'The Voice' recap: Charlotte Sometimes, Mathai and more
As blind auditions on this season's "The Voice" rolled through what was, approximately, their seventh and eighth televised hour Monday night, even the show's coaches were beginning to look a little fatigued. They barely had it in them to insult each other and squabble over contestants for their teams. And who can blame them? How many times must they tell us how much pickier they're being this year? How many times must they spell out for us that a singer really needs to be someone special to catch their attention?
On the bright side, the blind audition phase does seem to be nearing its end. At the beginning of Monday's show, all four coaches -- Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton -- had a handful of spots to fill on their teams. And by the end, three of them -- Levine, Shelton and Aguilera -- had only two spots left; Green had three.
Here's who got picked up:
Jonathas, whose family emigrated from Brazil when he was 5 and who taught himself English by listening to music. He has a pretty wife and young kids he doesn't want to let down, he explained. And when the coaches saw how his version of Usher's "U Got It Bad" got the audience dancing, first Green and then Aguilera spun around to contend for him. Jonathas and Green had the same watch, but nevertheless, the contestant opted for Aguilera. "I was in fifth grade when 'Genie in a Bottle' came out," he told her. "I've always had the hots for you." I guess that little flirtation didn't count as letting his wife and kids down?
Monique Benabou, whose mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer when the singer was 12, but was there with her for auditions. She wants to help her family by doing well on "The Voice." Mercifully, her "Mr. Know It All" spun at least Aguilera, who said she had a nice tone and a good control of pitch, and sounded "strong."
Naia Kete, a Santa Monica street musician with a pretty smile and long, earth-mother dreads who told us she's spent her life "dreaming and singing and writing" music. After just a few notes of her "The Lazy Song," Shelton hit his button, then tried to keep the other coaches from doing the same. But before the song ended, Green had spun around too. "Hello there, Earth angel," Green cooed. "I pushed my button for you." To which Kete responded, "Cee Lo you push all my buttons, I got to say." Levine noted it was the first time he'd heard that kind of "overt flirtation" coming to Green, rather than from him. But even though Kete was clearly a huge Cee Lo fan, she went with Shelton, who said her voice made him "happy."
Charlotte Sometimes, a fetching brunet from Wall, N.J., who, at some point, had a disease that affected her jaw. It might have fractured at any point. There was the possibility that she'd never be able to sing again. No matter, even when her jaw was wired shut, she told us, she still wrote music and hummed along. She has recovered enough to sing a version of "Apologize" that spun all four judges. But after much coach preening and prodding, Sometimes made a choice even she, apparently, didn't expect to make: Shelton. He gloated and predicted that she will be a "star."
Tony Vincent, a Broadway veteran, who has starred onstage in a Queen jukebox musical "We Will Rock You." His wife, who also worked on the Queen musical, is "sporting a baby bump," she told us. So we get what the stakes are for Vincent. Green was the only one who spun for Vincent's "We Are the Champions," explaining that, though he's a "renaissance man," he's a rock 'n' roll guy at heart. It's a love match.
Anthony Evans, whose father, Dr. Tony Evans, is a Dallas-based preacher with a flock of more than 8,000 members, a worldwide following, and a few books under his belt. Evans said he was a gospel/contemporary Christian hybrid, and then got onstage and sang Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" Even though Green later said Evans' vocal tremble nearly brought him to tears, only Aguilera spun for it. "I knew I had to push for him," she told us.
Jamie Lono, who works (and sometimes plays music) in a Chicago sandwich shop. He may be lacking part of a lung from a childhood health setback, but his "Folsom Prison Blues" didn't lack soul. Levine and Green hit their buttons. Each complimented Lono on his distinct style, but Green got in the better line, telling the sandwich-making contestant, "You know, man, we should hook up, because I eat sandwiches." Green emerged victorious.
Justin Hopkins, who worked as a guitar player in Carson Daly's house band. Hopkins is hoping for the sort of musical career that will help him take care of his family. His "Babylon" spun just the coach he was hoping for, Green. So satisfying when that happens.
Nicolle Galyon, a singer/songwriter beauty who plays classical piano and wants to prove that a person can make it in country music while playing the piano. Her "You Save Me" spun Levine, but no one else. He was thrilled with his catch, but not quite as excited as Galyon's adorable 10-year-old brother, who dissolved in happy tears. Awwww!
Then after a flurry of briefly glimpsed yesses -- Ashley De La Rosa (Aguilera), Jordan Rager (Shelton), Karla Davis (Levine), ALyX (Shelton) -- we were introduced to our final contestant of the evening: Mathai, an 18-year-old from Dallas whose whole family is in the medical field (her dad's a psychiatrist, her mother is a nurse, her brother is studying to be a doctor) and who has disappointed them by dropping out of college and pursuing a singing career. She's gorgeous and sang a beautiful "Rumour Has It," spinning all three male coaches. Ultimately she went with Levine, who told her, "You don't sound like anybody I've ever heard .... You were laying down this sassiness, so confident, no nerves whatsoever .... I'm desperate to have you on my team."
What did you think of Monday night's episode of "The Voice"?
-- Amy Reiter