The Voice is back, and now it has an Emmy! After it’s win on Sunday night, Season 5 kicked off Monday night during an airing that included a dramatic review of the long history (all two-and-a-half years of it) that brought us to this moment.
The condensed version: There were four coaches. Two left for a season. One lost weight. One performed in Vegas and got his head henna-tattooed. Now they’re back. Everyone is happy.
Caught up? Cool.
Anyway, the band is back together (“like The Beatles, except better,” jokes Adam Levine), for what is being prematurely hailed as the best season ever. If the division of screen time during Adam, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo and Blake Shelton’s performance of of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock N Roll” is any indication, Season 5 is definitely The Xtina Show. No complaints here.
In between celebrating the return of Christina and Cee Lo and patting their own backs for their all around awesomeness, the coaches managed to hear some performances. Here’s who made it through night one of the Blind Auditions.
Kat Robichaud – 29, North Carolina
While coming out on stage dressed as Beetlejuice now carries a stigma, we have to give Kat Robichaud the benefit of the doubt that this performance was taped before Robin Thicke’s VMA stint. This former lead singer of The Design toured for seven years before coming on the show, ready for the next step in her career.
Her raspy rendition of The Kiki Dee Band’s “I’ve Got the Music In Me” impresses Christina, Cee Lo and Blake enough to spin, and causes Adam to call her “Raspy McRasperson” and subtly diss her pants.
“You engulfed me and set me on fire!” Cee Lo says, wasting no time getting back into the poetry. Christina mainly focuses on her ability to do high kicks in platform heels, and Blake cluelessly implores her her, “Teach me about David Bowie and Queen.” Kat goes with the strongest argument, and joins Team Cee Lo.
Caroline Pennell – 17, New Jersey
Caroline Pennell dresses a bit like a porcelain doll, and her unblinking blue eyes pierce holes in the soul. The awkward innocence, however, can only do so much to veil the rock star within. Despite the nervous giggles throughout her performance of Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Can Happen,” she earns spins from Blake and Cee Lo. Cee Lo fights hard for Caroline, telling her, “I believe that we’re cut from the same cloth. You have a quirk.”
“You are a badass vocalist,” Blake says.
Presumably offended by the word “badass,” Caroline rejects Blake in favor of fellow weirdo Cee Lo.
Donna Allen – 54, Florida
Donna Allen is the oldest performer of the night, and looking to be the first performer over the age of 40 to win it all. The former Miami Sound Machine singer has pizazz, and her soulful performance of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” has Christina and Adam turned around swaying with eyes closed like crazy people for most of the song.
“That voice is like the heavens opening up!” Christina raves. “I was so moved.”
Adam praises her richness and tone, telling Donna, “I felt like we were at the end of the season.”
Donna picks Adam, which makes no sense until she jumps in his arms and wraps her legs around him. Adam may be engaged, but it looks like Season 5 of The Voice is when Donna will get her groove back.
Oh…and Christina’s fan is back. So there’s that.
Matthew Schuler – 20, Pennsylvania
Rugby player Matthew Schuler is brimming with confidence when he takes the stage. He sings Young The Giant’s “Cough Syrup,” and all four chairs turn immediately. His flawlessness has the coaches going a little nutty, because it was so good that they need to get the attention back to themselves. From up on the top of his chair, Adam begs for Matthew while Christina and Blake go on stage to give him a hug.
Blake plays the Miranda Lambert card, telling Matthew, “If she sees me pick you, that could really be helping a guy out.” We get it, Blake: your marriage is fine. Cee Lo asks confusing questions about whether he wants to be a member of a team or an owner, and Christina begs him, “Let me be the first female coach to win this thing!”
Unmoved by Adam’s chair perching, the indie-pop singer picks Christina!
Nic Hawk – 26, Texas
Nic Hawk hails himself as the male version of Amy Winehouse and Jessie J, and has proudly performed in 25 musicals over the last seven years. The hip hop dance instructor pops and locks his way around the stage, incorporates Cee Lo and Christina into the lyrics and miraculously never loses his breath during Blu Cantrell’s fast-paced “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops).” Impressed, Adam and Cee Lo turn around.
You would think that a performer who so boldly sang the name of one of the two coaches fighting for him would pick said coach, but then you would be grossly underestimating the sex appeal of Adam Levine. Even though Nick expresses his concern that he might not be able to focus around Adam’s hotness, he still selects the panel’s man candy.
Shelbie Z – 21 – Alabama
Former child pageant girl Shelbie Z continues to coach pageant hopefuls, but says singing is her true passion. That’s good, because the Emmy went to The Voice, not Toddlers In Tiaras. Shelbie kills it with Gretchen Wilson’s “Here For The Party,” and her huge range gets Christina, Cee Lo and Blake to spin quickly. Blake even starts singing along during her performance. He praises her ambitious song choice, saying, “It was hard for Gretchen probably to sing that freaking song.”
“You’re just a powerhouse,” Christina tells her, but knows where this is going. So does Cee Lo, who sings “Those boots are made for Shelton.”
When a cowboy boot wearing country singer takes the stage on The Voice, there’s really only one outcome. Shelbie joins team Blake.
Josh Logan – 33, New Hampshire
Working musician Josh Logan is ready to trade his six nights a week, three sets a night lifestyle in for something with a slightly higher return on investment, namely: winner of The Voice. He sings Alex Clare’s “Too Close,” and his dead-on impression of Alex Clare earns spins from Blake, Christina and Adam. “That’s about as legit as a voice can be,” says Adam.
“I have a man crush on you,” Blake tells Josh, which makes Josh uncomfortable and Adam jealous.
Christina notes that he’s different than anything she’s worked with, and that she would love to “experiment” with him.
Josh is apparently up for a little experimentation, and picks the unlikely Christina as his mentor for the season.
James Wolpert – 22, Pennsylvania
James Wolpert put college on hold to pursue music, which his parents don’t even pretend to like. You gotta respect their honesty. James supports himself by street-busking — but really by working at the Apple store. Wonder if he’s got the hook-up for that gold iPhone that’s coming out?
Anyway, James sings Jack White’s “Love Interruption,” and really catches the coaches’ attention when he growls out the high notes. Adam, Blake and Cee Lo turn around, and Christina waits until the very last moment to make it a four chair performance.
“You have a vibrato that drew all of us in,” Blake tells him, the first of many times this season he will drawl out the word “vibrato” with his Oklahoma twang.
“Nobody loves you more than me do,” Cee Lo says, too fired up for grammar.
“You can win this for sure,” Adam promises to the first of many contestants this season.
“Thank you for showing me why I did come back to this show,” Christina says.
James takes Adam’s promise that he can win this to heart and selects the rock & roller.
James’ pick causes Christina to break out her fan again, this time swatting Adam in the butt with it. It’s moments like this where you have to appreciate how good it is to have her back.
The Blind Audition madness continues tonight!