'The Voice' recap: Blind auditions continue to press our buttons
The night after scoring the highest ratings in the last six years for a network, non-sports telecast with its post-Super Bowl season premiere, seen by 37.6 million viewers, NBC's "The Voice" returned Monday with a second round of blind auditions. Coaches Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine greeted those among Sunday night's giant audience who had returned for Season 2's Night 2 with a Prince medley -- underscoring their own vocal prowess and music-star status and showcasing their varied sartorial styles. Then the four coaches plunked themselves down in those giant rotating chairs and got down to the business of picking singers and squabbling and issuing sound bites.
Here's who made it through, and where they landed:
The Line: This energetic, adorable duo -- Hailey Soyland and Leland Grant, who are not romantically involved -- described themselves as being like an old married couple, finishing each other's sentences and the like. They sang a fab "American Girl," for which Shelton was the first to spin his chair. The rest of the coaches soon followed. But after the judges made their cases, the Line went with Aguilera, prompting her to stand up and lord it over the other judges. Shelton was particularly disappointed by the Line's choice, telling the camera afterward, "I actually feel bad for them for that. I think they were fooled by flash and boobs."
Jamar Rogers: Host Carson Daly caught up with Rogers in the Bronx, where the singer was working a volunteer shift providing food for the needy, to let him know he'd get a chance to step in front of "The Voice" judges. Rogers, it seems, is an HIV-positive former crystal meth addict (not to mention an "American Idol" veteran), who's been clean for six years and is still looking for his big break in the music biz. "I really do believe I'm the comeback kid," he said before taking the stage. Green was the only one to spin around to watch Rogers sing "Seven Nation Army," making him a lock for his team. That was fine by Rogers, a "hardcore" Cee Lo fan.
Kim Yarbrough: This 50-year-old singer from Los Angeles, who's out to prove you're never too old to pursue your dreams, sang a soulful, sexy "Tell Me Something Good" that made Levine and then Aguilera hit their buttons. Levine gushed all over Yarbrough, and Shelton backed him up by reminding her that Levine won the whole deal last year and "Christina didn't." Yarbrough went with Levine.
Angie Johnson: This Air Force staff sergeant, who has been deployed in the Middle East seven times, was discovered by Daly and millions of others when someone posted a video on YouTube of her, in fatigues, belting the heck out of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" during a small military concert. Daly called her a "hot chick … and talented" -- both qualities that pleased her new "Voice" coach, Green, who was the only one who spun his chair for her "Heartbreaker."
Lindsey Pavao: This young woman might have been my favorite singer of the night, making unusual choices with her style (including an asymmetrical hairdo) and song (Trey Songz's "Say Aah"). After hearing her sing, three of the coaches -- Aguilera, Green and Shelton -- vied hard for her. But ultimately, she went with Aguilera, whose hairstyle was similar to her own and who said she just wanted "to play" with the contestant.
Jermaine Paul: This gorgeous, charismatic backup singer for Alicia Keys (she sent a video wishing him luck) stepped into the spotlight to sing "Complicated." Green and Shelton both spun around. Paul tried to get them both to say that they not only wanted him on their team but also needed and planned to keep him there. "I think the word 'keep' is up to you," Shelton told him. Green, though, said, "Even with my back turned, I could hear the swag .… You sang it with a cool and a confidence, man." So which did Paul choose? Shelton, surprisingly. It seemed he liked the fact that Shelton was "tall." "Don't let me down, brother," Paul told Shelton on his way out.
Angel Taylor: This beautiful 23-year-old singer, who used music to escape a sometimes-rough childhood that included an abusive father, wowed with a sultry version of Adele's "Someone Like You." All three male coaches -- Levine, Green and Shelton -- made their pitch to have her join their teams. And though she admitted to having a massive crush on Shelton, she chose Levine as a coach. Sweet.
What did you think of Monday night's "The Voice"? Any favorite contestants so far?
-- Amy Reiter