To quote Rod Stewart, tonight’s the night. The first round of hopefuls on The Voice enter the BLIND AUDITIONS. They each get 90 seconds to impress the judges with their song, and the show’s producers get their own 90 seconds to impress each hopeful’s sad, sad story of discouraging teachers, poverty, disease or general outsiderness on us so we root for them.
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The panel are all back: Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Christina Aguilera, CeeLo and of course, Blake Shelton. Keep in mind that Blake’s presence is significant, as this is still the only reality singing show to even make a nod towards country music.
The coaches open the season together with a performance of the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up.” Adam on guitar with Xtina and Blake in their chairs and CeeLo marches on to the stage. The lyrics to this song are just as hard to understand tonight as when Mick Jagger sings them, so that’s authentic.
And finally we get our first contestant.
Contestant: Terry McDermott
Sings: The Who “Baba O’Riley”
He’s s Scottish rocker from a village of 800 people that none of us have ever heard of with ’80s Bon Jovi hair and strangely roomy pants. Don’t all the Euro boys wear skin tight skinny jeans? Not this one! He tells us he was in a band called Driveblind but doesn’t tell us his band was signed to Geffen Records in the early 2000s. His strong, clear voice manages to turn around Adam, CeeLo and Blake.
Joins Team: Blake — bucking country music tradition right off the bat! Wonder if he doesn’t know who Adam is?
Sings: Train “Hey Soul Sister”
The coolest, best styled contestant we’ll see all night, De’borah is a gay singer from Chicago who feels ostracized by her church where she got her start singing. But she’s not a downer about it and her parents are awesome, as she points out. And PS she looks 1000X cooler than everyone else all night long. She turns around Xtina and CeeLo but of course picks…
Joins Team: Xtina — ha, you didn’t see that coming but you should have
Contestant: Gracia Harrison
Sings: LeAnn Rimes‘ “I Want To Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart” (although in fairness this is an old country standard performed by many in the past and made famous by Patsy Montana)
Blah blah blah, she’s a country singer in the old school style who yodels. This was probably the first yodel ever on the The Voice. She turns around Blake, Adam and CeeLo but predictably picks…
Joins Team: Blake, duh
Contestant: Garrett Gardener
Sings: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”
He tells us his dad played with Tom Jones and Peter Frampton. Then we find out his dad passed away two years ago after a battle with cancer. The poor kid breaks down on stage talking about it and gets a round of hugs from the judges.
Joins Team: No one, not a single person turned around for him.
Contestant: Devyn Delora
Sings: Christina Aguilera “Ain’t No Other Man”
This is the first of The Voice’s completely made up sob stories. Delora tells us she’s from West Texas and grew up feeling like an outsider because she’s artsy. Apparently this was so debilitating that she had to be pulled out of school. Somehow performing at an 8th grade talent show changed her life. This is all completely made up and she’s got the cajones to perform a Christina Aguilera song in front of Xtina. Girl…but it works. She turns Xtina around, followed in short order by Adam and Blake.
Joins Team: Xtina, duh
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— Christina Aguilera (@TheRealXtina) September 11, 2012
One hour in and Adam & CeeLo don’t have a single artist on their rosters, the show reminds us.
Contestant: Bryan Keith
Sings: Bruno Mars “It Will Rain”
Talk about unfair! Keith’s dad is a Grammy winning musician, but he’s opted to come on The Voice because he doesn’t want to use his dad’s contacts. WHAT A FARCE. The kid is a great singer though and turns all four judges around with his gravely, distinctive voice.
Joins Team: After a lot of hemming and hawing, he picks Adam.
Contestant: Daniel Rosa
Sings: a country-ish version of Gotye “Somebody That I Used To Know”
Hey, we know this kid! They brought him back from his failure to get picked last season. He tells us that his appearance on The Voice last year gave him so much confidence and a lot of new fans (uh then why do you have less than 500 Twitter followers as of the show’s airing tonight bro?) that he’s stoked to be back. His performance turns around CeeLo and Blake, who recognize him immediately. Adam gives him a big hug after…
Joins Team: CeeLo, natch
Contestant: Anita Antoinette
Sings: Bob Marley “No Woman, No Cry”
She tells her story of being from Jamaica, poverty, etc. and follows it up with the most boring, by the book performance of the whole night. No one turns around and when her real turn is over she asks to sing a cappella. She kills it. Shoulda done that the whole time. The whole panel ask her to please come back next season.
Joins Team: No one turned around
Contestant: Joe Kirkland
Sings: All-American Rejects “Gives You Hell”
Oh hells yes, some emo up in the place from Ft. Worth, Texas. Apparently this kid was in a band called Artist Vs. Poet, who were signed to Fearless Records. And is a star already with over 19K Twitter followers! Adam and Blake instantly turn around. In the worst pitch of the night, Blake says the kid should pick him because they both wear vests.
Joins Team: Adam, because what other outcome could there be?
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) September 11, 2012
Contestant: Jessica Sharpe
Sings: Dusty Springfield “Son of a Preacher Man”
Here’s a little story about a hairdresser from Greensboro, North Carolina who sings in a cover band and wears flowers in her hair. She pretty much gives this classic song the karaoke treatment and to no one’s surprise she doesn’t make the cut.
Joins Team: None, the judges aren’t that into her but when she cries after Xtina gives her a big old hug.
This is followed by tonights compilation of people who didn’t get picked. A lot of Bruno Mars happens.
Contestant: Trevin Hunte
Sings: Beyonce “Listen”
Home is from Queens and wearing the second fedora of the night. His backstory of an 8th grade teacher who told him he wouldn’t amount to anything as a singer is kind of whatever, but MAN can he sing the heck out of some Beyonce. He’s clearly the one to watch so far in the competition. No more tiny hats though, it’s not a good look.
Joins Team: CeeLo
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— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) September 11, 2012
-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local