‘The Voice’ Recap: Blind Auditions Deliver Talent & Tension

Will Champlain -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

My favorite part of “The Voice” sometimes is the totally bizarre family members who come along for the auditions. Like tonight, there was not one, but two little kids who mimicked the “This is the voice!” opening “song,” if you will. We also got to meet an awesome grandma, and a stone-faced baby-child who has been blamed for all of her dad’s career problems.

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Also there was Will Champlin’s dad, who was in Chicago. Carson Daly drove a Kia to Chicago dad’s home in Sherman Oaks to meet Will, a skinny guy in Converse, thick white frame glasses, earrings, and definitely the opposite of Chicago. They jam with dad for a while and relive the magic of the ‘70s, and then we’re back in the present, where Will sings “Not Over You” as practically a love letter to Adam Levine. Blake Shelton pushed first, then Adam and Cee Lo Green, but duh, Will picks Adam.

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The awesome grandma belonged to Stephanie Anne Johnson, an out-and-proud lounge singer on Alaskan cruise ships. Grandma Freddie Mae is super excited. “My Stephie is on ‘The Voice!’ And the whole world is gonna hear her! How wonderful!” Oh, grandma, so supportive. Just like my Grandma “what’s-wrong-with-your-hair?” Gertie. (Love you, Grandma!) Stephanie sings “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” and it’s great with that seasoned, I sing all day long on a boat, style.

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Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo spin for her. Cee Lo compares her to Season 1’s Vicci Martinez, who, it turns out, Stephanie went to high school with. Xtina tells her she liked her energy, and then very sweetly and humbly says that because she can’t play guitar, she’s not a musician “in that sense.” All the guys immediately stick up for Christina, though, and say that, um yes, she is indeed a musician. Or “Christina freaking Aguilera,” at the very least. Stephanie goes with Christina after that.

Sam Cerniglia, a Chicago wedding singer who also works for Groupon, sounds a lot like a wedding singer. But Blake and Cee Lo were into his performance of “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Blake said it felt like a Michael Buble concert, which in some universe is a compliment, so Sam chose Blake’s team. Also, sad, Sam has two sisters with diseases.

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Some rejects. Macey Estes, an 18-year-old show choir girl who wants to be in hip-hop, sang “The Way” and didn’t get a spin, but she did get a hug from Xtina. Jennifer Newberry grew up in Sweden and sings like it, too, with a baby-voiced Robyn-esque performance of “Locked Out of Heaven.” Later, James Kertson, an incredibly cute 16-year-old, knows how to play two guitars at once but instead decides to give us one of the worst songs ever, “Lips of an Angel,” with not even one guitar.

Back to good news. James Irwin’s twin babies died. No, that’s not the good news! He tried out last year and didn’t get any spins. Wait for it… And came back to try again and got four chairs. There it is! He does a weird version of “Losing My Religion” that gets the coaches interested immediately and then quickly has them regretting pushing their buttons. Adam comes out and says that he didn’t like it as much after he spun around. James likes tough love. He joins Adam’s team.

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Christina picked up Olivia Henken, a 25-year-old pageant girl who sings country. Cee Lo pushed for her, too, and totally freaked her grandma out when he said he would “put you in some different positions.”

R. Anthony used to sing in a gospel trio, but quit when he and his wife had a baby, who is now a child who appears to know that she is the reason her dad’s soul has been crushed. She stoically listens as her parents cry about how R. Anthony gave up on his dreams because of her. Then she smiles like a big creepy doll. I don’t know what to make of it. Anyway, he sings “Hall of Fame” and Christina surprising turns for him first. But Cee Lo hits his button just under the wire, because “I just wanted to experience it.” R. chooses Cee Lo.

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Blake picked up Justin Chain, an Alabaman in a cowboy hat. Question: Do Alabamans really wear cowboy hats? Isn’t that a western thing? His dad wears one, too, though, so it must be legit. Justin had a serious motorcycle accident and “The Voice” shows us some incredibly graphic photos that should have come with a warning. He sings one of those repetitive, melody-less country songs about country, called “She’s Country,” and Blake, of course, takes him. He even tries to convince Justin how country he is. “I’m inbred and everything!” Blake says. “Me too,” says Justin. Wow, guys, have fun together.

Last up, Ashley Dubose, a programmer/analyst and single mom who sings Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” She’s awesome and has a great style. Adam says her voice “cuts like a razor through this entire place.” And Cee Lo says Rihanna would have liked it. All four judges make strong pitches for her, but Ashley chooses Adam, as good people tend to do.

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That’s it! We’re so close to finishing off teams of 12! What other strange entourages will be in store next week?

Team Blake: 9
Team Xtina: 10
Team Cee Lo: 9
Team Adam: 10

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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