1) “It’s not about the judgement, it’s about the journey.” – Dr. Cee Lo Green III, Esq., M.Div.
This show differs from the other talent competitions in that the focus is (apparently) on training and teamwork. Instead of judges, the superstar panel are referred to as “coaches.” They handpick the contestants during blind auditions, and spend the rest of the season mentoring and coaching their teammates to be the best that they can be. While the actual details of how contestants stay in the game have yet to be revealed, I love the idea that the process is based on growth and development, and that the celebrity panel actually have a personal investment in the competition itself.
2) That’s MR. Carson, to you!
The first audition of the night was a soulful gal by the name of Tarralyn Ramsey. She nailed it, and ended up picking Christina Aguilera as her coach. Greeted backstage with a hug from host Carson Daily, she smiled and said, “Thank you Mr. Carson.” In all the dozens of seasons of American Idol, I can’t recall Seacrest ever being called Mr. Ryan.* Advantage, Carson.
3) Heart matters.
According to Christina Aguilera, contestant Vicki Martinez sang the “NBC-won’t-let-me-say-what-I-want-to-say” out of an Adele hit, which is not an easy feat. When faced with the choice between having Christina or Cee Lo as her coach, the common-sense call would be for the young lady to be mentored by The Voice herself, Ms. Aguilera. In a somewhat surprising move, however, Martinez went with team Cee Lo. Why? Because he said her sound – her performance -made him feel something. Deep down, that’s what we all want: someone who connects with us. Most of us, Martinez proved, are more willing to go rolling in the deep with someone who gets us, even though common sense may say otherwise.
4) Kurt Cobain would be proud.
Rebecca Loebe sang a really cool Tori Amos-ish alt-indie version of Come As You Are. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Nirvana cover as unique as that. Props.
5) Everybody needs a father.
The youngest contestant of the night, 16-year-old Xenia Martinez, impressed the coaches enough to be faced with a choice between Cee Lo and Blake Shelton. As the celebs vied for her vote, Blake made an astute observation – one that cuts deep into the reality of American society. “At your age, too much change in your life can be devastating. Cee Lo’s going to come dressed as Batman one day. It’s going to be too much. I can be that male figure that you can depend on.” Granted, Shelton spoke it all in the spirit of light-hearted competition, but it certainly resonated with the young lady. Another score for Shelton.
5) Man-up, Christina.
We’re only one week into the show, and already the competition might be too much for the diva. She became noticeably frustrated when Adam Levine started campaigning against her for some of the talent. By the time the show had reached the mid-way point, Aguilera did more trash-talking against Adam than actually trying to win over the contestants. Stop pouting and go close a deal!
5) I’m on Team Adam.
Maroon 5 is a unique band, and Adam is a talented guy. During the first round of blind auditions, he was crafty, witty, and fought tooth-and-nail for the contestants he wanted on his team. At the end of the day, he has arguably the most talented threesome, including arguably the most talented individual in Javier Colon.**
** This guy was a stud. Not only did he win my support as a devoted family man who teared up when talking about his little girls, but the guy can flat out sing. He totally owned Time After Time. –>