Phew. I never thought I'd be so relieved to be done with The Voice's blind auditions, once the greatest part of a nascent reality show, now a less-than-thrilling necessity to brave before the good stuff.
I'm not sure when it happened that the auditions become rote, but I'm ready to welcome the battle rounds with open arms if it means we'll be able to trim some of the fat from this season's more forgettable (see: about 40 of them) contestants. There are some truly exciting singers here that I'm anticipating big things from, but I'll wait for the battles before writing them off completely.
All in all, the blinds were flawed and the coaches' lackluster banter was partly to blame (the other part being contestants who failed to elevate their audition songs beyond being a YouTube cover you might watch, like, once). Still, there are a few folks I'm digging, and two of them auditioned tonight.
Joe Trombino, 33, Queens, NY
Backstory: Studied dance at LaGuardia High School, that super famous performing arts school from Fame
Relevant Viewing: This.
Current Story: Living at home with his mother and grandmother while hitting “every NYC club you could imagine” (though arguably not Crease or Twice or Slice or Wesh)
Song: “Love and Happiness” – Al Green
You know something’s wrong when the first thing you do on The Voice stage is a weird kickflailspasm instead of, oh, I don’t know, trying to sing notes. Rather than bother trying to impress with his vocals, friendly borough brother Joe (wearing a vest-ascot combination that suggests Freddy from Scooby-Doo if he were an Italian artisanal craftsman) was way behind the beat, or so Adam says (the music snob in me said, “Yeah, totally, he was way behind the beat” but the actual Voice watcher in me had basically no idea whether this was true). Either way, Joe demonstrated his super cool Fame moves, but was ultimately devastated that nobody turned. He received the usual pleasantries before returning to his mother, who will likely bake him a Consolation Lasagna with You’ll Get ‘Em Next Time meatballs and a side of I Can Ask Nancy From The Salon If Her Daughter Is Still Looking For An Administrative Assistant garlic bread.
Kaleigh Glanton, 20, Wichita, KS
AKA: That random classical guitarist girl who also does CrossFit
Song: “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Before going onstage, Kaleigh promises that this audition is going to be the best 90 seconds of her life, and she sure sells that promise with a performance that’s genuinely one of the more interesting auditions of the season. There’s a little twang, a little quirk (as Shakira points out, perhaps wrongly), but there’s a really gorgeous voice in there and I’d be interested to hear what else Kaleigh can do in later rounds. All four coaches turn and Adam, Shakira and Usher make their cases, but then Blake chimes in with the sales pitch to end all sales pitches: “You already have a style. You just need a spotlight.” Well, damn. That’s some Joseph L. Mankiewicz sh-t right there. How could Kaleigh NOT pick Team Blake?
Team Blake: completed.
NEXT: About that September 11th story...