Tuesday’s audition episode of The Voice will go down in history as the night where the show was forced to put an asterisk next to the word “blind” in its “Blind Auditions” round. (And, additionally, as the night when I was forced to put an extra asterisk next to my “Overall Season 3 Rankings” list.)
Indeed, when Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine failed to turn their chairs around after Yolanda Barber’s fierce, flawless, and wonderfully heartfelt rendition of “Get Here,” they revealed a design flaw in the otherwise genuis construct of NBC’s smash-hit reality competition: In the audition phase of the show, the coaches are forced to listen to contestants with their backs turned to the stage, meaning that only singing ability, and not physical appearance, come into play.
But in the case of 55-year-old bus driver Yolanda, a lifetime of heartache, hard work, and life experience were embedded into her vocal cords, creating the kinds of nooks and crannies that soaked up her buttery sound and had me screaming “somebody pick this woman, already!” about two bars into the performance. In other words, you didn’t need a rear-view mirror to realize she was a woman of a certain age.
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And alas, The Voice coaches appear to have followed radio programmers, record-label execs, and MTV in championing the Bieber-ization of popular music. All four of ’em looked and sounded ashamed to have left Yolanda to languish every morning behind the wheel of a giant, yellow beast, but none displayed the courage or curiosity to let her advance to the Battle Rounds against vocalists who were half her age (and possessed only half her talent).
Does no one remember that Susan Boyle proved you can have naturally graying hair and still produce a platinum record?
Because I recap reality competition shows for a living, and because I kinda can’t live without them. I’ll have to learn to forgive The Voice this shameful display, but it’ll be much harder to forget.
Anyhow, without further ado, let’s get down to the business of ranking the four latest singers headed to the Battle Rounds — and then assess them again alongside the other successful auditioners from the previous six nights of Blind Auditions.
“BLIND” AUDITIONS (NIGHT 7) RANKINGS
4) Sylvia Yacoub’s “Only Girl in the World” (Team Xtina) | Egyptian beauty with Xtina’s “dream hair” ended her Rihanna cover with a couple of decent riffs, but for someone who managed to get everyone except Adam to turn their chairs, Sylvia’s grip on pitch was surprisingly tenuous. Even more troublesome, though, was the fact that Sylvia didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the arrangement. This audition will soon be forgotten like the pile of clothes you dropped off at Good Will last spring.
3) Amanda Brown’s “Valerie” | Former backup singer for Adele over-embellished every third word and phrase of Amy Winehouse’s rollicking ditty, but as Adam noted, the last 5 or 10 seconds of the performance showed Amanda’s got vocal cords that can bench-press more than present-day Schwarzenegger (or close to him, anyway). If Cee Lo can drill into Amanda’s head that sometimes less is more, this tall drink of water might be able to survive Battle Rounds.
2) Cassadee Pope’s “Torn” | While I applaud Cassadee’s nifty choice of Natalie Imbruglia’s 1997 smash — and the way she slowed down the opening verse to emphasize the narrator’s pain and frustration — I also heard at least a dozen seriously bum notes through the course of the performance. Yeah, yeah, Blake said he believes “200 percent” that Cassadee is like no one else, and that she is certainly a superstar, but I recall he was pretty stoked about RaeLynn (stage name: Raaaaaaayyyyyyyyy Leeee-uh-nuh) at this point last season, too.
1) Charlie Rey’s “Home” | Speaking of being like no one else, how many folks have been described by Carson Daly as a “smog-technician heartthrob”? (Side note: Does it make me dumb as toast if I’ve never before heard of the profession “smog technician?) Charlie’s craggy voice was far from perfect — there were moments his vocal threatened to slip under one of Xtina’s Louboutins and disappear — but he made up for it with some solid storytelling skills. Plus, how can you not be intrigued by a guy who got Blake to outstretch his arms and beg, “Come home, Chalie. Charlie come home”?
OVERALL SEASON 3 STANDINGS*
42) Casey Muessigman’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (Team Blake)
41) Joe Kirkland’s “Gives You Hell” (Team Adam)
40) Daniel Rosa’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Team Cee Lo)
39) Julio Caesar Castillo’s “La Bamba” (Team Blake)
38) JR Aquino’s “Just the Way You Are” (Team Cee Lo)
37) Samuel Mouton’s “Redemption Song” (Team Adam)
36) 2Steel Girls’ “Before He Cheats” (Team Blake)
35) Devyn Deloera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” (Team Xtina)
34) Nelly’s Echo’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Team Xtina)
33) Joselyn Rivera’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (Team Xtina)
32) Sylvia Yacoub’s “Only Girl in the World” (Team Xtina)
31) Alessandra Guerico’s “The Climb” (Team Adam)
30) Dez Duron’s “Sara Smiles” (Team Xtina)
29) Beat Frequency’s “E.T.” (Team Xtina)
28) Jordan Pruitt’s “The One That Got Away” (Team Xtina)
27) Collin McLoughlin’s “Wild World” (Team Adam)
26) Aquile’s “Your Song (Team Xtina)
25) Amanda Brown’s “Valerie” (Team Cee Lo)
24) Diego Val’s “Animal” (Team Cee Lo)
23) Brian Scartocci’s “Isn’t She Lovely” (Team Adam)
22) Mackenzie Bourg’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (Team Cee Lo)
21) Cassadee Pope’s “Torn” (Team Blake)
20) Charlie Rey’s “Home” (Team Blake)
19) Trevin Hunte’s “Listen” (Team Cee Lo)
18) Avery Wilson’s “Without You” (Team Cee Lo)
17) Nicholas David’s “Stand By Me” (Team Cee Lo)
16) Benji’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (Team Adam)
15) Liz Davis’ “Here for the Party” (Team Blake)
14) Alexis Marceaux’s “Go Your Own Way” (Team Cee Lo)
13) Michelle Brooks-Thompson’s “Proud Mary” (Team Adam)
12) Brandon Mahone’s “I Wish It Would Rain” (Team Adam)
11) Mycle Wastman’s “Let’s Stay Together” (Team Cee Lo)
10) Adriana Louise’s “Domino” (Team Xtina)
9) Terry McDermott’s “Baba O’Riley” (Team Blake)
8) DOMO’s “Don’t Cha” (Team Cee Lo)
7) Suzanna Choffel’s “Landslide” (Team Blake)
6) Terisa Griffin’s “Someone Like You” (Team Blake)
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)
*Does not include singers whose auditions were shown only as brief snippets, as well as Yolanda Barber
And with that, let me turn things over to you:
Who were your favorites from <em>The Voice</em>’s seventh episode of Season 3? Were you as irked as me about Yolanda’s snub? Hit the comments with your thoughts!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV