“The Voice” blind auditions Monday brought us hot guys and confident woman, disappointment and redemption, a Christina Aguilera doppelganger (of sorts) and CeeLo Green turning an unsuccessful contestant and devoted fan’s frown upside down by dueting with him on “Forget You” in a moment that kid will probably never forget.
Here were the contenders who made it through to the battle rounds (along with several others we glimpsed only briefly):
Michelle Brooks-Thompson: This 28-year-old Massachusetts mom and bank worker is married to a guy whose play for an NFL career was abruptly intercepted. Before she takes the stage, she says if no coaches turn, “It’ll be disappointing to know that both of our dreams were shot down.” Mercifully, first Adam Levine, then Green and finally Christina Aguilera spin their chairs for Brooks-Thompson’s “Proud Mary.” Levine gives her a standing ovation and then calls her voice “supernatural,” saying he’d be “blessed” and “honored” to work with her. The other coaches make their cases -- Green uses words like “seamless” and “flawless” -- but Levine’s already locked it up. “My heart has to go with … Adam,” Brooks-Thomspon says.
Diego Val: This gorgeous guy from Peru by way of Miami learned to play guitar after suffering from a debilitating illness that left him unable to walk when he was a kid. Now apparently recovered, he gives back by playing music for kids in the hospital battling cancer. Clearly a survivor, he’s fighting to keep his dreams of a career in music alive. His “Animal” spins only Green, though several of the other coaches seem intrigued. “There are some twists and turns in the season,” Aguilera notes, “and I might be able to snatch you up later.” Levine seems to be mulling over a similar strategy. Watch your back, CeeLo.
Suzanna Chofell: This 32-year-old preschool music teacher from Austin, Texas, says she wants to inspire her young students to pursue their dreams. “I have educated myself in music and educated other people in music,” she says, adding that it’s time for her “to shine.” Her gorgeous rendition of “Landslide” does shine, spinning Levine, who calls her voice “refreshingly unique,” and then Shelton, who says he can see her going all the way to the finale, and that he hopes to help get her there. That clinches it: Shelton.
Dez Duron: This extremely good-looking 22-year-old guy from Shreveport, La., who dropped out of Yale to audition for “The Voice” last season and failed to turn any chairs, has better luck this year. His “Sara Smile” turns Shelton, Aguilera and Green, who all recognize him right away. Green says, given the soul in Duron’s voice, he would be a “perfect fit” for him as a coach. Aguilera tells him that, with his voice, “the sky’s the limit” and she wants to help him take it “home -- all the way.” If anything, Shelton flirts even more: “Man to man, you are hot,” he says, comparing Duron first to A.C. Slater in “Saved by the Bell” (aka Mario Lopez) and then to Elvis. Aguilera’s cajoling -- “Don’t break my heart!” she begs -- pays off. She gets the guy and does her “happy dance.”
Alexis Marceaux: This 23-year-old New Orleans native lost all her worldly possessions in Hurricane Katrina, and she dedicates her performance of “Go Your Own Way” to her city. For some reason, only Green turns for her, but he’s spot on with his praise, calling Marceaux’s voice “wonderfully impeccable,” both “fluid” and “solid,” and complimenting her “smart girl chic” look. “I was really surprised I was the only one to turn around for her,” Green said later. But Marceaux was pleased. “I think this is CeeLo’s year,” she said.
Brandon Mahone: This sweet-faced 17-year-old, who’s really into the classics like the Temptations, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and Sam Cooke, has just been whisked by his parents from Chicago, where he was getting into rough stuff at school, to Indianapolis in hopes of giving him a better life. He proves he may be destined for even greater things with his rendition of “I Wish It Would Rain,” which spins everyone but Shelton. Aguilera calls his sound “smooth” and “soulful.” Green detects “an awful lot of experience” in his voice. Levine calls him “a real soul singer” and the “next in line” to sing the classics. “I’m gonna pick … Adam,” Mahone says.
Jordan Pruitt: This 21-year-old got her first paycheck from singing at 9, put out her first album at 10, and snagged a deal with Disney not long thereafter, touring with the Cheetah Girls, Vanessa Hudgens and Miley Cyrus and making it onto the Billboard charts. Now, though, she wants to transition to “more mature music” and is hoping to connect with Aguilera, whose albums she grew up listening to. She tells us something was missing during her previous career -- “and I always said it was the coaches.” She does spin Aguilera, who also got her start as a Disney kid and Pruitt’s even dressed like her. “I have been waiting for you, Jordan,” Aguilera says, later adding that “the world could use another great pop star.” Pruitt and Aguilera: a match made in Disney heaven.
Terisa Griffin: It’s clear right away that this 42-year-old singer from Chicago is a spitfire -- she tells Carson Daly she’ll never give up her dream because “I’m too cute.” She also says she’s going to let the coaches have it, but it’s not until Aguilera and Shelton turn for her “Someone Like You” that we grasp the double meaning in that statement. After she grills the coaches about what they plan to do for her, Shelton says, “Why don’t you just come down here and punch me in the face and get it over with?” Griffin gives him a hug, and though he clearly figured she’d pick Aguilera, she gives him the thumbs up too. Shelton seems startled, Aguilera relieved and Green completely amused. “That’s damn near every woman I’ve ever dated,” he says with a chuckle. “Now you see what I’ve been dealing with all my life. That’s my mother, my sister, my ex-wife, everybody.”
What did you think of Monday night’s blind auditions? Any favorites so far?