Though the new season of “The Voice” has been heavy on the sob stories, on Wednesday’s show, the saddest story belonged to none other than Cee Lo Green. The judge/coach got no love from contestants, who all seemed to choose anybody else who spun around for them. His only snag of the night, a hip-hop dancer with an outsized personality named Domo, came about after Cee Lo was the only judge to push his button.
I have no problem playing favorites here and stating outright that Cee Lo is my favorite judge, and anyone who doesn’t pick him is daft. Not just in his own career, but in his time on this show, he has proven to be a lightning rod of pure creativity, and anyone who has some kind of inner voice they need to get out would do well to join his team. That said, however, Cee Lo’s mutual attraction to some of the more offbeat personalities has perhaps not always garnered him the best singers. And maybe that reputation is catching up with him.
Or maybe he just pushed the button too late. Many contestants chose the judge who spun around for them first, even if that wasn’t who they initially thought they’d choose. Cee Lo seemed to hesitate on a number of would-be perfect matches, and in return, he got shafted.
Of the six featured contestants, five got spins. But a handful of other contestants who will be advancing did not get more than a blip of airtime, which seemed to be a first on this show.
Also a first—and a standout performance—was the mother/daughter duo 2 Steel Girls. The pair is part of a full family band, but as a duo, took on “Before He Cheats” and got two spins with their powerful vocals. In fact, Cee Lo did push his button before Blake Shelton, but these country kin went with the obvious choice.
Nicole Nelson was the only four-chair-spin of the night. This 35-year-old self-described hippie from Vermont, did a commanding gospel take on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Other than the super fake unison arm waving from the audience, her performance seemed to make a sincere impact on all of the judges. But Adam was the first push, and Nicole’s choice.
Christina Aguilera picked up two of the contestants who didn’t get airtime, plus one other great audition: Nelly’s Echo. This singer had fled Nigeria with his family, and compelled Christina and Adam to spin their chairs with his fresh and poppy rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” He chose to join Team Xtina.
Now, about Cee Lo’s one get, Domo. The lead-up to her audition had all the classic makings of a punk. Her extreme confidence being the telltale sign. “I can dance like Janet, I can dance like Michael, and I can sing like Mariah, Whitney, Christina, Celine.” Hyperbole like that is usually reserved for the William Hung’s of the world. But she certainly held her own up there, and after singing the Cee Lo-produced song “Don’t Cha”, got the audience to chant her name. “When I say Do, you say Mo…” type stuff. “You got a handful there,” Christina told Cee Lo. Maybe Cee Lo didn’t need to get any other team members tonight—this one was more than enough.
Teams so far
Adam: Samuel Mouton: reggae in a baseball cap; Nicole Nelson: gospel hippie; Lauren Allred: wedding singer, no airtime; Bryan Keith: raspy guy coming out from under dad’s shadow; Joe Kirkland: band frontman dumped by label.
Blake: 2Steel Girls: mother/daughter duo; Casey Muessigmann: wrestling cowboy; Julio Cesar Castillo: mariachi singer; Terry McDermott: Scottish rocker dad; Gracia Harrison: yodeler.
Cee Lo: Domo: Bronx hip-hop dancer; Mackenzie Bourg: Justin Bieber meets Harry Potter meets gnarly virus; Daniel Rosa: huggable former reject; Trevin Hunte: wailer proving his 8th-grade teacher wrong.
Christina: Nelly’s Echo: Nigerian refugee, Lisa Scinta: gymnast, no airtime; Marissa Ann: 15-year-old, no airtime; Adriana Louise: Brooklyn waitress; Aquile: from broken jaw to buttery voice; De’borah: gospel church misfit; Devyn DeLoera: sang “Ain’t No Other Man” and survived.