Last week's premier of The Voice on NBC had me a little worried that Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine were going for a knock-off version of American Idol's Paula Abdul/Simon Cowell relationship. This week, we were subjected to a lot less snark from the two of them and the episode focused largely on the auditioning musicians. Here's the roundup of the Week 2 contestants:
Devon Barley, Massachusetts, age 19: This med student's parents aren't wild about his decision to take time off of school to pursue music, and it shows. Devon chooses to sing Jason Mraz "I'm Lucky." He starts off shaky, but both Cee-Lo and Adam hit their buttons at the last minute, and Devon decides he's going with Team Adam.
Raquel Castro, 16, Long Island, NY: Raquel is the youngest competitor and she performs "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis. I always get weirded out when teens pick songs they are too young to relate to, and I think it shows in the vocals. Then again, I sound like a mortally wounded sea lion when I sing, so what do I know? Christina is the only coach to hit the button, and Raquel is on Team Christina by default.
Emily Valentine, Hollywood, CA, 23: Dude, my 90210 days are all coming back. Will this girl burn down a Homecoming float or slip you ecstasy? With a name like Emily Valentine, she's gotta be a hellcat. She's a former Idol contestant, too, according to the Interwebs. Emily chooses to sing Pink's "Sober." Blake hits the button first, and Cee-Lo goes for her next. Emily picks Cee-Lo and he goes up on stage for the hug. He only comes up to her boobs, but he picks her up and spins her around. Could these two give us an American version of the royal wedding? I'd get up at 3 a.m. for that.
Tim Mahoney, Minneapolis, MN: Tim is a little long in the tooth at 39 and he knows it. He's spent 14 years as professional musician and has had brushes with label success in the past. Adam goes for Tim in the first few bars of his rendition of "Bring it Home to Me" Sam Cooke.
Julia Eason, Palos Verdes, CA, 18: Julia sings "Mercy" by Duffy and Cee-Lo hits his button first. Julia is great, with very clear vocals. Christina hits her button next. Vying for Julie, Christina compliments her runs, while Cee-Lo calls her "graceful." Julia chooses to be on Team Christina.
Angela Wolf, Metter, GA, 25: Angela has got her eye on Blake Shelton, and threatens to unfollow him on Twitter if he doesn't pick her. (Blake Shelton's Twitter feed is very funny--you should follow him, too). Angela takes a risk by singing a song by Blake's fiancée, Miranda Lambert. Her rendition of "The House That Built Me" doesn't do it for Blake or anyone else--no one hits their button.
Tyler Robinson, Folsom, CA, 20: Tyler's segment starts off with his telling us that it's not about being a gay Mormon, and continues with him saying he doesn't have a good relationship with his dad, who is not supportive of Tyler's music. Oh, and by the way, his dad doesn't know he's gay, so Tyler has just come out to his dad on national television. Awkward. Tyler sings the catchy Train monstrosity "Hey Soul Sister." Blake hits the button, the only coach to do so. Blake tells Tyler that he likes his "solid, full voice" and then tells him he looks like Drew Carey. Then Blake points at the other judges and says,"They're all gonna lose because of you." That kind of makes up for the Drew Carey thing, I guess.
Nakia, Austin, TX, 36: I am confident that Nakia is doing his part to keep Austin weird. He's got an interesting look--kind of like a cross between a Blues Brother and a grizzly bear. He is performing Cee-Lo's song "Forget You" - a risky move. Cee-Lo and Blake hit their buttons and plead their cases. Nakia has a great sense of humor and tells Christina "It's your loss" for not picking him. Nakia chooses to be on Team Cee-Lo.
Dia Frampton, St. George, UT, 23: Dia picks an appropriate song: "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat, and after four bars Blake pushes the button. Cee-Lo pushes his button at the end of the song, but Dia goes for Team Blake.
There is a pause in the auditions and we see a montage of rejected contestants with the coaches giving feedback. Carson Daly's voice-over explains that there are fewer contestants than spots on teams left. I add these two things with the amount of time left in the show and figure we'll be bringing back a few singers who didn't make the cut.
Curtis Grimes: This kid gave up his college baseball scholarship for a girl and after they broke up, he picked up a guitar & started writing. Very country. He sings "Hillbilly Bone" by Blake Shelton, who does not hit his button. Cee-Lo does, explaining that he wants to grow as an artist, too, and he'll do that by doing something he's never done before - help someone write a country song. Team Cee-Lo goes a little bit country.
Going to commercial we get a clip of Carson telling the audience we "might" bring back a few artists. I am awesome at reality show math.
Tory & Taylor Thompson, 17 & 19, Santa Maria, CA: These two were apparently on some FOX show called American Juniors. Never heard of it. They sing "Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland and Cee-Lo is the only coach to hit the button.
The show breaks so Carson can explain what happens when there are more spots than contestants left to compete. He intones "By the rules of the Voice, each judge needs eight contestants..." Easy, Carson Daly, you're not on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Right now the team situation is: Cee-Lo full at eight; Adam still needs two, Christina needs one and Blake needs one.
Returning Artists Round
Lily Elise, California, 20: Christina had kind of wished she'd picked Lily in the first round. Lily belts out Alicia Keys "If I Ain't Got You" and while Christina hesitates she eventually pushes the button. Team Christina is complete!
Jerad Blake, Star City, AR, 32: Jared's rendition of "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks is enough to convince Blake this time around and he pushes the button. Team Blake is full!
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Casey Weston, Naples, FL, 18: Casey picks "Stupid Boy" by Keith Urban, and it's good enough for Adam to pick her and push the button.
Angela Wolff is the only contestant from this episode to come back for another try. She does a pretty hot "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, and Adam goes for it. Team Adam, activate!
Carson Daly declares the episode over, stating that they have found "32 of the best undiscovered artists in the United States of America." Carson Daly: Statesman. Next week the battle rounds begin, and I don't think you want to miss this. One word: headbands.
Next week The Voice will air at a new time, starting at 9 p.m. CT. You can view the first two episodes of The Voice on NBC.com.