‘The Voice’: Former Child Star Monique Abbadie Makes All Four Coaches Go “Loca”
Sure, CBS has the corner on March Madness, but NBC wants you to know the real insanity is in The Voice auditions. Not only do the Blind Auditions have tragic back stories, returning contestants and even former (almost) Olympians, the coaches on The Voice are like wayyyy more famous than college basketball coaches. Oh, and the chairs spin. Beat that, March Madness!
Week two of The Voice Blind Auditions has it all, except, unfortunately, Blake Shelton in his Late Night chicken get-up. We can only hope he has it on loan to Cee Lo for the week, and that it will make an appearance at some point later in the season. Until then, we’ll just have to make due with the entertainment of the contestants!
The Swon Brothers — Muskogee, OK Somebody call E! True Hollywood Story: Haley Joel Osment has been located. The former child star has apparently been in the witness protection program since The Sixth Sense and now claims to be one half of a duo of singing brothers (despite the fact that he looks nothing like his supposed “brother”). Sure, NBC producers try to convince us with pictures of the Swon Brothers from their early days, but you can’t fool us that easily: we know stock photos of kids with mullets when we see them.
The Swon (and Osment) Brothers are Week Two of the Blind Auditions’ answer to Week One’s Morgan Twins. The duo has been trying to get discovered since they were 10, when they went door-to-door in Nashville on the way to a family vacation in Disney World.
The bros perform Tom Petty‘s “American Girl,” and this effort proves more effective than the Nashville trick-or-record-deal-treating. Shakira, Blake and Usher turn around for the singing-and-guitar-playing duo, while Adam Levine sticks to playing the air drums in his chair.
“You guys just heard your first Swon-cert,” they say, after which both Usher and Shakira immediately look for an “undo” button on their chairs. Blake, on the other hand, eats it up and tells his fellow Okies, “You guys are gonna be the Swinners!” The Swons gather that Blake totally gets them, and Swelect him as their coach. Swad face.
Taylor Beckham, 17 — Dallas, TX From ages 6 through 12, Taylor Beckham was an Olympic gymnast in training. When being an Olympian didn’t work out, she turned to a more realistic and stable career: pop singer. “This one shot of the Blind Auditions is just like my Olympics,” she says. Well, they are both on NBC, so…sure: go for the gold, Taylor.
Beckham performs Mary J. Blige‘s “I’m Goin’ Down” and starts off pretty shaky. Usher recognizes something in her R&B efforts, and her confidence shoots up a bit after he turns around. Despite pitch issues and shakiness throughout, Shakira spins as well.
“Your gonna have to work hard. I’m all about investing in our youth,” Usher says after her performance. Anyone playing a game that involves drinking each time Usher says “Bieber” prepares a shot.
Shakira, for her part, tries to relate on the fact that she, too, used to be a gymnast. Although her ability to be a contortionist would work with most male contestants, it is not enough to convince Taylor. Even without a mention of Bieber, Karina joins team Usher.
Karina Iglesias, 35 — Miami, FL Music teacher Karina grew up singing with her grandmother, until 2004 when her gran had a stroke and lost her singing voice. “I want to make my grandmother proud. I want to show her that her little granddaughter did something big,” says Karina.
She performs Melissa Etheridge‘s “I’m the Only One” and totally rocks it and showcases some bilingual talent by singing the chorus in Spanish. After goading each other on, Blake and Adam push their buttons at the last possible second for the sake of competition. “That was the most stressful thing I’ve ever gone through in my life,” Adam tells the contestant who just performed on national television for the first time.
The coaches are too busy impressing themselves with their own banter and Spanish language skills (basically consisting of Adam saying, “shut up” in Spanish) to make any constructive arguments as to why Karina should pick either team. Faced with the choice between Adam and Blake, Karina selects Adam (perhaps because of the fact that Blake is intimidated by any language other than Oklahoman?).
Garrett Gardner, 17 — Ringwood, NJ If at first you don’t succeed, work hard and keep your fingers crossed that the coaches are in a better mood next year. That’s the strategy that worked for Garrett Gardner, a returning contestant from Season 3. After not making it past the Blind Auditions last year (and having a tearful breakdown on stage), Garrett aimed to improve, based on the coaches’ critiques. “I’ve kept working every single day to make myself better,” he says.
Garrett sings “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes and gets a last minute spin from Shakira. Garrett cries onstage (again) and the judges remember him from last year. Both Adam and Blake wax poetic about the fact that Garrett came back, and Garrett gives a special thanks to Blake for the criticism that helped improve his performance. Lost in all of this is poor Shakira, who actually turned around but doesn’t get the chance to say much other than she was “so pissed” that no one picked Garrett last year.
Holly Tucker, 19 — Waco ,TX Generally, when a singer from Texas approaches the stage with cowboy boots and a denim jacket on and sings Garth Brooks, her future team placement is all but etched in stone. Some slick editing leads us to believe that Holly Tucker may be an exception to the Cowboy Boots Equals Team Blake equation, even after she says, “I love singing country music more than anything in the world.” How gullible they must think we are.
Holly sings Bob Dylan‘s “Make You Feel My Love,” and all four judges turn around. “You’re just so good that you blow any genre out of the water,” Adam says, foaming at the mouth to steal a strong country singer from Blake.
“If you’re an adventurous person, and if I were you, I would pick me,” Shakira tells Holly.
“I am all about really nurturing talent in a way that I feel is significant to you,” Usher blathers, again refraining from dropping a Bieber bomb on this one.
Blake recognizes her performance was based on the Garth Brooks rendition of the song, and knows he has it in the bag. After listening to the others uselessly attempt to score a pair of cowboy boots, he tells Holly, “I don’t care what they say: country music is not something to experiment with.”
Despite all of The Voice‘s best efforts to create suspense, Holly’s cowboy boots are meant for walking on over to Team Blake.
Michelle Chamuel, 26 — Amherst, MA Michelle is a self-proclaimed introvert, despite performing about 200 days every year with her band Ella Riot. “I think I represent nerdy people,” she says as she nervously strides to the stage in her Where’s Waldo ensemble, complete with “no, seriously guys: I’m a nerd” glasses.
That persona is completely dropped the moment she starts singing. Michelle belts out Katy Perry‘s “I Kissed A Girl,” and her inner Riot grrrl is no introvert. She demonstrates a solid mix of soaring falsetto and powerful vocals, along with a stage presence that commands attention. Adam turns around immediately, followed by Shakira. It takes him until the last moment, but Usher presses his button for Michelle as well.
Shakira and Adam gush over the rockin’ diva. “I loved your voice. I loved your stage presence. You were fierce,” says Shakira. “I see that raw chick inside of you.”
Adam proclaims, “You look so pure, but when you sing, it’s like you’re going to stomp the earth.” Usher keeps it relatively simple, telling Michelle, “We could go far.”
After some intense interviewing of the coaches that leaves us questioning whether Michelle knows what an “introvert” really is, she selects Usher. No one saw that coming, but Michelle is apparently full of surprises.
Monique Abbadie, 20 — Miami, FL The fact that there haven’t been any child stars in the mix yet during these Blind Auditions is, frankly, shocking. However, ever fear: Monique Abbadie is here to fill the “I’ve been on IMDB since I was born” slot. Before pursuing a music career, Monique starred in the Spanish language variety shows Sabado Gigante and El Show de Lucky, neither of which have translated into adult stardom.
Before she performs, Monique shows Carson Daly a photo of herself at age 10 with Shakira at a Shakira concert — indicating some potential preferences when it comes to the coaches. To further solidify her “Team Shakira” leanings, Monique takes the ultimate Voice risk of performing one of the coach’s songs: Shakira’s “Loca.”
Monique is a talent, and manages to showcase her vocal power and rhythmic prowess during the fast-moving song. Blake turns around first, most likely dying to tell everyone that he loves the words even though he doesn’t know what any of them mean. Eventually, the rest of the judges also spin, and Monique falls to her knees in shock and gratitude.
“You know I got this one guys,” says Shakira, and the rest put up a feeble effort at best. They even agree by show of hands that Monique should pick Shakira. “You’re my idol,” Monique exclaims to Shakira as she exits the stage. Wrong show, girl, but we’ll let it slide.
Warren Stone, 31 — Hannah, SC South Carolina firefighter and single father Warren Stone closes out the evening. Despite his obnoxious use of the word “gigging” as a verb, he scores some goodwill points by bringing his two children to the audition. They serve as cute enough props, but they’re really going to need to step up their enthusiasm level if they want to make it on camera in the later rounds.
Warren sings Zac Brown Band‘s “Colder Weather,” and it’s a slow burn. Still, Adam, Shakira and Blake are interested.
“I’m just so ignited by what you’ve just done,” says Adam, really desperate at this point to steal a country singer away from Blake.
Blake gets a little too cocky on this one, and relies mostly on the fact that he is a country singer to sway Warren’s affection. “You and I both know [country music] is a hard community to break into. I happen to be part of that community,” he says with a smug smile.
Shakira chimes in with her fearless genre blinders, telling Warren, “I’m not afraid of working with someone like you. Talent is universal.”
Much to Blake’s chagrin, Warren chooses Adam. Still cocky, Blake promises that if Adam wins The Voice with a country singer, he will “dress like Cee Lo in the peacock outfit he wore to the Grammys.” If that’s not a reason to vote this season, what is?
FYI, Other contestants made it through: If you’re wondering how the coaches are going to fill their teams at this rate, don’t worry: there were a few non-televised performances. J’Sun joined Team Shakira after his performance of The Script‘s “For the First Time,” Duncan Kamakana performed Michael Buble‘s “Home” to earn a spot on Team Adam, and Chelsea M. performed Rihanna‘s “Take a Bow” to make her way to Team Usher. You’ll see those hopefuls in the Battle Rounds.