This is The Voice! The spinning red chairs and charming coach bickering are back. It’s a fresh start as this marks the first time The Voice airs in the fall, and there are some new rules and twists lying ahead. But the blind auditions are still the blind auditions.
I’ll be here throughout the two-hour premier with my live blog about the contestants, coaches and the action. But this is the first of three consecutive nights of blind auditions, so let’s try to pace ourselves.
After a long intro, the show kicks off with the four coaches performing “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones. But I’m too distracted by the fact that Cee Lo Green has apparently traded Purrfect the Cat for a pink parrot. I’m starting to think he’s turning into Dr. Moreau and soon Cee Lo will crossbreed his animal army. If you see any half-cat, half-parrot hybrids, run for your lives!
Terry McDermott (“Baba O’Riley” by The Who)
He’s a 35-year-old Scottish rocker who was in a band called Driveblind. I wonder if they’re similar to Driveshaft. He’s got an insanely adorable son with an awesome mop of hair. Terry is a solid singer, but I’m not sure if there’s anything particularly special about him other than the accent and his kid.
Coaches: Adam, Blake and Cee Lo all turn around at the last minute.He joins Team Blake. The combo of Scottish and country accents is enough to make this amusing.
De’Borah (“Hey, Soul Sister” by Train)
She’s a girl who looks like a boy. I’m talking Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry. I don’t care that she’s gay or dresses in all neon colors, but I am distracted by the fact that she shares a name with the winner of MILF Island from 30 Rock. She’s got a very raspy, unique voice and she’s the kind of contestant that makes The Voice more interesting than American Idol.
Coaches: Cee Lo and Christina turn around at the last minute. She joins Team Christina. Wow, that’s unexpected because De’Borah seems to have a lot in common with Cee Lo (misfits whose parents our preachers), but she was inspired by the music of Christina.
Gracia Harrison (“I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” by Patsy Montana)
She’s a cute, bubbly blonde yodeling country singer. She brings along her shaggy-haired boyfriend who will NOT be her boyfriend in three months if she does well on this show.
Coaches: Adam, Blake and Cee Lo turn around, with Adam being first followed quickly by Blake. Adam is desperately trying to pick off the country artists from Blake, saying she’s the best country singer the show has EVER had. He’s making the hard sell and then Blake throws Adam under the bus, saying he’d hate to see her talents wasted with another coach. She joins Team Blake. Adam then throws a temper tantrum and does a great impression of Blake. Suck it, Mr. Levine!
Garrett Gardner (“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” by Creedence Clearwater Revival)
This 16-year-old soul singer had a father who was a band member who played with Tom Jones and Peter Frampton. He’s got one of those poodle-head haircuts and gets very emotional dedicating this performance to the memory of his father. He’s got a very odd, pained and gravely voice. It’s a little too weird.
Coaches: No one turns around. They tell him he has a lack of control, which makes sense since he’s so young and immature as a singer. Christina gives him a hug and calls him adorable while Adam tells him to keep working at it because he’s better than Adam was when he was 16.
Devyn Deloera (“Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera)
She’s a cute, quirky, shy girl from a small town in Texas who was home-schooled. She’s like a bright ball of energy, a fun, hippie kind of chick. She calls singing a Christina song “suicidal.” The best part is that Christina kind of sings along and bobs her head, which seems slightly egotistical to me. She has a few moments of quirky fun, but it’s mostly a Christina soundalike.
Coaches: Christina, Blake and Adam turn around. Obviously Christina desperately wants her own Mini-Me. Adam says he has a record label he could sign her to like he did with Tony Lucca while Blake mentions that he took Dia Frampton on tour with him. This is bordering on bribery. She joins Team Christina.
Bryan Keith (“It Will Rain” by Bruno Mars)
His dad is Ray De La Paz,a Grammy-winning Latin singer from the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, but he doesn’t want to break into the music business through sheer nepotism. He kills it from note one.
Coaches: All four turn around. They all really, really want him, and Adam says he’ll die if he doesn’t get him while Blake pulls the “I pushed my button first” card. He joins Team Adam. Something tells me Bryan Keith is going to make it very, very far in this competition.
Daniel Rosa (“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye)
He auditioned last season and no one turned around. He had to work on his pitch and now he’s back for a shot at redemption. It’s a very warped version of the song that I don’t like at all. It sounds like he’s trying WAAAAAY too hard to be “unique.”
Coaches: Cee Lo and Blake turn around. Everyone recognizes him and Adam runs up to hug him. The whole “I love you, but I didn’t push my button for you” aspect of this show is kind of annoying. The judges like Daniel’s comeback storyline a lot more than I do. He joins Team Cee Lo. This is nice for Daniel, but I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be cut right away in the battle rounds. Simply making a team is his prize.
Anita Antoinette (“No Woman, No Cry” by Bob Marley)
She’s Jamaican and dedicates it to her mama. She’s a little too clinical, oversinging it with the kind of precision that might be good technically, but not emotionally.
Coaches: No one turns around. The judges think the performance didn’t have enough heart and soul because it’s a song that needs to be felt, nut just sung. Then she does an a cappella version that is far more haunting. Now all the judges have non-buyer’s remorse.
Joe Kirkland (“Gives You Hell” by The All-American Rejects)
He’s a back-up singer for some college band that sold over 100,000 singles. Their lead singer left and their record deal fell through. He’s very, very commercial in the same way that The All-American Rejects are very, very commercial. He looks like he should be a cast member on a CW show like 90210. Honestly, there are probably hundreds of people out there just like this kid.
Coaches: Blake and Adam turn around. It’s another epic battle between these two bickering winners. Blake tries to play the “vest” card, because they both wear vests. He joins Team Adam. Adam tries to rub Blake’s face in it, but he shouldn’t, because I don’t see Joe surviving that long in this competition.
Jessica Sharpe (“Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield)
She’s a sweet girl from North Carolina who has never been to a big city like Los Angeles. She feels like a fish out of water. She might be a big deal in her small town, but she’s not good enough for a national audience.
Coaches: No one turns around. It was just OK, but the coaches all agree it lacked magic. It was just average, not great like what they’re looking for.
Danny Hunter Jones, Jamie Pickett, Odiseas Georgiadis
We only see brief glimpses of these three rejects. Danny does nothing special with his song, Jamie is kind of shaky and Odiseas is just 15. He also has a name that is obviously the result of a mother who didn’t know how to spell.
Coaches: No one turns around.
Trevin Hunte (“Listen” by Beyonce)
He’s a giant 18-year-old from the ghetto where gunshots rang out in the streets and his dad is a garbageman. He applied for a performing arts school and his eighth grade teacher told him not to waste his time trying. He has one of those stories custom-made for a TV movie. And he’s ridiculously good.
Coaches: Christina, Blake and Cee Lo turn around. Christina turns around almost immediately and Blake yells at Adam for not pushing his button. Adam says he didn’t push his button because he was scared of the other judges. Everyone wants him and they all think that teacher of his is an idiot. He joins Team Cee Lo. Cee Lo is understandably giddy because now he has a chance to win this season.
So at the end of night one, all four coaches have two team members on their 16-person teams.
(Image courtesy of NBC)