Another week on The Voice, and NBC still has yet to approve a budget increase to allow Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine a wardrobe change. Cee Lo Green has yet to request one: he’s still really comfy in his silk pajamas, even if he has been wearing them all season. Who can blame him?
Blake starts the show by pontificating about the anticipation before auditions, and explains that when he hears something he likes, he hits the button. Very good, Blake – that is how The Voice works. In fairness, this might have been a subtle review of button operation for Christina’s benefit, as she’s taken to waving her hands over the button like a crystal ball reader instead of actually pressing it for most contestants.
Before we go into the contestants who advanced, let’s start with the best moment of the season so far: Cee Lo taking the stage to give his biggest fan, VJ, a quick lesson on how to correctly sing “Forget You.” While the performance that prompts this is unremarkable, the impromptu coaching is pretty cute, and VJ left the stage more excited about his mini-duet with than disappointed about not making the next round.
While it’s hard to top a “Forget You” performance by the man himself, the hopefuls on The Voice made their best efforts:
Michelle Brooks-Thompson, 28, Sunderand, MA
Bank employee Michelle Brooks-Thompson is married to a former NFL hopeful and has two kids. She belts out Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” with some incredibly strong runs in there. This is a team Christina member for sure, right? Nope! Despite earning spins from everyone but Blake, Michelle chooses Adam, who says she moved him because “I’m impressed with things I can’t do.” We’re not sure how that argument gained Michelle’s confidence, but team Levine just scored some powerhouse vocals.
Diego Val, 25, Lima, Peru
It’s as though NBC fused Bill Hader’s SNL character Stefan with The Most Interesting Man In The World to create Diego Vas. At age 8, Diego was diagnosed with a disease that disintegrated his hips, and he was given the prognosis that he would ever walk again. He actually didn’t walk for a year-and-a-half, but has since fully recovered. No explanation is given or needed for this seemingly miraculous turn around: it’s just part of what makes him The Most Interesting Man In The World. On top of that, this contestant has everything: he performs in hospitals for children with cancer, gets Cee Lo to dance like he’s in a Zumba class, has stripes shaved into his hair and spontaneously adds a Spanish verse to his performance of “Animal” by Neon Trees. Val is a little nasal in the beginning, and it’s not our favorite performance, but he gets a spin from Cee Lo. Both Christina and Adam hint that they might try to get him later in the season, but Diego’s intrigue fits well with team Cee Lo for now.
Suzanna teaches music to toddlers, many of whom we bet are already preparing for their Voice auditions. It’s never too early to start! She plays guitar during her performance of “Landslide,” and has a raspy, folksy voice reminiscent of Stevie Nicks. Adam and Blake turn around, and by Carson Daly’s reaction back stage, you’d think he placed a large sum of money on Susanna. When she says “y’all” three times in her three-sentence deliberation, it becomes really clear that she’s joining team Blake.
The coaches continue to fill their teams with a few non-televised contestants. Blake picked up Michaela Paige, Ryan Jirovek and Lelia Broussard, Adam scored Sam James, and Christina added Laura Vivas. Consider yourself informed.
Dez Duron, 22, Shreveport, LA
Dez Duron played football for Yale, until he dropped out last year to audition for The Voice. With big risk comes big rejection, and he did not advance after performing a Backstreet Boys song the first time around. He improved enough over the past year – which he spent in LA – to get Blake, Cee Lo and Christina to turn around. His performance of “Sara Smile” by Hall & Oates wins the coaches over, and then they utterly swoon when they see his handsome face. Blake is particularly excited to see the former contestant, to whom he is very open about his total man crush. “Man to man: you are hot” are his exact words. The flattery doesn’t get Blake too far, however, as Dez selects Christina to be his coach.
Alexis Marceaux, 23, New Orleans, LA
Alexis dedicates her performance to her hometown of New Orleans, where she endured the loss of her family’s home after Hurricane Katrina. Her performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” is worthy of more than just the one spin she gets from Cee Lo, but these judges are getting awfully picky at this stage. Green welcomes Alexis to his team with some good old-fashioned sexual tension, saying, “First of all, rocker chicks turn me on.” The feeling’s mutual, though, as she responds, “You are beautiful.” And with that, The Voice evolves into a dating show.
Brandon Mahone, 17, Chicago, IL
We say there is no way Brandon Mahone is only 17. His voice is so soulful, emotional and strong beyond his years. He grew up listening to the likes of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations and Gladys Knight, and it shows in his no-nonsense performance of the Tempts’ “I Wish It Would Rain.” Adam, Cee Lo and Christina all turn around; Blake is apparently immune to an angel’s voice. Brandon picks Adam, who calls him a “real soul singer.”
Jordan Pruitt, 21, Loganville, GA
Jordan Pruitt used to be a Disney pop artist who toured with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens. Like Miley and Vanessa, Jordan is very solidly okay. She sings Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” well, and draws an appreciative reaction from the crowd. (We’ve now officially run out of different ways to say that she’s just “eh.”) Even so, Christina turns around quickly, impressed by her falsetto. Perhaps there is a signal former Disney stars transmit to one another telepathically when they’re in trouble? Jordan joins team Christina, and we know the two will bond over their shared pasts and affinity for full body suits.
Terisa Griffin, 42, Chicago, IL
Oh, how we love a contestant with a big personality. And thankfully, Terisa Griffin delivers. The last singer of the evening got her start in music by working for crooner Jerry Butler, but still has dreams of making it as a performer. “This is me never giving up,” says the 42-year old before taking the stage to perform Adele’s “Someone Like You.” We’ve heard our share of bad 2 a.m. karaoke covers of Adele in the past year, but thankfully Terisa’s got what it takes to hit every note hard. She demonstrates a huge range and some impressive runs, and after enduring Blake’s shouting, Christina presses her button. Blake then presses his. Terisa grills them on who will serve her best, prompting Blake to backtrack and sing Christina’s praises. Maybe it was a brilliant reverse psychology move, because Terisa shocks everyone and goes with Blake. He is in for a season of sass.
With only 12 total team spots left, tomorrow night’s contestants will need to have a true wow factor to stand a chance. The coaches will need to work on their best pleas, too, as they vie over the remaining talent to complete their teams. Cee Lo might even need to break out the big guns, and you know what that means: watch out for Lady Bird and Purrfect appearances as onsite spiritual advisors.