54-year-old Donna Allen is the oldest artist in the season, and she's totally okay with that. Her take on "You Are So Beautiful" immediately draws Christina's attention, followed by Adam, setting up a head-to-head battle between The Voice's two fiercest rivals. Blake gets back at Adam for his earlier dig by telling Donna to pick Christina. Then Cee Lo interrupts Adam. When Adam finally gets to speak, he shames Cee Lo and Blake for not turning around, especially Blake.
Adam: Shame on you and shut up.
Donna joins Team Adam, which makes Adam so happy that he ends up on the floor, and makes Donna so happy that she jumps into his arms. Is the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader and former member of Miami Sound Machine going to be the next Kim Yarbrough? We'll find out over the next few weeks.
17-year-old Jake Worthington is this season's first artist from Texas (the state that always has a ton of people on this show), and if you can't tell from the cowboy hat, he's a country singer. Jake's version of "Keep Your Hands To Yourself" is troubled by a lack of enunciation that garbles some of the lyrics together, and he becomes Season 5's first miss. He takes it in stride, though, asking for constructive criticism and exiting with his head held high.
Next up is 20-year-old rugby player Matthew Schuler. He also makes sandwiches, so that should pique Cee Lo's interest (in the vein of Jamie Lono). Most impotantly, Matthew's version of "Cough Syrup" has all four coaches slamming on their buttons before he gets through his first sentence, meaning it's all about who can put up the best fight. Adam's so excited that somehow ends up on top of his own chair.
Adam: I'm not sure how I got up here but I'm literally scared to get down.
The coaches seem to be pitching more for themselves than what they can do for Matthew, who ultimately signs on as the first artist for Team Christina. A question remains, though: a number of talented R&B singers have been on The Voice, but none of them have survived past early live rounds since Jermaine Paul and Javier Colon. Is Matthew going to be the artist to break that unlucky streak? We can think on that while Christina brags, particularly in Adam's direction.
Next up is 26-year-old Nic Hawk. Nic's performance of Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style" turns Adam's chair pretty quickly, while everyone else has to deliberate. Cee Lo eventually decides to jump in, too, creating a two-way battle. Nic takes a moment to tell Adam how good-looking he is, which draws roars of agreement from the ladies on the studio audience and applause from Blake, and then selects him as his coach. This might get amusing later.
After the required but still always uncomfortable montage of failed auditions, we meet 15-year-old Matthew Brea, He picks the R&B classic "I Want You Back," and it's not even the best version of the song we've heard on this show, but considering his age, the kid's got promise. Although nobody turns around for him, expect to see him back here someday. Cee Lo even makes a point of going backstage to console the young man.
(And can we take a moment to tip our hat to Carson Daly, who's as big a cheerleader for these artists as their own families? Carson is a great host for many reasons, one of which is that he's far more than your average talking head. Moments like this show that he really does care about these artists, and about what The Voice can do for music in general. So hat tip to you, Mr. Daly.)