It was only a matter of time before Blake Shelton’s Voice trophies came out. After facing the X-Ad-Lo alliance during the first week of Blind Auditions, the country coach had to take dramatic steps to attract contestants and assert his position as reigning champion.
Well, in fairness, someone in the prop department had to dig out the three trophies for Blake, but still… (Incidentally, shouldn’t the contestants take those home? It’s not called The Coach.) “That’s how many Grammys I have,” Adam Levine retorted upon seeing them, which Christina Aguilera (four Grammys) and Cee Lo (six Grammys) graciously let him feel good about. Gotta love the new X-Ad-Lo alliance!
There was plenty of time to bicker over trophies and other accolades more Voice hopefuls took to the stage on Monday night. Here’s who made it through:
Ray Boudreaux – 25, Louisiana
You gotta love the Voice contestants who immediately send in their two-weeks notice the moment they make it through the Blind Auditions. Single dad and lawn mower Ray Boudreaux is one of those fine folks. The soul singer brings his adorably hammy daughter to the auditions, and the little one gains major bonus points when she stares with total disdain at Carson Daly. With the smart tyke cheering him on, Ray sings “Use Me” by Bill Withers, and his rich, soulful singing earns turns from Blake and Cee Lo.
“I didn’t realize it was that blue-eyed soul going on,” Cee Lo says, adding, “I wanna win with you.”
Blake focuses on how “swampy” the music is. Ray takes this as a compliment and chooses the country coach. He then gleefully proclaims backstage that he’s excited to never have to cut grass again! Being that it’s just the Blind Auditions, one should advise Ray to hold on to that lawnmower, just in case.
Lina Gaudenzi – 23, Florida
Former model Lina Gaudenzi took a “soul searching adventure” to sing in cafes in Paris. It wasn’t as easy as she thought (go figure), so she returned to the States. Now, hoping for a second shot, Lina sings Fleetwood Mac‘s “Landslide” for the coaches.
She has a bit of Stevie Nicks going on, which is unfortunately covered up by a strong goat-ish quality in her voice. Nonetheless, she ends the performance strong and earns spins from Christina and Blake.
“I think you’re something special and unique,” Christina tells her, receiving back-up encouragement from alliance member Adam.
“Team Blake is a natural place for you to go,” the champ argues, but to no avail. Lina joins team Christina, who is hopefully ready to exorcise that goat out of her vocal chords.
Juhi – 16, Tennessee
Spoiler alert: Juhi (no last name needed) is going to be just fine. However it turns out on The Voice, the teenager has a back-up plan to major in aerospace engineering.
Focusing on one impressive goal at a time, she sings Duffy‘s “Mercy.” It’s a bit over the top, but both Christina and Cee Lo hear promise amongst the vocal gimmicks.
“You were completely cool singing that song,” Cee Lo tells her. Christina defaults to playing the lady card, which is going to get really old as it applies to roughly half of the contestants.
Juhi selects Cee Lo, believing that he’s a better fit for her intended style, which is “a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain.”
Justin Blake – 20, Tennessee
Justin Blake’s girlfriend recently became pregnant (surprise!), so, naturally, Justin is going to provide for his new family the old fashioned way: winning money on reality television. While the inner-career counselor in all of us is freaking out just a bit at this less than foolproof plan, at least his heart is in the right place.
Justin sings Blake Shelton’s “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” at a decreased tempo with lots of growling. Adam turns around, telling Justin, “I think that you’re a great country singer.” There is no response from Blake, however. Here’s the deal: if you can’t get Blake Shelton to turn around for a country song, let alone his own song, you’re probably not going to win The Voice. Never the less, the country hopeful joins Team Adam.
Tamiyra-Joi – 15, California
Young Tamiyra-Joi has been working with a vocal coach since she was five. To say her mother is a bit of a stage mom is an understatement. Said vocal coach worked for free and took her whole family in when they went through tough financial times, but Tamiyra-Joi is ready to switch to a more famous vocal coach. She sings Alicia Keys‘ “Girl On Fire,” causing Christina to turn around immediately and wave her arms maniacally. (It’s a strong rendition of a tough song — one that has brought down contestants before.) Blake and Cee Lo wait until the last minute, but turn around for the powerhouse vocalist.
“You sound like this unpolished diamond,” Adam says, unaware of the eight years of polishing that led up to this point.
“At the end, you nailed that run,” raves Christina.
“The strange thing for me is that I won this competition last year with a 16-year old girl,” Blake tells her, inducing eye rolls from everyone else. Tamiyra-Joi connects with the fellow female powerhouse, and joins team Xtina.
Monika Leigh – 28, Colorado
Monika Leigh admits to giving up on music when she was 22, after playing at bars from ages 13 to 21. (They let 13-year-olds play at bars? Anyway…) “I found out that the real world is hard,” the current hotel employee says, but wants to get back in the game.
Monika sings a sultry rendition of B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” earning spins from Adam, Cee Lo and Blake. All three are delighted to see the beautiful girl doing the singing.
Before the guys fight for her, Monika and Christina go back and forth saying how gorgeous the other is, which is Pretty Girl for, “I got my eye on you, bitch.” Then the guys have at it.
“You did it in a subtle, amazing, beautiful way,” says Adam, “I would consider you to be the centerpiece of my team.” Somewhere, a fiancé is freaking out.
“I love the way you sang that so womanly,” Cee Lo says, unaware of his innate ability to creep out female contestants.
“I just fell in love with your voice,” Blake says. “It’s the same thing that would make me want to turn the stereo up if you came on the radio.” He then pulls out his three trophies to seal the deal. Monika joins Team Blake, hoping to contribute a fourth trophy to the mix.
Briana Cuoco – 24, California
Up next is Kaley Cuoco‘s sister and personal assistant, Briana Cuoco. Although she would prefer not to be known by her association, she brought the more famous sister along for auditions. Briana seems sort of excited to audition, but not nearly as excited as her Voice-enthusiast big sister.
Briana performs Lady Gaga’s “You And I,” and it’s shaky all around. Christina and Cee Lo hear some promise through the nerves, though, and give her a spin.
“Sometimes you’re just moved by power and raw talent,” Christina explains.
“I felt the power of your voice as well. Being with a powerful woman is one of my favorite places to be,” Cee Lo says, pretty much sealing the deal for Christina.
Briana chooses the “girl power” of Christina, and sister Kaley sheds tears of joy backstage. It would all be very touching if you hadn’t moments ago seen Kaley delegate dog walking to her sister assister.
George Horga, Jr. – 19, Oregon
George Horga, Jr.’s parents grew up in Romania, but moved to the United States for a better life. “Talk about land of opportunity: This is the show with the greatest opportunity,” Carson marvels to George’s dad, who was (literally) born on a dirt floor.
The elder George has a bit more perspective on the whole American Dream thing, but lets Carson’s childlike wonder slide. George Jr., on the other hand, has been in Hollywood for awhile, which shows in his hair gel usage. He sings Bruno Mars’ “Treasure,” and while his performance is energetic, the fast-paced song choice doesn’t showcase his voice. It jives with Cee Lo, who is the only one to turn around.
“You’ve got so much charm and personality, it just glares through,” says George’s new coach.
Preston Pohl – 26, Texas
Former Christian rocker Preston Pohl closes out the evening. Preston played with the BMI Award-winning band StorySide:B until his bandmate, Ron McClelland, sadly passed away. Since the band dissembled, he has been playing in bars, but is anxious for another shot at a big music career. Preston comes out of the gate strong with MGMT’s “Electric Feel,” which he performs with a lot of rasp and impressive falsetto runs.
Blake, Cee Lo and Adam turn around. Christina misses the boat.
“You turned that into ‘Let’s Get it On,’” Adam says of Preston’s sexy voice. “Please tell me what I can do to make you choose me as a coach.”
Cee Lo lists a bunch of R&B artists that are from Texas as his appeal, and Blake gets overwhelmed by talk of music that isn’t country and forgets to make a case. Based on their arguments (or lack there of) alone, Adam is the clear frontrunner, so it’s no surprise when Preston joins his team. This one is a force to be reckoned with.
On the un-televised performance front, our coaches picked up a few more contestants. Cee Lo adds R&B singer Anthony Paul, Blake adds pop singer Cilla Chan, and Christina adds rock singer Jacob Pool. Look out for those kids in the Battle Round…
…which is still a couple of weeks away. In the meantime, there are plenty of performances left to go as the coaches continue to fill their coveted team spots. Will the X-Ad-Lo alliance continue, or will Blake and Adam rekindle their classic bromance? And where on earth are Cee Lo’s pets? Answers to those questions and more when the Blind Auditions continue Tuesday night!
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