We’re into our third week of Season 3 blind auditions on The Voice, and I’m inclined to say that three weeks is too much. We’re averaging one audition per each segment of the show, which seems to be stretching as far as we can go. Despite the pacing, there are some pretty talented folks – and one old friend – in Monday’s batch of hopefuls.
Catching up from last week (since I was away at some concerts), Team Adam has 11 members so far, Team Blake has 7, Team Cee Lo has 10, and Team Christina has 11. And, in case you missed it last night, The Voice went home empty-handed at the Emmys, losing Outstanding Reality Series to The Amazing Race, but that’s okay, we still love it anyway.
The night begins with Michelle Brooks-Thompson, who knows what it’s like to have a dream and lose it, as her husband was released by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams. She brings a version of “Proud Mary” that’s not quite as awesome as when Erin Willett performed it last season. Regardless, it’s pretty darn good, and Michelle will not be going back to her bank job, as both Adam and Cee Lo hit their buttons for her, and Christina is a last-second turnaround. Adam calls himself impressed by “things I can’t do,” which one would imagine is a pretty short list, but singing Tina Turner is probably on it. Cee Lo is typically smooth. Christina spends more time explaining why she took so long rather than pitching what she can do for Michelle, who ultimately chooses to join Team Adam.
Following Michelle is Diego Val, who overcame a degenerative disease as a child, and now he’s singing to kids in hospitals, supporting them through their hardships. “It’s funny how sometimes when there’s tragedy in your life, that’s your entry point into music,” says Carson. Word. Diego’s version of Neon Trees’ “Animal” is definitely different from the original, and that’s before he throws some Spanish in there that makes Adam get Confused Eyebrow. Cee Lo finally pushes his button for Diego, and so by default Diego is the newest member of Team Red Zone.
Once we get past the giant Animal Practice bug on the screen, we meet Lauren Brooke, who’s pursued her dreams in the face of both dyslexia and the loss of a beloved uncle four years earlier. Lauren’s version of Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” doesn’t catch on with the coaches, but she takes the disappointment well – better than her parents seem to.
Suzanna Choffel is next up with her version of Stevie Nicks’ “Landslide,” which we already know from Season 1 is one of Adam’s favorite songs by one of his favorite singers – so it’s a testament to Suzanna that it doesn’t take Adam long at all to push his button for her. Unfortunately, she ends up going with the other person who turned for her – his buddy Blake. That’s a definite steal for Team Blake for sure, as Suzanna is an early standout in the competition. Blake grabs Michaela Paige and Ryan Jirovec, too, but we don’t get to meet them, as their auditions are chopped down.
Does the next artist look familiar to you? He should – that’s Dez Duron, who tried out for the show last season and, while he didn’t make a team, has been a part of the Voice family ever since – although NBC ruined the surprise by mentioning it in the commercial bumper earlier in the episode. In case you weren’t watching last season, though, Dez is a talented guy who’s also been super-supportive of everyone who did make it; there’s no one more deserving of a second chance than him. This time, his take on “Sara Smile” gets Blake, Christina, and Cee Lo’s attention. “I’m pretty sure that all three of them want to date you, so that’s cool,” Adam quips, while we wonder why he didn’t push. Much like with Daniel Rosa, everyone remembers Dez from his previous appearance and they welcome him back heartily. Dez joins Team Christina. Congratulations, Dez!
I truly love this concept of artists being able to get second chances on The Voice. It goes back to the heart of this show, which is in making people better. The coaches have always given constructive criticism, and it’s fantastic that not only have there been artists who have taken that to heart and worked to improve themselves, but then the producers are willing to recognize that effort by giving them another shot at the audition process. It’s more proof that The Voice is about the development of artists, not just the production of a TV show.
Following Dez is Cee Lo fan VJ (yep, we’re just calling him by initials), who’s got the guts to sing “Forget You” for his blind audition, the second time an artist has done so (the first being Red Zone member Nakia from Season 1). Unfortunately, the choice of camera angles means we don’t get to see the coaches’ reactions when they recognize what song he’s chosen. VJ doesn’t make a team, as the coaches are looking for a little more attitude in his performance, but he does get Cee Lo to come up on stage and sing with him, which is a pretty awesome consolation prize. The one thing I want more than anything else in this world is to get Adam Levine to sing with me, so I can only imagine how VJ felt in that “once in a lifetime” moment, and I’m thrilled he got to share that with his idol. That’s something that will last well beyond Season 3.
Alexis Marceaux tackles “Go Your Own Way,” and it’s missing something that Jordis Unga and Tony Lucca brought to the track in the Season 2 finale. She’s able to turn Cee Lo’s chair, though. Time for more chopped auditions: Adam picks up Sam James, Christina gets Laura Vivas, and Blake takes Lelia Broussard, whom Gabe Dixon gushed over when I interviewed him earlier this year.
Next up is Brandon Mahone, whose take on The Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain” prompts the camera to go right to Cee Lo, but it’s actually Adam who pushes his button for the 17-year-old first, although Cee Lo follows a few moments later, and then Christina jumps in. Cee Lo takes a moment to remind the youthful audience of who The Temptations are before Adam commends Brandon for doing their song justice. It’s a tough call for Brandon, but he joins Team Adam.
The following artist looks a wee bit like Season 2’s Justin Hopkins, but that’s actually Indianapolis native Jeffrey James, who comes armed with the Elvis song “A Little Less Conversation.” His performance gets the crowd going, but shockingly, it doesn’t attract the interest of any of the coaches, with Adam and Blake agreeing that Jeffrey hit his strongest note at the end of the song, too late for them to act on it. Adam takes the time to tell Jeffrey he’s awesome on his way out the door – and that leads into the montage of people who similarly don’t make the cut. (Also known as two minutes where we all feel depressed.)
Jordan Pruitt used to work for Disney, and went on tour with Miley Cyrus, but she walked away in the interest of doing “more mature” music. Jordan’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” draws only Christina’s attention, but that’s okay because Jordan grew up listening to Christina – who is a solid fit for her, if only because we know Christina started her own career with Disney and has had no problem parlaying that into adulthood success.
Closing out this round of auditions is 42-year-old Terisa Griffin, who has a “big personality” that reminds me a touch of one of my good friends, Season 2’s Kim Yarbrough. NBC’s editing makes it look like that personality is attitude, but that’s not the case, as Terisa talks about learning and getting better at her craft. Terisa’s take on Adele’s “Someone Like You” is pretty great, though I’m not sure it surpasses Angel Taylor’s version from her audition last season. Regardless, Terisa has a great sound and plenty of power, and the coaches start yelling at each other to do something before both Christina and Blake push their buttons for her. “Let me tell you what happened,” Blake tells Terisa, trying to take credit for Christina’s decision to push, before he adds, “And then I’m like, screw Christina!”
After Blake admits that he thinks Terisa and Christina might be a “match made in heaven,” Adam quips that Blake and Terisa might be a “match made in hell.” If that wasn’t enough funny for you, Blake has the line of the entire night: “Punch me in the face and get it over with.” Instead, he gets a hug – and he gets Terisa. Hugs all around!
At the end of the night, Team Adam has only 2 spots to fill, Team Blake has 4, Team Cee Lo has 3 and Team Christina has 3. Who will make a team next? And how will The Voice fare ratings-wise against both Monday Night Football and Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars? Tune back in tomorrow for the final round of blind auditions!
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse, Examiner & Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.