Here’s the thing about The Voice: Even in an episode where the musical talent doesn’t send you directly to iTunes in a flurry of “must download this immédiatement” enthusiasm, there’s still an undeniable magic beneath the surface.
Granted, it may not be musical magic, but Season 6 of NBC’s reality singing competition — with its ridiculously appealing panel of Shakira, Usher, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine — also happens to pack in more laughs per minute than 90 percent* of network sitcoms that have aired in the last 12 months. (*Statistical information courtesy of Slezak, Slezak & Slezak.)
Seriously, tonight’s one-hour installment (much like Monday’s two-hour premiere) had me regularly roaring with laughter: We had an absurdly uproarious conversation between Blake and Adam based on the latter coach’s comment about “blowing rainbows” up a contestant’s butt. We had Shakira raging against a dig from Usher by shouting “My hips don’t lie — and the rest of me doesn’t lie, either!” We had Blake threatening to adopt a teenage contestant and channeling his inner Dean Martin. And best of all we had contestant Cary Laine’s adorable son declaring that Pinedale, Wyoming is “a tiny town that needs more products and stores.”
People like to argue that The Voice is trying to eat American Idol‘s lunch, but in reality, it’s raiding the cafeteria trays of The Millers, Dads and Super Fun Night.
But enough about comedy! Let’s talk about the battle to inherit Tessanne Chin‘s title (while we wonder about when the heck Tessanne Chin is gonna release a killer single). And in that vein, let’s rank tonight’s successful auditioners — and review ‘em — in order of least- to most-promising.
5. Madilyn Paige: David Guetta (featuring Sia)’s “Titanium” (Team Usher) | There was something chilly and unformed about 16-year-old Madilyn’s vocal tone — like a microwave burrito that’s been only halfway heated-through. I couldn’t grasp what about this kid had Usher and Shakira fighting so passionately, but I’ll be surprised if Madilyn doesn’t ultimately end her journey as Battle Rounds cannon fodder.
4. Noah Lis: Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” (Team Blake) | Noah seems like a nice enough fella, but if I’m being brutally honest, my attention started to drift the second he began discussing his late grandfather — too soon, kiddo! — and nothing about his shaky, swagger-free performance drew me back in. “Do you know anybody else in the entertainment business who gives less of a crap than me?” asked Blake — trying to prove his devil-my-care crooner credibility. But out of context and applied to Noah’s audition, it’s a quote that pretty much sums up my feelings, too.
3. Delvin Choice: Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You” (Team Adam) | Devin definitely upped his game over his Season 5 tryout, but I couldn’t help but feel like a lot of his runs were overbaked — like he was a kid on a bicycle waving his arms and saying “Look, Ma! No hands!” rather than a connected artist driving home the message of his love song. Of course, it’s entirely possible I was just put off by dude’s aggressively rolled jeans. The Battle Rounds should solve that mystery, if nothing else.
2. Deja Hall: Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” (Team Shakira)| I loved watching Usher put his ears to work — and not hitting the button — in several instances where Deja came in just under the note at the ends of phrases. But nevertheless, there was a sweet quality to her delivery of the ’80s classic that made her entirely believable. And like Shakira said, there’s something about Deja that’s visually compelling; she commands the stage with a quiet confidence that could blossom into full-fledged star power with the right kind of mentoring.
1. Cary Laine: The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” (Team Adam) | I’m still kinda shocked Cary went with Adam (though maybe she’s a fan of Blake’s previous early country evictees Shelbie Z and Liz Davis). And while there were a couple of gaspy interludes in the midst of the vocally tricky “Better Dig Two,” I was taken with Cary’s ability to connect to the song emotionally, to make me believe she was a woman who’d literally die without her man. Not only that, but her ease in playing along with the judges — even pulling an Usher “Leg Raise” Pose while sitting in Adam’s chair — indicates a contestant who’ll thrive under pressure.
And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Night 2 of The Voice‘s Season 6? Who were your favorite wannabes? Did you disagree with any of the coaches’ or contestants’ decisions? Take our poll below, then expand on your thoughts in the comments! And for all my reality TV-related news, interviews and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!