Image credit: NBC
SEEING RED Auditions may be blind, but the judges see nothing wrong with a little saucy strategy.
Next on the musical docket is honeysuckle-sweet 17-year-old Caroline Pennell of New Jersey. She confesses that that she grew up struggling with her shyness. And even though she discovered her love of singing, “I was nervous about sharing with other people because everyone cares about what people think.” Sweet Caroline chooses to sing “Anything Could Happen,” and barely into the first verse, Blake is on it! Followed by CeeLo. Caroline’s voice, contrasting with Kat’s almost-sing-screaming, is soothing and a sprite-lier version of Norah Jones, heck throw in some Yael Naim and some chamomile. Caroline lists Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding, and Regina Spektor as influences. After swivelling around and seeing Caroline in a floral-patterned dress, Adam says, “You’re like the sweetest thing” (swoon) and concedes she’s a Blake-student-in-the-making. CeeLo says “I believe we’re cut from the same cloth,” (right, his red leather and her floral pattern, totally the same fabric). Blake calls her a “bad a-- vocalist,” and encourages her to believe in herself.
Despite the Blake campaigning, Sweet Caroline chooses CeeLo, which I initially turn my nose at, but it sort of makes sense as CeeLo’s genre is in that weird in-between stage between funky and Starbucks CD-rack singer-songwriter-y. And backstage, Caroline is stoked, “That is so cool OMG! I’m gonna cry. He looks like he could take care of me as a person.” Whatever that means.
The Voice better be saving the best for last, because where’s the belly-belter for Christina? The sexy rocker for Adam? The displays of secret sexual tension between Christina and Adam?!
Well, as we’re seeing, this season premiere is front-loaded with females. The next contestant is 54-year-old Donna Allen of South Florida. She used to sing with Gloria Estefan via the Miami Sound Machine. Donna is our first eccentric character of the night, and not for her goal, “I would love to be the first person over 40 to win The Voice,” but for her Boy George outfit replete with sky-high side ponytail with a swash of purple hair. Donna sings “You Are So Beautiful,” and before she can belt out the “Are,” Christina is all over that red button like a moth to an eccentrically dressed flame. Adam follows suit with a chair-turnaround (we really ought to invent a singular verb for this judging motion!) and then Christina starts gesticulating to Donna’s singing, as if she got the devil of the diva runnin’ through her! Women! Hooray, a vocalist that can match Aguilera’s powerhouse chords.
“That voice is like the heavens opening up. I was so moved,” Christina said. Blake chimes in, “It would be crazy for you not to go with someone like Christina.” Adam raises his hand like a kinetically energetic fourth grader trying to get teacher’s attention, but he’s intercepted by CeeLo. Once he gets a word in edgewise, Adam says, “I’m gonna be super bummed if you don’t pick me because I love you very much.” Donna, Christina is your singing crack-spirit-guide -- don’t fall for the Adam facial symmetry Monet trick!
And in typical pre-breakup speech, Donna says, I have such great respect for you and you’re such a great artist …” And in the first WTF moment of the night, she chooses Adam.
He runs onstage and picks Donna up, her swash of purple hair spinning like a My Little Pony in first love…
“I see why you picked him now,” jokes Christina. (Girl, could ya blame her?)
But it’s also at this point that I wonder maybe the judging format should be double blind...
Adam retorts, “I don’t care what age she is. She’s freaking incredible.”
For so much female power, no artist-mentee love for Miss Genie-In-A-Bottle.
NEXT: Will a country crooner grant Christina her wish?