The Voice: Blind auditions, part 4
Blind, not deaf and certainly not dumb, the judges/coaches continued auditions on Monday's episode of The Voice.
It was a girls' night for me. The singers I'm most excited about include sweet-voiced Naia Kete, sultry-voiced Charlotte Sometimes (what a great name!) and sassy Mathai (above). One guy made my favourites too, nerdy but soulful Jamie Lono.
The episode had its usual mix of performances, personal stories and amusing banter among the judges, with some laugh-out-loud moments and others that brought tears to the eyes.
With one more audition show left until the battle rounds begin, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Christina Aguilera each have just two spots to fill on their teams of 12; Cee Lo Green has three.
Here's a quick rundown of who picked whom on Monday's show.
Team Christina: Christina's first get was earnest young father of two Jonathas, 23, who came to the States from Brazil when he was 5. His smooth voice on "U Got It Bad" had Cee Lo thinking he was going to turn around and find Usher playing a practical joke. His dance moves had the ladies in the audience squealing and Christina declaring she wanted to mould and package Jonathas. That led to the first Cee Lo double entendre of the night. "She's got package on her mind," he purred of Christina. Cee Lo and Christina put modesty aside to win Jonathas, with Cee Lo saying, "I can do anything," and Christina reminding Jonathas she'd been singing since she was 4.
Christina also picked up Monique Benabou, a pretty, curly-haired 23-year-old from Alameda, Calif.; gospel/pop singer Anthony Evans, 33, of Dallas, whose father is radio preacher Tony Evans; and Ashley De La Rosa, who got mere seconds of screen time.
Team Blake: Blake is building a powerhouse team of women so far. Monday's first find was Naia Kete, 21, a dreadlocked Hollywood street musician whose take on "The Lazy Song" touched off a battle between Cee Lo and Blake. "Hello earth angel, I pushed my button for you," said Cee Lo. "Cee Lo, you push all my buttons, I've got to say," Naia flirted back. But her gut told her to go with Blake. While Cee Lo found Naia's voice "soothing and calming," Blake said, "it just made me want to stand up and dance." And he also promised to listen to Naia's ideas.
Blake scored another gem in Charlotte Sometimes, 23, who had overcome a jaw disease that left her unable to talk, let alone sing, as a teen. All four coaches turned for Charlotte's version of "Apologize." Adam and Christina sparred over whether Charlotte's voice was "simple," as Adam contended, while Cee Lo told them, "You guys, get a room." Blake said Charlotte reminded him of Xenia from last season and "Xenia has a record deal now is all I'm saying, you know, if you're into that kind of thing."
Blake also picked up country singer Jordan Rager and a woman named ALyx.
Team Cee Lo: Cee Lo's first pick of the night was Tony Vincent, who's starred in Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar and American Idiot on Broadway and gave up the chance to do We Will Rock You in London to audition for The Voice. The 38-year-old sported a bald head, eye makeup and a healthy ego, but the gamble looked like a bust until Cee Lo finally turned for Tony's theatrical version of "We Are the Champions." "Are you guys ears burned up? Was it not obvious that this guy has a wonderful voice?" Cee Lo chided the other coaches.
For my money, Cee Lo's best pick of the night was Jamie Lono. With his job in a Chicago sandwich shop and his wardrobe of pink shirt, loud tie, blue "dad" cardigan, brown pants and white belt, Jamie looked an unlikely bet for stardom, but that's why the auditions are blind. His slowed-down version of "Folsom Prison Blues" displayed a gorgeous tone and good dynamics. "What a great version of Johnny Cash. You put some soul in that thing," Cee Lo told Jamie, which Adam, also vying for Jamie, echoed. "I make sandwiches for a living, so this is awesome, thank you so much," responded Jamie. "You know what, man? We should hook up because I eat sandwiches," said Cee Lo in the best line of the night. Adam didn't stand a chance after that.
Cee Lo also picked up Justin Hopkins, a pleasant-faced former guitar player in Carson Daly's house band whose version of "Babylon" I found a bit shaky.
Team Adam: Adam takes his time picking singers, but he sure is enthusiastic about the ones he likes. His first pick was Nicolle Galyon, 27, a classical piano player turned country singer. Some nerves were evident in her performance of "You Save Me," but Adam said, "when you weren't nervous you were so special and I'm so happy I have you."
Adam may have scored the coup of the night by winning Mathai. The 18-year-old made her Indian parents nervous by refusing to follow her family into the medical profession to pursue singing, which made it even sweeter when three chairs turned and her mom was jumping up and down with excitement backstage. Mathai had an appealing catch in her voice as she delivered a sweet-sexy verison of Adele's "Rumour Has It." "Attention, we are looking at a star right here," declared Blake. But Adam's intensity won the day. "You were just laying down this sassiness, which was amazing. You owned everything you were doing and I'm really, really desperate to have you on my team because I love you," he said.
Adam also chose Karla Davis, another of those blink and you'll miss them singers we saw.
The blind auditions continue next Monday at 8 p.m. on CTV and I'll have the recap here.