There goes the three-night premiere of NBC’s The Voice! I’m going to apologize ahead of time if I seem a bit worn down. Not one, not two, but three episodes into Season Three has me wondering whether I’ll make it for the long haul. As much as I may whine and bitch, you know I’ll be hooked right up until they announce the undeserving winner, I start cursing, then I return for another season of addictive torture. Oh The Voice, how you have me in your clutches! Without further ado, it’s time to get underway with who impressed and depressed yours truly. I will also be including some Week One rankings for both the contestants and the coaches. Word of warning: the prognosticator in me will never die, so as a wise child once said on a forgotten show called Kid Nation, “DEAL WITH IT!” Here we go…
First to start the love fest was 19-year old Samuel Mouton from Fort Collins, Colorado. I wasn’t expecting a guy from Colorado to sing Bob Marley and do it credible justice — Cee Lo even noted that “Colorado is so far away from Jamaica,” and he didn’t mean distance — but low and behold Samuel has something to say. It’s always difficult judging someone who tackles legendary artists like Bob Marley and not compare their signature sound to the cover artist. With “Redemption Song,” I actually thought Samuel did a very respectful job on this difficult-to-sing/harder-to-emote song, knowing exactly how much soul to infuse without putting on unnecessary airs. I would have liked the performance to be just a smidgeon more mature, and what I mean by that is sometimes Samuel tried to show off his voice more than the emotional intent behind certain key lyrics. I also feel he needs a firmer grasp on his voice, because sometimes it got a bit shaky and ahead of his reach. Problems with diction were also prevalent. Samuel’s got a unique tone that has range and personality, and I hope his new coach, Adam Levine, gives him the right pointers to set him on a path of success this season.
Performance Review: (***)
Judge Selected: Team Adam
Listen to Samuel Mouton:
Following four contestants who did not make it past the Blind Auditions — former Dream Street band member, Chris Trousdale; Mike Squillanté, Jasmin Rose, and Brandon Clark — was the Nigerian singer/one-man band (?), Nelly’s Echo. Okay, his performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine” was one I truly wanted to embrace and applaud, and yet…I felt cold. Maybe it was the way he constructed that version of the song, but I felt like the performance as a whole came across extremely calculated. Am I alone in my feelings? Nelly’s Echo is a good singer — I’ll need to hear him more before I denote him as “great” — and knows how to perform to a large audience with an intimate song, but I never connected on an emotional level with his rendition. Objectively, it was respectable and I do believe Nelly’s Echo could go very far on Team Xtina, but I think he needs to learn the art of spontaneity and organic unfolding. At least fake it if you have to, because the storybook delivery of that song was a slap in my no-nonsense face.
Performance Review: (***)
Judge Selected: Team Christina
Listen to Nelly’s Echo:
Third up was the band 2Steel Girls, originally from Las Vegas, Nevada. In typical “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” fashion, the female duo sang “Before He Cheats.” I felt like I was watching Season Two’s “Shields Brothers” all over again. The two ladies were the kind of performers who you could see in a drunken state at a rodeo bar, singing the karaoke out of this Carrie Underwood mega-hit. The ladies voices weren’t in sync, their pitch was all over the place, and some notes were flatter than the four tires they supposedly slashed. At least Julio Cesar’s performance yesterday was entertaining in its god-awfulness. This performance was both bad, bland and boring. Two voices merging together on one country tune was a gimmick both Cee Lo and Blake bought into. The girls obviously chose Blake, and I reckon their chances at the live rounds are about as big as Cee Lo’s pinky finger.
Performance Review: (1/2 star)
Judge Selected: Team Blake
Listen to 2Steel Girls:
Let’s hope the fourth contestant of the night will cure my newly destroyed ears. Oh wait, instead of one I get three beautiful ladies in a montage package! Sergei Eisenstein is rolling in his grave right now for missing out. The three women who NBC showed brief snippets of before announcing their continuation on the program were Lisa Scinta, MarissaAnn, and Loren Allred. For me, Lisa’s uniquely infectious high voice made her version of “Teenage Dream” a much-needed treat. Fifteen-year old MarissaAnn delivered a less-than-stellar cover of Katy Perry’s “Part of Me,” but I do know that part of her voice does in fact hold some value. And finally, Loren Allred performed a “just-alright” rendition of “When Love Takes Over.” I may have been more enthused by it had Frenchie Davis not stomped her foot on that song two seasons ago, wiping the floor with her perfect cover of the David Guetta/Kelly Rowland dance hit.
Performance Reviews: Lisa (***), MarissaAnn (**), Loren Allred (**1/2)
Judges Selected: Team Christina (Lisa and MarissaAnn), Team Adam (Loren Allred)
Listen to the three ladies here:
Next up to bat was Domo, “D to the O to the M and back to the O…DOMO.” Hey, that’s all Little Miss Freestyle right there. To say the girl lacked confidence would be perjury, so I won’t even go there. Instead, I’ll praise Domo for her killer opening — which, in fact, sounded a lot like Christina if she were tackling the massive Pussycat Doll hit, “Don’t Cha” — that not only demonstrated Domo’s penchant for booming vocals but also her creativity as a pop artist. And then the girl walked on stage. No, wait! She choreographed herself across stage — like seriously! Every motion was one dance trick or another, and the girl absolutely absorbed that stage like a sponge full of holes. Her chorus segment may not have been anything out of the stratosphere, but between that opening verse and her superior showmanship across all seasons of The Voice, Domo is a born star. I fear the public may be turned off by her prowess and confidence, but I pray Cee Lo sees in her what I do: the next female pop artist who could spawn number one hit after number one hit.
Performance Review: (***1/2)
Judge Selected: Team Cee Lo
Listen to Domo:
The last contestant to audition for the week was 34-year old Nicole Nelson. She is the type of contestant who I so cherish on these types of programs. Nicole is not here to find her fifteen minutes of fame and quickly depart; she’s here to share with the world a gift that is as far removed from artificial as you’re likely to witness. Her performance of “Hallelujah” (a song I’ve heard repeatedly on Idol, much to my chagrin) was simply golden in execution. Nicole came, she SANG, and she uplifted us all without even trying. Every note was hit, every inch of phrasing told a story, and there was not even a hint of desperation in Nicole’s eyes. Some singers think that giving it their all means sinking to the ground, positioning their body as if they are about to deliver one of two things: birth or a bowel movement. What they don’t realize is that “giving it your all” must build internally and then explode naturally on stage. Nicole’s version was restrained and powerful all the same, never once relying on affectations or theatrics. Perhaps Nicole won’t have massive appeal, but her composed style of performing is ironically refreshing compared to the hundreds upon hundreds of contestants I see who feel like they need to show off every trick in the magician’s hat in order to stand out. Adam better not mishandle this gem named Nicole Nelson.
Performance Review: (****)
Judge Selected: Team Adam
Listen to Nicole Nelson:
And that’s a wrap for Week One of The Voice, Season 3. Here’s how I’d rank the contestants so far:
1. Nicole Nelson (****) — Team Adam
2. Trevin Hunte (****) — Team Cee Lo
3. Domo (***1/2) — Team Cee Lo
4. Aquile (***1/2) — Team Christina
5. Gracia Harrison (***1/2) — Team Blake
6. Adriana Louise Figueroa (***1/2) — Team Christina
7. De’Borah (***) — Team Christina
8. MacKenzie Bourg (***) — Team Cee Lo
9. Bryan Keith (***) — Team Adam
10. Devyn DeLoera (***) — Team Christina
11. Casey Muesiggman (***) — Team Blake
12. Samuel Mouton (***) — Team Adam
13. Terry McDermott (***) — Team Blake
14. Lisa Scinta (***) — Team Christina
15. Nelly’s Echo (***) — Team Christina
16. Loren Allred (**1/2) — Team Adam
17. Daniel Rosa (**) — Team Cee Lo
18. MarissaAnne (**) — Team Christina
19. Joe Kirkland (**) — Team Adam
20. Julio Cesar Castillo (*) — Team Blake
21. 2Steel Girls (1/2 star) — Team Blake
How I’d rank the judges:
1. Cee Lo (highest average-scoring contestants)
2. Christina (has the most team members in my top 10)
3. Adam (Has Nicole Nelson)
4. Blake (Highest scoring singer is still below the MVPs of Xtina, Adam and Cee-Lo, plus Blake has the lowest low-scoring contestant. Ouch!)
Thanks for reading my The Voice recaps on premiere week! Hope to see you all again next week, and please leave your opinions, rankings and/or thoughts of the week in our comments section below!
Tags: blake shelton, cee lo green, christina aguilera, Christina Milian, Domo, Lisa Scinta, Loren Allred, nbc, Nellys Echo, Nicole Nelson, reality tv, Samuel Mouton, Talent shows, The Voice, The Voice Blind Auditions 3, The Voice Blind Auditions Recap, the voice recap
Leave a Comment
No comments yet.