The Voice Recap: Sins of the Fodder

jaime lonoThey can’t all be winners. That old adage applies to the dozens of vocalists who’ve already appeared on The Voice‘s second season, but it’s also a fitting way to describe Monday night’s ho-hum episode.

Of the 14 contestants we saw advancing to the Battle Rounds, only two or three sounded like legitimate contenders to assume Javier Colon’s throne. But perhaps even more distressing, after four audition episodes, the show’s editors have settled into a predictable rhythm that makes it all too easy to divert some of your attention to folding laundry or sorting mail or cursing yourself for steadfastly refusing to stock the freezer with gelato earlier in the day: Christina interrupts her fellow coaches while failing to be as sassy/funny as she sounds in her own head. Cee Lo drops a double entendre and a lascivious smile on a hot lady contestant. Adam gets accused of being a huckster. Blake says something homespun and witty. The contestant Carson “surprises” in his Kia makes it through to the next round. And so it goes…

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying The Voice isn’t entertaining. It’s just that the show needs to work on its poker face, occasionally zig-a-zig-ah when we’re expecting a zag, make us wait a few minutes between Blake predicting somebody will make all four judges turn around and showing somebody making all four judges turn around.

In any event, let’s get on to the business of discussing the singers who advanced to the Battle Rounds. In the interest of not getting too attached too soon to any one artist — coaches will have to narrow their personal pools of 12 vocalists down to six in the not-too-distant future — let’s rank last night’s 10 successful auditioners from least to most promising, and review their work in a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less. (We’ll skip Ashley De La Rosa, Jordan Rager, Karla Davis and the unfortunately named ALyX, since none of them got enough screen time to form an educated opinion, even if I liked Karla’s snippet best).

10) Jonathas (Team Xtina) | Xtina essentially admitted she turned because she saw the ladies in the audience a-bumpin’ and a-grindin’. Dude did The Tebow backstage!

9) Monique Benabou (Team Xtina) | Without the help of my notes, I can’t remember anything about her except that she probably shouldn’t have attempted a Kelly Clarkson tune.

8 ) Anthony Evans (Team Xtina) | Cee Lo was right that his quavery vocals sounded close to crying, but how is that a positive? Completes cannon fodder triple for Team Xtina?

7) Tony Vincent (Team Cee Lo) | No doubt he’s got explosive vocal power, but I’d have liked more originality and less Freddie Mercury mimicry from the seasoned Broadway vet.

6) Justin Hopkins (Team Cee Lo) | What counted more: Solid impersonation of David Gray’s “Babylon” or having played guitar in Carson Daly’s house band. (How blind is blind?)

5) Nicolle Galyon (Team Adam) | Adam alone in detecting moments of brilliance bubbling up from under layers of nerves. Country pianist could be a potential dark horse this season.

4) Naia Kete (Team Blake) | Drew Barrymore with Dreads displayed a sweet quavery tone – and finished powerfully – on “The Lazy Song.” Blake’s got a definite type, yes?

3) Charlotte Sometimes (Team Blake) | There’s a hint of old-time screwball comedy in her delivery, but it’s more organic than affected. Never hurts when all four judges turn.

2) Mathai (Team Adam) | Baby-voiced intro, full-growling chorus, and deft rapid-fire bridge on “Rumour Has It.” J’adore her, and I don’t even know her last name.

1) Jamie Lono (Team Cee Lo) | I’d rage against Xtina and Blake for failing to turn their chairs, but I need to head to iTunes to download his sublime Johnny Cash cover (embedded below). (Side note: That’s my first Voice download of the season.)

What did you think of this week’s installment of The Voice? Who were your favorites? Any downloads for you from the episode, or the season? Sound off in the comments!

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