As “The Voice” marches on with its seventh and eighth hour of blind auditions, the judges — Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine — continue to choose their teams and argue with one another for fun. But things get started on a depressing note for the first contestant, as Ducky, 26, sings “Tighten Up” by the Black Keys, and fails to entice any of the judges to turn around in their giant chairs.
“The Voice” format definitely works against Ducky, because he has a mesmerizing mustache that definitely could have distracted the judges from his mediocre voice. Sure enough, Adam admires Ducky’s “sweet” facial hair and Blake admits he may regret not choosing Ducky for his team. “We’re definitely looking for the best,” says Cee Lo, implying that Ducky is not the best.
Just when you think Ducky will be the most unusual moniker for an artist that only goes by one name, in strolls Jonathas, 23, a Brazil native who has two adorable children and wants to live the American dream by winning a reality show. He confidently croons Usher’s “U Got It Bad” while grooving around on stage, and Cee Lo and Christina spin around.
Christina smartly took stock of the female reaction in the studio audience during the performance, and notes that the ladies love Jonathas. Cee Lo tries to bribe Jonathas with jewelry. Christina raves about how she wants to package him and mold him, which causes the rest of the judges to smirk like middle schoolers. After noting that he had the hots for Ms. Aguilera after hearing “Genie in a Bottle” in elementary school, Jonathas goes with Christina.
During a tragic backstory session, Monique Benabou, 23, shares that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she spent a lot of her childhood helping out at home. Therefore, she wants to make it big in the music industry to help her family. Monique belts out “Mr. Know It All” by Kelly Clarkson — the former “American Idol” winner who just happens to be a “Voice” mentor this season — and captures the attention of Christina, who happily snags her for her team.
Host Carson Daly finds Naia Kete, 21, at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, where she’s a street performer. She delivers a strong version of “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars, causing Blake to immediately turn around...followed shortly by Cee Lo, much to Blake’s chagrin. Cee Lo and Naia flirt (”I pushed my button for you.” “Cee Lo, you push all my buttons.”), but Blake makes up for it by gushing about how he fell in love with Naia’s voice. She can’t resist, and chooses Blake.
Erick Macek, 31, is the second American dream story — he wants to make it big so his parents, who came to the country from the former Czechoslovakia, can be proud. Erick does a low-key rendition of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” and Blake hovers over the button, but the performance has the sound of someone who won’t inspire the judges to spin around. And sadly, no one does — Christina calls it “mellow,” which is a nice way of saying that it was boring.
Winning the best name of the night is Charlotte Sometimes, 23, who had a terrible jaw disease when she was younger that almost made it impossible to sing. Now she’s ready for a comeback and starts softly with One Republic’s “Apologize,” slowly gaining confidence through the song and hitting her stride about halfway through. Adam is intrigued enough to turn around, followed by the rest.
Blake plays the “you sound a contestant I mentored last season and now she has a record deal” card, while Adam calls her voice “simple,” bu tin a good way. Christina interrupts to disagree, which erupts in a argument and causes Cee Lo to suggest the two of them to get a room. Judge bickering aside, Charlotte chooses Blake.
Broadway singer Tony Vincent, 38, starred in “Rent,” and has a long list of other credits. He says he’s decided to try out for “The Voice” because of the show’s integrity — and eight performances a week is a lot. Adding to the pressure is Tony’s pregnant wife waiting in the wings, as Tony goes with Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” He belts it out, Broadway style, and Cee Lo is the only one who spins his chair around.
Cee Lo likes Tony’s voice, and says it has a “dangerous” element. Blake adds that the two will fit together well with their “larger than life” styles, but we think Cee Lo has been pretty understated ever since his appearance as a peacock on last year’s Grammy Awards.
Anthony Evans, 33, is the son of a famous pastor, and says he’s tired of trying to define his style as gospel, Christian contemporary, etc. — he just wants to be himself. He croons “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye, and Cee Lo thinks baout pushing the button before deciding against it. Christina, on the other hand, turns around at the last second, and Anthony is Team Christina.
Time to go to Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Chicago, where Jamie Lono, 22, is at work. Carson Daly isn’t going to travel all the way to Chicago, so the producers get one of Jamie’s co-workers to “surprise’ him with an invitation to the blind auditions. On the way, Jamie tells us that he had to have half his lung removed during an operation when he was younger, and his family went into bankruptcy because of the medical bills. It’s always scary when someone with a sad story takes the stage, but luckily, Jamie sings an excellent version of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash.
“I make sandwiches for a living, so this is awesome,” says Jamie when Cee Lo and Adam turn around. “I eat sandwiches!” Cee Lo exclaims. Put together with Cee Lo’s many compliments, that’s enough to sell Jamie.
Case in point about sad stories: Dylan Chambers, 19, describes turning to music while he grew up without a father in his life. However, no one turns around during his breathless take on Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” which means its also time for another montage of contestants who weren’t good enough for the judges, who politely reject a slew of singers.
Meanwhile, another Carson Daly connection: Justin Hopkins, 30, was played in the “Last Call with Carson Daly” house band as a guitar player, so it’s not shocking that he landed his audition. Will he make Carson proud? Justin goes with David Gray’s “Babylon” and Cee Lo is the lone judge to spin around.
Classically-trained pianist Nicolle Galyon, 27, wants to be the first “piano girl” in country music, and is tired of people in Nashville telling her that she needs to learn how to play guitar. Nicolle re-works the Kenny Chesney tune “You Save Me” on the piano, which convinces Adam to turn around nearly immediately. Nicolle’s nerves disappear as soon as she gets a positive response fro one of the judges, and Adam finally gets a teammate.
Eric Tipton, 31, describes himself as a “6-foot, 300 pound white guy that sings old school soul music.” He sits with his dad, and Eric says the two had a bad relationship when he was younger — but now his dad is incredibly encouraging of his son pursuing music. All the build-up ultimately disappoints, because no one spins around when Eric sings “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates. “Eric didn’t make a team, but he made his father proud,” Carson Daly insists.
The final singer of the night, Mathai, 18, feels overwhelmed by all of her family members who are in the medical field.
But Mathai wants to be a singer, and prove her talent to her parents. Adam turns around mere seconds after Mathai starts Adele’s “Rumour Has It,” and Blake and Cee Lo follow.
Blake tells Mathai that she doesn’t sound like anyone he’s ever heard, while Adam echoes the same sentiment — adding that he pushed his button first. It’s a persuasive argument, and Mathai is Team Adam.