Image credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC
A MAN WHO WEARS MANY HATS Orlando Napier goes from ex-con to piano man on The Voice.
In the final round of blind auditions, a rock duo competes with a soul singer and a "Jack of all genres," while Christina teaches Blake the meaning of a new word| Published Feb 28, 2012
Hello, and welcome to the Vocal Olympics. Or, as Blake called it, "that treadmill of vocal chords you'll be runnin' on." Tonight, the competition was so cutthroat, not even a self-described "triple threat" like the beat-boxing, grunge-rocking opera singer Cameron Novack (a.k.a. Novackaine), stood a chance to play for Team America. Though, to be fair, what brave soul would want a beat-boxing, grunge-rocking opera singer to represent this great nation?
Luckily, Christina Aguilera was also playing for the home team, and she never ceased to surprise us. One minute, she'd be slumped way down into her cleavage, half listening to the folks on stage, half contemplating something private, like, What ingredients go into a vodka soda again? The next minute, she was opening her mouth, and letting rip a gale-force voice strong enough to blow-dry all the gel in Carson's hair. At one point, she barely even let Cee Lo's singer get offstage without shaming him first! ("I like the way you sang, "They tried to make me go-oh to re-hab," she told Wade, publicly out-Winehouse-ing him in front of the crowd.) Say what you will about her, but Holy Mother of Snooki, the lady can sing. So tonight, let's start the breakdown with...
By far, my favorite part of the night was watching Christina and the sweet-pipes Sera Hill perform Mary J. Blige's "I'm Going Down" as if it were a full-blown, hold-my-diamond-knuckle-rings brawl. Sera busted out a Yeaaaaah. Christina countered with a Yeaah-aaaahh. Then they continued to yeah back and forth until it seemed they'd summoned the power to call Mary J. before them, jazz hands a-fluttering like tiny helicopters around her head. In Sera, Christina had definitely met her match.
All of this was a big relief since Sera admitted, pre-audition, that she'd be very sad if Christina didn't pick her. "She's one of my inspirations," admitted the petite R&B diva, whose fur and sequins combo confirmed that Xtina was a fashion inspiration as well. Luckily, Christina ended up being the only one with a spot left on her team, and after hearing Sera's smooth, gospel-infused voice hit every single note on that long slide up and down the octave ("My whole. World's. UP. Side. Dow-own"), the coach's freshly manicured fist came down hard on the red button.
"I've been waiting for something to come along and excite me as much as you did," Christina enthused. "At the end, I just wanted to grab a mic and get up there and sing it with you." And then she did go up and sing it with her, beautifully. Because when Christina Aguilera wants something to really excite her, that something had better be Christina Aguilera.
Team Aguilera also lucked out by scoring Glen Hansard of Once. Oh wait, sorry, that's actually Lee Koch, a California golden boy with a talent for making "good party breads." Yes, that means he's a baker, but it was important that he let the coaches know that he's "a musician who likes to bake," rather than "a baker who pursues music."
Having cleared that up, Lee launched into a perfectly nice but kind of forgettable, Ray LaMontagne-style version of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone." Christina initially seemed unsure of him, but once he started blowing on his harmonica, she pushed her button, knowing that this could be a good symbolic move for a coach whose team didn't have any instrumentalists yet. "Even though I personally don't get up on stage and play an instrument, I work with some of the best musicians in the entire world," she insisted. Besides, she told Lee, "Your voice, it spoke to me." It sure did. And that speaking sounded a lot like Blake, Adam, and Cee Lo, all of whom were pointing to Christina's button and whispering, Pushitpushitpushit!
NEXT: If they're not the best rock band in Rixeyville, VA, at least they're the only rock band from Rixeyville, VA.