Our country’s latest televised sociology experiment closed out its first round of tryouts yet again with something more like class and good taste than manufactured drama. Do we dare to expect more of this? Even Carson Daly’s big announcement that “some lucky people may be getting a second chance!” rolled out like a gentle hillside. No contestants were mocked or shown in their Civil War re-enactment gear. In related news, American Idol producers everywhere gasped in unison last night.
The mentors started the evening off on equal ground, with five spots to fill and no chance of seeing who was singing for them. Resident cranky old couple Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera lunged at singers from the start, while Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton continued to attract contestants without even trying. A big, pale fella with a beard sang the broadcast-television-friendly version of Cee Lo’s radio anthem “Forget You” as a way to indicate his interest, and it worked. Not so for the two Blake fangirls and one boy who tried to serenade the country crooner directly – the girls with songs by Blake’s fiancée, Miranda Lambert, and the self-described “down-home country boy” Curtis Grimes with Blake’s own “Hillbilly Bone.” As early as the first pointed cover, Blake seemed more threatened than flattered, which, come on, man! But the country folk found other guardians. Christina (“Ag-u-lera,” as Carson Daly calls her) picked up one of the girls, and the ever-experimental Cee Lo took Grimes, who let it be known, is down-home country enough to wear a cowboy hat. Angela Wolff – a “Georgia peach with an edge” who follows Blake on Twitter, and maybe in real life, too – turned out to be one of those lucky people who scored a second chance. Adam, not Blake, snapped her up.
Aside from watching the girl-ogling Cee Lo make Steven Tyler look like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the biggest upset of the night was Tim Mahoney, a honey-voiced 30-year-old who saw this as his last chance to make it as a singer before heading to safer, more 30-year-old-ish pastures. As Tim sang, Adam hit his buzzer, thinking he’d picked a woman who could round out his male-heavy crew. “Sadly, you have a penis,” Adam told Tim, having swiveled stageward. As far as slogans go, it’s probably not one The Voice will adopt. But surprise penises, extra pounds and bald heads were what made this first round interesting. Let’s see if next week’s battle round can compare.
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