I’m trying to find something interesting and quirky to say about the first week of The Voice blind auditions, but I think the fact that I can’t find anything funny to say is telling. I’m unfortunately already bored, and that is disappointing because I was looking forward to a jolt of energy with the addition of Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys. Don’t get me wrong. I’m in love with Queen Alicia more now than I was before, but the whole premise is just tired. The Adam and Blake bromance has run so many courses, and they’re funny, but I feel like we’ve heard all the jokes before. I’m in for the long haul but let’s just say, I hope things get a little more exciting.
I will say that the coach picks this season have been off the wall. I think you’ll notice a few oddities in my very brief run-down of the first two nights of blinds. I’ll make this fairly quick as there are a lot to get through.
- Jason Warrior (21) from Chicago, IL sang Living for the City by Stevie Wonder and chose Alicia over Adam. I’d say his vibe is R&B with a soulful/theater kid vibe.
- Dave Moisan (33) from Louisville, KY sang Sex and Candy and nabbed the first four-chair turn. Claim to fame is swimming in a competition against Michael Phelps and winning. Is a Medical Tech in his free time. Has a tall, blonde guy pop vibe. Chose Alicia. (Yes, she is on fire)
- Courtney Ramirez (17) from Bryan, TX wants to be a solo R&B artist and her dad is very proud of her whether she gets picked or not. She got picked by Miley and Alicia after singing Mamma Knows Best, and she became the first to join #TeamMiley.
- Sundance Head (37) from Porter, TX is not new to reality television after placing 13th on American Idol in 2007. Shortly after his exit, he became the only non-top five artist to sign a major record deal. Unfortunately, he had some issues and is back for another go. He surprised the heck out of me covering I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding but only caught the attention of Adam and then Blake. Not a big surprise here that Sundance ended up on #TeamBlake.
- Ali Caldwell (28) from New York was a member of a girl group called Exhale and made it big in Russia. Killed it on Dangerous Woman and had all the coaches fighting. Once opened for Boyz II Men and Patti Labelle, ended up on #TeamMiley.
- Riley Elmore (16) from West Dundee, IL sounded like Frank Sinatra. Not a young, current version of Frank Sinatra. He sounds like Frank Sinatra. It’s almost eerie how throwback this kid is. Blake and Adam turned. Riley chose Adam.
- Dana Harper (25) from Dallas, TX is the daughter of former NBA star Dereck Harper but has no game. Good thing she can sing. Super low voice, warm and controlled twisting up Joe Jonas’ Jealous. Everyone turned but Miley. Alicia threw her best game at Dana. She chose #TeamBlake. (What??)
- Gabe Broussard (15) from Lafayette, LA has a rare eye disease that will cause him to go blind. Really young, music camp kid but with an old soul. Sang Lonely Night in Georgia by Marc Broussard (not related) and chose Blake over Miley.
- Christian Cuevas (20) from Orlando, FL closed out the night with (of all things) a Michael Bolton classic How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, dedicated to his late father. Dude was amazing. His dad was Hispanic rock star Julio Cuevas. Blake, Adam, and Alicia turned around, and Christian chose Alicia.
- Sa’Rayah (28) a single mom from Chicago grew up in the Cabrini-Green projects. Has a soulful gospel vibe and sang Drown in My Own Tears. Miley and Alicia turned around, but Sa’Rayah chose #TeamMiley because she likes to do things outside the box.
- Ethan Tucker (26) from Olympia, WA (shoutout to Washington) is adorable, lives with his 85-year-old grandmother and has a reggae edge. Has toured with or opened for Jimmy Cliff and Buddy Guy, chose Blake over Adam.
- We McDonald (17) from Patterson, NJ was featured on the sneak peak episode after the Olympics back in August. She has a squeaky high speaking voice but an amazingly soulful singing voice. Bullied a lot. Picked Alicia. Love!
- Andrew DeMuro (25) from Chicago, IL is a handsome pop guy who taught special ed but left teaching to follow his musical dreams. Sang Vienna by Billy Joel and chose Adam over Blake. (Notice how the boys are turning for boys and girls are turning for girls? This is getting weird)
- Billy Gillman (yes the same one) is now 28 years old after having a #2 album and Grammy nominations at age 10. I don’t much remember Billy as a youngster, but he has chops. He covered Adele’s When We Were Young and I didn’t even want to punch him for trying. He did awesome and chose #TeamAdam after a four-chair turn.
- Sophia Urista (31) from New York is a Joan Jett sort of classical burlesque performer who wore amazing purple velvet pants and sang Come Together for the judges. Both girls turned their chairs but Sophia chose #TeamMiley. Those two might be really interesting together.
- Brendan Fletcher (26) is the cutest bartender ever, I mean is from New York and sang Ray LaMontagne’s Jolene. He’s got a sort of hotter John Mayer thing going for him and chose #TeamAdam over Alicia and Miley.
- Dan Shafer (56) from Tennessee did jingles and advertisements and gave up his career as a young man to support his family. That’s right, he’s 56 and is giving it one more try. Love this guy. Blake was the only coach to turn around for him, but he was actually kind of good. Interesting pairing here.
- Lauren Diaz (24) from Apple Valley, CA closed out the night with an Alicia Keys song If I Ain’t Got You. She started out a little rough, but it takes serious stones to do Alicia in front of Alicia (a lifetime Idol of Lauren’s). Alicia, Blake, and Miley turned around but no surprise, Lauren chose #TeamAlicia.
My only comments so far are that this season seems heavy on sad back stories and light on fun. I’m sympathetic towards these guys, but lets mix in a few fun stories. Everyone is struggling or this is their last chance, or someone has recently passed away. It’s kind of sad. Maybe cause for my earlier mention of being a little bored. I also don’t notice any real pimping of contestants yet, so my guess is that our chosen winner hasn’t emerged yet. We’ll see how that goes. Anyway, everyone has four or five contestants at this point so teams should be pretty close to full by the end of week two.
Follow @TalkNerdyWithUs later in the week for interviews with some of these guys.