If Blake Shelton is known for getting the country stars, Christina Aguilera for getting the pop divas and Cee Lo Green for getting the misfits, Adam Levine is known as the coach who seems to get the pop-rocker dudes. And he picked up three this week among the five contestants he added to his team on “The Voice.”
But it was one of his ladies that stole the show.
First, I’m thrilled to see a Leonard Cohen cover on “The Voice” or any music contest — it’s good to see someone go outside mainstream choices for a selection from such an under-appreciated songwriter. But Nicole Nelson’s rendition was nothing short of stunning. Not only did she show perfect pitch and a huge voice, but the ability to control it perfectly without piling on unnecessary embellishments.
The coaches apparently agreed, with all four turning their chairs. But Levine turned his even before that first big note that prompted the other three to spin all at once. That has become a sort of trademark of his — as soon as he hears something unique in a singer’s voice, he hits his button, often before anyone else. It’s a tactic that has served him well many times, swaying contestants to choose him. And that includes Nelson, who is hands-down the one to beat so far not only on Team Adam, but for the whole competition.
Although, to be fair, Loren Allred’s audition was sort of glossed over in the episode. Sure, some of the contestants who get passed over have great stories and you can understand wanting to include them, but it really isn’t fair to those who are moving on to give them just a quick sound-byte, as this show eventually comes down to fan votes and all contestants should get fair airplay.
Just needed to get that off my chest.
Team Adam also features Bryan Keith, who is far from overshadowed by Nelson’s talent — he has a great pop rock voice with just the right amount of grit in it. And once again, all four coaches turned their chairs, in order down the line from Shelton to Levine who hit his button last this time.
But maybe Keith had in mind Levine’s bromance with his last two finalists, Javier Colon and Tony Lucca, who he signed to his recently launched record label, as he chose Team Adam.
Keith, whose father is part of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, certainly proved he is a singer in his own right, and is definitely going to be one to watch.
Likewise, Joe Kirkland was one of the stronger performers with his “Gives You Hell” audition, choosing Levine over Shelton, despite the latter’s “we both wear vests” sales pitch.
Shelton does make the oddest arguments in his favor, doesn’t he?
The fifth artist Levine added this week was reggae singer Samuel Mouton, who got all the coaches to spin their chair for him except Shelton — call me crazy, but while the coaches try to cross genres, that would have been too weird.
So far, Team Adam is rock solid and has a clear frontrunner in Nelson. Perhaps we’ll see Levine’s chain of bromance broken with a trip to the finals with one of the ladies this year.
Want to catch up with the other teams after week one? Read about Team Blake, Team Cee Lo and Team Xtina.
“The Voice” airs Mondays and Tuesdays on NBC. Subscribe and follow me on Twitter for updates on the contestants and all the latest video clips.