We're a quarter of the way through Season 3! Monday night was the final evening of blind auditions on The Voice, with each of the coaches looking for two more singers to fill out their sixteen-member teams.
With things winding down, things are really being edited to be as dramatic as possible. We have Adam's "you're the best singer we've ever had" soundbite in the opening package, when we know that he really said Gracia Harrison was the best country singer the show has ever seen. Then there's Cee Lo saying he believes that the winner will come from Team Red Zone - if he'd said anything else, I'd be concerned. The show does have to hold people's attention for two whole hours, but even so, the filler segments seem particularly obvious in this last installment.
Nathalie Hernandez is first up, with her version of Taylor Swift's "White Horse," and both Blake and Christina jump for her almost instantly. Blake gets upset when Adam pushes his button later. The battle for Nathalie is surprisingly muted, and she joins Team Christina while Blake looks pained.
Rod Michael follows her with his take on "Please Don't Go," which immediately makes me think of when Lindsey Pavao did the same song last season. The ladies in the audience fawn over the cute guy, but the coaches aren't interested. "It's The Voice, not The Abs," Adam comments afterward, which sums the whole thing up.
Caitlin Michele goes with Florence and the Machine's "Cosmic Love," which is an interesting choice. Blake hits his button for her. Adam decides to compete with him. Blake calls him something he cannot say on television. Adam tries to give Caitlin some constructive criticism. Blake interrupts him. Adam playfully snaps at him to shut up. Then hell freezes over: Christina encourages Caitlin to choose Adam. "Did she just take your side?" Blake asks Adam, bewildered. Deciding she doesn't want to be on "the normal side,' Caitlin joins Team Adam, while Blake wants to know why Christina's helping Adam. "You don't even know who Florence and the Machine was," she retorts.
Next up is Nicole Johnson (not the Nicole Johnson who was one-half of Elenowen in season one) with Kelly Clarkson's "Mr. Know It All." Cee Lo is the first to turn his chair for her, followed by Blake, while Adam looks like he's really frustrated to have to hold himself back. Nicole considers herself "a country girl," and decides that she'll go with Blake while "Honey Bee" plays in the background. (And, to be fair, Cee Lo didn't know who sung that song.)
Kameron Corvet takes a swing at Seal's "Crazy," but strikes out. Christina loves his song choice, but "was waiting for it to kind of build somewhere else." The consensus is that while it was a solid rendition, the coaches wanted to hear him, not just him doing a good version of someone else's tune. "What I brought did interest them, but to get the button press, you have to overwhelm them," Cameron says backstage.
The next artist is another background singer; one wonders how many people Jermaine Paul's success may have inspired, because this is the second background vocalist we've seen this season and third performer with a connection to an established artist. Her name is Chevonne, she's got a ring on her hand that qualifies as a lethal weapon, and she brings us "Brass in Pocket." Blake yells at Cee Lo to push his button - so both of them do at almost the last second. Chevonne goes with Team Cee Lo, and because she's sung backup for Lady Gaga, someone feels the need to play "The Edge of Glory" as she meets her new coach.
Kayla Nevarez is up next with "American Boy," and Adam likes what he hears before she's through with the first verse. Christina pushes her button a few moments later, followed by Cee Lo, so then the camera just stares at Blake to see if he's going to make it a clean sweep. (He doesn't.) Christina starts pitching Kayla right away, and Cee Lo gives up when Kayla reveals she listened to Christina growing up. This does not deter Adam, who talks about his "psychotic competitive drive." Anyone who saw him on The Haney Project knows what he means by that. (If you don't, watch this Golf Channel clip.) Kayla shocks Christina when she goes to Team Adam, completing Adam's roster and cuing the 'here's Adam's team' montage.
Celica Westbrook performs "A Thousand Years," and gets Christina's attention pretty quickly, followed by Cee Lo and Blake. Since Adam literally can't turn his chair as his team is full, he gets to start the resulting discussion. "I don't know what's more fun. Fighting with you guys or watching you guys fight," he comments as the other three fight for Celica's attention. The audience seems to be on Blake's side, but she joins Team Christina, which is all the more appropriate considering that she's friends with Christina's Season 2 finalist Chris Mann. This completes Team Christina, so it's down to Blake and Cee Lo.
Jessica Cayne is next to sing, but doesn't get anyone to turn around for her. She's got a lot of energy - she's literally bouncing on the stage at one point - but her vocals just aren't what the coaches are looking for. After her is Rudy Parris, who reminds me a little bit of a younger Meat Loaf, but comes out with a country take on The Police's "Every Breath You Take." The only question is if it's good enough to get Blake to hit his button, and after some deliberation, he does. Cee Lo decides to jump in too, so Rudy has his pick of the two remaining coaches. He goes with Blake, rounding out Team Blake.
So who's going to snag the final spot? Cody Belew arrives, talking about how he believes he was an elderly black man in a past life, and how he thinks he could win the whole show with Cee Lo as his coach - so they're at least a match personality-wise. But will his rendition of "Hard to Handle" be enough to get Cee Lo to push his button? Cee Lo waits until literally the last second to turn around, and a very shocked Cody, who has to be bleeped multiple times ("You curse more than I do," Adam quips) has the distinction of being the last artist picked on Season 3 of The Voice.
Tuesday's installment is another recap show, entitled "Best of the Blind Auditions." Why this and why now? It's not too hard to figure: Season 3 had eight episodes of blind auditions taped, or four weeks of shows. When NBC decided to add another night to The Voice's premiere week to put it opposite the X Factor debut, that meant that the blind audition phase would only cover three and a half weeks. It would be disjointed for blind auditions to end on Monday and battle rounds to start Tuesday, so NBC needed an hour of programming to make up the difference.
It takes time to put together a show, though, and the premiere week decision likely came too late for the network to put together something like a "What You Haven't Heard" for Season 2. Tracking down Season 2's finalists, shooting new interviews and footage, and editing it all is a tall order. It would have been much more efficient for the producers to re-use the Season 3 audition footage already right in front of them, get Carson to record some new introductions and voiceovers, then add in a few clips from the already-filmed Season 3 battle rounds to keep the viewers interested.
What's disappointing is that the two-minute "preview" is the same teaser that was shown as the credits rolled on Monday's episode, so the only real highlight of Tuesday night is Adam doing impressions of everyone. Not that those aren't awesome, but still. If you missed tonight's episode, you'd be forgiven.
Recap episode or no, this is still a big day for fans of the show: coach Blake's Christmas album dropped today, and Team Adam's Nicolle Galyon released her EP this week, which contains appearances by fellow Season 2 teammates Tony Lucca and Mathai. Check the EP out on iTunes and pick up Cheers, It's Christmas there or in stores now.
Next week: we go to battle! Whose side are you on?
For more from Brittany Frederick on The Voice, visit Big Red Chairs and follow me on Twitter (@bigredchairs).
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Big Red Chairs. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.