Fresh off their Emmy win on Sunday night, The Voice has returned for season 5! Original coaches Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera are back with the two coaches who’ll never leave, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
Because Blake is the reigning champ three times over, it’s no secret that this season isn’t about who wins, but about Blake losing. But he wants you to know that he’s just as passionate about cultivating a winner than ever.
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Christina wants to convince us that the show isn’t about the coaches winning, but it’s the talent. Could’ve fooled me. She’s also looking for the whole package, while Cee Lo says he’s looking for something different and Blake wants to mix it up this year, meaning he does not want an all-country team?
The coaches perform “I Love Rock and Roll.” For a bunch of musicians, they could try showing off some artistry and change up a song once in awhile. Just saying.
Welcome to night one of the blind auditions!
Kat Robichaud (“I’ve Got the Music in Me” by Kiki Dee Band)
This experienced performer was raised on ’70s glam rock, but it’s her husband I notice because he’s the complete opposite of that genre. I mean, he’s got a sweater over a collared shirt and a bow tie! I hope she makes it so we can see more bow ties. Her inspiration is her father, who passed away and loved The Voice.
Kat definitely rocks out, complete with high kicks in her platform shoes. There’s a roughness to her voice that sounds like she has a cold (I don’t mean that as a diss). She gets everyone but Adam to turn around.
She belongs on Team Cee Lo, and that’s who she goes with. He says her voice is fresh and raw and that he was set on fire.
Caroline Pennell (“Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding)
This adorable 17-year-old is a shy and private person and only sings in private, and going up on stage for the first time is life changing. But I love her dad, who wipes his eyes with her hair.
Her voice is definitely unique, and she radiates on stage. She even giggles mid-song after Blake and Cee Lo push their buttons early on.
Blake notes the warmth in her voice, while Cee Lo is definitely pushing hard for her, saying the quirk works for him. She must’ve liked what she heard because she goes with Team Cee Lo, who already quickly picks up the first two singers.
Donna Allen (“You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker)
At 54, she’s the oldest contestant this season. She was the first African-American cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and she was even part of the Miami Sound Machine and toured with Gloria Estefan for nine years, but gave up her dream to raise her son. Well, she definitely still thinks it’s the ’90s because she’s sporting an impressive side pony with purple streaks and a sparkly jacket.
I thought Christina and Adam were crazy for pushing their buttons after she gets out six words because while she’s strong, she doesn’t sound special. But then, wow, there’s power and control and this raspy scratch to her voice. Plus, she definitely makes me feel like I’m beautiful to her.
It’s a fight between Adam and Christina, who says Donna’s voice is like the heavens opening up. Adam says he felt like it was already the end of the season, and I could see why he’d think that. Christina, unfortunately, doesn’t stand a chance because Donna wants not just a piece of Team Adam but all of Adam. It’s a little astonishing but definitely hilarious as he hugs her and she locks her legs around him.
Jake Worthington (“Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by Georgia Satellites)
This 17-year-old from Texas has the motto of “Not much to it, besides to do it.” He’s having fun and dancing around, but I don’t have a good feeling about this. It’s all a good time, but the singing just isn’t there.
Indeed, no one turns around. Blake points out how Jake ran out of breath and he didn’t take a big, vocal challenge. He’s super apologetic, though, but he shouldn’t be. He’s not going to miss him.
Matthew Schuler (“Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant)
A bagel shop worker, he writes songs to memorize ingredients in orders. But he doesn’t give us an example, which is a bummer.
This is the fastest four-chair turnaround in history. But it’s definitely not a perfect vocal. There are some unnecessary runs, and at one point, he strains his voice. But those definitely are things that the coaches can work with him on.
All the coaches pitch hard, like Blake saying Matthew can make him lucky with his wife if he joins his team. And he joins Team Christina! Wow, she wins the first four-chair battle of the season, and she even says she didn’t think she’d get him.
Nic Hawk (“Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)” by Blu Cantrell)
He calls himself a mix of Amy Winehouse and Jessie J, but the male version. He’s been in 25 musicals in seven years. That is a ton. He moved back home to help his family after his stepfather of 15 years just moved out without any notice. Now he works as a hip-hop dance instructor and bartender, and helps his younger brother, who has epilepsy.
This is a hard song to sing because there are just so many darn words! But he’s really getting the words out effortlessly. I like his tone more when he’s able to hold out his notes, but that’s just a matter of song choice.
As he contemplates between Adam and Cee Lo, Nic says he might not focus with Adam because he’s so good looking. Ha! This prompts Adam to hide his face behind his card and Blake to give a standing ovation. Nic must focus now because he joins Team Adam.
Matthew Brea (“I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5)
Before Matthew takes the stage, we get clips of three young singers who definitely sound their age and don’t get any chairs to turn around. And now we have 15-year-old Matthew. He’s like an excited puppy, it’s adorable. When he was seven, he lost his brother, who was two, and he had to sing at his funeral. Dang. I’m kind of getting a bad feeling about this as Matthew says there are no second chances. Please don’t break this kid’s heart, coaches.
He definitely doesn’t sound his age, but you can still kind of tell he’s raw because he doesn’t pronounce some of the words, and he’s a bit pitchy, but he should definitely come back in two years.
No one turns around. Ugh, this is horrible. He’s just a kid! Cee Lo says he thought he was 40. He points out that Matthew can work on the technical aspects of singing and tells him to never give up. Matthew tells the story of losing his brother, and Cee Lo comes backstage as the kid is crying. Cee Lo shares the fact that he sang at his mom’s funeral in 1995, and at this point, I can’t even make out the television because my eyes can’t see through my tears.
Shelbie Z (“Here for the Party” by Gretchen Wilson)
She loves hair and she loves pageants, which she’s won 45 of. Holy cow! That’s a lot of crowns. She talks about how she stopped competing in pageants for five years when she was 10 because kids teased her since she wasn’t “pretty enough” and she was a bigger girl. Ugh, so mean.
She’s a powerful country singer, but the more she’s singing, the more she reminds me of a former Team Blake singer. I just had to look her up again. Well, no wonder she sounds familiar, she sang the exact same song as Liz Davis did during her blind audition for season 3. They are the same singer, but I give the edge to Liz in this version.
That’s not to take anything away from Shelbie. She gets everyone to turn around except Adam. There’s pain and anger behind her voice, and I’m going to like her because of her attitude. But I can’t get the comparison out of my head.
In a move that surprises no one, she goes with Team Blake.
Josh Logan (“Too Close” by Alex Clare)
He’s 33. Had a kid at 16. He’s a rock singer. Trying to support his family.
It’s a decent performance, a good/great performance, but I’m not terribly excited over it. Like he could be the token rocker of the season.
He does get everyone except Cee Lo to turn around. Blake declares his man crush on Josh. Christina pitches wanting to experiment with a different singer, and he goes with Team Christina! She’s really winning these battles tonight.
Delvin Choice (“Closer” by Ne-Yo)
He’s known as the singing barista at Starbucks (they must be happy with the product placement they payed nothing for). He declares that there’s been no one like him and that Cee Lo might be jealous. Um, he’s definitely confident. But can he bring it?
I like his bravado because his tone is smooth, and Cee Lo wants to push his button but doesn’t.
No one turns around. Man, I definitely don’t think he should’ve had that fate. Cee Lo makes a good point that the quickness of the song didn’t lend itself to showing off because you’re just expecting a good time, rather than an impressive vocal performance.
James Wolpert (“Love Interruption” by Jack White)
He’s a computer nerd who quit college at Carnegie Mellon, of all places, to pursue his singing career. He works at Apple. (Wow, first a Starbucks worker and now Apple?)
I really, really like his voice. It’s easy on the ears, and he builds to this amazing bravado and then soars. I didn’t think he had it in him! He definitely does this already great song justice. All four chairs turn around, although Adam and Cee Lo are first, then Blake pushes his button in the middle of the song and Christina finally comes to her senses by the last note.
As the final singer of the night, all the coaches throw everything at James. Blake says there’s so much character in his voice, that he’s a complete vocalist. He also says he expected someone with long hair and a beard. Ha. Christina goes the Pittsburgh route, where she grew up and he lives right now. Adam jumps in to say his BFF is from Pittsburgh. He also tries to compare Blake’s three wins to the NBA that James must’ve understood because he goes with Team Adam!
So after night one of the blind auditions, Adam has three singers, Cee Lo and Christina have two and Blake has his lone country singer.
The Voice returns Tuesday at 8pm on NBC for the second night of blind auditions.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)