Question: What is up with those creepy artist portraits in the corridor leading to The Voice stage? Weird.
Anyway, here we are once again another brilliant opportunity to watch struggling artists give up on making it themselves and resort to the temptation of reality TV to assist their dreams. Unfortunately this time, not only will they be crushed further, but it happens on on a very public national level via primetime network television. Yay!
So what’s happened so far? Well, Adam Levine loves you too, CeeLo’s cool, Christina Aguilera continues to fulfill every pre-pubescent boob fantasy and Blake Shelton’s just a good ol’ boy out to have a hoot ‘n a hollerin’ good time. Glad we got that cleared-up.
Contestant: Trevanne Howell
Quote: “Single mothers have dreams too.”
Sings: Whitney Houston “I Have Nothing”
There’s a void that’s been left in the world since Whitney Houston passed earlier this year. No, not the crack-whacked 80’s burn-out; for the purposes of this exercise let’s remember the heart wrenching soul singer who inspired house wives and gay men to clutch their breasts, look toward the heavens, mouth the lyrics and wonder, “Why me?” Many have imitated the Whitney of her prime, but few have succeeded because they just don’t got gospel. Did Trevanne got gospel? Unfortunately not and it’s honestly kind of a bummer to kick-off the evening with a “No Turn” contender, but hey-ho that’s how these things go. What Trevanne did get is looks, so of course CeeLo was sad to see her go. Christina doled out the technical breakdown while Adam provided the platitudes. None of this was any match for Trevanne’s sadness however, a pain that couldn’t even be tempered by her three-year old’s innocent “Mamma?” A backstage greeting that could have been ripped straight from a Disney screenplay. Leaving inconsolable, the coaches told us how bad they felt before Trevanne was quickly forgotten with a happy montage of what’s to come after the next commercial break.
Joins Team: Not This Time Honey
Contestant: Collin McLoughlin
Quote: “I’ve sacrificed everything for music. It’s either now or never.”
Sings: Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”
So what do you sing when you’ve got everything on the line and it’s now or never? Cat Stevens, obviously! Wow. If there’s one thing that’s not going to ingratiate yourself to an American primetime viewing audience, it’s showing up on stage with an acoustic guitar a la Phillip Phillips (so last season, so wrong show) and singing a ballad written by an born-again Islamic ex-patriot. Jesus man, you may as well have burned an American flag right in front of Blake Shelton’s chair! That said, CeeLo was the first to hit his button, and Blake followed suit to the delight of McLoughlin’s desperately happy family. After more hesitation, Adam turned his chair sending McLoughlin’s mother into a truly spectacular fit of ecstasy. You know this is definitely not Christina’s thing no matter how many times the producers chose to zoom in on her bling-ridden button fake-out hand. No matter, Collin still had the attention of three out of four Coaches despite his last disastrous decision to attempt a “Kumbaya” moment by encouraging the audience to join him in a sing-along. Hopefully this will make way for a new rule next season allowing Coaches to turn their chairs back around when they realize they’ve made a tragic mistake by pushing their button the first time. But for now poor Adam, Cee-lo and Blake are stuck. Cue jubilant music, Collin can’t believe it, Coach jocularity etc, etc ad nauseum. An interesting point to note is that Adam is making a lot of sweeping statements this season, “You’re the best this,” “That was the best that.” It does wonders for his passion but does make him seem a little needy. But this time it works and Adam’s team reaches double-digits. Backstage, Collin’s family continue their elation but probably because there’s a faint glimmer of home he could possibly, one day, move out of his parents home.
Joins Team: Adam
Okay, before we even focus on the next contestants performance, let’s talk about her sob-story intro. Born prematurely, neurological deficiencies, etc. Of course that’s a tough pill to swallow and even harder to overcome. In addition, she obviously overcame these challenges and to this we say, “Bravo.” But for her mother to tell Carson Daly that her doctors prescribed “music” to cure what ailed her? We say, Really? Really lady? If Jocelyn happens to win this, please buy better doctors!
Contestant: Jocelyn Riviera
Quote: “As my music saved me, I believe it can be a therapy to others.”
Sings: Kelly Clarkson “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Meh. Despite the producers claims that “With the coach’s teams half-full, they’re getting more selective as to who they push the buttons for,” after this performance, we imagine “less” selective is the likely bait and switch directive, but who are we to judge? That said, Christina obviously sees the spark of potential, being the first to turn her chair and after a little encouragement by Adam, Blake followed closely behind. Once Jocelyn finished, to our confusion, much bravado was bandied by Adam: “Flawlessly executed,” “Incredible.” So why was it that Christina was the only one to turn her chair? But wait, didn’t we say Blke turned his chair also? What’s that long white light in front of Blake’s chair? Caught in the moment, Christina missed the fact that she actually had a fight on her hands with last season’s winning Coach. The talk gets a little dirty when Christina exposes Blake’s unimpressed “Behind the chair gestures” while Blake accuses Christina of being abusive to her pupils. But as the dust settles, Jocelyn picks her idol to coach her, hugs are exchanged along with the promise of “Big things” together. We’ll see.
Joins Team: Christina
— Christina Aguilera (@TheRealXtina) Sept. 19, 2012
Quote: “I’m gonna go out there and I’m gonna kill it.”
Sings: Bob Dylan “Knocking On Heaven’s Door”
Next up! A 24-year old former formula race car driver stops racing before he turns pro because he couldn’t afford to continue so he looks to music to make this all better? Go on. Dylan may have originally written this song, but Benji comes at it with an Axl Rose fervor that leans in favor of the Guns ‘n Roses version and leads Cee-Lo to hump his chair and move his “Happy Feet.” By the last raucous scream of Benji’s performance Blake and Christina still have their backs to the Orlando rocker, but in matters not a jot as Adam and Cee-Lo have already turned their chairs. Adam continues his impassioned sales techniques to lure Beji into the Levine Lair while Cee-Lo continues to rely on his cool, calm and groovy invitations to be around a group of “kind and caring individuals.” Once more Adam’s hypnotics pay off to add another to his ranks. While we wish there were more to make fun of, Benji did a really great job and deserves to move forward? Wait. Why do Benji and his entourage all have the same haircuts? That’s weird. OK; moving on.
Joins Team: Adam
— Adam Levine (@adamlevine) Sept. 19, 2012
Uh-oh, here we go! time to speed things up with the “Classic Song”-slash-“Picked Up By CeeLo” montage.
Contestant: Todd Kessler
Sings: Rod Stewart, “Maggie May”
Joins Team: CeeLo
Contestant: Ben Taub
Sings: Nina Simone, “Feeling Good”
Joins Team: CeeLo
Contestant: Emily Earle
Sings: Johnny Cash & June Carter, “Ring Of Fire”
Joins Team: CeeLo
Obligatory old person alert! Okay, that’s mean, especially seeing as she’s perkier than most of the 20-somethings we see on The Voice, but here we go. We know they have to take her due to Californian equal opportunity regulations, but let’s see what she’s got!
Contestant: Lorraine Ferrow
Quote: “Bring it on!”
Song: Demi Lovato “Skyscraper”
Um, OK. This one’s a bit of an upset in our books. Despite the appalling song choice (really? pick a song from an artist on a competing show? That’s just poor counseling), Lorraine sang her heart out and kinda rocked it for 52. The Coaches were also a little more blunt with Lorraine than they have been with the fragile youthful egos they’ve seen a plethora of. Maybe they probably just thought she could take it better. Unfortunately her sparkle had faded by the time she returned to the green room, but this made for the perfect opportunity for a little Carson Counseling, “You just inspired tens of millions of people you should be proud of that.” Way to go Ace.
Joins Team: You Don’t Need ‘Em Honey
Contestant: Mycle Wastman
Quote: “There are no guarantees in life. Do what you love.”
Sings: Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together”
Finally, meet Mycle Wastman (pronounced “Michael”). Okay, dude’s 40 and he looks 24, that’s some good genetics. On the down side he was orphaned at a very young age thanks to medical issues for both his parents which led him to be raised by his grandfather who just passed 10 days ago. Wow. So now we have depth for our last contender of the night. Show us why they left you until last Michael. It was a standing ovation from the boys and even though Christina looked as though she was getting a little turned on, Mycle didn’t quite give her enough to go all the way. Cee-Lo immediately turns on the “Adam Levine” sales pitch sending up the flare that he truly wants this guy, even going as far as to say he’s Al Green’s godson, a fact immediately refuted by Adam Levine himself. Blake goes in with his own “Adam Levine” pitch and the man love is at full-throttle. Christina breaks up the huddle and pushes Mycle to make a decision with which he confidently goes with the godson.
Joins Team: CeeLo
The show ends with Blake Shelton voicing his disappointment and the feeling of being “Loser-y” thanks to the ratio of button pushes and resulting team members. The resulting thought is that he needs to get “a little more cutthroat from this point forward.” Uh-oh. Maybe there won’t be as much hooting’ and a-hollerin’ as we’d originally thought.
-Tim Mudd, Energy 103.7/San Diego