While most people were excited about the Super Bowl, I was more looking forward to the return of The Voice, the singing competition I might abandon American Idol for after the latter’s lackluster season last year and uninspired start so far this year.

My DVR started recording late so I missed the first singer to audition, whom Blake Shelton apparently snapped up. Here are some thoughts about the rest of them:

  • Mann

    Chris Mann not only surprised with his booming, operatic voice, he moved me with what he said about not wanting to shrink his voice down to make it fit the norm anymore. It takes guts to go on a show like this and sing opera, and it was gratifying to see the judges embrace him (except Blake, who said, “I know I’m country, but I couldn’t understand one word he was sayin’!”). Wish Mann had gone with Cee Lo, though, because he’s a savvy producer who could probably do more for Mann’s career than Christina Aguilera.

  • Juliet Simms, who performed a gravelly, achy version of The Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” had Adam Levine on his feet singing along with her. I think his rock ‘n’ roll style would have been good for her, but she went with Cee Lo. Why was everyone avoiding Adam when he coached last year’s winner, Javier Colon?
  • While fighting for Simms to join her team, Aguilera annoyed the funk out of me when she kept talking over Adam while he was making his pitch. She repeatedly called the Maroon 5 singer a used car salesman and, though she later said she was kidding, was completely charmless about it. She also needs to stop abusing the word “honestly.” Everything was “honestly” this and “honestly” that. Couldn’t she convince the singers and viewers of the sincerity of her comments without having to say that all the time?
  • Campbell

    Jesse Campbell has an incredible voice, and I’m glad all the judges fought over him, but I kept thinking he looked like Cuba Gooding Jr. Anyone else think that? And when his wife got tired of his not being able to provide for his family as a musician, why did she leave the kid with him so that the girl had to sleep in the car with her father? That’s cold.

  • Former Mousketeer Tony Lucca was fantastic in his rendition of “Trouble.” The first two notes out of his mouth and I was already yelling at the TV, “Push the button! Turn your damn chairs around!” The guy was also adorable, looking like he was having the time of his life playing his guitar and singing his heart out. And he chose Adam! Finally! Aguilera was his co-star on The Mickey Mouse Club but didn’t seem to recognize him at all until after he left the stage. I suspect someone prompted her from off camera, because she went from no recognition to a rather shocked look instead of having a slow dawning realization. She then went backstage to meet his wife and son, telling them Britney Spears used to have a crush on Lucca when they were all working together. The look on his wife’s face at the revelation was…interesting.
  • Daniel Rosa, the only wannabe whose entire audition was shown despite his not making it onto a team, was the most painful to watch. His voice actually had a nice soulful tone but he had obvious pitch problems. He performed Neon Trees’ “Animal,” which included the refrain “What are you waiting for?” which poor Rosa kept singing to the backs of the coaches’ chairs, as if begging them to turn around.

Rosa’s audition showed that even those deemed not good enough weren’t train wrecks like they are on Idol. He was also treated with respect by the coaches and producers, not humiliated on national TV. We’ll see whether that holds true as the season progresses, but tonight’s show was a good start, and it’ll have two more hours tomorrow to discover more incredible voices.

Did you watch? Who did you like? Did you think all the singers picked the right coaches for themselves?

Check out Chris Mann’s audition video below:



  • Reply
    February 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

    The first singer was a 17-year-old from Baytown, Texas who had the guts to sing a Miranda Lambert song despite a warning that someone who did that last season got a lukewarm response from Blake. She was good enough to have all four turn around and ultimately chose Blake as her coach.

    Why anyone with the options to choose Adam or Cee Lo don’t choose one of them is always beyond me.

    While I’ve never watched a full season of Idol, I’m a big fan of The Voice. I think that because they start out with good singers and show us some of the process of helping them advance in the competition it impresses me.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I liked Chris Mann best. Also liked Tony Lucca, but can you imagine how many times the Mickey Mouse Club theme is going to get stuck in my head if he hangs around? Day 1: Woke up with it streaming in my noggin.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I watched The Voice for the very first time last night because, oddly enough, my bf is a fan. I am not a fan of Idol so my very low expectations for this show were blown away. I found Christina to be incredibly aggravating as well. Blake seems genuine and to only push his button when he really feels something. I may tune in again. Thanks for the roundup!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I really liked the show when it started. I thought it was a much more interesting take on the whole “who is the best singer we can find that no one knows” thing that American Idol used to be earnest about before it became so ridiculous. I thought it gave a shot to singers to perform an entire song with real music behind them. I loved that they weeded out most of the bad ones and that the judges didn’t get to see what the person looked like, only hear them. But, like so many good ideas, the producers / networks have to put their own stamp on it by changing the concept and the focal point of the show devolves into something else. This show has become a showcase for how crazy and shallow and trashy Christina Aguilera can be. Maybe the network or studio signed her to a production deal for more movies (maybe not, I mean, did they SEE Burlesque?) or a reality show about her day-to-day (like we need that?).

    I’ll leave the rest of this show to people who like the Jersey Shore and buy that the Kardashians are must see TV.

    But thanks for this review

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    February 6, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Eddy—I saw RaeLynn on YouTube this morning. She’s good, and Blake is the obvious choice to be her coach. I agree that the caliber of singers is higher here, or at least the ones producers choose to focus on.

    Lauren—OK, I’ll come up with a random song to replace your ear worm. How about, “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air/I never thought I could feel so free eee eee…” Does that help?

    Lydia—I don’t like country music but Blake is my favorite coach because of the reason you mentioned. He usually gives straight-up feedback without too much buttering up or any rudeness if someone isn’t great. He’s also the one with the funniest comments.

    EIREGO—I couldn’t deal with Aguilera’s antics, but based on last night’s show, I think the focus is still on the talent.

Leave a Reply