The Voice season premiere recap: Basic Instincts

All original judges are back! Blind auditions begin and become heated over a rugby-playing, indie-pop crooner
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 23, 2013

SEEING RED Auditions may be blind, but the judges see nothing wrong with a little saucy strategy.

NBC

Season 5 of your favorite chair-turning, blind-listening, mostly diplomatic singing competition is back! In tow? An Emmy for best reality competition and the return of the original judging crew. Tonight’s Part One of the blind auditions features many a lesson in fundamentals and a very noticeable absence of crazy. No exotic pets perched on CeeLo Green’s shoulder. No eye-catching Christina headpieces. Not even a clean-shaven Adam Levine to ogle at. (Oh and there’s Blake, too. But he’s married to Miranda, so he’s doing just fine!) Not even a slew of zany competitors with supercalifragalistic names, save a for a few interesting crustacean-inspired hairdos.

So what’s left to watch? Well, the award-winning premise -- hyperactive hyper-talented judges listening for the voice.

But first, a public announcement demonstrating said judges’ said excitement:

CeeLo: “I’m ready to get back in the chair!”

Blake Shelton, assuring us his head hasn’t exploded from his hat trick of wins: “[It] doesn’t mean I’ve lost any passion for nurturing these artists.”

Christina Aguilera, in a chic bob flaunting that newly svelte figure: “I want someone that wants to go to the top!”

The four judges open the show with a performance of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

“It’s like getting the original band back together and jamming one more time,” says Blake. Right, except when it’s clear when one of your members is clearly out of their element. While Christina was at home hijacking the song with her kinked-out hair, powerhouse runs, and sexy strutting, CeeLo’s vocals were totally drowned out. Blake and Adam had a little bro moment with their dueling guitars. Who knew Adam could shred?

Speaking of shredding, well, the vocal chord kind, our first blind audition comes from Kat Robichaud, 29, from North Carolina. A glam rock devotee, Kat says she loves Queen and David Bowie. She shows host Carson Daly photos from her touring days -- hair all mussed-up, she oozed Ziggy Stardust vibes. Given the Bowie-gushing, you’d think Kat would go all sparkle-jumpsuit for her costume, but instead she chose a white blazer and stripey pants combo. She’s accompanied by her bespectacled husband who’s the adorkable prepster to Kat’s glam-o-rock-goddess. Kat’s father died after suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and other complications. It’s clear he’s a driving musical inspiration as she says to him before going on stage,“You’re helping me with this, right?”

Kat needed no help from above, as her rendition of “I’ve Got the Music in Me” set the judges on chair-turning fire. And I can see why; Kat’s voice is this delicious raspalicious combination of Janis Joplin with a bit of raw Alecia Moore (a.k.a. Pink) and a dose of Brandi Carlile. Adam says her name should be “Raspy McRasperson.” CeeLo, in a subdued Thriller-era Michael Jackson jacket, “You engulfed me, you set me on fire.” And Christina, in true girl form, asks:

“How did you do that kick with those big platform shoes?” (Kat doled out some impressive windmill action with those gams.) Even country crooner Blake wants to get in on Kat’s rocker rasp, asking her to teach him about David Bowie and Queen. In standard contestant form of beauty pageant judge diplomacy, Kat says, “I don’t think I could lose either way, honestly.”

And she chooses CeeLo! Which sort of makes sense? Although the only thing vaguely glam rock about him are his past outfits.

Before we cut to commercial, omniscient narrator man says up next is “The fastest four-chair turn in Voice history,” which really just sounds like revved-up aerobics day at a nursing home.

NEXT: Girls just wanna have fun with Adam Levine


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