The phrase "follow my dream" came up approximately a dozen times last night as contestant after contestant followed a dream right onto The Voice stage. Several said that making it that far was indeed "like a dream." Let's see whose dreams came true, and whose were crushed without mercy on national television by the coaches. The power rankings:
Coach: Blake Shelton
Sometimes, when the other coaches are making self-important pleas to win over a contestant, Shelton's plainspoken gee-shucks country-boy routine cuts through it all and gets him a contender. Last night he vied for the hearts and talents of two instant fan faves and landed them both. He nabbed beleaugured smog technician and Michael Bublé-esque singer Charlie Rey by telling him, arms outstretched, "Come home." The bigger coup was netting Cassadee Pope, frontwoman for emo also-rans Hey Monday, whose B-roll clip went heavy on phone selfies with her former tourmate and mentor, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. Pope turned all four chairs with a moderately pitchy take on "Torn." When the judges began to fight among themselves, Shelton said the magic words for anyone seeking to go solo: "I think you're a star."
Coach: Cee Lo Green
Inexplicably, Cee Lo was the only judge to turn his chair for Amanda Brown whose voice seemed flawless on her rendition of "Valerie." Her b-roll was her sounding all hopeful about how she just wants to launch her solo career and step away from her other job – as Adele's backing singer.
Coach: Christina Aguilera
Given that Sylvia Yacoub's biggest inspiration is her mom – who wanted to have a singing career but couldn't because she grew up in Egypt and that wasn't a possibility for women – you knew she'd go to pop's girlpower totem. Yacoub brought the pop thunder, and Aguilera landed another big-haired diva. With so many divas on Team Xtina, they are gonna run out of Whitney songs to do in, like, three weeks.
Coach: Adam Levine
No one was feeling his expressive eyebrow game tonight, apparently.
Contestant most likely flipping off the TV at home as he watched: IJ Quinn, who got no chairs for singing like a girl and works on his parents' hog farm in Georgia. He should be suitably annoyed whenever Brown and Pope, who already have pre-existing music careers, mention wanting validation or a chance.
Most intensely teased out drama point: The potential health hazards and voice-damaging effects of Rey working as a certified smog technician. Carson Daly's surprise visit to Rey at the smog shop with a Voice invitation – as if Rey wouldn't notice there is a boom mic under a car hood with him – was spectacularly hokey to boot.
Most vexing yell-at-the-TV moment: No chairs turned for soul singer Yolanda Barber, 55, one of the best voices the show's ever had on, period. The judges made shamefaced excuses, but none would admit that a mature singer with such finesse isn't a fit for a competition that is dominated by teenage pep and copious melisma.