight says:

      Same here. Got so bored while watching the show that I found clips of the people that hadn’t come on yet and just watched that instead of wasting another hour

      I dunno if it’s because the show’s scouts had less time to find good contestants or if the new coaches’ chemistry is just not as interesting as it was (say what you will about Xtina and Cee Lo, but they were entertaining) but the show’s pretty boring this season

  5. AB says:

    They missed out on the best singer of all — Julie Roberts! (The “former” gold record.artist)
    Don’t quit your day jobs, coaches…

    • Jaded says:

      I thought she sounded hideous- her voice was really abrasive.

    • Sg. Grant says:

      I am really loving the new judges. They should keep Shakira and Usher and not bring back Cee Lo and Christina.

      • duranmom says:

        I am loving the vibe between the 4 judges waaaaaaay better than when CeeLo and Xtina are there. And it’s not just Adam and Blake being nice to the “new kids”. Usher and Shakira are the real deal.

      • monkles says:

        I agree with keeping Shakira and Usher. I usually fast forward through most of the judges comments on these kind of shows (especially AI),but I watch every minute of the interactions between the judges on the Voice. The tone is much lighter this year and you can tell the judges get along.

    • Gale says:

      I’m glad the judges heard what I heard.

    • Alienate says:

      Maybe she used to be able to sing well. But MS does crazy things to your whole body, including control of vocal chords.

      • Yo says:

        It could well have been the song, but I also wondered about muscle impairment. If so, that was a courageous performance, and better because no one declared it so.

    • Jan1 says:

      She blew it. she sounded terrible.

  6. Daniel says:

    Taylor was the best by far. She had a great song choice. Usher loved it and so did I!!

    • tp says:

      I really felt like she didn’t do that song any justice.

    • A says:

      I don’t know if anyone else heard it but the way she said the word “down” was really awkward and kinda ruined the song for me. I think she was okay but I definitely agree with tp

  7. The Beach says:

    Karina reminded me of Vikki Martinez from a couple of seasons back but not as good. I loved the beautiful tone of Warren and Holly. The Swon Brothers were fun as was Monique (man, she can sing fast!). I thought both the curly-haired Brazilian guy and the blond, raspy -voiced singer from Minnesota that nobody turned around for were better than any of the five guys in Idol’s Top Ten.

  8. Beth says:

    Usher suggesting Blake and Adam go to couples therapy was my favorite moment! I love this group of coaches.

    • Aiden says:

      So do I! Just plain fun to watch week after week.

      I like Michael’s comment: “Heck, even the episode’s rejected auditioners. . .were given some reason to smile and feel hopeful.”

      The coaches and the show overall just has that positive vibe, it’s so lighthearted and easy to watch. My family usually watches howling in laughter and warm fuzzy feels. Regardless whether or not they actually launch a star a la Kelly Clarkson, watching The Voice always feels worthwhile as they give the contestants a shot to shine and have connections in legitimately helpful and nurturing mentors.

  9. TC says:

    I’m not sure what I was hearing but I thought Holly Tucker’s performance of “To Make Me Feel my Love” ( a song I love) was not good at all.

  10. sugarcube4u says:

    Curiosity… are the coaches wearing the same clothes for 3 days??

    • madgem says:

      I don’t know how long the auditions actually last in real life, but I know they wear the same clothes the whole time because they never show the auditions in the actual order they occur, and they need to be wearing the same clothes for continuity’s sake.

  11. Maggie says:

    I LOVE Colder Weather, but Blake’s right, it’s a hard song, and Zac Brown’s voice is so smooth that it’s tough to make this song your own. I thought Warren did a nice job, but I wasn’t feeling his lower register, ZBB has a fuller sound that helps with those notes.

  12. Jake says:

    I was so pumped that everyone was getting screen time, possibly due to smaller teams this season, and then they go and mess it up tonight (for the record, I was digging the snippet we heard from the Hawaiian dude on Team Adam. I agree with your top 3 completely, didn’t get the fuss over Warren (although I’d love to see a non-Blake country singer win so others would be encouraged to choose coaches outside of their genres), and I thought Taylor was way overrated. Michelle totally should have gone with Shakira- of Adam, Usher and Shakira, Usher seemed the most detached and least passionate about getting her. One of my favorite voices if the night was easily the mover who sang the James Morrison song- he was better than half of the ones who got through, in my opinion.

    • Jake says:

      Also, I love Michelle’s personality (and totally relate), but when I heard/saw Holly, I immediately thought “potential winner.”

    • kavyn says:

      I really thought Michelle was going to choose Shakira. Why in the world do so many contestants obsess over Usher? Is it because of his fame? Because every time he shows enthusiasm for a contestant, it doesn’t come off very genuine (it feels like he’s faking it a lot).

    • Jenks says:

      It seemed to me that Usher totally lost interest when he turned around. I believe she would have done far better with either of the other two.

  13. Aria says:

    I’d never heard of Julie Roberts, and assumed she’d be great because she had a successful first record, but she was terrible! Off-key, off-tempo . . . yikes!

  14. Karrah says:

    I couldn’t believe Julie Roberts auditioned and no one turned around! I actually didn’t like her interpretation of that song but she is so talented. I have a few of her songs on my iPod from back when and I always wondered what happened to her. Her story broke my heart but hopefully at least the exposure from the show will do some good things for her.

    • Gale says:

      I can believe that no one turned around, because she sounded bad!

      • MB says:

        It’s a shame because I have MOG and I just looked her albums up and she is really good. She sounded awful last night, I wonder why?

        • Alienate says:

          Didn’t any of you see her pre-song bio? She has MS! Wtf. I saw Annette Funicello in her wheel chair at an advanced stage. She could barely TALK. Poor girl has lost her skills and that audition should have let her know that so she can move on with her life.

  15. kavyn says:

    Am I just imagining things or are the judges pressing their buttons WAY too early on so many of these songs compared to past seasons? Half of them make it through to the next round before even getting to the chorus. One or two of them got a judge to press their buttons after a single verse, and they didn’t sound impressive enough at all to warrant it from the one verse.

    I don’t know. I’m not as enthusiastic about this season as I was for the last one. Michelle’s the first contestant to genuinely pop out at me, but it was probably more due to her look than it was her voice (although her voice was good).

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      There were a couple who sounded great for the first few bars, got some presses and then kinda fell off a lot, so maybe a bit too soon in a few cases.

  16. T says:

    I want to see more of the Hawaiian guy that is on Adam’s team. He was super cute. I like Garrett but as far as an audition song goes, “Seven Nation Army” belongs to Jamar Rogers.

  17. Dan says:

    They need to keep Shakira and Usher. They are so much better than I ever imagined they would be.

    • kavyn says:

      Shakira, yes. Usher… I don’t really see the appeal.

      • Terry says:


        • kavyn says:

          Usher seems really fake and shallow, but I guess I’m the only one who sees it that way. Cee Lo’s lame too but I prefer him over Usher. Shakira is SO much better than Christina though.

          • Leah says:

            Yes! I like Cee Lo way better than Usher (at least he seemed to be real – most of the time), and he would have totally been into Michelle. Usher looked like he was praying that Michelle would pick another coach. Shakira rocks….I hate Xxxxxxxxxxtina (written sarcastically). I hope she doesn’t come back.

  18. kavyn says:

    How in the world is Karina ranked last? I saw the performance again after seeing your ranking for her and she was just as good as I remembered. She was auditioning and showing what she could do with her voice, so she took some creative risks with it.

    Taylor Beckham was IMO the worst of the night. Not a bad singer but she was really pitchy. Love how she sang the “I’m going down” verses though.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Taylor was painful to listen to. She didn’t have the range or experience or worldliness in her voice to sing that song. If you’re gonna cover MJ Blige you have to be able to dig really deep. She sang it like a kid because she is kid and she sounded like one too.

  19. Juan says:

    When Monique started her song, she made me think of Gaga

  20. A says:

    She is slowly making her way to being my favorite coach. She and Usher are so much better than I thought they would be and I love how smoothly they’ve integrated themselves with the other coaches. It kinda feels like cheating but I have yet to miss CeeLo or Xtina. Although, I still do enjoy them both.
    It really annoys me when the Adam and Blake play the game of trying to get the other to push the button. Its really silly and childish. The banter is fine and entertaining but those little silly stuff along with the “hand hovering over button” fakeouts that the show seems to love doing are a bit annoying.
    Monique Abbadie was definitely the best of the night. I gotta say I love the Latin infusion the show has received with Shakira’s presence so far. Loca was such an entertaining performance.
    I do disagree with the list however. Karina should not be ranked last. For me that spot belongs Taylor/Garrett.
    Also, the “before the commercial” previews really spoil everything that was about to happen. I knew exactly which judges turned around for Warren Stone because they completely gave it away. A little surprise would be nice, NBC!

  21. Allie says:

    I’m really enjoying this season way more than I thought I would, it’s reminding me of season 1 and why I really liked this show in the first place.

    Also, am I the only one hoping for a coach group performance of “Hips Don’t Lie”? :)

  22. madgem says:

    If I were a country singer, I would not want to be on Blake’s team unless I knew I was THE BEST country singer. Didn’t he cut a bunch of country singers last year so he could focus on just a couple of his favorites?

    • madgem says:

      I guess what I’m really saying is that Blake always ends up with too many country singers. A country singer who really wants to stay on the show might have a better chance on another team.

      • Alienate says:

        Exactly! I told my wife a good country artist who knows how this show works should not park himself with 10 others all on Blake’s team. He has to throw half of them away.

  23. Gale says:

    This judging panel has great chemistry. They seem to be having a lot of fun together.
    I do think they should check what’s in Blake’s glass – he seems sedated.

    • Terry says:

      Yes, I agree, they have great chemistry! They can poke fun at each other but it’s all good-natured and they seem to genuinely like and respect one another. They are sooooo much better than the “judges” on Idol, who in some cases just pretend the other person doesn’t even exist. It’s a lot more enjoyable watching these four together. They’re funny, know what they’re talking about, and not to mention very easy on the eyes. ;)

  24. Carrie says:

    Can we talk about the judges for a second. Without doubt the best panel on any talent competition show. There is a palpable chemistry between the 4 of them and even when they mock each other, there is a tone of friendly rivalry vs. the eye rolling on idol, or the blatant bashing on x-factor. When Adam complimented Shakira her “awwww shucks” reaction seemed genuine and I am loving the little victory dances and banter between them. So much more enjoyable than watching overblown egos (Minaj) or bashing for points (ala Cowell and Lovato)

  25. Achilles says:

    So no Reality Check for season 4? Darn…

  26. Yo says:

    I liked Michelle Chamuelle, perhaps because being truly different on today’s television involves wearing no make-up at all. Without the glasses, she would not have been geeky; she was good and entertaining.

    I don’t like wheel-chair bound grandmas any better than dead relatives. Chill, NBC.

  27. alex sheffield says:

    They were all great last night especially Warren Stone. But Heads up everybody… Sarah Simmons is the one to beat, Total package. A voice with vocal range as well as emotional range. People keep saying these things on all the forums and her FB fan page- “sarah made me feel something deep inside- she made me cry- she gave me chills, her voice gave me hope” She’s also someone the audience can empathize with because of her life struggles and determination to rise above them . She HAS only played local venues but sounds as goos as a Grammy winner. She also comes across as down to earth like Actress Jennifer Lawrence and the world is ready for real people to look up to.
    Loved last night but haven’t seen any one with all these ingredients to beat Sarah!

  28. Dee says:

    Love shakira and usher ( and I must admit, I was not a fan before, but man he has charisma) and I think they are much better than CeeLo and Xtina, which I never thought I would be saying, either.

    The guy from Brazil was pretty good in my opinion, in fact I thought he was better than some of the ones that were chosen.

    Hate the editing on this show. I would like to see the performances that were chosen that they keep editing out rather than all of these sad sack background stories and Christiana M. Moments that suck up so much time. Also, I don’t have to watch the contestants family/friends watching the act with Carson–I rather see the act itself and the judges reactions.

  29. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    dang it, whenever someone is really great they just go Adam, Adam, Adam over Shakira (unless they are country and then they go Blake). How many tops can be on one team?