Jermaine Paul, frequently known as “Alicia Keys’ background singer,” won season 2 of The Voice just four short months ago, and NBC has already reunited Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton to find an amazing talent that will likely fade to oblivion (can you name season one’s winner without the Google assist?).
Maybe in the future, The Voice‘s producers will change the formula slightly to ensure the superstar mentors won’t outshine the unknown talent. Until that happens (and it probably won’t), we’ll have to settle with witnessing the judges somewhat witty banter and live interpretation of classic songs, like the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.”
Terry McDermott, 35–Terry launched the blind auditions with a surprisingly great rendition of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” His skill should not come as a surprise; the Scottish rocker was a member of ‘90s band, Driveblind. Showcasing his traditional rock and roll voice won over the judges, but he chose to be mentored by Blake. With some stage presence and a makeover, Terry could excel in the competition.
De’Borah, 25–De’Borah is quite possibly the most genuinely unique contestant any of these talent shows have ever seen. The Chicago native is a cross-dressing woman with supportive church parents. (Who knew those existed?) Bubbling with personality, De’Borah proved she wasn’t de-boring. The self-proclaimed misfit gave a common rendition of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister.” She’s a natural fit on The Voice, considering the concept focuses on the voice as opposed to looks. Although she won over the heart of fellow misfit Cee Lo, she chose Xtina as her mentor due to the impact of her song, “The Voice Within.” Awww! Cee Lo, the obvious choice, could have done more with her courageous style. Maybe he will “steal” her later in the competition.
Gracia Harrison, 18–Gracia not only wants to ‘Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” but also the yodeling voice of America. Adam quickly dubbed the bleached blonde country sweetheart the best country singer The Voice has ever seen. As expected, she chose Blake, who is clearly the best mentor for her.
Garrett Gardner, 16–Garrett was a young soul man that is twenty percent away from having a polished gift, according to Xtina. The New Jersey singer covered Creedance Clearwater Revivial’ “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and did relatively well to me. His deep, raspy voice is haunting and quite distinctive, but the judges thought otherwise. With his dark yet inviting look, he could easily win over American Idol and X Factor audiences. It worked for Colton Dixon.
Devyn Deloera, 18–Devyn daringly took on Xtina’s “Ain’t No Other Man,” in her own words a “suicidal song choice.” Despite being decent at best, all of the judges, except Cee Lo, pushed their buttons. Maybe it was due to her farfetched pity story. Of course she chose Aguilera as her mentor.
Brian Keith, 22–Bryan is the son of a Grammy-winning dad that no one knows (no offense). He opted from using his dad’s unknown connections to enter showbiz, so he decided to use that as his promo story for The Voice. Anyways, the Bronx native covered Bruno Mars’ “It Will Rain” and won everyone over (rightfully so, I might add). Thanks to the rasp, his vocal style is quite distinctive if used on songs where it’s tolerable to be a little coarse. Hopefully Adam can equip him with the right songs to showcase that.
Daniel Rosa, 21–Everyone loves the story of the underdog, right? Well, if Daniel continues progressing in the competition, we’ll be forced to hear how he was counted out, yet still persevered and rebounded. His version of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” was nearly unrecognizable, but the judges were feeling it. He chose Cee Lo.
Anita Antoinette, 22–Having a great voice can only get you so far, and Jamaican immigrant was the poster girl for ‘people with incredible voices and no passion’ last night. Oh yeah, her story is the “American Dream” personified, too. Her family took refuge in the States in hopes of a better life; her mother worked multiple jobs to support the family; Anita herself attended the esteemed Berklee College of Music. She skillfully sang Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry,” but there was an obvious disconnect. After being mentored, she sang the riveting tune a cappella and thrilled the judges. Unfortunately, none of them were moved enough to attempt to bend the rules. Sigh… there’s always next year.
Joe Kirkland, 24–Joe, like many other contestants, is a member of a mildly known band that is auditioning with the hopes of exposing them to the world. His rendition of The All-American Rejects’ “Gives You Hell” was filled with energy, but his vocals weren’t impressive. Maybe that’s why the A&R at Fearless Records didn’t see it for him as the lead singer of Artist Vs. Poet, his band’s dreadful name. Breathless Joe chose Adam.
Jessica Sharpe–The “down home country girl” failed to win the judges over with her take on “Son of a Preacher Man.” After being automatically turned around, the judges were seemingly crushed for not pressing their buttons for the North Carolinian. Maybe they were just coddling her.
Trevin Hunte, 18–You wouldn’t normally expect a young, hulking black man to sing a Beyoncé song, but like De’Borah, “Listen” may have great sentimental value for the meek, Guyanese import. He began incredibly well, which was emphasized by Xtina’s instant approval. His low, husky tone is something lacking from contemporary male R&B singers. Trevin chose Cee Lo, who will surely bring out his tarnished confidence (damn you unnamed 8th grade teacher).
Overall, season 3 of The Voice is off to a good start. It still lacks suspense and Christina Milian’s job seems insignificant, but the show as a whole is still better than the televised talent competitions. Two more blind audition episodes will air this week. Early standouts are Terry, De’Borah, Gracia, Brian and Trevin (in no particular order).
Team Adam: Brian Keith, Joe Kirkland
Team Blake: Terry McDermott, Gracia Harrison
Team Cee Lo: Daniel Rosa, Trevin Hunte
Team Christina: De’Borah
Watch Season 3, Episode 1: