Maybe The Voice should switch to a three-night run every week. We’re officially hooked, thanks to the strong pool of talent that was paraded before coaches Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton on the final evening of Season 3′s premiere week — particularly attitude-filled hip hop vixen Domo and loveable refugee Nelly’s Echo.
Let’s meet those two, plus a whole new crew of hopefuls, below!
Samuel Mouton, 19, Fort Collins, CO
If The Voice taught us anything in week one of the third season, it’s that Jamaican anthems are best performed by teenagers from Colorado, and not actual Jamaicans. (What?) Thank the Blind Auditions for this one, but Colorado teen Samuel Mouton makes it onto Adam’s team after summoning the ghost of Bob Marley for his performance of “Redemption Song.” Well deserved, but Jamaican-born Anita Antoinette, who was turned away on Monday after singing Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” is probably watching at home wishing she had performed a John Denver tune.
Nelly’s Echo, 32, Baltimore, MD
The show’s producers continue to show their savvy for finding contestants with tearjerker back stories. At age 16, with his father incarcerated and the rest of his family’s lives at risk, Nelly left politically unstable Nigeria. Now, with his family reunited and watching from backstage, Nelly strums and sings “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Christina and Adam both turn around; Nelly chooses Christina. Backstage, the latest member of Team Aguilera and his brother have a special moment dancing in celebration together…until Carson Daly joins in. Geez — can’t you just let it happen, man? (So, about the stage monicker: Nelly is his name — short for Nelson — and Echo is what he gets back from the audience when he performs. We dig.)
2 Steel Girls, 44 and 23, Nashville, TN
Allison and Crystal Steel are a mother/daughter duo who decide to try their luck on The Voice. It’s all very Partridge Family meets Nashville, with the sad twist that the family sold houses and automobiles, not to mention quit jobs, to make it to the audition. The ladies’ rendition of Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” gets both Blake and Cee Lo to turn around. We cringe a little when Crystal points at her short-skirt-and-hooker-boots-wearing mother during the phrase “beach blond tramp,” but they can work on better choreography with Blake, who they (obviously) choose.
Domo, 26, The Bronx, NY
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got ourselves a diva! Domo (or, how she pronounces it,“D to the O to the M to the O [finger snap]”) lacks no confidence. Before her performance of Pussycat Dolls‘ “Don’t Cha,” she rattles off her many commercial gigs, and compares herself to no less than Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson. While her theatrics are all there, and she gets Cee Lo to turn around (perhaps partially influenced by the fact that he co-wrote and produced “Don’t Cha”), her voice isn’t as standout as her ‘tude. Whatever — she might not be the longest-lasting contestant on The Voice, but we’re pretty sure Domo will offer up at least a few solid GIF moments.
Nicole Nelson, 35, Burlington, VT
Nicole, a self-proclaimed hippie, lives in an artist compound in Vermont and does yoga backstage. Whatever Zen lifestyle she’s living really seems to work, because her rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” gives us immediate goosebumps, has the audience on its feet and gets the only four-chair spin of the evening. Although she came on stage intending to go with Blake (who halfheartedly tries to convince her “I’m organic too!”), Adam sells himself to her, and so she joins Team Levine.
Chris Trousdale, 26, Big Rapids, MI
If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re suckers for the triumph-over-adversity contestants. We do, however, need to draw a line somewhere. Take, for instance, Chris Trousdale, who chokes himself up while talking about how he used to be in a successful boy band with Jesse McCartney, and now he’s not. Wah. Chris pulls himself together and focuses on dancing and theatrics to the tune of “Glad You Came” — mind you, in a blind audition. As none of the judges can see this display, he fails to impress, thus leaving Chris to wait for the next Dream Street reunion tour.
Speaking of “probably not going to happen,” there’s a brief montage of three pop singers who make it to the next round, but aren’t captivating enough for a full, televised performance. Just so you’re not left scratching your head when they’re eliminated early on, here’s the quick breakdown: Lisa Shinta and Marissa M go to Team Christina, and Loren Allred goes to Team Adam.
Finally, tonight’s pink bird watch: Upon further research, we find that Cee Lo’s feathered mascot is a cockatoo named Lady Bird. In this episode, we see that she’s alive and well, and back on Green’s shoulder. So rest easy until Monday’s episode.