We’re in the home stretch of the interminable blind auditions, and all the coaches have a mere two spots left for Voice hopefuls. Monday night brought some potential finals-meat in the form of hunky young Season-Two reject Dez Duron, who Blake Shelton described, aptly, as a cross between A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell andElvis Presley. Duron may as well have already been a pop star by the way the teen ladies in The Voice audience screeched in delight at the sight of him throwing his hips around the stage.
On to the power rankings!
Coach: Christina Aguilera
Christina’s strategy of waiting for the most solid singers won her two more last night: Back from the abyss of a no-chairs-turned audition in Season Two, Dez Duron had three coaches gushing over his pipes and looks after a sensual version of “Sara Smile.” Maybe dropping that Yale scholarship to audition for The Voice wasn’t such a bad move after all? Carless in L.A., Duron petitioned the audience for a ride home. “Scream!” went all the girls who want to give him a ride, and “Aw,” went the judges, who love a hackneyed entendre.
Team Xtina also bagged another teenage dream in Jordan Pruitt, a former Disney recording artist last seen opening for the Cheetah Girls and Miley Cyrus, and Laura Vivas, which means we’ll have to hear Carson Daly saying “funky Latin powerhouse” as long as she is in competition.
Coach: Blake Shelton
After weeks of dallying at the bottom and picking predictable country talent, Blake filled up nearly half his team in one night. The most interesting prospect is Texan singer Suzanna Choffel, who is one of perhaps three contestants who’ve taken a subtle approach (rather than the judge-preferred soulful yelling) this season. It seemed to shock the judges, who cooed over her gorgeous Stevie Nicks-ish voice. Shelton also scored a bit of a coup when Chicago soul-diva Terisa Griffin went with him over Christina – a strategy that may help her stand out, as Team Xtina is about 89 percent diva at this point. Shelton also picked up three other singers, barely featured, though one is a teen Pink-alike with a mohawk.
Coach: Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo scored with Peruvian singer Diego Val, who did the body wave while performing “Animal” in Spanish and English. He also nabbed 23-year-old Alexis Marceaux, who sings in her own band in New Orleans, and whose video package featured sobering footage of her decimated family home, post-Katrina. She played along with Cee Lo when he told her he was “turned on by rocker chicks,” putting her Napoleon Dynamite-doppelganger boyfriend backstage on notice. To Cee Lo’s credit, he also complimented her for looking smart. Green later took the stage after thwarted hopeful VJ’s strangely high-pitched rendition of his hit “Forget You,” joking that he’d show him “the right way” to perform the song.
Coach: Adam Levine
Adam picked up soulful powerhouse/mother-of-twins Michelle Brooks Thompson, who went for the sky-high note in “Proud Mary” and whose video introduction was all about her husband’s shunted NFL dream and her singing dreams, and taking dreams and more dreams to downtown dreamtown. And he won the coach war for Brandon Mahone, 17, who will hopefully be given nothing but Sam Cooke songs until the semi-finals. Levine also picked up Sam James, who they inexplicably kept calling an “indie rocker” despite him sounding like Dave Matthews. He was dressed like he should be riding his bike to his barista job, so perhaps that confused everyone.
Always be closing: Adam telling Brandon Mahone that he is the next generation of voices beyond the Temptations was totally Levine with his bullshit faucet on, but it reeled in Mahone, a strong contender.
Best backstage mom freakout: Mahone’s mom screaming “HIT IT! HIIIITIT!” while her son performed.
Runner up: The subtitled translation for Diego Val’s Peruvian mom explaining how she was so nervous that her mouth had become dry.
Most graceful moment of celeb magnanimity: Cee Lo singing alongside someone who had just shredded one of his hits, knowing the dude would be so geeked about it, he’d forget that he didn’t make it into the competition.
Last Week’s Recap: Adam Levine’s Team Makes Strategic Decisions