Apr 16, 2017
You Will Not Believe This, But This Guy’s ‘The Voice’ Performance Was Even More Important Than His Farmers Market Gigs
It was a big, sexy, Big Sexy week on NBC’s The Voice. And for all y’all who don’t already know, big, sexy Blake Shelton has won the poptastic singing competition show three times already, and the other judges don’t care to be reminded. But that is part of the fun, I suppose. Everyone digs a little smack chat.
First up, 20-year-old Matt Cermanski. After no chairs turned around during his first blind audition on The Voice — when he sucked all the fabulousness out of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” — he returned for round two. This time, good ol’ goofy Carson Daly pulled out the laptop and made Matt relive the rejection.
Back then, Adam Levine, the Maroon 5 frontman known for his moves like Jagger, told Matt to find his voice and a genre he’s more comfortable in. In other words, he knows Katy Perry, and Matt is no Katy Perry.
To embarrass the baby-faced 20 year old even more, a cute little video of a 3-year-old Matt sitting on the toilet while singing flashed across the screen. You just know his mom pulled that one out to show every girlfriend he brought home ever. Now she can also pull out that Katy Perry crap.
Since his last visit to The Voice stage, the Pennsylvania res has played three or four gigs a week and bit the bullet on voice lessons. This was because, as he said, he doesn’t ever want to sling samwiches for a living, his only non-music related gig, ever, ever again.
So there’s Matt, guitar slung around his manly little torso as he belts out John Hiatt’s “Have a Little Faith in Me.”
And from the start, I do muster up some confidence, and apparently the coaches did, too, because three of them hit The Button.
Adam recognizes Matt and is reminded of the Katy Perry clusterfuck. “That’s why we didn’t pick you, because it was weird,” Adam said, only half joking. That doesn’t stop him, however, from referring to Matt as his team member even though the pretty little man hadn’t chosen a coach yet. Balls.
Blake Shelton gives the guy props saying Matt’s back-and-forth falsetto was like a cat playing with a mouse. “That’s the type of thing that can win this show for you,” Blake said. “Oh, and I just happen to know how to do that.” Predicta-burn. But then Adam asks how much interest he has in becoming a country star. Ding-ding-ding. Adam gets a new team member. Cee-lo Green never had a chance on that one.
Next is the son of a Tejano music superstar, Diego Roman Navaira, a bleach-blonde spiky haired punk.
And we don’t mean that in a crotchety-old-man-shaking-a-cane type of way. Diego called himself a “super raw punk,” instantly telling us that he is indeed not a super raw punk and probably bought one of those stupid punk rawk jackets at Hot Topix. Still, instead of following in the footsteps of his father, Grammy-award winner Emilio Navaira, he’s just gotta rock.
Unfortunately, his version of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” fails to even get the turnaround from Cee-lo, who looooooves Billy Idol. Loooooves. The coaches remind everyone that they only have a few slots left, and they must be super picky. Go, go bye bye Diego!
Next is sultry, saucy Tamara Chauniece, who thanks to Cee-lo’s advances nearly turned The Voice into The Dating Game. They both have parents who were ministers, so they may as well know each other biblically. The 23-year-old from Wharton, Texas, had some little doodles shaved into the sides of her cool ‘doo
…and that made her a little edgy. But other than that, she looked like a big, bodacious Ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, and Cee-lo apparently agreed. Cee-lo likey.
The former gospel singer recorded her first album by age 11. Tamara and her mother sold CDs out of the trunk of their car, which always shows some hustle. But by 18—18!—she was already feeling burned out, so she turned to leasing apartments, a tale as old as time.
Still, Tamara had that nagging itch to see if she could really make it in the soul-sucking music biz singing for a secular audience. Turns out, she probably can. Christina Aguilera’s seat swooped around almost within the first couple of notes of “1 + 1” by Beyoncé. Her boyfriend, I mean Cee-lo, was next. “It was gorgeous and so are you,” Cee-lo cooed once the song ended and the chatting resumed. She chose Cee-lo, Michael Jackson Thriller jacket and all, and he celebrated with a little pop-and-lock victory dance.
Then Brandon Chase hit the stage, a 20-year-old Texan who beat out death in his first 48 hours on this planet after bleeding internally and stopping breathing 64 times. There’s no doubt the kid can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. He was out to fulfill his destiny with his guitar-strummin’ version of Hunter Hayes’ “Wanted.”
Blake was the first to whirl around, followed by Cee-lo who proclaimed: “I’ll fight you for him.” Thus began Cee-lo’s quest to land a country artist in earnest show his diversity as a coach. As Brandon mulled over his coaching choices, he brought up again that the doctors told his parents he would never be “normal.”
“Apparently they were right because you are not normal,” Cee-lo said. “You are exceptional.” But, he lamented, aw shucks, he just had to go with his heart—and common sense! He chose Blake.
Then flower delivery man Lupe Carroll, who just loves his job because he gets to make people happy making us all fluttery
… hit the stage next. The 26-year-old from Bourbonnais, Ill., cuts into his flower deliveries to play a couple of gigs a week and the Saturday morning farmer’s market. But The Voice, he said, is the most important performance of his life. Is it Lupe? Is it really?
Lupe’s version of Bobby Darin’s “If I Were a Carpenter” got Cee-lo’s attention, which is all he needed to get to the next round. “I may be a little crazy,” Cee-lo said with a nod to his own mega-hit, “but I’m not stupid. You sound damn good.” Then Christina forced some awkward banter and the show moved on.
At that point, all four coaches had one spot left on their rosters. Then Grey, just Grey, from Jacksonville, Fla., who plays in a wedding band, was up next. She started out singing into the handle of a Hoover as a little gal before moving onto Berklee College of Music and then promptly landed a job in retail. Thump. There’s those hard knocks of life again Annie’s always going on about.
But, natch, she sees herself as a recording artist one day and holds out hope that one of those chairs would turn around to change everthing. “When I walk through those doors, I just need to kick butt,” she said. And she did, singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch My Breath.”
Adam turned, Blake turned, Cee-lo turned. And then Blake turned again. It was a technical snafu, but jovial Blake turned it into a positive. “I did a 360 for you,” he said, adding that his heart was pounding from the start. “I believe in you already.”
But believe it or not, she picked Adam, rounding out his team. “She just ruined her life,” Blake said, and we are starting to think Blake is kind of a bitch.
Dominic Scott Kay, who started singing as soon as he could talk, chatted up Carson Daly next, flanked with supporters and a celebrity, family friend Neal McDonough, who I remember only from that cop show with Marky Mark’s brother.
Turns out, the 17-year-old’s father is the touring drummer with the Commodores, so, no big surprise, he settled on a Commodores’ song: “Easy.” But, no go. Luckily, he’s young and has time to work on that nasally thing the coaches warn him about.
Chicago’s Michael Lynch took on Enrique Iglesias’ Latin pop-rock crossover song “Bailamos,” despite being white as a freshly-painted picket fence.
Turns out he’s 100 percent Irish, but just loves speaking the Espanol. And he’s pretty damn bueno at it.
Christina, Blake and Cee-lo prepare to do battle after turning their chairs around. And just as expected, they are all flabbergasted when they realize he is a gringo.
“When you get on a note and just sit on it, it is so—your pitch is so amazing,” Blake said. “You’re so rhythmic and so fun.” But he doesn’t stop there. He even points out that the former ice queen Christina was even so moved she couldn’t stop herself from dancing, something apparently she never lowers herself to do on the music show.
But then oh yes she did. Christina jumped up, grabbed the mic and joined Michael on stage, danced a little salsa in her high, high heels and belted out some glass-shattering vocals.
That wrapped up her team, leaving Blake and Cee-lo to duke it out.
In came Brian Pounds, all 24 years of the Austin full-time musician, who was more than ready for his close up. He abandoned his family’s athletic legacy, ditching baseball for the guitar.
It’s not always a glamorous life, he conceded, although he’s never been so happy to be broke and doing what he loves. “But when gigs aren’t rolling in and you’re sitting over a pile of noodles you can barely afford,” well that’s not really his happy place. So he was looking for stardom, because he heard it pays well.
Brian’s version of Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel” whipped Blake’s chair into a shitkicker spin, followed by Cee-lo. Blake, getting tired of Cee-lo’s country bandwagon ways, screams “Why’d you do that?” in his adorbs hillbilly drawl.
But Blake knows a soulmate when he sees one, especially when they’re wearing the same outfit—a jean jacket and plaid shirt. I mean, you’ve got to agree, what were the chances of two country bumpkins picking out the same darn outfit? “It’s like we’re going to prom together,” Blake joked.
Christina points out that Cee-lo could offer up a chance for some experimentation, to which Blake practically gags on his own tongue. “I’d hate to see you experimented with.”
Those fightin’ words propelled Cee-lo to pull out the big guns, the Rick Rubin-sized ones. Rubin’s worked with the Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash, he reminds his prey. “You can do whatever you want to do.”
No surprise, he wanted to go with Blake, which I’m getting kind of sick of. Does every country singer have to go with Blake? WTF. “I’ve got to keep it country,” he said. Yawn.
Then a bunch of losers took the stage, and I mean that in the technical sense. They did not win Cee-lo’s chair spin, the only coach left to pick a player. But then, here comes the Sexual White Chocolate.
Utica, New York’s singin’ bartender Shawn Smith, also known as Big Sexy, is an army veteran who had an unfortunate run-in with an IED in Iraq, causing him to lose 80 percent of his hearing in his right ear. But bombs can’t keep Big Sexy down.
The 32-year-old worked to get back on stage, leading the way to The Voice’s blind auditions. Big Sexy’s guitar-pickin’ version of Zac Brown’s “Chicken Fried” brought the audience to a roar and Cee-lo front and center. When he finds out that he secured the last spot on a team for the entire show, he pretty much lost his shit.
“Big Sexy, I’m really looking for you to bring it home for me,” Cee-lo told him gleefully, as the two hammed it up for the crowd. Feeling glib about his country music procurement, Cee-lo couldn’t help but gloat. “Hell, I was country before country was cool,” he said.
Wait. Country is cool?
Next week, it’s the battle rounds. And you know what Mama says about that.