Auditions are getting down to the wire on The Voice. Our coaches have almost completely filled their rosters, with Adam and Blake each only able to select 2 more singers, Cee Lo needing 3 more, and Christina only having 1 more spot to give. That’s 9 opportunities left for a whole lot more than 9 hopeful performers. How tough is tonight’s final audition round going to be?
Starting us off is another returning performer, 20-year-old Matt Cermanski, who has learned not to sing a Katy Perry song. This time, Matt’s got his guitar in hand for “Have A Little Faith In Me.” He gets a better result, too. Adam hits his button for Matt early on, followed by Blake and Cee Lo (much to Blake’s annoyance). Adam remembers Matt from last season, especially once Matt states that he previously performed “Teenage Dream.”
Adam: And that’s why we didn’t pick you, because it was weird. You want honesty, that’s what you’re gonna get.
Blake disapproves of Adam’s pitch to Matt.
Blake: I wouldn’t say ‘we’re meant to be together’ and stuff like that.
Adam: You say that to me every day.
Since Adam is the only coach to really make a detailed argument, Matt sides with Team Adam, leaving the Maroon 5 front man with just one free spot on his team.
22-year-old Diego Roman Navaira, joining the ranks of Voice artists who are children of performers, is a member of the band Ready Revolution, who you probably know because they’ve worked with Season 3 artist Devyn DeLoera. Diego comes with his version of “Rebel Yell” and captivates the audience, but the coaches are harder to convince. None of them turn for him, although at least Blake looks to immediately regret it. Diego finds himself a victim of the “we only have limited slots and have to be super-picky” argument.
Tamara Chaunice comes to us from the church, and the 23-year-old has selected “1+1” as the song that will hopefully restart her music career. Christina bites after the first line, and Cee Lo has to think about it but eventually joins her. Christina wants to compare similarities, while Cee Lo works his usual flirtatious charm. It gets the job done, though, because Tamara says yes to Team Red Zone.
20-year-old Texan Brandon Chase (can we just call Texas ‘the state of The Voice‘ already?) is the subject of a great Carson Daly quip once our host finds out that Brandon graduated from college at 17.
Carson: Are you sure you want to be a musician? You’re highly overqualified for this position.
Brandon’s take on Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted” makes the girls squeal. Blake does not squeal, thankfully, but he does turn his chair. Adam and Christine egg Cee Lo on until he pushes his button, too. Cee Lo’s rambling pitch catches Blake off guard a bit, especially when Cee Lo says that he doesn’t know how sincere Blake is.
Blake: I haven’t even said anything yet. Give me a chance to lie!
No one is falling for Cee Lo’s quip that he got his trademark red leather jacket from Michael Jackson, but fashion does factor into the discussion.
Adam: You should choose [your] coach on who you would rather be dressed like right now.
Unsurprisingly, Brandon picks Blake as his leader, meaning that the three-time champ also only has one spot left to give – and that Cee Lo is the only coach with more than one available.
26-year-old Lupe Carroll would rather be in music than delivering flowers. His version of “If I Were A Carpenter” immediately piques Blake’s interest, and Christina nonverbally signals that he should push his button, but given that he’s down to his last spot Blake decides to wait it out. Cee Lo takes advantage, turning his chair and giving Lupe a default spot on Team Cee Lo. Somebody else is going to have to take care of the flowers.
Returning to mononyms, 25-year-old recent college graduate Grey joins us from a wedding band. (Not the awesome TV show, but an actual wedding band.) Her version of “Catch My Breath” is not Kelly Clarkson (who is?), but it’s good enough for Adam to be willing to use his last spot on her. Blake agrees with him, and also turns around. Cee Lo goes at the last minute, but this isn’t as remarkable as Blake’s chair turning itself back around without his permission.
Surprisingly, neither Blake nor Adam name-drops Kelly, who served as a Team Blake advisor in Season 2 and just completed the Honda Civic Tour with Maroon 5. Grey completes Team Adam, which also fuels Blake’s conspiracy theory about his chair being rigged, so it’s like a double win for Mr. Levine.
If you recognize Dominic Scott Kay, it’s because he’s an actor – he played the young Brad Cohen in an awesome movie called Front of the Class, and was also in Minority Report with one of the great actors of our generation, Neal McDonough, who alongside his wife is on hand to support Dominic. His father is also the drummer of the Commodores. So basically, the dude came loaded. Dominic’s version of “Easy” is pretty remarkable, and it’s baffling that nobody picks him. That’s going to go down as a regret in somebody’s book.
27-year-old Michael Lynch, who considers himself a pop-Latin artist even though he’s totally Irish, has brought international flavor with his performance of “Bailamos” by Enrique Iglesias. It’s a great choice, especially since there are lyrics before the music kicks in, allowing the panel to hear nothing but the sound of and power in his voice. Christina hits her button before the band even starts playing. Blake decides he’s intrigued, too, and so is Cee Lo, making it all-out war between the three available coaches. Adam can’t do anything, but the camera still makes a point of lingering on him, as if he’s in trouble for something we don’t know about.
Adam: Poor Shakira. Shakira’s home right now going ‘No.’
When Christina points out that he once had a Latin artist on his team, Blake tries to pretend it was Ricky Martin. Adam isn’t allowed to talk, even though he’s trying to help Blake, so he decides to go lay on the floor in the corner instead. While all this nonsense is going on, Michael joins Team Christina – and gets to sing with her too. He should exchange notes on the experience with Sera Hill.
That means only Blake and Cee Lo can still pick up artists. Next up is 17-year-old Deanna Johnson (who is not related to Stephanie Anne Johnson or Angie Johnson). Her take on “Stars” isn’t anywhere near how Amanda Brown absolutely owned the song in Season 3, because she doesn’t have the power that Amanda did, but she has an interesting sound to her voice regardless. Unfortunately, it’s not unique enough to earn her a button push. It even feels like her audition was edited down, because it seems to end abruptly. Tough break, Deanna.
24-year-old singer-songwriter Brian Pounds is from Austin, which is a city well known by many Voice artists (see: Nakia, Tje Austin, Rebecca Loebe, Lex Land, just to name a few). He’s struggling to support himself as a musician, so he’s hoping the show will give him a break. Brian’s take on “Wagon Wheel” prompts everyone to look at Blake, since The Swon Brothers just covered that song last season. Blake listens to the stares of his fellow coaches and uses his last push on Brian. Unfortunately for him, Cee Lo’s willing to go in, too, so Blake has to fight for an artist that really should be on his team. They’re even dressed similarly.
Blake: We’re going to prom together.
Adam and Christina endorse Cee Lo possibly just to spite Blake. Cee Lo piles on by saying that people are cured of diseases and ailments by experimentation, but it sounds an awful lot like “expiration.” A thoroughly amused Brian lets everyone get it all out before he chooses Blake.
Since there’s only one spot left, it’s time to cue the montage of artists who aren’t lucky enough to snag Cee Lo’s final button push. The show then kills most of its own suspense by going to commercial showing us a full back view of the singer who’s about to join Team Red Zone. Not a great move there, editing department.
That lucky guy is named Shawn Smith, and he’s a bartender and Army veteran from New York. What’s remarkable is he’s performing with about 80 percent hearing loss in his right ear – a significant difficulty for anyone who then chooses to go into a career that’s about sound. Regardless, Shawn’s rendition of “Chicken Fried” has plenty of soul, so it’s easy to see why Cee Lo snags him. And with his addition, we’re all set for Season 5. Make your wild predictions for the finals now!
Progamming note: tomorrow night’s episode is a “Best of the Blinds” clip show, not a new episode. We’ll be back next Monday for the first Battle Rounds.